Reviews Don’t Matter

The most shocking thing I saw today is Jimmy Iovine without his baseball cap.

And I say this in a good way. Because if Jimmy can own who he is, after playing at being young for so many decades, denying his hair loss, then maybe he can impart this honesty to his acts, implore them to reach down deep inside and say who they really are, because that’s when I can relate.

Did you listen to Jian Ghomeshi’s interview with Joni Mitchell?

If you’ve ever hung around her, you know Joni’s difficult. Say something offhand, don’t get it exactly right, and she’ll call you on it. She bristles at being called confessional. What is she confessing, she’s telling the truth! She hates feminists, because they hate men, she loves men and will go toe to toe with them. And when done right, her music allows you to see yourself in it. It’s what you take away as opposed to what she’s saying. The cult of celebrity is faux, it leads nowhere, wanna know what’s going on? Look inside!

And if you want to get into Joni, and you should, start with “Blue.” Then go to “For The Roses.” Then “Ladies Of The Canyon.” Then “Hejira.” Then “Clouds.” How do I know, I’ve listened to them INCESSANTLY!

Unlike Rob Sheffield, who’s excoriated in today’s “New York Times” Book Review for his put-down of prog rock in his review of a compendium entitled “Yes Is The Answer.” Huh? So you hate this music Rob…isn’t that like getting a baby boomer to rant against rap?

And in the same “Rolling Stone” wherein there’s a pic of a chapeau-free Iovine, there’s a complimentary review of the new Black Sabbath and a put-down of 30 Seconds To Mars’ new album. I’d bet Jared Leto’s new compendium outsells Ozzy’s. Because Jared knows it’s all about his fans, whereas Ozzy plays to the press and is all about the money, hell, why else would he get together with Iommi and Butler, other than the fact that he’s run out of options and can’t sell tickets?

If you’re listening to podcasts, and you should, be sure to check out Thom Yorke talking to Alec Baldwin, because he’s not the guy you think he is, rather than being a brooding narcissist, Thom’s more the bloke next door, enthralled by his heroes, calling them up to work with him. And when asked about new music Yorke says…it’s like a pebble in a waterfall.

Ain’t that the truth.

I wish I had the answer. But I’ll guarantee you it’s not a top-down thing, you don’t succeed by bombarding everybody with press and then hoping you catch a few, that’s a positively ancient model, today you grow from the ground up, and it makes absolutely no difference what the professional critical class has to say about you, because they’re not the target audience and your fans are not reading them. These writers are for the grazers. Who is going to read a great review and decide to check something out? A non-fan, who probably won’t stick. A real fan doesn’t care about the review and lives and dies for you, is stuck to you, and will implore others to get on board.

There’s just too much information. If you’re not overwhelmed, you’re lying. Every weekend there’s a dozen new movies. You can be on a TV show and no one knows your name. Everything that used to mean something no longer does. Appear on a late night talk show? It’s like pissing in the wind.

What we’ve got is a new media economy, ruled by its users, with an old media commentary society trying to catch up at best.

In other words, five minutes with Jared Leto is far superior to five minutes with Ozzy. Because Jared is all about thoughts and ideas, Ozzy is a bumbling fool out to sell product. And if you think many people are concerned with the latter, you’re wrong. You may slow down to watch the train-wreck, but you’re not gonna stop the car and get out and help.

And I LIKE Ozzy. Back when he was the insider’s secret, before the TV show, which killed his act, alienating his core fans, who now not only don’t go to the show, but don’t bring new fans in.

That’s how I got in, via a fan. I was taken to the “No More Tears” show twenty years ago and haven’t stopped talking about it since. Back when nobody but those in attendance knew Ozzy threw water on the audience and had them wave their hands high above their heads.

I’m trying to figure out what’s happening. I’m trying to see the forest for the trees. It’s complicated, but my brethren scribes are all doing it the same old way, which has me wondering why I’m paying attention, since you’re surely not.

Jimmy Iovine hatless: page 21 of the June 20, 2013 issue of “Rolling Stone”

Jian Ghomeshi interviews Joni Mitchell-6/11/13

Thom Yorke On “Here’s The Thing”