Yeah it's over a week late... snowbanks, frozen water pipes, swollen horse legs, and then I got sick. So here ya go. I'll make it worth your time.
Notice anything this year? LIVE PERFORMANCES. I'm pretty sure everybody was singing live, because it wasn't always perfect, and you can hear them taking breaths. I suspect many are making it obvious that they're breathing so we know it's for real. Can we all just agree to appreciate live music? I don't want taped perfection. What I think is really interesting is that many performers aren't even pretending anymore that they're singing to a track. We all know it. We know Lorde is singing to a track with stacks of background vocals. I'm cool with that. As long as the lead vocal is there I'm happy.
This year it has become very clear that I really am totally disconnected from the world of popular music. I will be over here with my CD collection while those youngsters are doing their pole-twerking or whatever it is they do with music now. My Grammy experience this year seems to be my lack of awareness + confusion + interesting hat and boot choices.
CRAWLING OUT FROM UNDER MY ROCK:
Clueless - Never heard of 'em
Aware - I know they exist
Vague - I might have heard their music but didn't know it was them
Somewhat - I know who they are and have heard a couple of tunes
Default - I have to know who they are because they are inescapable
Big Fan - I might have actually spent some money in supporting these artists
For example: I am aware of the existence of these two robot fellas. Do I know any of their songs? I don't know, maybe I do. VAGUE.
But I do know I like their sparkly boots.
This is EXACTLY what a day in our recording studio looks like!
Actually, I took great delight in their fake studio set for this performance. Jethro started his career in a well known studio that looks a lot like this, right down to the wooden panelling and flat stone faced walls.
And more BOOTS!!!!
I like you, Kacey Musgraves. I might elevate her from Somewhat status. I thoroughly enjoyed this. Great song, loved the set, and she's adorable.
Here's Jesus Leto with his fellow musicians, to which I'm indifferent. Technically he's at Somewhat level, but only because his band opened for Audioslave years ago. Other than that, big ol' blank. But he cracks me up with those boots. He's been wearing them since last fall, in almost every picture I find on the web nets. And yes, I've been looking. Hey, it's been a rough winter and I need bad excuses to hang around indoors.
Completely unrelated but had to include this: the music teacher award! How freaking great is that? Yes, we absolutely should be giving grammy awards to a music teachers who deserves it! Everybody's gotta start somewhere.
And here's a picture that pleases me greatly: Edie Brickell and Steve Martin. (Were they on the telecast? Did I miss that??) She was a hero of mine when I was about 18. I could relate to her whole thing. It was like she just got me. I wasn't aware of too many things, either, but I knew what I knew... if y'know what I mean. (Do ya???) (Did I???) I think around 1989 I probably looked a lot like she did at the time. And Steve Martin! How can anybody not dig this guy?
Also, BOOTS. I think I know what I'm wearing to the Juno awards this year, thank you Edie.
And now that I think about it, "I'm not aware of too many things, I know what I know if you know what I mean" could have been the title of this post.
But, on the subject of People Whom I Felt Really Got Me, Man, When I Was Young, let's have a look at Cyndi Lauper!
When I was 13 I looooooved her and to this day I feel all happy inside when she resurfaces. Her accent continues to crack me up.
Okay so I'm wearing THIS to the Junos.
Maybe Jethro and I should go as Miranda and Blake. Hey, I'm Somewhat Familiar with them! Aren't they lovely?
We all love a happily married couple, don't we?
Jay Z is another artist of whose existence I am aware but I don't know his stuff, so he's somewhere between Aware and Vague. Is he good at what he does? I have no idea. It just sounds to me like he's talking real fast. All I know is that I only like the looks of him when he's with her. On his own I find him to be unfriendly looking but with her HE SMILES and then he's lovely.
Which makes perfect sense. He should be smiling. Dude, you're married to Beyonce. I just think it's interesting that his face changes so much when he's beside her.
Maybe it's a hip hop thing. Do all those guys have to look menacing? I don't know hip hop. We'll discuss that later.
Beyonce is definitely Familiar, mostly because a person would have to be a serious hermit, living in off the grid in a shack with no road access and no print media to not know who she is. HOwever, I hadn't heard anything off her new surprise album until this show. And I didn't hear much of it because most of the chorus was bleeped. Apparently she reeeeeeeeally loves her man. So much so that we're not allowed to hear the details on television. That's okay. I don't need to know what the Knowles-Carters do at home.
I have successfully convinced myself that a woman can have a figure like this by doing barn chores and housework and dog walks. I'm working hard at this routine. Okay not real hard.
Do you think Beyonce ever thinks, "Aw screw it man, I'm not feeling the fishnets and figure skating uniform. I'm going on stage in yoga pants and a hoodie tonight. It's well established that I am AWESOME so I can wear my slacker outfit just this once. It's got rhinestones on it, it'll be okay. "
DID SOMEBODY SAY RHINESTONES????
I love this picture. She's so sassy and yet fierce. Like, don't mess with Taylor Swift, guys, she's got rhinestones AND big hair AND attitude.
She can play piano and headbang at the same time. So why didn't Metallica get her to play "One" with them instead of Lang Lang?
Yep, this actually happened.
Or maybe both. Metallica with Lang Lang and Taylor Swift. Ha! I'm not even getting paid to come up with this stuff.
Her whole thing is kind of predictable. You know she's going to look perfect. She's naturally beautiful and knows how to play it up. And she's going to be sparkly. She'll be completely utterly breathlessly shocked if she wins. And my awareness level is Familiar because she's pretty much reached Beyonce levels of ubiquity.
I almost wish she'd show up looking like crap somewhere, anywhere, just so I'd feel like the world makes sense for us imperfect slobs. Maybe she can borrow Beyonce's slacker outfit.
I don't understand her music. But that's just me. Her thing is not my thing. Can't relate.
But apparently she's become buds with this girl, whom I love. I can see myself getting into Big Fan territory.
I do love a rule breaker.
Jethro wasn't digging the twitchy singer thing. I suspect he's not recovered yet from the Alanis Morrissette overdose we all got twenty years ago. But I think Lorde is avoiding that sexy-girl thing that most teenage pop singers overwork. She doesn't have to be sexy. She's 17 and super talented. She can do whatever she wants, that's what I say.
What is it about this angle that makes me think of Robert Plant around 1973? Is it the attitude? That'll serve her well in the future. I saw a picture of her with David Bowie and Tilda Swinton and I realized that they are all three from the same planet.
She's talented and she's a songwriter and I hope she keeps her head on straight. Yeah she's wearing a lot of black, but geez, what was I wearing when I was 17? Yeah. As a middle aged lady though, I'd love to be able to advise her to stand up straight when accepting her awards. Her back will thank her later. Also, tight satin is not forgiving at all, even when you're young. Just go up a size. And as much as I think her thick hair looks great, don't let the stylists convinced you to straighten it all the time.
Otherwise, she can go on being her own strange unique little self.
And then there's Katy Perry.
Her red carpet dress is obvious like a smack in the head. But this is her thing. She's really into themes. She goes full on with stuff. She's cute and perky, she works her butt off, and I think it works because it's her.
She's not only Familiar, she's sneaky - I have found myself humming her tunes accidentally.
She's not only Familiar, she's sneaky - I have found myself humming her tunes accidentally.
Then this happened. I mean, if you're going to dress up as a pole dancing witch, OF COURSE your pole is actually a broomstick.
And if that wasn't obvious enough, she appears to have gone up in flames at the end?
And now, Bruno Mars! Because:
C) Finger guns.
D) Bolo tie! Nice one, cowboy!
Now it has come to the part of my post where I tell you how cool Dave Grohl is. Dave has been a full on Rock Star for over twenty years and he still bursts with excitement over being in close proximity to a Rock Star. I am a Big Fan. And so is he.
"Dude! This is PAUL MCCARTNEY!"
I'm sure most guys would get excited about hanging with Sir Paul.
I personally think, despite the Sound City song which won them this Grammy being pretty cool, that the Black Sabbath song should have won this category. I'm just saying. But this acceptance speech was lovely. Good job fellas.
But can we take a minute to talk about RINGO?
He's kind of timeless now. He's really hip, maybe because he doesn't have to carry around that heavy weight of sainthood.
If you ask me - and I hope I don't regret saying this - I think both of their performances went on a little long. They were great, just long.
Here's Ringo with Joe Walsh, the only quarter of the Eagles that doesn't make me want to clench my teeth and groan.
Is Ringo wearing sneakers? It's okay, they're formal sneakers.
Ringo is highly under-appreciated, as far as I'm concerned. First of all, anybody who's ever disrespected the man's talent has never actually bothered listening to his work, and as it was said, (I think by Tony Iommi?) the Beatles weren't the Beatles until Ringo came along. Plus, a little thing called Octopus' Garden. My kids loved that. Also, Thomas the Tank Engine! Enough said!
And now speaking of legendary rock stars, Black Sabbath! Big Fan! They dressed up Ozzy and set him loose. Of course his speech was incoherent, incomprehensible, undecipherable! Geez, this is like asking Seth MacFarlane to host the Oscars - what did you expect??????
Now I would like to suggest a foolproof way to ensure that Ozzy can be understood, and I know this because I've seen him live twice.
Just have him sing everything.
He'll be in tune and every word will be clear as the cloudless sky. Although be prepared to be coerced into clapping your hands wildly over your head, screaming and possibly getting hosed. It happens.
But the ol feller cleans up pretty good. Mind you, you can dress him up but you still can't take him anywhere.
Love the jacket, the cross is nice, and his hair is shiny. I guess he needed to balance out all the niceties with some classic Ozzy misbehaviour.
I love this. Geezer and Tony are like, "Yep. Yeah. That's right. Yep." Geezer was sniggering onstage when Ozzy apparently forgot how teleprompters work.
And can I say, Tony is looking great for a guy who's still doing radiation treatments every two weeks! Yay Tony Iommi! (For the record, I miss Bill Ward, but it's good to see these guys. Rockers shouldn't retire if they still got it going on.)
I can see Dave Grohl rocking until he's ancient. Let's love Dave Grohl for a minute.
In my imagination, this is what Jethro and I look like when we shut down the studio for a weekend and leave the farm. The long hair, the black suit, the beard, the pink dress. I have a vivid imagination.
Here's Dave with two of his long time musician-friends, Krist Novoselic and Pat Smear.
Pat, with the weird name and fantastic grin. Krist, with the Novoselic-ness. And a great hat.
We're going to get to the serious hat stuff very soon.
The hat stuff made an appearance at this major stage event that I am still processing. A wedding. Like, a mass wedding. I can't decide if this is really awesome and memorable or a giant gimmick. Was this for real? Is it all legal? Went kind of quickly, not? Does any couple feel special in the middle of a mass wedding? The message is great, by way of a song by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, that love is love. I'm all for that. Years ago I didn't get that. How could I, when I thought that I didn't personally know any gay people? Well it turns out I do. My attitude has changed immensely. So why am I still cringing at this? Is it Madonna? Has she now trained me that any appearance by her raises my gimmick alarm? Is that what this has come to? Well in any case, yes I shed a tear, geez I'm not cold hearted!
But screw it - Macklemore is wearing a bolo tie. As if I didn't already love him enough after the Thrift store thing.
Also, this lady. Beautiful. I'm pretty clueless about her.
I'm thinking that ain't right.
Latifah looked pretty damn great too.
But now it's time for...
THE HAT INTERVENTION.
Madonna. Madge. Listen to me.
YOU'RE DOING IT WRONG.
Let's not even get into the use of a kid as a prop. Let's not even get into the cane. Hey, I've had enough sprained ankles in my life to understand that sometimes you need to rock a cane. And let's not say this is an Amish look, all you silly red carpet commentators. There's nothing Amish about this other than the black, geez, have you not even SEEN a real Amish person?
But the hat. NO.
A hat should not be stuck to the back of your head. That defeats the purpose of the hat. It can blow off or fall off or at the very least, look goofy. You are a lot of things, Madonna, but you should never be goofy.
(I take this very personally... when I was 13 I was a Big Fan. I thought she was so cool I wanted to BE her. And I wear a lot of hats. After all this time, I still want the best for her. And the hats.)
Theoretically, this should delight me: Madonna in white, like a virgin, snort snort see what I did there, and a cowboy hat. But this is terrible. You know what would have changed everything for me?
LADY, STICK THAT DAMN HAT ON YOUR FOREHEAD.
PUT YOUR HAND ON THE CREASE AT THE TOP, PUT THE HAT BAND ON YOUR FOREHEAD AND THEN EASE THE HAT ONTO YOUR HEAD.
You look like a greenhorn.
MADONNA SHOULD NEVER LOOK LIKE A GREENHORN.
Remember when she was in her equestrian phase? Sweet baby gherkins, I felt embarrassed for her. It was all just so embarrassing. I was embarrassed. I can hardly look at this.
Also, her face. I have always thought she's beautiful. She's looking kind of fake now. This makes me sad. A face like hers could take some aging and still be interesting and beautiful. I mean, she's Madonna, for crying out loud, she should look aging in the face and glare it down and OWN IT.
She was never a brilliant singer, but she got the job done. We weren't there for the singing though; we wanted the whole package, the attitude, the look, the defiance and challenge. But keep in mind, she came up in this industry in the era of analog tape. She still had to sing. When the engineers were editing with razor blades and scotch tape, the pressure was on to be at least adequate.
At least she sang live. You know it was live. Putting her beside Mary Lambert might have been unfair. Tough comparison. But she sang live. Now all she has to do is wear her hat right.
Pharrell wore his hat the right way but it's a ridiculous hat!
This is hilarious.
"What the heck with these robot guys?"
"This little human is wearing a silly hat."
On the red carpet, Ed Robertson from Barenaked Ladies jokingly told him he looks styled after a Canadian Mountie (big brown hat? Red jacket? Anybody???) and Pharrell clearly had no clue what he was talking about.
Ed Robertson also asked Neil Young about whom he might be starstruck by, and he replied that it's really more important to him that his wife gets to dress up and look beautiful. It's all about the women. AWWWW! SMART MAN!
Macklemore and Ryan Lewis dressed up in unique suits that delighted me.
Apparently, not everybody was delighted. There was some controversy around their win for best hip hop album. You know what? I can't weigh in on this. I don't know crap about hip hop. Seriously, there is no appeal to me in a genre of music that is centred around violence and drugs and guns and misogyny and all the glamour of big money. I can't relate. Not all hip hop is like that, and sometimes a piece of work comes along that rises up and is interesting. And I don't care who makes it and what colour they are. I think these guys are interesting and their songs are great!
But also, that thing about me living under a rock. I am clueless about Kendrick Lamar and apparently he's THE BIG DEAL. He performed with Imagine Dragons, of whom I'm aware, mostly because I have a kid in college who tells me stuff, and also because that song ended up TV as intense scene music on at least one show I get around to watching. (There's no such thing as selling out anymore. It's called MAKING A LIVING.)
I thought the performance with Imagine Dragons was cool, despite all the bleeping - seriously there were huge chunks of blankness - and I thought the whole cannons and pyro thing was great. What's a show without cannons and pyro?
But let's not forget - what's a show without Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, and Kris Kristofferson!!
You know what we didn't need though? Steven Tyler's facial hair.
You know how I adore him, and you know I usually like some scruff, but for some reason, not on him. He should leave it to the Highwaymen. They do it better.
Anyways, there was a bunch of other stuff too but it would take you almost as long to read about it as to just watch it. Throughout the whole show we were promised a performance by members of Foo Fighters, with Queens of the Stone Age and Nine Inch Nails plus Lindsey Buckingham. Well I was really looking forward to that. But the DVR walked off the job before that. Turns out if doesn't much matter since most of it got cut off anyways. Alright, I'm looking at you, robots, for going on and on and on in your acceptance speeches!!! I'm kidding. They didn't say a word. Just blew kisses with their robot gloves and shook their shoulders in silent laughter when Pharrell said cute things. It's a long ass show and by cutting off the last performance, those in charge over there have disappointed me and infuriated Trent Reznor. Bad idea, Grammy people. Baaaaad idea.
But whatever, the music industry is going through some serious painful metamorphosis, and I have no prediction what it will turn into.
I have ideas though. We can start with the following agreements for the awards show.
1) Let Dave Grohl perform with his choice of collaborators, whichever instrument he wants to play.
2) Don't cut him off! LET DAVE PLAY!
3) Ozzy sings instead of speaks.
4) LL Cool J does a great job hosting, for sure, but I suggest next year, Pink hosts the show, while singing, while spinning overhead like an acrobat.
5) Everybody sings live, even if they totally suck. And we collectively agree that even if the singing isn't great, we applaud them for giving it a crack and having some guts to do it.
6) Get out the underboob shirt tape, stick it to the front of the hatband, and have a professional wrangle the hat onto Madge's head. (I charge $40/ hour.)
See ya next year, Music's Biggest Night!