Monday, February 13, 2012

Fool Fighter

I'll make this quick and try to use language that's as unambiguous as possible, in deference to people like Dennis Romero of LA Weekly who are apparently easily confused and who misinterpret the meanings of really obvious sentiments if they happen to be expressed in too many sentences.

LA Weekly: Dave Grohl's Grammy Speech About Electronic Music Was Bullshit/2.13.12

No, Dave Grohl wasn't slamming electronic music during the Foo Fighters' acceptance speech last night at the Grammys. He wasn't even talking about electronic music when he said this:

"To me this award means a lot because it shows that the human element of music is what's important. Singing into a microphone and learning to play an instrument and learning to do your craft, that's the most important thing for people to do. It's not about being perfect, it's not about sounding absolutely correct, it's not about what goes on in a computer. It's about what goes on in here [your heart] and what goes on in here [your head]."

I can't even believe I have to say this, but see, the Foo Fighters had just won an award for Best Rock Album and Grohl had just mentioned how Wasting Light was special to him because they'd recorded it on linear audiotape and without a reliance on high-tech crutches like Pro Tools and Auto-Tune. He doesn't have a fucking problem with electronic musicians, DJs or artists; he was talking about how many of today's pop and rock musicians -- dozens of which you watched perform and win last night at the Grammys -- don't even need to learn to play or sing or do anything that was once required to be known as a musician anymore because there are now computer programs that can make them sound great whether they've got a shred of actual skill or not.

The fucking Foo Fighters not only played with Deadmau5 later in the Grammys broadcast, they had him remix one of their songs and then put the damn thing on the album that won them a fucking Grammy. They don't hate electronic music -- they hate crappy musicians who use technology to cover for their lack of talent and the technology that's rendered so much rock and pop completely sterile and dull.

So, yeah, to Dennis Romero of LA Weekly -- you're a fucking idiot.

I hope for your sake somebody eventually comes up with an Auto-Tune program for writers -- because that's the only thing I can think of that might help your hack ass.

On the plus side, thanks for proving that people who worship at the altar of electronic music and, apparently, only electronic music aren't the sharpest Pro Tools in the shed.


Matt Osborne said...

I live near Fame Recording Studios and have met Rick Hall. He'll be the first to tell you that talent matters, and that not letting talent matter is not good for music.

FabMax said...

Go have a look at the comment section of the article. I've rarely seen such a backlash.

Eric said...

I've only gotten three paragraphs in, and the guy doesn't grok the meaning of the word "irony": if, for the sake of an argument, the Foo Fighters really do represent a dying aesthetic of long-haired white guys with guitars, then their frontman criticizing electronic music would be exactly what one would expect.

It may seem trivial, but misusing that word is basically prima facie evidence of hackiness in my book.

I just have to add: the Foos gave one of the best stadium shows I've ever seen when they came by my hometown last November.

Eric said...

Okay, now I've read the whole thing, and based on the willful misconstruing of what Grohl said and the randomly-tossed-out accusation of homophobia and racism in his final paragraph, it's painfully obvious Romero was trolling. What a twerp.

Bob Lobaw said...

While Dave may not have a problem with electronic "music", I personally have a big problem with calling it music.

I saw Pretty Lights, their sonic effects on the body are undeniable, and combined with designer MDMA drugs the mind can expand. Not a problem.

My problem is these DJs just do not know how to mix their sound, period. Volume is not a bad thing, volume in a terrible mix is agony, and damaging to the point of permanent hearing loss.

The sound effects were collapsing my sinus cavity, shaking my body, (not so bad) but the shriek that assaulted my eardrums had me glad I remembered my earplugs, and it was painful with them deployed.

Now I appreciate some of the more esoteric artists, more trance less dance like Puscifer, Up Bustle and Out, but hacks who just turn it up to eleven with no regard to taste, comfort, or the hearing of their fans need to take a lesson on sound technology before the masses of adoring kids go deaf before they reach their thirties.

Dennis Romero said...


You contribute to Village Voice and you're calling me an idiot? You know who I work for, right?

Anyway, I think it's an idiotic argument to note that Foo Fighters performed with and were remixed by Deadmau5, neither of which was likely their choice. Labels chose remixers, smart guy. The Academy chooses performers smart guy.

If anything, Grohl's comments were also commentary on the Academy's choice of his stage-mates. Ya dig? Read between the lines, oh un-idiotic one.

That he chose this time, when EDM had its brightest prime time showing ever, to make his point again was no coincidence to me or other observers in the media (Google it).

Finally, I'm an idiot who's been writing about music for 20 years.

Chez said...

Well, hello, Dennis.

Actually, yes, I know exactly who you work for and since I don't contribute to the Voice anymore I think it hardly matters. Your column was comically ridiculous since it was obvious to anybody with two brain cells to rub together what Grohl was getting at. You're simply trying to justify the unjustifiable right now because the very legitimate public backlash against your fucking dumb diatribe -- the one you spent however long banging out based entirely on a faulty premise -- has you all in a tizzy.

And I don't give a damn how long you've been writing about music (or how many high-and-mighty "professional" music critics inexplicably saw it your way). You were wrong on this and you're either too stupid or too arrogant to admit it.

Thanks for commenting and have a nice day. : )

pea said...

Dennis. I'm someone who's been READING people who write about music for 40 years. I've even been in relationships with some of them. You, sir, are no Lester Bangs. You're not even Robert Christgau.

I've worked in several areas of the music industry, and the fact that you think a label holds sway over everything a band does indicates that you know little about the actual workings of the music business, and seem to only be writing from the perspective of a fan.

You appear to know just as much as you need to know, and little more. Your grasp of what came before you seems tenuous at best: "rock was dance music in the 1950s and remained so until white guys took over." Uhwhat? I seem to recall a lot of white groups in the 50s that people danced to. And...just because the people in the audience moving their bodies to the music doesn't fit your idea of what dancing is, I don't know what else you'd call it.

As for "living off the ghost of rock 'n' roll" - I'd say Rick Rubin resuscitating Johnny Cash and Neil Diamond fits that bill. The fact that you don't think Grohl is innovative says to me the only music you might understand is electronic dance music, and I personally wouldn't bank on that, either.

PS way to throw in racism and homophobia for no discernible reason.

PPS and what's with the throwdown to Chez? New Times --- sorry --- Village Voice Media is going to what? Fire him because he called you an idiot? Finally, someone with an ego bigger than Mike Ovitz.

Geek Girl Diva said...

Hey Dennis,

I'm not sure what's worse. That you:

a) totally misinterpreted Grohl's comment
b) that you didn't realize it was POSSIBLE that you misinterpreted his comment after the numerous people who comments to your post on the Weekly website
c) Came to comment here and, in an efforts to call someone out for calling you an idiot, looked even more petty and clueless.

You've been writing about music for 20 years. Okay. But your inability to see anything other than your opinion of a statement made by a rock musician and your obvious bias towards EDM pretty much insures that you likely haven't been open minded in some time.

Of course, the fact that your blog is called DJ Culture pretty much guarantee's a bias and so I'd say your post was more "opinion" than "reporting" -- and as such, Chez can opine back all he likes.

Oh and, for the record, the fact that you think the Foo Fighters lack innovation or dismiss their ability to create intricate and interesting music pretty much makes me think you have no clue about music.

That's my opinion above. Deal.

JohnF said...

I like that Dennis basically pulled the "don't you know who I AM?" line.
As if ANYBODY gives a rat's ass about him.

Chez said...

Also: Big fan of the "Google it" line. As if the fact that somebody actually agrees with you and therefore reinforces your dumb-ass opinion makes you anything more than desperate for acceptance and validation -- like the Orphans, that nobody gang in The Warriors that carried around their press clippings to prove anybody gave a shit about them.

pea said...

Perhaps Dennis moonlights as Dr. Hfuhruhurr.

Google it. ;-P

Zöph said...

just for the fun of it, i googled it (though i wasn't quite sure what exactly dennis' "it" referred to) and he wasn't even right about "other observers in the media" supporting the opinion that grohl supposedly hogged edm's spotlight. but that's probably because most people didn't read grohl's comments the way dennis did, so they couldn't possibly come to the same conclusion.

and as a rule of thumb for dennis: just because any number of people agree with you doesn't mean you're right.

Chez said...

Actually, wait a minute. You've been writing for 20 years. And you're a staffer at LA Weekly. Jesus, where the hell did you go wrong? I'm almost sorry I picked on you; your life's shitty enough.

Steven D Skelton said...

1. The Baseball Furies would kicked the Orphans ass any day and done it on roller skates.

2. I wish Grohl would have said exactly what this guy is accusing him of saying. I love rock music. I love the way my balls feel when I hit an open E through a double humbucker and out a warmed up tube amp with the gain at 3 o'clock, and the Foo Fighters is about all I have left.

It's not that there isn't value to electronica, or hip-hop, or emo, or punk pop etc.

But there is a fucking magic to rock music for which nobody should have to apologize.

btw: Commenter Eric is always the smartest guy in the room. I second what he said.

Eric said...

I'm reluctant to feed you, Dennis, but figured I'd point out, (1) appeals to authority are an argumentative fallacy, but (2) if you're going to insist upon it, you really should just go ahead and include the link in your comment, since "Google it" basically makes it look like you're bullshitting and hoping that nobody will actually bother (a pretty good bet to make, I'll concede, though you're still waiving your chance to be taken seriously by the adults in the room).

A really savvy and serious commenter learns how to use the "a href" tag.

Oh, and would you please look up the proper use of the word "irony"? Hell, um, just Google it, even.

Chez said...

The irony, of course, is that I really love electronic dance. Love the hell out of it. I spent a good portion of the 90s going to raves; I'm heavily into Deadmau5, Skrillex, Kaskade, Guetta, Armin Van Buuren, BT, Massive Attack, Underworld, everything on Jay Denes's Naked Music lable, etc. etc. and I didn't feel the least bit insulted by what Grohl said because I understood what the fuck Grohl was talking about.

Chez said...

And I'm with you, Skelton. Eric's the smartest guy in this room -- although that doesn't really take much. I always blow the bell curve downward.

Michael J. West said...

Honestly, I empathize with you, Dennis. I write about music too. Anyone who's paid to have an opinion, about music or anything else, is going to have some stupid and even objectively wrong ones sometimes. It's part of the job.

But I'd think someone who'd been doing it for 20 years -- and I've logged just a quarter of that -- would know that when it happens, the only solution is to own it. Defend yourself, sure, but acknowledge when your position is indefensible. (If the hundreds of indignant commenters didn't tell you that that's where you are now, a second look at your lame defense here should.) That's how a critic gains credibility (and regains it when it's lost).

And for Christ's sake, Dennis, if you dish it out, the least you can do is be prepared to take it.

pea said...

I'll bet he had to Google "Robert Christgau"

How ironic.

Milton said...

the funniest thing to me is the fact that Dennis simply vanished! no more comments, nothing... you would expect something more from someone so outraged.

Chez said...

He's got a lot on his plate right now what with everyone kicking the crap out of him for being the worthless hack he is.

LK3 said...

Dave Grohl in Rolling Stone - I know clarification was not needed here but in case Dennis is still reading:
When Rolling Stone spent some time with Grohl at various Grammy events over the weekend, he echoed those sentiments as he talked about the bare bones recording of Wasting Light, which was recorded in analog in a garage. "To me the biggest advantage of going analog is the restrictions that it implies, which gets you to perform in a way that you’re actually being a human being," Grohl said. "We thought about heart and performance. And I would rather people not tune their vocals, I would rather people not grid their drums."

Read more:

Chez said...

Thanks. You didn't need an indepth knowledge of Dave Grohl to know what he was talking about -- just a reasonably functional brain. But Dennis wouldn't have been able to see reality regardless because, judging by that column at least, he's an electronica snob -- which should be a huge contradiction in terms. And once again, this is coming from somebody who really does like electronic music and has for years.

Anonymous said...

I've also been a fan of electronic/dance music for 20+ years and am quite sick of all the haters out there. I can't believe it has taken this long for the music industry to finally notice. People complain about it not being real music, its lacks intelligence and poetry. They obviously have not heard Underworld's "Pearl's Girl" which has to be one of the best stream of consciousness songs ever written. Pure poetry.

Chez said...

Couldn't agree more. Pearl's Girl is one of my favorite songs just about ever. Loved it so much in fact that it was the first piece of music that got a specific mention in the storyline of the book I wrote.