Two must-reads and a should-read. Here’s the should-read—-Ian Svenonius’ essay in Vice, “On the Misuse of Music.” The first point in his argument that music ought to be banned? Music kills:
And while musicians’ deaths are so commonplace that news of one invokes yawning, these other “normal” hard-partying people don’t just fall down dead every day. There is plenty of evidence to suggest that our chief executives party in a way that would make the notoriously degenerate Dee Dee Ramone blush like an amateur, yet the last president of the United States who died before he was 93 years old (except for Nixon, the exception to all rules) was John F. Kennedy, and he had help.
In fact, the average president’s globetrotting social calendar and Bohemian Club soirees makes the Grateful Dead’s exhausting 40-year tour itinerary seem quite quaint. And yes, Pigpen and Jerry Garcia lie a-mouldering in the grave while Clinton and Bush Sr. traipse through the world’s most exclusive brothels, beseeching their inhabitants, through PowerPoint presentations, to embrace “globalism.” And so I ask you: Who are the real lightweights?
Other high-profile partiers such as William Burroughs and Boris Yeltsin lived to respectable venerability, as opposed to Mama Cass or Skip Spence, proving conclusively that music is more dangerous to your health than alcohol or drugs.
Ted Leo has penned a musical, and it’ll debut in some form on his website on Monday. But on the way to announcing that, he explains in more than 3,000 words some of the difficulties and frustrations of making a living as a life-long punk rocker.
Finally, check out my colleague Jason Cherkis‘ excellent Washington Post magazine piece on Baltimore’s Ian Nagoski, a musician and former record-store owner, who has become in recent years a noted musical archivist and historian—-by unearthing forgotten songs by artists like Marika Papagika, a Greek immigrant who in the 1920s was one of the United States’ most widely recorded artists:
She’d made well over 225 records and had been successful enough to open up her own New York hotspot, called Marika’s. But there wasn’t much else [Bagoski] could find out. He could locate only two pictures of her. Her Wikipedia entry ran just three lines. He decided he had to rescue her from obscurity.
Papagika would just be the latest in a string of artists who’d been fuel for a Nagoski salvage operation, though none had seized him as thoroughly as she had. Over the years, he’d become a kind of flea-market scholar, excavating and celebrating vanished music and long-forgotten artists — from the earliest Afro-Cuban rumbas to the earliest Bollywood soundtracks — and had made a name for himself as an ethnomusicologist.
Papagika’s Wiki entry is now 14 lines long! Read these articles and then go outside.