The 24-year-old CMJ (College Media Journal) has long been a harbinger of hip. Its weekly magazine, in fact, tracks college radioplay, which, through the years, has been trumpeting indie music long before it’s co-opted by the mainstream (see U2, Nirvana, White Stripes and so on).
The music (and film) marathon — which happens Wednesday, Oct. 13, through Saturday, Oct. 16, in New York City — offers hundreds of shows at 50-plus venues. CMJ also hosts more than 50 panels on “critical issues facing today’s volatile music business.”
And like other major music festivals (South by Southwest, etc.) the CMJ marathon (“one of the world’s largest and longest-running music events,” as stated in the official press release) offers sound justification for the fluky ones to get fed and sloshed on expense tabs, while others — those who actually buy the music — must save their nickels for pizza and pricey libations.
And, should you attend, you’ll no doubt overhear some annoyingly cheery publicist jawing on about how Hope of the States are the Great White Hope of rock ’n’ roll, or some flunky label weasel making outlandish assertions that link the Rolling Blackouts to the Rolling Stones. But fear not, ’cause you’ll have hours o’ fun taking the piss on urinal-quality bands and Music Biz Pros, of which there will be plenty. That is half the joy, yes?
Of course, not all will be crap. It is NYC, after all, and the pizza won’t let you down. Also, you’ll be able to choose between the wrinkly worthy (Sonic Youth, John Cale, Mike Watt, Flesh For Lulu) and the smooth-skinned creditable (the aforementioned Rolling Blackouts, Dolorean, Wrens, Ted Leo and the Pharmacists).
And from these parts there’s a slew of oil-marked Detroit-area bands officially confirmed to appear, including (and this list is not final) a revamped Slumber Party, Rescue, Waxwings, Blanche, Whirlwind Heat, Saturday Looks Good To Me, Sufjan Stevens, Sponge, Outrageous Cherry, Paybacks, and L’usine (Jeff McIlwain).
Detroit’s Small Stone records will be there too (hammered), showcasing, as it did last year, at CB’s Underground Lounge on Thursday, Oct. 14. The behemothly toned Detroit label boasts a stellar, bonghit-addled lineup that sees Valis, Five Horse Johnson, Dixie Witch, Puny Human, Sasquatch, Red Giant, Lord Sterling, and Throttlerod, all on one goddamned stage.
Also of note, award-winning writer and political satirist Al Franken will deliver the keynote speech on Thursday, Oct. 14. Franken, we are told, will discuss a variety of topics including politics, music, radio and activism. Good on it. We here at Hit Singles recommend Franken just on the strength of two righteous tomes he authored: Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right and Rush Limbaugh Is A Big Fat Idiot.
For updates and information on attending the 2004 CMJ Music Marathon go to cmj.com/marathon.
Eggshirt and feces
To offset the U.K. Top Ten hit singles, the men of Electric 6 have done their fair share of suffering too. You’ll remember half of the band walking out in an ugly split, then when the band got the boot from their label, XL Recordings. Well, get this: Earlier this summer at U.K.’s Donington Download Festival, the disco-rock revisionists were welcomed on the stage with a hail of raw eggs. That’s right, raw eggs. What gives? Angry mobs, you ask? Nah …. seems E6 was unfortunate enough to follow a performance by none other than “Jackass” and “Wild Boyz” guy, Steve-O — that stunt man-cum-crazy-self-aggrandizing-motherfucker (G.G. Allin’s got something on him, maybe).
What happened was this: Steve-O distributed hundreds of eggs to audience members with instructions to “throw them at the next band.” The audience, of course, readily obliged. What else would they do? Shit, that’s Steve-O, Jack. And what a gooey mess it was. E6 did nonetheless play on like soldiers, though they couldn’t have been pleased with their chicken fetus facials.
In a recent interview, Steve-O told Hit Singles that “It really wasn’t a personal thing at all … it was meant to be funny.” OK. But once the goo was wiped up, one peeved E6er (whom Steve-O could only describe as “tall with brown hair”) heaved a beer in Steve-O’s general direction. As luck would have it, the lager missed Steve-O and landed instead on his fetching date. That’s when shit got ugly. Upon hearing about the golden beer shower, fellow Wild Boy Chris Pontius apparently donned his war paint — a red, white and blue wrestling singlet — and challenged the Murder City to a fracas. No dice. When the D-towners refused to come out of their trailer, Pontius reportedly punched out a window and then, for some reason lost on us, proceeded to trash his own digs.
E6 wouldn’t talk to us about the matter, but in an interview on gigwise.com, lead singer Dick Valentine said this: “They had no idea who we were, they had no agenda with us … so in retrospect it was a really funny thing to do, but at the time we kinda took it badly … I’ve become more appreciative of Steve-O’s work since then. We were just kinda pissed off that the 5-year-old daughter of one of our roadies got hit in the face, but she’s fine. You should have seen what they did to their own dressing room though. I guess they pissed and defecated all over it, so that could have been a good story too.”
In response to the pacifist nature of the Motor City revivalists, Steve-O said, “I am just glad that Pennywise didn’t follow us … if they had, it would have been us hiding in the trailer.”Send quips, rants and bitch-slaps to firstname.lastname@example.org