Three Things from the Editor at the Music Scene [that’s me, dear readers…]
[yeah, I’m an overachiever…
1. I was watching one of my daughters toss her CDs around without a care to the security of the disk itself, and it struck me, not for the first time, how far we’ve come since the days of albums. Kids today [she says, with a shake of her head] don’t even get the concept of albums because they are buying, or likely stealing (that’s what free downloads generally are), one song at a time off the Internet (or, the “Innernet,” as my daughter spells it).
So the days where an album that was as a whole, a piece of art, a concert or symphony in which all its parts mattered, are essentially gone. Examples to the contrary are few and far between. For instance, Green Day’s “concept” album, American Idiot, which I love, was hailed as a genius compilation of – wow, get this – interconnected songs – which it was, but dear Lord, the boys did not invent the idea. Ever heard of Pink Floyd? Or any of dozens, hundreds of other bands before the digital age?
But no, our kids have not really heard of Pink Floyd or those other bands unless they hear electronica cover versions or the dance remix, and damned if it is not bloody well true: we have become our parents, not in a good way; kids today don’t understand nor appreciate what has gone before nor what they have free and easy in their two soft, uncallused hands; and sadly, we should expect more of the same.
The only thing we can do is become the wise elders who, when asked, can spout our complex knowledge of the lore of R&R from Way Back When, before cell phones and laptops and Starbucks and the invention of the wheel.
2. And thus, since the children do not know the glory of the B side of albums, where undiscovered gems lurked, awaiting to begin the second set, they will probably never learn or appreciate the art of assembling a set of music, or of hearing it in full array. Remember how the opening cut of Side A leads to cuts number two and three, kicks it up for four and five and hums to a close with song six…And then the needle glides to the center and clicks back into resting position with the telltale whirr and hum and static that became almost a Pavlovian stimulus to our generation: Get up and flip the record.
Or wait a minute, since we had the time, and grab a soda first. You lift the arm of the turntable, grip the vinyl by the sides with the flat of your hands, flip it dexterously, blow on it to remove any dust, and set it down, snap the switch and when the album drops, it begins. Then the B Side opener fills the room and you get what is essentially the second set, a second wave of the greatness that is your band.
Good times, good memories, and why, oh, why is youth so wasted on the young?
3. Summer is here, at last, and in the East Bay that usually means get out your sweaters, mufflers, fuzzy socks and blankies, because it’s outdoor festival time. Bring out the lawn chairs and get ready to enjoy some great free music on the lawn or the square, depending where you are. From any of a number of street fairs and fetes, to Alameda’s Concerts at the Cove and Oakland City Center’s lunchtime concerts, music is in the summer air and it is definitely time to go out and hear and support some of our local bands. Never mind the cold – it’s summer…enjoy!
Pick up copies of The Music Scene around Alameda, Oakland ro Berkeley, in your favorite restaurants, coffee houses or music stores.