Monday, 10 January 2011

Brother?...Oh, Brother....

Right, so today is a 'Modpodge' post day! And it is really a bit random, as I warned you! There is however an interesting bit of 60s/70s music backstory that I'll share with you as well. Actually, prophecy may be more the correct word!

One of my best mates, a singer songwriter, posted a rant on facebook today about a certain band who've been getting loads of adoration in the British music scene (IF in fact there still is one) lately. Brother are a four piece brit popish band from Slough...nuff said. The mainstream music press, NME most notably, treat them as though they're the second coming.
I had heard of them, but had never listened to them. So, prompted by a deliciously vicious discussion of the band's lack of talent on my mate's page, I thought I'd give it a go. It's like when someone tells you something tastes horrible and you simply MUST try it for yourself...sadistic self torture. And torture is exactly what I got for my troubles.

My reaction in the first few seconds of Darling Buds of May was, "I've walked out of a pub and left a half full pint over bands that were better than these boys!" But I trudged on. After making it almost three quarters of the way through DBoM, I had to turn it off. Surely there were better chunes in their repertoire? Next: Time Machine. Results: Dolly says, "They sound like someone took Kasabian out back of the pub, beat them silly, recorded their screams, then played them backward."

Why must the mainstream music media feed us tripe and tell us it's filet mignon? And why do so many allow themselves to be told what to listen to? The music industry seems to be getting more and more about the moguls and less and less about talented bands and great music. It's been going on for years. Case in point...and my piece of vintage goodness for the day...the closing of the Fillmores in 1971.

Bill Graham (1931-1991), began his career in talent promotion in the mid sixties after moving to San Francisco from New York. Some might say Graham MADE the music scene of the late sixties from his venues, Fillmore West and Fillmore East. He produced shows that included The Grateful Dead and Big Brother to name a few, as well as managing Jefferson Airplane.
In 1971, he suddenly closed both Fillmores. An October, 1971 issue of Hit Parader reprinted the original letter from Graham on the day he announced the closings. Here is a scan I've made of the article:

Click and enlarge to read the whole thing!

The last paragraph is prophetic. In it, Bill Graham states:
"I am not pleased with this 'music industry'. I am disappointed with many of the musicians working in it, and I am shocked at the nature of the millions of people who support that 'industry' without asking why. I am not assured that the situation will improve in the future."

It hasn't, Bill, it hasn't.

Dolly X

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