Sunday, March 11, 2007

Did Phish record Snoop Dogg’s Gin and Juice?

No. This is one of the funniest mistakes I’ve seen on the net in a long time. I was talking to a friend of mine about a year and a half ago, and he told me his favorite song by Phish (that rascally hippie band) was the cover they did of Snoop’s Gin and Juice. I was unaware at the time that Phish covered the song. I went and looked it up.

I found that the version of the song he was referring to was NOT done by Phish at all. In fact to the best of my knowledge the band has never played the song. This version was recorded by out-of-this-world Texas band The Gourds. I love The Gourds and was greatly offended that Phish would be given credit for one of their songs. The explanation I’ve heard is that a rapper named Phish recorded this song either with Snoop or after Snoop. This maybe the case, but I wouldn’t really put my money on this being the mistake that got many Phish lovers confused. My guess is that P2P file sharing ending up with a “somewhat” inebriated Phish fan believing with all his heart that that awesome song had to be done by Phish, who else could sound like that? So the file spread. Don’t believe everything you read especially if the guy writing is leaning over a water bong while typing.

How can I find new and interesting music?

I get this question all the time from friends, “How do you find new music?” They’ll usually ask after I’ve shared a new band I’m listening to. With the state of radio the way it is, and it is awful, I think music lovers must go to greater lengths to find music worth listening to. If you don’t really care what’s on the radio while you’re driving home, or if you don’t have an mp3 player or listen to music only causally, you may not care. For many though, we love to listen to music and care a great deal about finding new music. MTV and the radio tend to be atrocious, and satellite radio isn’t much better. I can’t say this is the best way to find new music, but it’s the way I do it. I know many of your will throw up a resounding DUH when you read this, but I hope some of you will find it helpful. Let’s talk places to find new music:

1. Television is a goldmine right now of moving music. After all those years of television coasting through programming and always getting stellar ratings for the top 3 networks, the time has finally come when even the big 3 have struggled to keep their viewers. Of course the buzzword of the 90s and was “fragmentation,” and boy did TV fragment. With 100s and 100s of channels now splitting audiences, television has to create more compelling dramas and comedies, draw in celebrities, and yes even offer music and theme songs that aren’t produced on a Casio keyboard. Do you remember the late 1980s? Think of a theme song from one of your favorite shows. Do you know the name of the group who sang that theme song? I would bet dollars to donuts that you don’t. I would guess the theme song you picked is either a keyboard jingle or a dramatic monologue like “I’m not the kind to kiss and tell but I’ve been seen with…” you get my point or cue the A-Team track. Now shows like Smallville, Gray’s Anatomy, The OC, Scrubs and many more are featuring music from real musicians and artists who are not otherwise showcased on the radio.

You can go out and buy the soundtrack for a television show you like, but I do not believe it’s going to get you the new music you want. I would recommend finding an episode guide on the web first. Find the episode that played that song you liked so much and then find the name of the band. Punch the name into Google and find the band’s website. You might also want to find the band’s myspace page. Some groups of people I know really love myspace. Other groups I know either hate it or have never ventured on to a myspace page. It is now used for more than just hooking-up.

2. Movies are offering a wider variety of new music these days than ever before. With many soundtracks like the wildly popular “Garden State” it is easy to see that directors care much more about music today than radio stations. Do the same as above, find the soundtrack on Amazon, and find the artist website, myspace, or record label.

3. The internet in all its vastness is crap if you can’t put some order to it. I mentioned myspace above. Most bands have a myspace page. I recommend going to a band who you like and finding out whom they are listening to. Myspace musicians usually have other musicians as friends, or they at very least list names of bands under their “music” section.
Another good way to pull down music from the web is to find indie or small record labels. There are large lists of these record labels on the web. Find one with categories, pick a category you like, and go find those unknown yet amazing bands. Most bands’ record companies will give you a few free downloads. Remember Nirvana? They burst through off the Subpop label. Maybe it’s a start for all those who love alternative rock and didn’t know.

4. Clubs, lastly, are my favorite way to harvest new bands from the net. Look up a club websites. Do you know any clubs in your area where you like to frequent? Are you reading this with one eye open because you just came back from there? We all know opening acts are tomorrow’s MTV floozies, so go to the site find an opening act and find that act’s webpage. Small clubs that play new music are a goldmine to me.
My point in all of this is to give some suggestions as to how I find new music. I’m sure it’s not the only way. Also I’m directing people here on how to find “free” music legally. Generally an artist or record company will have 2-4 downloads. Myspace usually will offer 2-4 songs. Download those free songs. If you like the band, go buy the album. Support them always.

What is happening to Scrubs? (Don’t Put Zach Braff in the Bathroom)

I am a big fan of the show. I believe I’ve seen every episode (thanks to my DVR), but this season (season 6). This last episode “My Fishbowl” sucked. This whole season has been a wash of stupid potty jokes and bad haircuts. The look of the show is even different. It’s funny because a few seasons ago there is an episode titled “My Life in Four Cameras.” JD fantasizes about what it would be like if they lived in a sitcom. His fantasy was like a Saved by the Bell episode. The show now looks like this spoof.

The characters haircuts are awful. This past episode we had to endure the cast standing in a room with Turk trying not to fart. This is a long way from the writing from previous seasons where characters were dealing with real issues like love marriage and even fate like in “My Butterfly.” The suicide issue in this episode was handled very poorly. The whole episode was about dealing with suicide, but when JD finds out his college girlfriends committed suicide it doesn’t have an impact on him. He goes on to ask the mother if her daughter had ever slept with Turk. This was uncaring and embarrassing, and as JD character goes: way off. I don’t know what they’ve done to or with their writers, but something is amiss with this show.

It was recently announced in the Hollywood Reporter that Zack Braff will be returning for season 7 for a staggering $350,000 per episode. To me, Braff has always walked a line between genius and cornball. His character on the show is this way, but the movie Garden State was very similar. It was funny and touching, but balancing on that line between believable heartfelt tragedy and stupidity. I liked the movie, and the soundtrack was phenomenal. The mom dying in a bathtub because the 11 year old son pushed her was almost too far over the cornball edge. You get my point. Braff isn’t Tom Cruise or Jerry Seinfeld. I don’t believe he’s defined his “genius” yet, and Scrubs, although good as a sitcom, will not be remembered as great. I think of it more like a The Drew Carry Show. Have we heard from Drew Carry as of late?

I know that Braff is making his break in film right now with several projects in the works, but I think if he strays from his fan base of all those artsy music lovers dying for an artsy film, he’ll have real trouble. The Last Kiss, Braff’s last endeavor, which opened at the box office in September made 15 million worldwide. The film’s budget was around 20 million. This isn’t a stellar showing for the star’s movie career.

With all the negativity of this article you would think I was a Braff hater. I’m not. I am a huge fan. I think his work on Scrubs is brilliant, his musical tastes are outstanding, and his directing could be genius, but that’s the problem. I’ve been going around for over a year telling people to watch Scrubs. Now that my friends are watching I’m embarrassed by this season’s lack of quality. I’m getting calls from friends asking me if I’m off my nut. I’ve even been ribbed for that awful musical episode they did. The toilet isn’t funny to 20/30 somethings. It gets a giggle, but it does not endure as classic comedy and therefore: “down the drain it goes” where it should be. If you put Braff in the bathroom you’ll kill his career. This is my opinion, but I think smart comedy is the only way to go for this artsy budding star. When he is series about his art he is at his best be it funny or sad or better yet both. He can be funny and sad in the same sentences, and that’s been the genius of the show and of the star.

For those of you thinking I don’t have since of humor like yours Super Troopers wasn’t horrible, Old School made me laugh, and The 40 Year Old Virgin is one of the funniest movies I’ve ever seen. Yes, I like well done comedies no matter what the subject, but don’t talk about farting for 23 minutes and expect me to laugh especially when you have a guy in the room that could be one of the “great” directors of my generation.