my instinct is to always call BULLSHIT whenever people speak nostalgically of a golden age of anything. truth is, every generation has talent. each generation also has an artistic mandate to push forward and expand the lexicon of what came before and keep the FRESH musical and LYRICAL EXPERIMENTATION going. JOEY BADA$$ is a BROOKLYN rapper that came on the scene a decade ago and was heralded as an GIFTED MC that was bringing back CONSCIOUSNESS and INTELLIGENCE back to a national scene dominated by MUMBLE RAP and fly-by-night SOUNDCLOUD artists that made the form DISPENSABLE (as argued by some OVERZEALOUS critics and old heads).
i dont know if i by into such talk, but in the past decade JOEY BADA$$ has proven to be a THOUGHTFUL and INTROSPECTIVE lyricist who much like his better known peers in J COLE and KENDRICK LAMAR, trades on a personal brand of HIP HOP that is focused on his lived EXPERIENCE (RELATIONSHIPS, PERSONAL LIBERATION, COMMUNITY, EDUCATION, etc.) and has lasted the test of time. to say i consider him in the same league as Q-TIP, TALIB KWELI, CHUCK D, BLACK THOUGHT or MOS DEF is beside the point and IRRELEVANT. i just look forward to following this guy for years to come. at the very least he is most definitely worth checking out.
i grew up on ALTERNATIVE ROCK from the 1990s. i wasnt even in elementary school yet when the 1980s ended, along with it the INFLUENTIAL contemporaneous HARDCORE and INDIE scenes that are still very much CELEBRATED decades on. my entry to to that discussion was the FAMOUS SEATTLE ALTERNATIVE scene that sparked the 90s with SOUNDGARDEN, PEARL JAM and NIRVANA being among the first records i ever received as a child before i became even a decade old. looking back its almost like being informed about previous PUNK ROCK, GLAM ROCK, NEW WAVE, POST PUNK, PROG ROCK and even BRITISH INVASION movements via a cultural bank shot. it was NEW music once or twice removed from those veritable scenes, but something uniquely SEPARATE at the same time.
decades on now i see ALTERNATIVE ROCK as the beginning of GENRE-LESS music. it seemed all manner of PRODUCTION TECNIQUES and ideas were being thrown in the mix, from SAMPLING and BEAT-MAKING utilized in both HIP HOP and INDUSTRIAL circles, new sonic TEXTURES were experienced with bands and artists like BECK, GARBAGE and NINE INCH NAILS that embellished and expanded upon the TRADITIONAL textbook of what a ROCK AND ROLL band sounded like and could get away with. i also always think of music within a social context and while some listeners doggedly clung to OUTMODED identities based out of geographically LOCAL variations of PUNK, INDIE and HARDCORE scenes, i grew up more or less around people that could appreciate multiple DISPARATE genres and cultural movements ranging from FUNK and R&B to HIP HOP, PUNK ROCK and extreme METAL. in essence it was all the same VIBE, but DIFFERENT expressions. decades on you have artists that seamlessly split the difference between various UNRELATED genres and have no issue garnering a MASSIVE audience, which to my perspective showcases the OPEN-MINDEDNESS past down by the ALTERNATIVE ROCK generation that was less interested in PURITY and more concerned about songwriting and sonic INNOVATION.
at least that is my sense of the musical and cultural EVOLUTION that took place during my conscious time on this planet as an ACTIVE listener. some may disagree and thats alright.
embedded below is a DEER GOD RADIO episode on nonprofit internet radio station MAKERPARKRADIO.NYC that originally aired almost exactly four years ago. hard to believe ive had a radio show that long! the playlist includes music from throughout the ALTERNATIVE ROCK movement of the 1990s. enjoy!
written and recorded alone at a rented house in rural COLTS NECK, NEW JERSEY after the conclusion of a long tour in support of THE RIVER (COLUMBIA, 1980), BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN's NEBRASKA (COLUMBIA, 1982) is a masterful turning point in his evolution as a songwriter and observer of AMERICAN life. at this point in his career SPRINGSTEEN was already an ICON, arguably the most CELEBRATED singer-songwriter since BOB DYLAN (with all due respect to NEIL YOUNG, STEVIE WONDER, JOHN FOGERTY and JONI MITCHELL). he'd made a string of successful records with his E STREET BAND companions that thoughtfully penetrated and examined the AMERICAN PSYCHE, but he found himself at a CROSSROADS both personally and professionally. if anything his all-encompassing fame and notoriety left him feeling ISOLATED and DETACHED from society. maybe its easier in this digital era of social media AVATARS to consider how DISILLUSIONING it must have felt to become socially trapped by a PUBLIC PERSONA you fought to create but is now out of step with your own sense of IDENTITY.
for me that SELF-REALIZATION is what makes NEBRASKA such an INTRIGUING album. its a STRIPPED-BACK affair that was recorded alone utilizing a handheld TASCAM PORTASTUDIO (meant for recording interviews) and a pair of industry standard SHURE SM57 microphones in a guest bedroom. it was in essence LO-FI before the LO-FI aesthetic was a thing. standout tracks include "STATE TROOPER," "ATLANTIC CITY," "JOHNNY 99," "REASON TO BELIEVE" and the title track "NEBRASKA." all starkly deal thematically with the DOWN-AND-OUT and petty criminality that besets DOWNTRODDEN characters with no resources and no hope for the future. in other words NEBRASKA is basically the antipodal perspective of the OPTIMISM and faith in middle-class values that marked most of SPRINGSTEEN's earlier work. the title track itself is written from the perspective of a death row inmate looking back over their life, partly inspired by the debut BADLANDS (WARNER BROS, 1973) film by TERRENCE MALICK. that film was a fictional account of the real-life 1958 murder spree of CHARLES STARKWEATHER and his girlfriend in rural NEBRASKA, one of which was conducted seemingly out of BOREDOM. the NEBRASKA album cover itself with its bleak, black-and-white dashboard depiction of a lonely snowy road makes one consider where the viewer is headed towards or away from. its INTERESTING that this is one of the few major records in his catalogue that doesnt trade on SPRINGSTEEN's looks or physique on the cover, the other notably being his debut WELCOME TO ASBURY PARK, N.J. (COLUMBIA, 1973). the focus with NEBRASKA is unquestionably on the ETERNAL MORAL CROSSROADS that SPRINGSTEEN, our country and even the listener find themselves trapped within.
no E STREET BAND, no production and arguably no hope. it is INCREDIBLE that this album (which is arguably a demo) even exists and was made to be released on a major record label, especially after SPRINGSTEEN's recent more outwardly PERFORMATIVE and sonically DECORATIVE affairs. NEBRASKA is definitely my favorite SPRINGSTEEN record and one that people interested in the power of songwriting and songwriters should take note of. i consider it in the tradition of all the great folk and blues songwriters from ROBERT JOHNSON and LEADBELLY to WOODY GUTHRIE, JOHNNY CASH, BOB DYLAN and beyond. definitely worth checking out.
photo manipulation by nacrowe
most bands, whatever their AESTHETIC or scene affiliations, are involved on some level of paying homage to their own PUBLIC PERSONA. deep in there somewhere is a nugget of personality or marketing that separates them from their peers. for me the MELVINS HASTILY-EDITED tour documentary MELVINS: ACROSS THE USA IN 51 DAYS (IPECAC, 2015) is all about DISMANTLING whatever ROMANTIC notions you had left of the touring ROCK AND ROLL lifestyle.
shot on what has to be camera phones by various members and edited in the most RUDIMENTARY of styles with varying sound quality, this on the face of it is FILM VERITE gone HORRIBLE. it follows the band on their 2012 as they attempted to break a world record of playing 51 shows in all 50 states (and WASHINGTON DC) in 51 days. that sounds AWESOME in theory but what you find in practice is a BRUTAL, fiendishly FAST-PACED touring schedule that delivers them to CIVIC AUDITORIUMS, VFW HALLS, COMMUNITY CENTERS and TINY THEATERS the throughout the country. you get to see the firsthand the SKETCHY TRUCK STOPS and UNINVITING ROADSIDE RESTAURANTS along small FORGOTTEN faraway bastions of the continental UNITED STATES. which make you feel ISOLATED just watching it and questioning yourself over and over again: why do this to yourself? honestly, why?
and that is why this documentary is VITAL. this is not BOB DYLAN in '66 or THE ROLLING STONES in '72 or even LED ZEPPELIN in '77, this is rural AMERICA up close and UNADORNED. reminds me of my two trips to IOWA (don't ask) and how the minute i landed their i immediately felt a surge of REGRET and FEAR of being deserted unlike anything else i've experienced before or since. and that includes traveling in remote villages in AFRICA, SOUTHEAST ASIA and THE BALKANS.
there is nothing remotely SEXY or INVITING about this film, its all FRUSTRATION and huamn SUFFERING and that is why it is absolutely required viewing in my opinion. probably one of the more HONEST accounts of touring life i have seen in years if ever.
ever since HOWARD STERN left TERRESTRIAL RADIO and the editorial confines that came with that format he has transitioned gracefully into a long-form interviewer of the first order. this is due in part to the UNIQUE opportunity afforded him by having his own channel on SATELLITE RADIO with no time or editorial constraints. i believe transformation is likewise also the result of years of THERAPY that made the former CONFRONTATIONAL and AGGRESSIVE media personality more INTROSPECTIVE, CONSIDERED and prone to listening and engaging more fully with his guests.
COMES AGAIN (SIMON & SCHUSTER, 2019) is less a memoir and more a curated transcript of some of his most insightful interviews in his later years where he has garnered such newfound respect as a THOUGHTFUL and EMPATHETIC interlocutor capable of conducting fruitful discussions with his high-profile guests including the likes of ANDERSON COOPER, OZZY OSBOURNE, COURTNEY LOVE, CHRIS ROCK, LADY GAGA, ROSIE O'DONNELL, DAVID LETTERMAN, HILARY CLINTON, JAY-Z, BILL MURRAY, KIM KARDASHIAN, CONAN O'BRIEN, LARRY DAVID, JON STEWART, TRACY MORGAN and former DISGRACED president DONALD TRUMP among many others. given this books presentation as a compendium of interviews, i have read most of it out of order over the past half year. it is almost more of reference document since there is no discernible narrative other than STERN's personal introductions that contextualize each interview.
for me the most ENGAGING and HEARTENING of these interviews is with ROSE O'DONNELL, a public comedic figure that was seemingly at odds with STERN and caught his ire and mockery throughout the 90s. most of such was undeserved and in retrospect comes off as her sense of FEMININITY contrasted strongly with that promoted by STERN's male gaze (i.e. famous models, playmates and porn stars). i have no doubt that TRUMP's ascension to power shook STERN to his core since the DISGRACED former president seemed to both inhabit and warp the CAVALIER and frankly CHAUVINIST attitudes promoted by the radio show. same for HUGH HEFNER and PLAYBOY. TRUMP was the embodiment of a mode of MASCULINITY that was a CULTURAL ANACHRONISM by the time of his inauguration. a throwback to a LESS ENLIGHTENED period. i think STERN realized quickly that the common area in the venn diagram of MAGA supporters and his radio audience was pretty SIGNIFICANT and this book is an attempt to rewrite his legacy. he profusely thanks O'DONNELL for her grace and humility in accepting his apologies for past abuse and both have garnered a level of mutual RESPECT and FRIENDSHIP that heretofore was absolutely unforeseen. it was a gift from her that he truly cherishes as it redeems his sense of identity as a father of three young adult women.
id argue that COMES AGAIN is probably the DEFINITIVE STERN publication, more so than the OUTLANDISH and PERFORMATIVE MISS AMERICA (REGANBOOKS, 1995) and PRIVATE PARTS (SIMON & SCHUSTER, 1993). what makes it so much more ENJOYABLE is his ability to listen and ask PERTINENT, PROBING questions with a sense of COMPASSION and HUMILITY that never existed in his previous incarnation as a "shock jock" pushing societal buttons for ratings. in its place you get INTRIGUING dialogue on the nature of comedy, the mass media, beauty, love, pain, death and celebrity. and i imagine the best is still yet to come.
the UNTIMELY death of longtime and universally BELOVED FOO FIGHTERS drummer TAYLOR HAWKINS a little over a year ago while on tour in COLOMBIA was both SHOCKING and TRAGIC. you dont have to look far in the band to see members that have lost bandmates in the past. i think for a lot of people their thoughts immediately went to DAVE GROHL and PAT SMEAR and their close FALLEN brethren in KURT COBAIN and DARBY CRASH. people forget that the FOO FIGHTERS project itself was created as an expression of PERSISTENCE and SURVIVAL in the face of OVERWHELMING GRIEF. the ICONIC tribute concerts from last fall was a showcase in that ethos of LOVE and COMMUNITY in the face TRAUMA and TRAGEDY.
but the question for fans quickly became "what next?"
in december of last year the FOO FIGHTERS announced they would carry on, but who would play drums. i just adore the fact that they answered all these questions in a STARK long-form, black-and-white rehearsal video where you could view JOSH FREESE absolutely destroy these songs and realize the band was in some sense REVITALIZED. im a huge DEVO fan, so i've known about FREESE for years, but i first saw him play at WARPED TOUR 2001 in VENTURA as a member of veteran ORANGE COUNTY PUNK band THE VANDALS. he's been a session drummer of the first order for decades (CHRIS CORNELL, BLACK LIGHT BURNS, DANNY ELFMAN, KATY PERRY, BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN, QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE, KELLY CLARKSON, WEEN, AVRIL LAVIGNE, SOCIAL DISTORTION and ROB ZOMBIE) and has been the go-to drummer while on tour in a crunch for the likes of everyone from PARAMORE and GOOD CHARLOTTE to THE REPLACEMENTS, THE OFFSPRING and even STING. he's also had stints of being a member of NINE INCH NAILS, GUNS N' ROSES, WEEZER and A PERFECT CIRCLE among other bands. it is a RIDICULOUS resume that the FOO FIGHTERS are now a part of. like HAWKINS, he is also from ORANGE COUNTY (which coincidently is where i lived as a child until 1996).
but the best part of the whole video knowingly moronically entitled FOO FIGHTERS: PREPARING MUSIC FOR CONCERTS is the beginning when FREESE hasnt been announced yet as the drummer and a parade of FAMOUS drummers come in for IDIOTIC reasons. as the first CREATIVE release since the tribute concerts, the fact that they went with HUMOR was BRILLIANT. they probably needed it and we the fans definitely did as well.
my introduction to the IDIOSYNCRATIC ALTERNATIVE FUNK that is PRIMUS was their main stage appearance on OZZFEST 99. i was fifteen and that music festival was my initiation into concert going as well. so much of that day was OVERWHELMING with its INSANE lineup that included BLACK SABBATH, SLAYER, ROB ZOMBIE, DEFTONES, BLACK SABBATH, SYSTEM OF A DOWN and FEAR FACTORY as well as a FRENETIC, emerging group from the MIDWEST called SLIPKNOT, but i distinctly remember PRIMUS standing out both sonically and in terms of their presentation. they were GOOFY. but WACKY in the sense that they were such ridiculously TALENTED musicians that they could get away with it. case in point was their special guest who was a VIRTUOSO guitarist that wore a KENTUCKY FRIED CHICKEN bucket on his head with an accompanying JASON mask going by the name BUCKETHEAD. even SLAYER fans were into their set despite it being nothing remotely EXTREME or AGGRESSIVE in terms of EXTREME METAL.
turns out that go around was for their ANTIPOP (INTERSCOPE, 1999) record that found the group playing with a more HARDER-EDGED sound courtesy of all the special producers brought in on this project, including TOM MORELLO (RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE), FRED DURST (LIMP BIZKIT), MATT STONE (SOUTH PARK), TOM WAITS and STEWART COPELAND (THE POLICE). not to mention guest appearances by JAMES HETFIELD (METALLICA) and JIM MARTIN (FAITH NO MORE) as well. regarded in retrospect by the band as their least favorite record with a TORTURED creation story to boot, it nearly broke them as they went on hiatus shortly after its release for three years. STANDOUT tracks include "GREET THE SACRED COW," "LAQUERHEAD," "ELECTRIC UNCLE SAM" and "THE ANTIPOP," all employing TRADITIONAL hooks with stop-on-a-dime precision SYNCHRONOUS rhythm playing and ECCENTRIC lyrical conceits to match in the best tradition of KING CRIMSON, THE RESIDENTS, WEEN, SYD BARRETT, DR. DEMENTO and FRANK ZAPPA.
its interesting that ANTIPOP was my introduction to the PECULIAR world of PRIMUS, because it is arguably the least representative of the catalogue. this was a record they made for their label seemingly out of pressure to remain commercially relevant, whatever that meant back in the late 1990s when the writing was on the wall with NAPSTER and file-sharing driving profits away from compact disc sales. it was an INTERESTING time to say the least.
still love this record, but for the uninitiated there are better records to dive into first, like FIZZLE FRY (CAROLINE, 1990), SAILING THE SEAS OF CHEESE (INTERSCOPE, 1991), PORK SODA (INTERSCOPE, 1993) and TALES FROM THE PUNCH BOWL (INTERSCOPE, 1995). just get ready for their PROGRESSIVE ROCK via FUNK sound as interpreted by CAPTAIN BEEFHEART. its a fun mix and required listening in my opinion.
i recently came across the ARGENTINE INDIE ROCK band LAS LIGAS MENORES and was taken aback by how INCREDIBLE their sense of MELODY was. the nearest analogue i could think of were the PIXIES, but lo and behold they have already recorded an INVENTIVE cover of their song "GIGANTIC." im a total sucker for bands that know how to utilize backing vocals to HAUNTING effect and such is the case with front-woman ANABELLA CARTOLANO and guitarist PABLO KEMPER.
its a UNIQUE sound from an EMERGING band definitely worth checking out.
parody by nacrowe
my senior year of high school was CRAZY. as ive mentioned many times before, i was in KUWAIT while my parents were stationed there for work until 9/11 happened and i was sent off to finish the rest of the school year in SACRAMENTO where a relative resided. as soon as the year ended and my graduation was over i bolted to NEW JERSEY where my family had a place that we stayed during the summer in between overseas stints. it was during this time when i was enrolled at a local community college that i first came across the NORWEGIAN ELECTROPOP duo ROYKSOPP and their TRANSFORMATIVE MELODY A.M. (ASTRALWERKS, 2001) release. i should mentioned that other NOTEWORTHY artists i discovered during this period were LADYTRON, GOLDFRAPP, AIR and THE KNIFE. outside of DEPECHE MODE, NEW ORDER and maybe SUICIDE i was not particularly well versed in ELECTRONIC MUSIC writ large, much less a NORDIC variant. but what caught my ear was that BITTERSWEET sense of MELANCHOLY and NOSTALGIA that is through-line with all their collaborations and their entire catalog.
i felt i had discovered a PERFECT POP album. tracks like "IN SPACE," "SO EASY," "A HIGHER PLACE" and "SPARKS" are all so effortlessly CINEMATIC with a widescreen scope that seemed to encapsulate the collective emotion of all of humanity. it was ELECTRONIC MUSIC but it wasnt exactly DANCEABLE, it was more DOWNBEAT and almost exclusively INTROSPECTIVE in nature. the singles "POOR LENO" and "REMIND ME" where the first time id ever heard anything remotely like that and it was beyond CONTAGIOUS. it felt like new ground and really made me go back with gusto and seek out like-minded artists over the years like CUT COPY, M83, HOT CHIP, EMPIRE OF THE SUN, HOLY GHOST! and TORO Y MOI.
the third record JUNIOR SENIOR (WALL OF SOUND, 2009) with tracks was a welcome reminder of ROYKSOPP at the top of their collective songwriting and production powers with powerhouse tracks like "VISION ONE," "THIS MUST BE IT," "HAPPY UP HERE," and "THE GIRL AND THE ROBOT" providing a more UPBEAT counterpoint to their debut. i obsess over both records to date and wish to promote them as much as possible. definitely worth checking out.
embedded below is a DEER GOD RADIO episode on nonprofit internet radio station MAKERPARKRADIO.NYC that originally aired relatively recently last year in late 2022. the playlist includes music from throughout ROYKSOPP's INCREDIBLE catalogue. enjoy!
the BEASTIE BOYS fifth studio album HELLO NASTY (CAPITOL, 1998) was a seminal HIP HOP album as i experienced it the summer before my freshman year of high school. i knew of their existence before due to hearing various LICENSE TO ILL (DEF JAM, 1986) tracks out of context during my elementary school years in SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA, but i never had their records nor strangely did anyone i knew growing up there and in WEST AFRICA. its ODD in retrospect since other MAJOR HIP HOP artists like CYPRESS HILL, A TRIBE CALLED QUEST, THE NOTORIOUS B.I.G., WU-TANG CLAN and TUPAC all seemingly made the jump overseas, but for whatever reason not the BEASTIE BOYS.
regardless, the SEMINAL HELLO NASTY album was the first BEASTIE BOYS record i ever bought and i basically worked my way backwards shortly thereafter. by this point for years my family had relocated to NEW JERSEY during the summer months (in part to by a years worth of supplies that would shipped overseas to NIGERIA) and in the summer of 1998 "INTERGALACTIC" was a monster hit on both INFLUENTIAL NYC HIP HOP stations like HOT 97 and POWER 105.1 and the ALTERNATIVE ROCK juggernaut that was 92.3 K-ROCK. that level of UBIQUITY on the airwaves, not to mention the accompanying ADAM YAUCH-directed music video on MTV at the time, made that track a particularly UNIQUE cultural moment at the time.
HELLO NASTY was co-produced with MARIO CALDATO, JR who was involved with their previous three releases ILL COMMUNICATION (CAPITOL, 1994), CHECK YOUR HEAD (CAPITOL, 1992), and PAUL'S BOUTIQUE (CAPITOL, 1989) and sonically the record is high-energy and propulsive with a clever mix of DANCEHALL, DUB, LOUNGE, DRUM & BASS elements. this is also the first BEASTIE BOYS release to feature MIX MASTER MIKE as their effective house DJ (complete with his innovative wah-wah pedal inflected vinyl scratching), a role he would continue until their break-up in the wake of YAUCH's passing from salivary gland cancer. STANDOUT tracks include "REMOTE CONTROL," "THREE MC'S AND ONE DJ," "BODY MOVIN'" and "SUPER DISCO BREAKIN'" with guest performances by the likes of MIHO HATORI (CIBO MATTO) and legendary DUB producer LEE "SCRATCH" PERRY.
everyone has their favorite BEASTIE BOYS record (mine will always be ILL COMMUNICATION), but in effect they are all great. if you are unfamiliar with their work there is no bad place to start and HELLO NASTY is as GREAT an introduction to a nearly FLAWLESS discography as you will find. definitely worth checking out.
hindsight manipulates us all. a nearly universally CELEBRATED album like GREEN DAY's GEORGE W BUSH-era narrative paean to the domestic UNDERCLASS and UNDERREPRESENTED resistance, AMERICAN IDIOT (REPRISE, 2004), feels in retrospect almost INEVITABLE. at the time of its tracking back in 2003-2004, as depicted in the documentary HEART LIKE A HAND GRENADE (CRAZY COW PRODUCTIONS, 2015), this was hardly the case. the band had a rare mid-career miscue with WARNING (REPRISE, 2000) that saw them supposedly loosing a step with the POPULAR ZEITGEIST to a new crop of POP PUNK bands they essentially helped initiate (i.e. BLINK-182, NEW FOUND GLORY, SUM 41, GOOD CHARLOTTE, etc.).
not sure i wholly buy into that narrative, but that is the popular MYTHOLOGY surrounding the creation of AMERICAN IDIOT, which was REVOLUTIONARY and UNEXPECTED upon release and is arguably GREEN DAY's crowning achievement, even more so than their debut DOOKIE (REPRISE, 1994). part of such ACCLAIM was rooted in the fact that it was perceived to be a STRIDENT middle finger to the BUSH ADMINISTRATION and their REGRESSIVE political agenda. in the early 2000s SYSTEM OF A DOWN and RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE were on the outs and ROCK music was in a weird place in that it was attempting to recreate the past a la the backward-looking INDIE ROCK REVIVAL bands such as THE STROKES, WHITE STRIPES, INTERPOL, LCD SOUNDSYSTEM and the like. nobody, and i mean no one, thought that GREEN DAY would be the band to create something as AUDACIOUS and thematically COMPLEX as a ROCK OPERA that was likewise brazenly POLITICAL at a time of war. it really put everyone else to shame in retrospect and influenced the style and scope of their catalogue from their on out.
whats compelling about HEART LIKE A HAND GRENADE is how DETERMINED, COMMITTED and CONFIDENT band leader and main songwriter BILLIE JOE ARMSTRONG is in the studio. this was a major risk. GREEN DAY were considered relative LIGHT-WEIGHTS that in essence filled a psychic and industry VOID left by NIRVANA in the wake of their TRAGIC mid-90s implosion. in comparison to the SOMBER and POETIC directness of KURT COBAIN's lyrics and persona, ARMSTRONG was by comparison a more JOVIAL and UPBEAT character that wrote songs about the banality of everyday life. AMERICAN IDIOT changed all that in one swell swoop.
its just incredible that this recording process was documented. i have no doubt itll be parsed over decades from now by musicians inspired by ARMSTRONG's GALVANIZED response to a fucked political inflection point in AMERICAN history. lord knows what we will face in the next few decades in the wake of proto-fascist DONALD TRUMP. here's hoping he never returns to power.
the conceit of the graphic novel HUNGRY GHOSTS (DARK HORSE, 2018) is that of an EDO-period JAPANESE PARLOR GAME called HYAKUMONOGATARI KAIDANKAI (or "a gathering of one hundred supernatural tales") that found samurai telling stories to each other about GHOULISH TALES and FOLKLORE, each snuffing out one of a hundred candles after each story. as the room got DARKER with each passing candle being snuffed out, the samurai would continue until the 100th was extinguished thus allowing for a haven for the spirits to commune in their realm. according to custom theyd stop at 99 for that EXACT reason.
given that this graphic novel was co-written by the CELEBRATED chef and television personality ANTHONY BOURDAIN shortly before his death, the spin with HUNGRY GHOSTS is that these stories are told about food-related TRANSGRESSIONS and ABOMINATIONS against nature. themes of EXCESS, GLUTTONY and GREED in the face of other's need for want in order to maintain basic survival pervade throughout these stories ranging geographically from SPAIN, FRANCE, the AMERICAN MIDWEST and JAPAN. i dont wish to give away the ending but there is a BUDDHIST karmic sense of MORALITY at play with being MODEST in your INDULGENCES, less they define or literally consume you in the process. eating meat is not the issue, but rather the MORAL IMPLICATIONS of succumbing to your NEEDS and DESIRES while maintaining the suffering of others in close proximity in the process.
for someone with such an close relationship with food and its UNIQUE potential to initiate human relationships and maintain community interactions (as dining with people is an INTIMATE experience), it is quite compelling that BOURDAIN decided to use this same trope of a collective group meal to showcase such CLASS DIVISION and MORAL DEPRAVITY at the hands of the host, guests and kitchen staff at a formal dinner hosted by a RUSSIAN billionaire with presumed ILL-GOTTEN gains. its an INTERESTING reversal that works because of how ICONIC the dinner meal is as a GLOBAL cultural and even religious institution.
i should mention that HUNGRY GHOSTS was co-written with JOEL ROSE and the tales were manifested by DISINTGUISED, TOP-TIER visual talent in PAUL POPE, JOSE VILLARRUBIA, SEBASTIAN CABROL, ALBERT PONTICELLI, LEONARDO MANCO, SAL CIPRIANO, FRANCESCO FRANCAVILLA, IRENE KOH, MATEUS SANTOLOUCO and VANESSA DEL REY. definitely worth checking out.
RIP ANTHONY BOURDAIN
SPOTLIGHT | LOUIS KAHN
i dont believe i paid much attention to architecture until i discovered the work of LOUIS KAHN in the early 2000s. there is something almost ETERNAL and ELEMENTAL about the scale, material and basic nature of his forms that is deeply AFFECTING. almost in a similar manner to how a MINIMALIST MARK ROTHKO painting wipes away with all learned notions and expectations of the WESTERN ART traditions and presents a STAGGERING work seemingly completely devoid of pretension. instead it is just pure UNADULTERATED EXPRESSION.
over the years ive come close to but have never had the pleasure of physically inhabiting one of his spaces. the most NOTABLE and CELEBRATED of which include the SALK INSTITUTE FOR BIOLOGICAL STUDIES (LA JOLLA, CALIFORNIA), PARLIAMENT BUILDING (DHAKA, BANGLADESH), PHILLIPPS EXETER ACADEMY LIBRARY (EXETER, NEW HAMPSHIRE), THE KIMBELL ART MUSEUM (FORT WORTH, TEXAS), YALE UNIVERSITY ART GALLERY (NEW HAVEN, CONNECTICUT) and the INDIAN INSTITUTE OF MANAGEMENT (AHMEDABAD, INDIA) among others. KAHN is renowned for his CLEVER use of concrete and repetitive basic shapes, often at a grand scale. there is a perceptible and palpable sense of WEIGHT and PERMANENCE to his designs. so much so that his constructions are often described in quasi-religious language by peers, academics and laymen alike.
there is an INCREDIBLE documentary that was directed by his son NATHANIEL KAHN entitled MY ARCHITECT: A SON'S JOURNEY (NEW YORKER FILMS, 2003) that attempts to make sense of his work through the DETACHED eyes of a child that was largely abandoned. it was as if LOUIS was so consumed with his work that all other familial priorities took a distant second place in comparison. its pretty tragic yet inspiring at the same time since NATHANIEL physically walks amongst his father's buildings and witnesses the impact they have had on disparate communities worldwide.
one of the oddest things about LOUIS is that he was found dead in a PENN STATION bathroom after suffering a heart attack. this world RENOWNED architect and ACCLAIMED professor of design at the UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA passed on in what is largely considered to be one of the great architectural travesties of all time. taken down and pushed underground in order to make way for the modern MADISON SQUARE GARDEN, the PATHETIC destruction of the old PENN STATION complex and the experience of using this new facility is described by architectural historian in the DEVASTATING quip: "one entered the city like a god; one scuttles in now like a rat." its compounded tragedy that LOUIS had the misfortune of passing away in that location of all places after a return from INDIA, waiting on a train home to PHILADELPHIA.
if you are unfamiliar with the MONUMENTAL creative work of LOUIS KAHN, definitely look him up. his example has inspired a lifelong passion in architecture for myself, something i hadnt considered beforehand. most definitely worth checking out.
RECORD REVIEW | "KORN" BY KORN
the unlikely global phenomenon that is KORN is something i still find truly fascinating. tagged with spearheading what came to be known as NU METAL (an AGGRESSIVE METAL / HIP HOP hybrid) in the 1990s, the band and its sound was most prominently rooted in the ALTERNATIVE ROCK / FUNK METAL of a previous generation of ECLECTIC bands, namely FISHBONE and FAITH NO MORE / MR BUNGLE. throw in some NEW ROMANTIC posturing a la DURAN DURAN and more than sprinkling of GANGSTER RAP like ICE CUBE and DR. DRE and you have the basic TOXIC mixture that KORN drew from in the early 1990s.
the thing about their self-titled debut KORN (EPIC, 1994) is the context of how their sound landed in the ALTERNATIVE ROCK / METAL scene of the mid-1990s. this was a moment of transition as many of the THRASH METAL bands of the 1980s were still holding on to a sound (sans METALLICA) that some in retrospect deride as "type-writer metal" which is highly TECHNICAL and contains riffage that is COMPLEX and extremely uptempo. to be considered a METAL band equated to mastering that sound. KORN changed all that. their riffs were SIMPLE and the tempo was pulled way way back. the focus was on the GROOVE, not the tempo or technical wizardry, and the lyrical content. singer JONATHAN DAVIS on tracks like "BLIND," "FAGET," "SHOOTS AND LADDERS," "CLOWN" and especially "DADDY" seemed to be exorcising some deep childhood trauma of the sexual kind, a deeply DISTURBING cultural taboo that was never part of the vernacular of heavy music before, which was itself EMPOWERING in nature. DAVIS presented, much like KURT COBAIN before him, an emotive and introspective archetype of an ALTERNATIVE MASCULINITY. one that was unleashing a PRIMAL SCREAM against the ills of society and how badly it had treated him during his most VULNERABLE years as a child. i believe that such was a paradigm shift in METAL and ALTERNATIVE ROCK as many bands seemingly modeled themselves on such in their wake to present date.
sonically the band had a UNIQUE two-headed guitar attack a la BRIAN "HEAD" WELCH and JAMES "MUNKY" SHAFFER, both tuned down multiple steps with intertwining parts that buttressed the SLOW, plodding HEAVY riffs but just as importantly enhanced the lighter counterpoint melodies (often in opening riffs). bassist REGINALD "FIELDY" ARVIZU was less a traditional musician in the MELODIC sense and acted more as an extension of the percussion section with his slapping bass lines that really forward-propelled the songs themselves beyond the FUNK drumming of original percussionist DAVID SILVERA. in totality the band presented an OFF-KILTER but sonically POWERFUL front that empowered DAVIS to brave out and expose himself lyrically. it should also be noted that this record is one of the DEFINITIVE early ROSS ROBINSON productions that pushed his career forward and no doubt helped him land later work with the likes of GLASSJAW, SLIPKNOT, LIMP BIZKIT, SEPULTURA / SOULFLY, AT THE DRIVE-IN, CANCER BATS and even THE CURE. i saw KORN once at OZZFEST 2003 and was not prepared for how HEAVY they came across live. they blew the other bands away that night and i was absolutely not expecting such beforehand.
my only gripe with KORN was how DAVIS wrapped his own MISERY in the HOMOPHOBIC tropes of schoolyard bullying. that always seemed CALLOUS and a bit unnecessary in my opinion. even if your early years were TRAUMATIC and you were severely picked on by bullies and abused by adults, what is the purpose of utilizing the language of EMASCULATION that wrongly incorporates TERRIBLE slurs against the LGBTQ community. as if they are beneath you. there is so much unadulterated RAGE and suffering in DAVIS' persona and maybe it would be NAIVE for their to be some semblance of EMPATHY or COMPASSION mixed in somewhere, but that is my feeling. it goes further as such calcifies into MISOGYNY and on some level we are all degraded for our complicity in seeking refuge in DAVIS' misguided rage, as such would play out in the needless VIOLENT outbursts of their fans (a la WOODSTOCK 94) directed at women.
in my estimation its always interesting how KORN and a lot of the NU METAL bands borrowed sonic aspects from bands like FAITH NO MORE but none of their sense of INCLUSIVITY. instead it all became a channel for something truly INSIDIOUS and on some level deeply solipsistically NARCISSISTIC. as if their suffering was UNIQUE and ISOLATED them from the human experience instead of the other way around. one could argue DAVIS suffering made him more human and like those around him, even those that felt the need to hurt him and others like him. life is a cycle of PAIN.
photo manipulation by nacrowe
i know its hard to believe now, but there was a brief moment when the JARED LETO-led ALTERNATIVE ROCK band 30 SECONDS TO MARS didnt suck.
in my opinion that moment was pretty much their first album. produced by the legendary BOB EZRIN (PINK FLOYD, LOU REED, PETER GABRIEL, KISS), their debut largely kept in check frontman LETO's UNFORTUNATE tic to over-sing and reach for ever higher notes when the song doesnt require it (as would happen on later releases). the songs are structurally AMBITIOUS and slightly PROGGY but with a UNIQUE sense of melody and MEMORABLE, CATCHY hooks. lyrically this album has none of the OVERWROUGHT and CLUNKY "message" songs of later releases. here it is all centered around a SPACE TRAVEL theme, which i am total sucker for.
sonically and stylistically their debut was like CLASSIC SPACE ROCK (HAWKWIND, PINK FLOYD) mixed with FAILURE and A PERFECT CIRCLE. it had both SCOPE and DEPTH, as well as AMBITION that it delivered in spades. for me it was a total breath of fresh air. in the years since this band has been nothing but an embarrassment. they come off as INAUTHENTIC HOLLYWOOD phonies play-acting what they think a ROCK band should be, and their new music seemingly comes from central casting, ever more BLAND and TEDIOUS with each new release. its like THE POLICE, but not in a good way.
they really need to call EZRIN again. errr, maybe like four or five albums ago.
ive been a TRICKY fan since i first discovered MASSIVE ATTACK my senior year of high school. as ive written before, that was a CRAZY year since it started out with me living and attending school in KUWAIT where my family was stationed at the time. 9/11 happened and i was quickly shipped off to live with a relative in a WHITE BREAD suburb of SACRAMENTO. my solace at the time was books and the now DEFUNCT chain of EXCELLENT local record stores called DIMPLE RECORDS. over that year i discovered everything from SKINNY PUPPY and BAUHAUS to APHEX TWIN and PORTISHEAD. it was a pretty MISERABLE year all told as i felt understandably quite ISOLATED from friends and family, but in terms of discovering music, authors and films, it was arguably the most PRODUCTIVE period of my life.
i was lucky enough to see TOOL play at ARCO ARENA that year with ADRIAN "TRICKY" THAWS opening (with MARTINA TOPLEY-BIRD in tow!) in support of his recent BLOWBACK (ANTI-, 2001) album. during this period TRICKY even cameo'd in the ELABORATE and deeply ALLEGORICAL TOOL music video for for the title-track "LATERALUS" off the recent LATERALUS (VOLCANO, 2001) album. i remember the crowd was DISINTERESTED and multiple people in my section openly feeling comfortable in public yelling out the N-WORD at him. my low opinion of SACRAMENTO and its inhabitants really hasnt shifted since. my hope is to never return there for anything, ever.
my first TRICKY album was the ICONIC MAXINQUAYE (4TH & B'WAY, 1995), which i bought at the LEGENDARY TOWER RECORDS in SAN FRANCISCO on my last day in CALIFORNIA after high school graduation before flying home to NEW JERSEY to meet up with my family. by that point i was familiar with TRIP HOP acts like MASSIVE ATTACK, PORTISHEAD, THIEVERY CORPORATION, DJ SHADOW and SNEAKER PIMPS, but with TRICKY there was a real PALPABLE sense of synesthesia between the HAZY atmospherics and his deeply personal songwriting. whats more, he had this ANGELIC female singer named MARTINA TOPLEY-BIRD (whose solo material over the years is well worth checking out on its own merit) sing what presumably are his parts written in his voice. to have a woman speak from the first-person perspective was initially deeply JARRING but really gets at the UNIVERSALITY of TRICKY's perspective as a narrator in his own sonic universe. it also gets at the work of famed psychologist CARL JUNG and his description of the ANIMUS / ANIMA phenomena at the heart of the human psyche. in essence we all have parts of our psyche rooted in the other sex: ANIMUS is the unconscious MASCULINE SIDE of a woman and ANIMA is the unconscious FEMININE SIDE of a man. such is so deeply ingrained that it transcends our conscious psyche. on some level TRICKY is playing with this idea and it works BRILLIANTLY as TOPLEY-BIRD feels like an alternate aspect of his personality commenting on a fleeting EMOTION from an ETHEREAL distant plane a la a GREEK CHORUS. i found the whole thing completely INTOXICATING and very much shifted my expectations of what GREAT music could sound like and the need to push limitations.
TRICKY is one of my favorite artists and i am always looking forward to his latest work, irregardless of whether it hits me as hard as MAXINQUAYE did that first time. the dude is on his own trip and he's exploring realms of sonic artistry that i feel only a few others have ever truly thought to explore: people like KARLHEINZ STOCKHAUSEN, KATE BUSH, JIMI HENDRIX, LOU REED, BJORK, SCOTT WALKER, CHELSEA WOLFE, PHILIP GLASS or even FRANK ZAPPA. people that bend music to their will and not the other way around.
embedded below is a DEER GOD RADIO episode on nonprofit internet radio station MAKERPARKRADIO.NYC that originally aired in early 2021. the playlist includes music from throughout TRICKY's SINGULAR catalogue. enjoy!
i feel like i can still smell that dank aroma of weed coming from countless neighboring dormitory rooms in both college and high school (i went to a boarding school) with EXODUS (ISLAND, 1977) by the BOB MARLEY & THE WAILERS blaring from somewhere in the mix. on that account alone i should probably detest this record but it is a testament to its songwriting and production that i cant help but be intoxicated by its charms as this is arguably the DEFINITIVE album that cemented the REPUTATION and LEGACY of MARLEY as a FIRST-RATE musician and EMERGING GLOBAL ICON.
EXODUS was recorded in the UNITED KINGDOM in the year following the assassination attempt on MARLEY's life in JAMAICA, so its themes are very much centered around personal as well as RELIGIOUS and POLITICAL LIBERATION. in the RASTAFARIAN religion there is much consternation focused on JAMAICA's past as a former colonial possession of the great modern day BABYLON in ENGLAND. as a the mixed son of a BRITISH plantation overseer, who later gained worldwide acclaim and attention in BRITAIN, MARLEY is very much the physical embodiment of this cultural tension between the two island nations. so when you listen to a song like "EXODUS," it works on a multitude of levels, not least of which is a commentary on the previous year's national elections in JAMAICA. "JAMMING" in spite of its being entirely coopted as mindless background music by AMERICAN retail and local beach supply shops and restaurants worldwide, the song is very much about the PERSONAL LIBERATION found in community and living a RIGHTEOUS LIFESTYLE. the idea that your ability to psychically separate yourself from your oppressor is not only a POLITICAL and CULTURAL DISSOCIATION but also a MENTAL one as well. on a deeper level it is a vital necessity that one must LIBERATE their mind from the worldview of those that persecute them, which is much more INSIDIOUS and DIFFICULT to achieve. "JAMMING" seems to be very much about that establishment of a new culture and sense of SOCIAL COHESION and STABILITY around an EMERGING COMMUNITY. more explicitly this same sentiment is seen on the "ONE LOVE / PEOPLE GET READY" medley, although despite its UBIQUITY in recent decades, i consider it one of the weaker tracks on the album.
my favorite track bar none from EXODUS is "WAITING IN VAIN," which is reportedly about his extra-marital affair with CANADIAN-JAMAICAN model and former miss world CINDY BREAKSPEARE, whom he fathered DAMIAN MARLEY with before passing at age 36 from cancer. the song is very much about the BITTERSWEET and TORMENTED feeling of romantic limbo when LOVE is hinted at but not explicitly reciprocated. with its LILTING melody and GENTLE upbeat momentum it is very difficult to listen to that song on a sonic level and not be swept up with that UPLIFTING yet paradoxically FOREBODING emotion, even before hearing any lyrics. in my opinion it is quite the achievement and really showcases MARLEY's power as a songwriter as it is the perfect encapsulation of the potential for LIBERATION through interpersonal CONNECTION, LOVE and one's SEXUALITY.
if you are unfamiliar with MARLEY, EXODUS is no doubt a very good place to start. like much of his post-LEE "SCRATCH" PERRY catalogue, MARLEY at his peak created a HYBRID sound that kept the VIBE and POLITICS of his earlier ROOTS REGGAE material while also incorporating the clean production and TRADITIONAL song structures that made his music accessible to the sensibilities of a BRITISH and later AMERICAN and WORLDWIDE public. the GRACE he walked that line with is arguably why he is still such an ICON in world culture on the ELEVATED plane of ELVIS PRESLEY, JOHN LENNON or MICHAEL JACKSON. required listening in my opinion.
THE STONE ROSES: MADE OF STONE (WARP FILMS, 2013) documentary is a INTRIGUING cultural artifact of sorts as it presents an insider's view of the LEGENDARY MANCHESTER ALTERNATIVE ROCK band's reunion in the early 2010s after nearly 15 years apart. in the history of BRITISH music, THE STONE ROSES were a bit of a TRANSITIONAL band between INDIE scene of the 1980s and what would become BRITPOP, especially as it relates to fellow MANCUNIANS in OASIS. LIAM GALLAGHER's brief cameo backstage at the first reunion finds him adamantly attesting that THE STONE ROSES are the greatest MANCHESTER band ever (which is saying something given that THE SMITHS, BUZZCOCKS, JOY DIVISION / NEW ORDER and THE FALL are from the northern city as well). their initial fall is the stuff of ROCK AND ROLL cliche, given that fighting their label and then management inevitably manifested in them turning on each other as well during the recording of their second album. for a brief SHINING moment in the early 1990s, especially their CELEBRATED gig at SPIKE ISLAND, the band was on top of the BRITISH music world and critical darling abroad in AMERICA. they basically set the table for OASIS, no question about it.
for me the most interesting part of this documentary is not the capstone 2012 performance footage of the band at HEATON PARK in MANCHESTER (mirroring their SPIKE ISLAND gig), but rather the more INTIMATE coverage of their initial rehearsals at remote home in WARRINGTON. it was during this rehearsal footage that you very much got a sense of the MUSICAL CONNECTION between the four players with all the unspoken nods, looks and grins that come with long embedded musical cues that manifest themselves physically and psychically with past compositions played to perfection in the present. the ENERGY is palpable. its that special ALCHEMY that only GIFTED musicians with a strong musical bond and chemistry bring to the table, which for the listener is nothing less than pure MAGIC. case in point is their rehearsal performance of "WATERFALLS." watching it you could feel their MUTUAL EXCITEMENT and ELATION.
i like to view that core SPARK as the central feature of this documentary. seeing how it ebbs and flows when outsiders and hangers-on and even technical difficulties come into the picture, such as their disastrous warm-up gig in AMSTERDAM when the drummer departed the gig pre-encore. this mirrored his similarly SPONTANEOUS departure from the band more than a decade before, spurring their demise as a band and creative entity. such would ultimately be the case a few years later when the band split again. i feel that just like JANE'S ADDICTION, these long stretches of indefinite hiatuses only make the inevitable reunion that much more POTENT and SPECIAL. my hope is that they do so with some shows stateside next go around.
they are definitely a SEMINAL band well worth checking out. IAN BROWN is a CHARISMATIC, ICONIC frontman and a BRITISH original. here's hoping they figure it all out again.
i'll admit i was late to MAC MILLER. i was aware of him by reputation via various online music publication, but the little i saw of him, including those early music videos, left me with the UNDERWHELMED impression that i was witnessing the second coming of white frat rapper ASHER ROTH, whom i absolutely DETESTED. interestingly it wasnt until i was teaching high school abroad in VENEZUELA that some of my clued-in HIP HOP-minded seniors urged me to give his new material a second look, this being around the WATCHING MOVIES WITH THE SOUND OFF (ROSTRUM, 2013) era. what i witnessed was something more CONFESSIONAL, INTROSPECTIVE and AUTHENTIC then the BRASH, ENERGETIC, DERIVATIVE and JUVENILE early material i associated with him. that was when my opinion shifted on MAC MILLER. plus i learned shortly thereafter that my cousin's studio in BROOKLYN was utilized for sessions for the follow-up GO:OD AM (WARNER BROS, 2015) album. just want to make biases apparent upfront.
all that being said, PAUL CANTOR in his restrained and sobering biography MOST DOPE: THE EXTRAORDINARY LIFE OF MAC MILLER (ABRAMS, 2022) about the doomed PITTSBURGH rapper, who was only 26 when he passed on from a drug overdose in LOS ANGELES after years of SELF ABUSE, a portrait emerges about an exuberant talent with a pure love of music finding his way to COMMERCIAL SUCCESS and hard-won ARTISTIC CREDIBILITY in a notoriously SAVAGE and often CANNIBALISTIC entertainment industry largely alone. and its that last part that is difficult to not emphasize further, as MAC MILLER gained success with no cosigns and negligible community support (or even help from onetime label-mate and fellow PITTSBURGHER WIZ KHALIFA). his journey was one that was largely SELF-PROPELLED and SELF-NAVIGATED. it was a journey of continual ARTISTIC EVOLUTION in spite of major setbacks like naysaying critical gatekeepers at prominent online music blogs, the CULTURAL APPROPRIATION claims / baggage / guilt / privilege that comes with being a caucasian rapper and a spiraling ADDICTION that insulated him from both the public, his inner circle and even his family.
when you think of cultural figures like AMY WINEHOUSE, HEATH LEDGER, JIMI HENDRIX, PHILIP SEYMOUR HOFFMAN or PRINCE among countless others that passed on from a acute drug usage there is a sense that beyond the TRAGEDY of their demise is the idea that their PUBLIC PERSONA and CHARISMATIC APPEAL functioned to effectively insulate them from outsiders rendering help. when so much outside capital investment and livelihoods are riding on the ability of an artist or actor to perform it creates a unique dynamic and incentive structure that is not always beneficial to the creative individual at the center of it. when my cousin and i had our recording studio, i remember having long discussions about what type of behavior we would or would not tolerate by our clientele. this after one rapper was particularly abusive after an extended bender. my argument was that if the dude dies on our premises, that such is that something we want on our conscious, irrespective of a recording studio being technically part of the service and hospitality industry. even hotels will boot out unruly patrons. the next morning after that heated discussion news came out that MAC MILLER had passed. an artist my cousin actually engineered sessions with.
the story of MAC MILLER is one of a CHARISMATIC, highly EMPATHETIC musician making it big despite all the odds based on his WORK ETHIC, WARM DEMEANOR, MARKETABILITY and artistic INSTINCTS to INNOVATE and EVOLVE. it is also the story of a person that became more ISOLATED as he gained more clout to the point that nobody could call him out. which was to his own detriment. this is some TRAGIC HERO level shit. if i was still teaching SOPHOCLES' ATIGONE, CHINUA ACHEBE's THINGS FALL APART, SHAKESPEARE's MACBETH or HAMLET or even F SCOTT FITZGERALD's THE GREAT GATSBY to secondary school students the figure of MAC MILLER would be a prescient modern example of such noble figure with a TRAGIC CHARACTER FLAW.
he was only 26. years later it is still SAD.
MOST DOPE is a WELL-CONSTRUCTED, exhaustively RESEARCHED book that details INTIMATE aspects of MAC MILLER's life narrative without reading as EXPLOITATIVE or SENSATIONALISTIC, which is ever more astounding given its publication only a few short years following the untimely demise of the CELEBRATED lyricist.
check out HERE this recent streaming video episode of DEER GOD RADIO celebrating the ALTERNATIVE ROCK band WEEZER!
past episodes of DEER GOD RADIO are available here at the DEER GOD website as well as in the MAKERPARKRADIO.NYC archives.
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