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A Little Dinner Music

"America wields an ungodly power," I rhapsodized aloud as Mrs. Curmudgeon and I filled out plates with ginger mussels and seaweed at the downtown China Buffet.

"You mean Iraq?" she questioned simply.

"Nope. I mean that our two-hundred and twenty-seven year old junkyard culture can totally corrupt an ageless one in what, fifty, sixty, seventy odd years."

"You're not in the moment again are you?

Perhaps I was going deeper than the moment, who knows. Isn't any escape plausible when you're a captive audience listening to a Chinese rapper bust a rhyme over the house system or Sinuki Sinowa Celine-ing over the sushi?

"No I'm not," I boasted. 'I may be way ahead of it."

The Japanese reality shows on IO (isn't that a large Jovian moon, and if so, why are they broadcasting on my signal?) was all the proof I needed that I was right again. That we had several Hindu music video channels was overkill. During one period of mindless surfing I saw previews of 'Latino Idol' and 'Real World Liberia'.

"I couldn't imagine the Incas doing this," I said.

"Doing what?"

"Spreading their idiot ideas to lands far and wide." I caught the tone of my own crypticality and laughed, but I couldn't control my PBS host-high-on-freon impersonation so I went with the flow.

"We export garbage all over the world like we ship toxic waste interstate."

She hadn't seen my brain work this way in months. "I love it when you talk curmudgeonly."

"Which leads me to think we should stop pointing our fingers at the record companies and begin holding the artiste responsible for file-sharing and illegal downloading."

"You're not sticking to any particular tangent are you?"

"In an odd way - Yeah! - I am. It's all about taking responsibility."

"What I'm saying is this: Is it Universal or Sony's fault if their artiste's deliver a pile of crapola that people only want to hear one or two songs off of? If JLO brings in an albums' worth of 'Wedding Bell Blues' remixes, what's a poor, career challenged music exec to do?"

'Twelve-year-olds don't download music because they're stealing something. They burn the songs that are cool. That piss their parents off. Didn't we make our own tapes way back when AD (analog domain)?"

'Stan Cronyn, WB's late 60's marketing whiz kid, may have had the right idea for now, then."

"Wait! Wait!" I think Sony's CEO is coming to join us."

"Kid if you must, but Cronyn developed the Warner Brothers Sampler. Warner would release albums with one track by Randy Newman, Joni, Ry Cooder, The Dead, Little Feat, etc, etc, hoping to build audience interest that way."

"Everyone of every age who's burning their own mix discs now are really creating twenty-first century samplers. Create it for 'em. It may not cut back on all the file sharing, but only lower prices and better product can nip that in the bud."

"You're saying they should release more compilations?"

"Yes, but of active artists. Not necessarily dead or un-employed ones."

"We're never going to hear a full disc worth of brilliant songs ever again," I continued. "With the possible exception of Ohio, Lucinda, Wilco, and Radiohead, those bold days are pretty much next to over."

"Give me one comp for instance."

I caught my breath, wrestled another idea from the ether and let fly. "Let's try a Nu Punk sampler. The Vines, White Stripes, Ravonettes, The Strokes, The Nits, The Gnats. . .Load it up with power chords and give the kids their money's worth."

"It's not any less a last ditch sales idea than a Madonna-Britney duet," I concluded.

"I'm sure they have lots of wall space to fling crap at," she enthused.

"With the way the industry's cutting back, I'm not so sure about wall space, but they've flung worse, that's for sure.


Posted on March 8, 2004
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The Rock n Roll
Curmudgeon

Since setting aside his rock 'n roll aspirations, Michael Jurkovic complains of far less migraines.

Armed with a Bachelors Degree in Advanced Air Guitar and Facial Distortions, MJ recovered from his less than National Honor Society collegiate experiments (1973-1976) for a life in rock 'n roll. Roadie, manager, lyricist, front man and producer, Mike saw the years of late nights taking a toll on his hair line and quietly backed away.

He served two years as VP of the then prestigious Westchester Songwriting Guild (1987-1989), delving into demos and the details of a once honorable music business. In 1993 he began producing and directing The Menus Of Chefman a cooking comedy TV show seen by legions on eighteen local access channels from Manhattan to Malibu. Of course, the Food Network got a hold of his demo and Emeril Live was suddenly a reality.

From 1995-1997, he served as president of the nationally recognized Hudson Valley Writers' Association and founded the Voices Of The Valley Poetry Performance Series, now on hiatus after a successful 6 year run in New Paltz and Kingston.

In 1997, Mike was invited by the publishers of Rhythm and News Magazine to "rant, rave and misbehave" and thus was born The Rock 'n Roll Curmudgeon. He now contributes interviews, CD and book reviews to SyndiMusic.com, British Independent Record Dealers, and Folk and Acoustic Music Exchange.

Mike's poetry has appeared in Hunger, AlphaBeat Soup, Poetry Motel, Chronogram, Poet's Gallery, Medicinal Purposes, & Outlet. His poetry has been featured online with Recursive Angel, Soul to Soul, & SpokenWar, and appears in the critically acclaimed, nationally distributed poetry anthology Will Work For Peace as well as the regionally distributed Dyed In The Wool, A Hudson Valley Anthology. He regularly performs his stand-up poetry throughout New York & New England.

He loves Emily most of all.


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