Friday, April 8, 2011

Bango Quango

There are three things I try to avoid while writing this blog; politics, religion, and pop music. Most writers don't like themselves so they could care less if you like them. Of course, I have to be different. I want you to like me. I hope you read something here, feel good about it, and tell a friend or 40.

Last night I saw something disturbing. It hurt me. I wanted to run to the blog and tell you what I thought, but I was exhausted from a 12 hour work day and trying to hang a TV. So I slept on it. This morning I feel even stronger so here I go.

On American Idol, a show that goes against both my religions: music and Christianity, featured a performance by the late great Iggy Pop. I feel the need to tell you who Iggy Pop is, because no one in my house or immediate friend group knew and that bothered me a lot.

Born James Osterberg and raised in a trailer park in Ypsilanti, Michigan, he became Iggy Pop after his first band, The Iguanas, broke up. He was a drummer then but later became the lead singer for The Stooges. The Stooges were legendary. The experimented with several types of music and influenced punk rock, metal, alternative and rock. Iggy Pop was as much more performance artist as lead singer. He rolled around in broken glass, sliced open his chest, rubbed peanut butter and other substances all over himself, and danced like a mad man always shirtless. Their albums, The Stooges, Funhouse, and Raw Power became favorites among musicians, and writers. Kurt Cobain listed Raw Power as his favorite record in his Journals released in 2002. The Stooges were finally elected to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame last year.

Iggy Pop should be the last person ever to want to perform on American Idol; a mainstream, watered down, safe show. Yet there he was last night, singing Real Wild One. I cringed and died a little.

One of the people Iggy was gyrating in front of was the lead singer of Aerosmith, Steven Tyler. I don't need to tell you who he is, because Aerosmith has been a pop band for the last 24 years and Tyler is now "judging" American Idol contestants. If those kids knew Tyler's history enough, they'd realize how ridiculous his being there is, in the big picture of things.

This brings me to the controversial part of the post. I can solve funding for the arts AND the nation's drug problem. Yeah, I just wrote that. Are you ready? Here's the masterplan......

Legalize all drugs, but only allow rock stars to have them. Then, have the rock stars work for a Quango, which is a government agency that operates on it's own terms, where they teach artistic kids, young aspiring musicians, and up and coming writers how to be awesome. I know what you're thinking. Why would you want your little Billy or sweet Missy hanging out with drugged up crazy people? The main reason is, when Steven Tyler and Iggy Pop and Eddie Van Halen and Keith Richards and Slash et al were high, they made GREAT music. You could film it all for PBS, have chaperones there so they didn't try to hit on teenage girls, and you would have the next generation of amazing artists. Call the show Bango Quango and run disclaimers about the drug use.

Well Lance, would you let your 15 year old daughter participate in this? She wants to be a journalist. No, probably not. Because I worry too much. But you laid back hippie types would be fine. You could be there, or the chaperones could handle things. Look we could put the druggie rock stars and other whacked out artists behind glass. This can work. Right now we are in a creative malaise. Shows like American Idol are killing our culture. Don't you want to have the next Nevermind or Appetite for Destruction or Raw Power? This way, these selfish, insane artists can give back after taking all these years. You would have a thriving, ratings rich PBS combined with all the drugs off the streets and into the hands of the people who need them...ROCK STARS! Aerosmith might be good again, like they were in the 1970s. Wouldn't you rather hear Dream On instead of I Don't Wanna Miss A Thing?

This cures a lot of the nation's ills. As a die hard music fan who wants his and others' kids to know good art, this handles a lot of problems for me. Most of all, I never have to worry about 63 year old Steven Tyler judging kareoke competitions or seeing a shirtless 64 year old Iggy Pop performing inappropriately during the family hour.

go ahead, talk amongst yourselves and get back to me....this could work, you know it could. Or I could just be a sarcastic music snob. You decide.

Today's song is one that should be in your IPOD and consciousness. It's Search and Destroy by The Stooges from Kurt's Cobain's favorite record, Raw Power. Play it loud. Rub peanut butter on yourself. GO


  1. WOW! Iggy Pop on American Idol-that is sick and wrong. Would that show please die and go away?

  2. I should have mentioned my disappointment in Iggy appearing rather than my dismay at being subjected to his 300 year old sad chest.. but nothing really surprises me anymore. Everyone has a price these days, you know? Even Iggy Pop.

    Although I will agree that American Idol is killing popular music.. a lot of blame has to go on the internet..

    it's not that there isn't a lot of really f***ing amazing rock music being made, it's just that with SOOOO many different options out there, we lack the uniting force of radio to really create and promote a single rock album that speaks to an entire generation.

    Even 20 years ago, you found out about new music through the radio, or through TV. So if you were listening to something, chances are thousands upon thousands of people were listening to it as well... but with the internet levelling out the playing field as far as getting heard goes, it's creating almost a middle-class of moderately-popular bands and artists, rather than a handful of superstars and thousands of struggling nobodies.

  3. Stephen Tyler is judging American Idol? I so did not know that. I would so vote for you if you run for president on this campaign. Music is definitely NOT what it use to be. They don't make 'em like they use to! (that is one sentence I never thought I would ever say sigh I am old)

  4. I don't watch American Idol either, but I have a better solution. Aging rock stars are not allowed to record or perform past the age of 50 (this is negotiable.) If they do, everyone who is forced to witness this is allowed to legally do drugs to make it manageable.

    If they look like a 65-year old transvestite and insist on going topless, they are sent to the land of Misfit Musicians.

  5. I love and appreciate your music snobbery! Carry on

  6. I'm one of those idiots who says: I may not know music, but I know what I like. So, no I'm not sure why it's disturbing that Steven Tyler is a judge on American Idol, but I am considering writing him a letter asking for the entire ensemble he was wearing a few weeks ago.

  7. @Erica M - that's ok. My wife was the one watching the AI show, and has the same taste in music you do. I know nothing about fashion but Tyler looked better in the 70s..just saying

  8. I am one of those people who wouldn't mind if AI disappeared.

  9. I took a bit of an unpopular strategy with my kids and music. No lessons. No school. Just music. We talk about music all the time. Listen to all sorts of different kinds. Learn about the bands and the people. And then I put a guitar in their hands. They're self taught. They've actually chosen to learn classical songs on their own. From Slip Knot to Beethoven and everything in between. My oldest even taught himself to play AND sing Bob Seger's Turn the Page so that he could sing it to his grandma. Oh, and he wrote his own arrangement. Yeah. My kids pretty much kick ass. If you take the stupid lessons and tests and teaching out of the equation and simply let them love life, it's amazing what kids can do.

  10. I have never been a fan of Aerosmith because I grew up with them being poppy. With that, I still think Steven Tyler judging American Idol is a nail in the coffin of anyone who remembers them as a good band.

    As for Iggy Pop, for shame. Literally FOR SHAME. There is absolutely no reason for him to be on that show. What's next, Black Flag reuniting on there?!?!?


  11. @Aimee - that's awesome. I did the exact same sort of thing with my 7 year old. Gave her a whole bunch of music and she picked what she liked.

  12. Um ... I really don't know how I missed this post. (I must have been busy.)

    Holy Crap! I can't get over the fact that no one in your household knew who Iggy was. No one in mine does either but I live with a dog. And I country boy. And I don't know how I missed Iggy being on American Idol. So ..... yeah! Where the heck have I been??

    Do it! Save the world. Run for president and start Bango Quango. I will vote for ya!

  13. Steven Tyler looks like a woman in that photo...a 70 year old woman who has gone to a plastic surgeon and gotten a hack job done.

    I think its time for him to go away. It's going to be amazing to watch all of these stars getting old. I saw a picture of Zsa Zsa Gabor yesterday at 94, my jaw hit the floor.

    Plastic surgery doesn't last forever....just sayin.