Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Me and The Dude

When it comes to music, Jeff Lebowski (the smaller one) and I are of a mind: we both love Creedence and HATE the f&!#ing Eagles.

Amd both are on the musical scene right now in 2007. Who'd-a thunk it? The Eagles recently released their first studio album of new material in 28 years, with the typically overwrought title Long Road Out of Eden. And Creedence Clearwater Revival's guiding light John Fogerty is back with the appropriately named Revival.

Fogerty's album is top-notch unadorned country rock, thoroughly in the CCR spirit. Swampy Bayou Country-era guitars and the familiar twang of Fogerty's nasal drawl make the whole thing seem like a lost 1968 classic. But clearly, he hasn't been hibernating for the last 40 years. The album is full of observations of life in America right now in the new millennium. And hearing a man who had distanced himself from his legacy for years sing, "You can't go wrong if you play a little bit of that Creedence song," is a joy.

And then there's the Eagles. I don't have much to say about their new album; if you can't guess my opinion of it from the opening of this blog entry, well, I'm incapable of being any clearer, so you'll just have to live your life in the dark.

But I would like to address something pertaining to it. In conjunction with the album's release, the band sat down for an interview with "60 Minutes" a couple of weeks back, and in it Don Henley said something that infuriated me (there's a surprise). I quote:

"It came out better than I thought….I think a great many of the songs on it will stand up with the best work we’ve ever done. We never wanted to just make an album for the sake of making an album. So it took 28 years. So what?…that’s my answer to that. I’d much rather make what I consider to be a really good album every 28 years, than to make a mediocre album every year."

Now, I can't really get too upset by any of that. Being angry over Don Henley's pretentiousness is a bit like getting mad when a pig goes oink: what else did you expect?

And Lord knows Henley has more money than God and in his position I probably wouldn't have worked at all. I suppose he should be commended for his work ethic given his situation.

He may consider it a good album. Fine. He's wrong. But fine.

There's an old saying that I'm partial to: Creativity likes to find you working. It's amazing how inspiration manages to elude the lazy (like me) for so long, yet can find it's way to the diligent.

Let me give an example: Some people consider the Beatles to be pretty good. Not half bad, really. One or two pretty fair songs.

The Beatles existence as a recording entity began when they first entered Abbey Road Studios on 6 Jun 1962. Their last day in the studio recording as a unit was 20 Aug 1969. As individuals, they contributed to tracks into the earliest days of 1970.

The entirety of the Beatles canon, the most revered collection of songs in the history of popular recorded music spanned seven and one-half years. Think about that. These days, you're lucky to get two mediocre U2 albums in that time. Or one quarter of a lousy Eagles album.

I don't really expect everyone to match the Beatles' output in terms of either volume or quality, but good grief man, your job is being in a rock band. Shouldn't you WANT to go to work? Isn't that the idea?

Don Henley holding up his lazy, sorry slothfulness as a badge of honor is reprehensible.

The Dude would not abide it.

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