Remember Herbie Hancock receiving a Grammy for Record Of The Year. That was also a WTF Moment as Amy Winehouse was supposed to be a dead cert to win. But as it was Herbie Hancock, Legend, and a “jazz” album and which was his interpretations of Joni Mitchell songs- another legend- many accepted it.
How many people even remember that Grammy win? Not many, I’m sure. Did the wins do anything for the career of Herbie Hancock, or, for that matter, Joni Mitchell? They had already reached the apex of their respective careers, so what did they care? It’s probably like Jeff Beck and Neil Young winning Grammys yesterday: It was nice, but no big deal.
No, the big deal is not who won, but who lost. And why.
Esparanza Spalding winning Best Newcomer was almost a salute to real musicianship. As this was an award by a jury of peers and not a popularity competition, there must have been some serious thinking involved. There would, of course, have also been the politics.
Still, one would have thought that with the heavyweights around Justin Bieber, he would have won- The Usher Man, a Sony artist, as “mentor”, Scooter Braun, a hustler from way back as manager and with Universal Music being the kid’s recording company.
The fact that he did not walk away with this Best Newcomer Award, the fact that Katy Perry didn’t win any of the major awards- she was always an outside chance of winning one, anyway- and the performances of Mumford And Sons, Dylan and Ivatt Brothers showed a small, yet significant, paradigm shift. We seemed to be moving away from the music with as much passion as that of Josie And The Pussycats.
Speaking of which, do try and read this. It makes for some fantastic reading and a movie or documentary waiting to happen.
Hell, Sir Mick Jagger, 65, was almost there to show the young ones that they don’t need to break out in pool of perspiration to show that they are the hardest people around in showbiz today. Sir Mick hardly broke a stride and hardly broke into a sweat as she shimmied and sashayed across the stage like Tina Turner’s younger white bro. He was cool. He was a Rolling Stone. Usher was a perspiring blob.
Then came the win of Arcade Fire and immediately, it was “a win for Indies.” Hold on there.
If the “majors” are suffering, there are no more Mork, Mindy or “Indies.” Everyone today is an “indie”. This need for labels just piss me of. It’s like some prats telling me last night, “Aw, dude, Arcade Fire are not Indie and that’s why they won”. Huh? Whaaaaaah? And, “That was a shite album, anyway. There are so many better indie bands.”
Dumbass comments like these are what’s holding music- all types of music- back- this stupid, naive, spineless, ignorant, arrogant mouthing off.
Today’s music industry is down the crapper. It doesn’t matter who wins any of these stupid awards. What matters is who lost and how and why and IF this signals the start of something new and with a blank piece of paper for someone to outline and form the future.
Screw the Grammy Awards, but let’s try and look or imagine what happened behind the curtain of what was a show and why the results were not what many predicted.
Someone is sending many a signal- perhaps even a warning.
Perhaps, all this manufactured pap has crossed the line. There is hype and there is con-on-the-knob and maybe- just maybe- those people who really can make a difference within the industry have said, “Enough of the shuck and jive, enough of the cons and get on your bike, Scooter”.
All these “YouTube sensations” are amounting to squat today. So you get “views”. Big deal. Send me a cheque and I’ll have some company in Bangalore get you a million “views”. And then what? Send out a press release? Get a record deal? Go onto Facebook? Tweet like a crazed moppet on monkey glands? And then when you have to play, where’s your repertoire?
Perhaps we are going back to some form of paying one’s due instead of being given the keys to the Executive Toilet until one can hold it with both hands and learn how to, well, piss straight.