I'm not going to be Bowie-specific, but maybe this'll satisfy? *shrug*Kerry King wrote: ↑Tue Aug 03, 2021 6:13 pmIt would be great if you and Mosespa could discuss Bowie's process of watering down vital American musical forms in his pursuit of fame and fashion sales. Or maybe a quick essay on the importance of costume changes when the music just isn't enough. Hell, I'd settle for a 25 word blurb describing the celebration of mediocrity that is Diamond Dogs, Aladdin Sane, or any other piece of commercial fluff from the MainMan era.
Two years ago, I began listening to "podcasts." I had previously thought of them as "pre-recorded programs," a thing which predates the intertube, but apparently a new name was needed; I missed the questionnaire, so had no input and now just have to roll with it.
I was recently afforded the opportunity to be a guest on a podcast I've come to adore over the last year or so; an album-review podcast in which (at my suggestion,) we took a look at The Verve Pipe's (note the name difference, please,) 1996 album "Villains." There were only two other people, another guest (a regular) and the host, so I kinda knew what I was in for: I was basically going to be defending the album while the other guest was taking the (hilariously) critical side and the host was ostensibly taking a middle ground, being completely unfamiliar with the album beforehand. I was going to get slaughtered and love every second of it.
So...The Verve Pipe (for those who don't know) are often derided as band-wagon jumpers on the Grunge or Post-Grunge scene, depending on who you talk to. They're known as a one-hit wonder, but they had a three-album streak that was probably about as good as anyone else's favorite Indie band that got a shot at the gold ring; with "Villains" being the one album that I feel is all killer, no filler.
That's just my take, yours will probably vary.
One thing that was mentioned a few times on the podcast was that there seemed to be a calculated grab going on, here. One could argue that they were specifically tailoring their sound to hit the mainstream, but I feel it would be just as fair to say that they had "progressed" from the previous album. One could argue that the production is overly commercial and radio-friendly, but one could also argue that they got a bigger budget and hired a better producer (Jerry Harrison of Talking Heads, for anyone keeping score at home,) who understood the studio and the equipment, etc.
We're they just ripping everyone off or were they just going with the times?
Kiss were one of my first favorite bands (I was six,) and if there's ever been anything more commercialized than Kiss, I'm unaware of it. Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley freely admit that "Hotter Than Hell" was an attempt at re-writing "All Right Now" and "Deuce" is taken straight from "Bitch" by The Rolling Stones.
Here, we have someone watering down what's already been watered down.
And I'm okay with it, I suppose. I write songs and stuff, I rip people off all the time. What's that old saying about how "good" artists innovate, but "great" artists steal? "We're ALL fuckin' thieves..."--Ozzy Osbourne
The argument could be made that the "watering down" is just a "progression" of the form. After all, 12-Bar Blues is 12-Bar Blues and the only reason to play it in the first place is because you think you have something to bring to the table. Without the watering down, the original form can only stagnate; and I don't think anyone finds that desirable.
I've often half-joked that Rock Music is at its greatest when it's white people stealing from black people; because when that happens, you get The Doors and The Yardbirds and Zeppelin but when white people rip off white people, you get...Warrant. Nickleback.
So, I'm okay with "watering down vital American musical forms" in the pursuit of fame and fortune because that's really kind of the name of the game everyone's playing, anyway, isn't it? I don't care how "pure" anyone says they are, the ONLY reason anyone becomes a performer is because they want all eyes on them. It's the nature of the beast and the very second you take a penny for it, you're selling out.
Want to be a completely pure artist? Go live in isolation and perform only for the local wildlife and die in obscurity.
Because that's Purity for ya!
Bitch about Bowie ripping off Soul music all you want. Without him, we might not know who Luther Vandross is.