Looking Forward To Retirement?I've been thinking aloud of late of retirement. Writing full time when I finally hand the day job over to those born after 'Sgt. Pepper'. Walking the logging road that borders our new homestead, cutting meditation paths, building a 9' x 12' stage for the party hoe-downs, and creating little Zen gardens for the weary wife and our welcome friends.
There is a quiet dignity hopefully realized within the retirement of the next guy; a sense of completeness that I'm afraid eludes most popular musicians. Have a hit and they'll hound you to death. Till the mill til the grist turns to ash. Every Elks club, Rotary meet, Auxilary dance, teen hop and 4H festival becomes a gig.
If my intuition is still intact (and nothing has happened of late to prove it isn't) no one is going to track me down to splice a telecommunications fiber after I've set the work boots aside.
If my past anonymity is any indication, no one is going to coerce me to write, in my own shaky hand, one more column blasting the majors for an industry charity auction. Even if, by some unmanageable stretch of the imagination the situation arises, I'm sure the event organizers will not display my name prominently on the posters and leaflets, putting me on for closing night right before the fireworks. Nor sir. Ain' happenin'.
But if I had a hit, oh boy, watch out! Here comes an overly syncophantic VH1 crew with a paper thin ruse for a reunion followed by enough cameramen and slack-assed ticket buying boomers to lure any self-deprecating whore out of the shadows. Here come the Juniper County fathers waving twenty-one Benjamin Franklins at me and free lodging at the nearest KOA campground to shake it, shake it, shake it at their Labor Day balloon festival. A hit is a horrible retirement plan.
2W2BNo need to squint your eyes or shake your head. You've just witnessed the birth of a new, potentially fatal (isn't everything?) rating system.
Here's a win/win way to cut down content-provider and editorial costs. First we obliterate the antiquated, mis-used - thus meaningless - star system - 5,4,3,2,1 - and replace it with abbreviations (we like those, it makes us look like we have a lot more to say or have created something meaningful). Then pronounce it in shiny newer lingo, like so:
Just about says it all, don't you agree? It rolls off the tongue without spin and a peppy Fox News style candor. 2W2B. Try it.
Lets say a friend comes up to you and asks about the new Van Morrison. "2W2B," you reply. Like any other virus, it'll take some getting used to. But after it insinuates itself into the everyday lexicon:
"I was just listening to the latest Sting. . ."
"2W2B," you alert.
There'll still be controversy so news-talk TV has nothing to worry about. The papers will love it. Less ink. In the weekend arts section you make one column and one plucky intern lists the titles under '2W2B'. Save the MBs (they're getting rarer by the download anyway) for the holiday buying periods and run the BLs whenever JLO has nothing to pout about.
The majors will have a pissy fit but how much longer are they going to last anyway? They may get bigger and more hydra-headed, but they're less and less a force to be reckoned with. So go ahead. '2W2B' to your heart's content.
ToughIt's getting tougher by the hour to write about music. You either keep one eye pinned to MSNBC and one ear to Bloomberg radio or completely flop out and become a wal-eyed, low vibrational, entertainment/gossip society reporter to get ahead in this world.
So if you'd rather poke out your third eye than picture me pairing off with Joan and Melissa Rivers for a nother strident VH1 commentary, you can empathize with my growing dilemma. Like you, I love the music. Like you, I wish I could just listen to it without a salesman offering me ringtones.
What is a ringtone anyway?
Stefani makes me dance. I don't care how many times they expand and remaster it there is no greater live album than 'Allman Brothers Live At The Fillmore East'. Dusty's 'Son Of A Preacher Man' is still the sexiest song recorded (with Lucinda's 'Righteously' pulling up second). Sly, Miles, Pops, and 'Pet Sounds'. Gabriel's 'In Your Eyes' and 'Solsbury Hill'. 'Let It Bleed'. 'Abbey Road'. 'Think'. 'These Arms Of Mine'. 'A Love Supreme'. All great moments leading to great moments promising future ones. Now, if we can just find time to listen without commercial interruption and stock trades.
Heard It All Before?It's human nature therefore epidemic. A new singer/songwriter comes down the pike and the elders with their memories still within reach cuss and groan that they've heard it before.
"Sounds like so 'n so . . ." "I remember when she was the new voice . . ." Never mind the elders, even the kids bitch loudly about Thursday's model being a ghetto poser compared to Friday's.
But do you think those who heard Armstrong or Guthrie for the first time said to their neighbor "Neighbor, I heard this before." Somehow I don't think so. Somehow I think there is a way to create something new if we weren't so lazy and complacent with habit. Maybe it isn't the artists but we as a culture, who let ourselves get so easily pigeon-holed.
Where's The Drummer?Went to my first classical recital with Itzhak Perlman a few weeks back. It was different.
As much as I enjoyed listening to the maestro's unbounded lyricism, I couldn't help wondering where's the drummer? You may be able to take the curmudgeon out of rock n roll but you can't take rock n roll out of the curmudgeon.
Posted on February 17, 2004
Since setting aside his rock 'n roll aspirations, Michael Jurkovic complains of far less migraines.
Armed with a Bachelors Degree in Advanced Air Guitar and Facial Distortions, MJ recovered from his less than National Honor Society collegiate experiments (1973-1976) for a life in rock 'n roll. Roadie, manager, lyricist, front man and producer, Mike saw the years of late nights taking a toll on his hair line and quietly backed away.
He served two years as VP of the then prestigious Westchester Songwriting Guild (1987-1989), delving into demos and the details of a once honorable music business. In 1993 he began producing and directing The Menus Of Chefman a cooking comedy TV show seen by legions on eighteen local access channels from Manhattan to Malibu. Of course, the Food Network got a hold of his demo and Emeril Live was suddenly a reality.
From 1995-1997, he served as president of the nationally recognized Hudson Valley Writers' Association and founded the Voices Of The Valley Poetry Performance Series, now on hiatus after a successful 6 year run in New Paltz and Kingston.
In 1997, Mike was invited by the publishers of Rhythm and News Magazine to "rant, rave and misbehave" and thus was born The Rock 'n Roll Curmudgeon. He now contributes interviews, CD and book reviews to SyndiMusic.com, British Independent Record Dealers, and Folk and Acoustic Music Exchange.
Mike's poetry has appeared in Hunger, AlphaBeat Soup, Poetry Motel, Chronogram, Poet's Gallery, Medicinal Purposes, & Outlet. His poetry has been featured online with Recursive Angel, Soul to Soul, & SpokenWar, and appears in the critically acclaimed, nationally distributed poetry anthology Will Work For Peace as well as the regionally distributed Dyed In The Wool, A Hudson Valley Anthology. He regularly performs his stand-up poetry throughout New York & New England.
He loves Emily most of all.