Sunday, December 15, 2002

Just Let The Rockers Rock

Today I've been thinking about presidents and presidential wannabes and how musically uncool they all are. And that's fine with me - I want them to be able to run the country and don't want them riffing on about how they love the Nuggets box set or how punk rock changed their life.

Al Gore announced today that he won't be running for president in 2004. I can't stand him mostly because I can't stand his wife. Today I blasted my way through the Beastie Boys first album, Licensed To Ill. I remember when it was at its height of popularity and Tipper was on TV sniffing about the Beastie Boys, who "rap about angel dust and shooting AIDS victims." (After all these years and many listens, I still haven't heard that second one. But I was a hero for a day when I changed their "all the fine ladies are making a fuss, but I can't pay attention 'cause I'm on that dust" to "all the fine ladies are having a fit, but I can't pay attention 'cause I'm drunk on Schmidt.")

I'm exaggerating just a little, but Licensed To Ill demonstrated that the American melting pot does wonders in the realm of music. Think about it - three Jewish kids collaborated with producer/metal maniac Rick Rubin and rapped their way through a hilarious 45-minute masterpiece. Beat and riffs were supplied most notably by Led Zeppelin, but also by War, the Jimmy Castor Bunch, and Creedence Clearwater Revival. And Tipper had a problem with the lyrical content? You can't trust anyone who doesn't smile when hearing "reached in the Miller cooler, grabbed the cool Bud." You can't trust anyone who is married to someone like that either.

Meanwhile, over at the Pulse of the Twin Cities, the always-entertaining Tom Hallett shares anecdotes about how the terminally unhip Kennedys attempted to be groovy at the White House. Hallett then goes on to come up with his own imaginary Bush White House mix album. But his best passage is this in-passing cheap shot at Eric Clapton: I can't for the life of me figure out why, when he works with cool musicians like Duane Allman, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and John Lee Hooker, they die, but when he works with dorks like N' Sync and Gloria Estefan, they live forever. That's some f**ked-up mojo for a dude they once called "God."

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