Thursday, May 11, 2006

Guns & Butter and the crappy 1000th issue of Rolling Stone

If you've visited lately and wondered where the hell I've been, I've been writing reviews:

"Kat's Korner: Pink's not dead or silent"
"Kat's Korner: Need deeper? Check out Josh Ritter's The Animal Years."
"Kat's Korner: Richie Havens: The Economical Collection"
"Kat's Korner: Neil Young's Living With War -- key word 'Living'"

I've got at least three more coming (next one on Saturday). This includes the one of the Free Design. That was a sixties group, by the way. What are the other two? One is Pearl Jam, I'll say that much. The other one? I actually have two in mind. I'll wait and see which one I can finish.

Let me do KPFA's Guns and Butter because that's the main reason I'm blogging tonight. Wednesday, Bonnie Faulkner played portions of the documentary Loose Change.

First off Yarrow Mahko does the show with Bonnie. And I don't think I've ever mentioned him.
He and Bonnie produce the show. Because it's fundraising time, there was more talking to listeners and when Yarrow's name was brought up, I thought, "I don't think I've ever even noted him here." Bonnie's the host and has a great radio voice so I'm usually just talking about what's on the show and mentioning her.

On the show with Bonnie was a woman who called out the 911 commissioners during their mock "hearings." I believe that she, Bonnie and Yarrow are working on the film Blowing the Whistle on the 911 Commissioners. When the woman called the commission what it was, all these guards come over and tell her that if she does that again, they'll have to kick her out and her reply is something like, "You mean I get to do it again?"

So let me add in Rolling Stone because C.I. asked me if I wanted to grab it? We both hate it.
It is the "Special Collector's Edition" 1000th issue. Let me start by noting that those of us who subscribe probably don't appreciate the huge address label on the cover. It's slightly larger than a pack of cigarettes. Since the whole point of the cover is 3-D artwork, I don't know who they thought they were helping with that huge address label?

Now let's talk about inside. And I'm basing this on a very long conversation C.I. and I had so consider this both of our thoughts. It's an embarrassing issue.

Start with the cover where they make Bart Simpson as prominent as Kurt Cobain -- what the hell? The 3-D doesn't really work, you have to keep looking at it from different angles to make out faces, otherwise you can see part of it but the rest is blurry. But one thing you may note is all the males. Males, males, males, males and more males. Why? Well that's what they're emphasizing.

That and photos. It's hard to tell there was any writing in the magazine, ever. The "politics" article leaves out so much. You'd think, one example, they'd want to trumpet the fact that Carl Bernstein wrote an article for Rolling Stone about the CIA paying off the press? But you'd be wrong. Surely, the attention getting story they had on Patty Hearst, a two-part attention getting exclusive that really helped the magazine stand out, is discussed? Nope.

4 page story on "politics." 4 pages on the "early years" (that tells you nothing). Jann S. Wenner (publisher) writes a one page note. And then the crap begins. For 14 pages (not counting ads), you go from 1971 to 1976. And? Well first off, Rolling Stone started in 1967. So you've lost out on four years right there.

Second? Not one woman is noted. You see the back of Linda McCartney's head in one photo and that's it. Finally, page 15 a woman is the focus, Linda Ronstadt. Apparently because Jann Wenner's pissed at Carly Simon?

Carly was the cover. The one they needed, as Harriet (who goes unmentioned as do most of the people who were in charge during any of Jann's forays into politics or movies) and others pointed out, to sell the issue. Carly's nowhere. They have a large photo of James Taylor (who didn't sell in his last years as a cover subject) and a write up on him. Who cares?

Seriously. The prick won't speak of Carly and doesn't like it when she speaks of him. They were together, they were married, they wrote together ("Words Of Love," etc.), they recorded together (having hits with the duets "Mockingbird" and "Devoted To You" but they also did background vocals on album after album), they have two kids together, they toured together. He can't talk about his career and not mention Carly if he's being honest.

But he can't be honest. Which is why he whines about the damage of an interview (painting him as a drug addict and more for the next ten years -- as though his own actions didn't paint him as that because he was a drug addict for more than the next ten years). But he gets to talk. Page 16 (skipping ads) contains women . . . in the photo. It's Fleetwood Mac. So there's a photo with Stevie Nicks and Christine McVie. But do you hear from either of them?

No. You hear from Lindsey who no one needs to hear from. I'll never forget the article where he was promoting Go Insane and they let him shave years of his already made public age. Rolling Stone really pushed the nonsense of Lindsey was the "talent" and in "charge." If he was in charge, they'd never have had hits. What did he write? Two? ("Go Your Own Way" and the hideous "Big Love." -- oh almost forgot the marching nonsense that was "Tusk.") Christine wrote "Don't Stop," "Say You Love Me," "You Make Loving Fun," "Think About Me," "Hold Me," "Little Lies," "Everywhere" and more. Stevie? "Rhiannon," "Landslide," "Dreams" (the only number one hit the group ever had), "Sara," "Silver Springs," "Gypsy" . . .

But by all means, bore us all with the guy who ripped off the Mamas and the Papas anytime he penned one of his bad songs. You have to wait until Page 20 when Patti Smith becomes the next woman pictured (only the second one that they write a little jot about and, unlike the boys, she has to share a page with the great rock star Muhammed Ali). Page 22 is the next woman, Bette Midler because Bette's friends with Jann. There's no other reason for her to be representing 1979 -- The Rose was a bad film. Page 24 has a photo of Dolly Parton that's slightly larger than a postage stamp. Main photo and story goes to that great rock star Rodney Dangerfield. It's total crap.

You get Bob Marley in 1976 as the first musician of color and then have to wait until 1984 for the next (Prince and Tina Turner). As though they didn't cover Stevie Wonder? Do we need Robin Williams? Do we need Ahnuld?

It's not about music, it's not even about culture in the lowest sense because Michael Douglas, et al, were never about culture (high or low), they were cover subjects because they were friends of Jann's. One full page in the supposed music, supposed cultural magazine represents 2002. Want to know what the photos are of and the text about? The Simpsons. Who graced the cover in 1990 when they were still fresh. For 2002, that's about as "trendy" as a Yes, Dear cover today.

It's such crap. It's all male, it's all white. That's a criticism that's often made of the magazine. But it can be made more so when they choose to omit the things they actually did cover beyond the White Penis.

It's also strange what they pick as sexy covers. Where, for instance, is the best selling cover of Mark McGrath of Sugar Ray? I wouldn't pay a buck for a Sugar Ray CD but Mark shirtless in low slung pants was sexy. And that issue sold. But they don't show it. They show very little beefcake. There's no Eminem with the sick of dynamite (and nothing else).

It's just really disappointing. I remember the 25th anniversary issue -- they actually did articles and interviews for that, not an embarrassing version of US Magazine. You could grab the magazine, sit down and read it. But this won't take you more than a half-hour to go through.
It's a waste of paper and an embarrassing way to celebrate 1000 issues. Makes you think that they should probably stop the magazine at the 1001st issue.

It's a piece of trash witha 3D cover. It doesn't honor the magazine, it doesn't recap the magazine.

And I'll go ahead and say it because I doubt anyone else will: Annie Leibovitz, if you're gay, come out of the damn closet. She's supposed to have been Susan Sontag's partner. This nonsense about the Linda Rondstadt photo session is nonsense if she's gay. It would be the perfect time for her, as she's talking about the sexy photos, to say, "By the way, I'm gay." Instead, she talks about it as "two girls playing dress-up." She's photographed women in various states of dress. If there's been passion for those photos, she should have talked about that. (Maybe she will in a Vanity Fair article when her Demi Moore nude cover comes up?)

Something's made her one of the finest photographers and it goes beyond little kids playing dress up. What informed her point of view?

Jann S. Wenner is gay and out of the closet now. The only way you can tell that is because there are very few beefcake photos noted in this issue. There have been plenty on the cover. Plenty of half-naked and naked men. But you don't know that to flip through the garbage issue. Someone will say, "There's David Cassidy and Justin Timberlake!" Yes, there is. And the scratch-in-sniff photo of Prince's armpit. Don't kid yourself that this was what they did. They did a lot of half-naked men, especially in the last few years.

So it's disappointing and that's putting it mildly.