I pulled short straw and had to go pick up the take out tonight (take away for our UK readers). The radio was set to NPR, so I let it alone. The announcer introduced a new segment called “Listen to This,” that features famous musicians talking about important music that “must not be missed”.
Today’s episode was hosted by Maroon 5 ‘s singer Adam Levine with input from keyboardist Jesse Carmichael. What’s Levine’s not-to-be-missed-recent-CD-discovery?
“PURPLE RAIN” by Prince and the Revolution.
If you’re about to run to the stores or download sites, hold your horses. This was originally released in 1984, so it’s not new. But it was a discovery to Levine, who opens his comments with, “. . . when I heard this I was wondering why no one told me about this before. . .” He goes on to explain how he recently learned that Prince made a movie called Purple Rain, and that this CD was the accompanying sound track.
Ladies and Gentlemen of the Jury, this is where Mr. Haines LOOSES HIS $(%#-ing MIND!
No one “told” you about it?
No one “told” you about it?
Here is a band (Maroon 5), that has more than one Grammy, and a musical high mark such as “Purple Rain” is a new discovery to him? Dear Lord in Heaven what kind of world is this?
Why does this push my buttons? Because I frequently speak to bands that record at Treelady who cite their guitar/musical influences as: Munkey and Head from Korn, John Mayer, or one of the Jonas Brothers. So, I’ll ask them, “What about Jimi Hendrix?”
“OK. What about Van Halen, Townsend, Beck, Page, Young, May, Mould. . . ?”
“Who?” they’ll reply in all seriousness.
Gentle readers: I can’t make this stuff up.
Man, when I was a kid, if you played in a band, you started with ‘Rock around the Clock’ or ‘Heartbreak Hotel’ and worked your way to the present. You may not have owned every record, but you knew about major players. You moved to the Beatles, through the 50’s, and went decade by decade tracing the seminal records. Even if you didn’t like the artist, you knew about people like Led Zeppelin (of course if you missed out, just visit Pittsburgh. If Led Zeppelin isn’t playing on some station at any time of day, the world will end as we know it. . . but that’s another entry).
So its no surprise that many bands churn out bland, boring, derivative puke. They think they just invented the E-A-D chord progression! Mercy!
But just when I’m about to smash my radio with my fist, Mr. Levine dives into a criticism of Prince that is so articulate, insightful, and wise, that he more than redeems himself. He ends with a wallop of a statement, that brings a smile to my face. To paraphrase his conclusion (as I do not have a transcript), “Sometimes we meet people that are so special, we joke that they must be gods, angels, or aliens from another galaxy. But when its all said and done, if I die and learn Prince wasn’t from this planet, I wouldn’t be at all surprised. Because his work comes from the heart, and from a place that most humans never dream to reach.”
Well, my head will hit the pillow tonight knowing the members of Maroon 5 are making up for lost time. But what about the rest of the lemmings?
Tape Op is a bi-monthly magazine devoted to the art of record making.