Coffee Talk

Related Post Roulette

50 Responses

  1. greginak says:

    D Rock went mainstream, roughly, before you were born… kids.Report

    • Saul Degraw in reply to greginak says:

      There is mainstream and there is mainstream.

      Sonic Youth were never really a popular radio or MTV band. Same with Sleater-Kinney for the most part. There was a brief moment in the late 80s and early 90s when mainstream rock media began paying attention to Sonic Youth because Nirvana liked them but they were still largely placed in the night.

      I’m just largely bemused that the sources for indie rock today seem to be NPR stations, 501(c)(3) community radio stations, and former downtown avant-garde darlings like Kim Gordon can sell out events that the most middle-class and highish brow of institutions, the Jewish Community Center. And there was a time when Sonic Youth was considered really edgy and downtown and closer to a sub-culture art bohemian scene than anything else. I wonder if we are heading to an era where nothing is avant-garde or underground even stuff that is pretty arty or arty enough including movies like A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night.Report

      • LeeEsq in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        Very few people are able to carry the edgy feeling of punk rock into middle or old age. A lot of rock music does not age well and looks kind of ridiculous when performed by older people. Sonic Youth as a bad of twenty somethings made sense. Hearing them perform Teenage Riot when they are in their fifties does not. The same goes with Joan Jett. I saw a clip of her on youtube. She was a guest on one of the daytime talk shows like Today and performed a song. It just looked kind of pathetic, like a parent trying to prove she still has it to her teenage kids.

        It is possible to be cool in your middle ages and a senior citizen but it requires a subtler approach that the teenage and twenty something type cool.Report

      • James Hanley in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        I was asking a friend the other day, why is it so easy to be a cool old blues or jazz musician, or even country, but so hard to be a cool old rock musician?Report

      • greginak in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        In the 80’s the home of indie rock was college radio station. Alt rock always needed less high profit minded places to survive. Nirvana wasn’t really much of a indie band fwiw. They were on the first wave of bands big labels picked up from the college/alt scene to be made into The Next Big Thing.Report

      • Mike Schilling in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        When you don’t get around all that much anymore and have clearly outlived your youth, you look pretty damned stupid singing My Generation.Report

      • Jesse Ewiak in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        @saul-degraw I don’t think is that complicated. The 16 year olds who snuck out to see Sonic Youth at a divey bar in 1989 are now 40-ish year old’s who are part of the main audience for the Jewish Community Center.Report

      • Saul Degraw in reply to Saul Degraw says:


        Jazz went into an avant-garde and arty status pretty early but there are plenty of oldish or old Blues and Jazz musicians who make their living playing to largely white and largely middle-class audiences at places like SF Jazz. Blues was never super-popular as a music form like rock became. Jazz needed to be sweetened and watered down to become popular. Paul Whiteman and Glen Miller found ways to smooth it down and make it more palpable for mainstream audiences. People like Chet Baker and Sonny Rollins went from clubs to the concert hall or stayed in the clubs. They never went to places like Shea Stadium or Madison Square Garden for large shows.

        I recently read a book called Do Not Sell at Any Price which was about people who went on epic hunts for rare 78s. The rarest records tended to be by obscure blues musicians in the 1920s and 30s. The musicologist Elijah Wald thinks that the hunters changed how we perceive the music because they turned the obscure and unpopular into the desirable by searching out for records that were not really popular when released.

        The Blues and Jazz musicians have always had tough lives at low pay. Maybe also the Country Musician. Many rock musicians including people like Sonic Youth learned to develop some kind of bourgeois and upper-middle class life. Kim Gordon and Thurston Moore traded downtown NYC for the college town of Amherst, Mass.Report

      • Saul Degraw in reply to Saul Degraw says:


        Bemused was the wrong word but maybe not completely. I would think that some people would want to keep their edginess alive but maybe the cultural programmer thinks he or she is shaking up the old and stuffy from NPR and the Jewish Community Center.

        I find it amusing though.Report

      • dhex in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        michael gira’s made the transition to older very well, and he lives upstate.Report

  2. James Hanley says:

    Jews are cool, with it, and urban;

    David Lee Roth already covered that…if you think he’s cool.

    OK, Lenny Kravitz…well, if you think he’s Jewish.

    Umm, ok, you win.Report

  3. LeeEsq says:

    I am going to go with B. Doing an interview at a Jewish community center is just the biggest sign of bourgeoisie capture of the subversive arts.Report

  4. Slade the Leveller says:

    “(like her recent paintings of Lena Dunham’s tweets”

    Proof, yet again, that P.T. Barnum was dead right.Report

  5. Mike Schilling says:

    To simply call Kim Gordon a musician is like saying that Andy Warhol was just an artist.

    In other words, she’s not a musician, period?Report

  6. ScarletNumbers says:

    Jews are cool, with it, and urban

    Well they are urban, so you got that…Report

  7. ScarletNumbers says:

    Jews are cool, with it, and urban

    Well they are urban, so you got that…Report

  8. Vikram Bath says:

    Rock is rebellious in the exact same way that a Mercedes is exclusive.

    Here is Joan Jett on the View: