Is it just me?



Paul Paul oyster99 at hotmail.com
Sun Jun 20 08:16:37 CDT 2004


Hello there again people
Thanks for your responses to my "ranting". It's great to see that my 
personality shines through in these message board thingies. Most of my 
friends consider me to be a cantankerous old git anyway, which is all fine 
with me. I'm still not exactly sure how to use this system so I'm posting 
your replies into one mail and adding my own comments at the end. Is that 
cool?

>So once again I ask, is it just me who feels this way?
>

ditto. although I thought "fire" and "old red wine" are good tracks.

Ranting Pavel:
Yeah, well the whole question of GOOD or BAD becomes a philosophical and 
comparitive, not to mention highly subjective issue at this point. True, I 
would never dare to presume to assert that what is right or good for me 
should be the same for everybody. That would be nothing short of aesthetic 
fascism, and even I wouldn't to that far, lol. The old one man's meat is 
another's poison argument, etc.
These two tracks (since you single them out) might very well be described 
fairly accurately as "pretty good rock music", and I wouldn't disagree with 
this viewpoint either. However, there is a quantitative and more 
importantly, an objective difference when we wish to use a descriptive 
phrase such as "good rock music by The Who". There are many great rock 
records which are truly wonderful but had they been made by The Who they 
would not have ever cut the proverbial mustard (God, I really miss real 
mustard - English mustard, that is). I absolutely adore bands like 
Raspberries, The Creation, The Beach Boys and The Velvet Underground, and 
all of these bands made great rock music, but I don't think any of these 
bands could have produced something that was on a par with great Who stylee 
rock music. These aforementioned tracks might fit into the first category, 
let's call it GRM,  but I cannot ever see them fitting into the second, 
GRMBTW. But hey, that's just my feeling, and in the end I guess it doesn't 
matter.

ummmm, so what's next.........

"Sorry, I really, love RGLB and ORW is a acceptable.
Denise"

Ranting Pavel:
Hello Denise, and please, you don't have to be sorry for saying what you 
think and feel. Life's too short to be bashful about one's opinions. I guess 
in the end it's all subjective. I can only see it how I see it. I have to 
ask you though Denise, does RGLB sound like The Who to you or Roger Daltrey 
singing a Townshend song (as in "After the fire"). Nothing wrong with that 
at all - PT's songs and Daltrey's voice, a perfect combination, but there is 
and was more to The Who than these two elements. It just sounds too polished 
to me.

"You know, you sound just like my husband. He said the same things. He 
doesn't
think the 2 songs are up to the Who's best efforts. He said for the Who, no
way, but for a Townshend CD it would work. He said we would be doing our
bathroom break during one of those songs, in joking. So, I think a lot of 
people
feel the same way you do......Sandy"

Ranting Pavel:
Cheers Sandy, and yes, exactly!

Sroundtable writes:

"You are definitely not the only one who feels this way, and not the only 
one
on this list.  However, I disagree with your opinion, regardless of how 
legit
it might be.  The new songs aren't in The Who's top 20, but I have to 
disagree
about them not being worthy of being Who songs.  I find myself singing RGLB
or having it in my head quite a bit.  There is a genuine, emotional quality 
to
it that makes it endearing.  ORW is not quite as strong atrack, IMHO, but it
rings true, as well- especially with the end jam. "

and Jim writes:
"What about Roger?  I still want to hear Roger sing Pete's new 
songs...............They still WOW crowds and fans of all ages and continue 
to garner rave reviews.  AND, it has been reported
that RGLB holds up really well as a live offering.  When was the last 
concert you attended? "

Ranting Pavel:
Yeah Jim, me too actually. I always prefer hearing Daltrey's interpretations 
of Pete's songs, always. But we're back to the same argument again - Is it 
The Who? If they want to form a new band around themselves, then sure, why 
the hell not, but just please don't call it The Who. How about calling it 
The Why?, which to my mind would be a far more appropriate moniker 
(snigger). I'm racking my brains trying to think of some parralels in the 
history of rock where bands have fractured and one or two of the original 
members have formed new bands (with new names), doing new stuff along with a 
few old faves. All I can think of at the moment is Johnny Thunders and The 
Heartbreakers, which contained I think 2 members of the New York Dolls. 
There was also that album Lou Reed made with John Cale back in the nineties, 
which they could have very cheekily called a Velvets record, but didn't. Oh 
shit, I'm thinking about the Beach Boys now - is it true that there's a 
version of this once great band touring with only Mike fucking Love as a 
founder? That's a truly scary thought, a Beach Boys with no Wilsons, or even 
a Jardine. At least Brian Wilson has the taste and good sense to make solo 
records and not try to live off his erstwhile group's name.

Thanks also to Mr Sroundtable for a very enjoyable and intelligent letter, 
but once again it's chacon a son gout, as the French say.
Last concert I attended? Watford Coliseum, January 2002, with Entwistle. 
Fucking wonderful show it was, in a theatre with 1,400 capacity. Very 
intimate! And THAT'S the way I want to remember them - an absolutely 
blinding gig, replete with performances of YMB, Summertime Blues and Don't 
Know Myself. I'm still pinching myself to this day that I managed to see the 
Greatest Band of All Time in a small theatre like this. Now, why the hell 
don't they release THIS gig as a live album instead of the ten million CDs 
they have released from the post-Ox period tours???? If anyone out there has 
a CD or DAT recording of this concert I would be more than interested.

Anna Mormack writes:
"I haven't heard the two new songs yet (don't feel
right about downloading songs from the internet; even
for a cheap price, it just smacks of piracy and
cheating the artists of money they worked hard for to
produce their art, and amn't interested in getting
'Then and Now'), so I can't comment on if I find them
good or not or up to earlier Who standards."

Ranting Pavel:
Dobry den, and thank you for making an interesting point Anna. Yes, 
downloading trackd from the net IS piracy and it IS theft. But.........and 
this is a BIG BUT........putting out yet another bloody hits package in 
order to make us buy the new songs or to put it another way, filling out a 
CD with 2 new songs with "filler" which everybody on this list already owns 
many times over is what I would describe as ripping off the fans. And I feel 
the same way about the new 2-CD versions of Tommy, WN and LAL. I mean, for 
heaven's sake, in 1995 they tell us that here are the definitive albume and 
then 5 years later they're at it again! How many more times do we all have 
to buy WN before we have in our hands the genuine article? Not that I have 
any complaints about the new bunus material, but why didn't they put it on 
the 1995 series the first time round? God, this really pisses me off. As far 
as I'm concerned Astley and co. still have not got it right and AQO and SO 
could have been so much better. I wrote a letter to Astley at the time 
asking him why he didn't think the single version of "Substitute" worth of 
inclusion on AQO. This track was not even on the "30 Years" box set, and I 
for one find this highly baffling and annoying. Baffling because it is 
(IMHO) the greatest 3'50" in the history of The Who and (maybe even in 
rock's history) and annoying because it means we have to buy some other 
stupid compilation CD (like "The Best of The Who") in order to have 
"Substitute" on CD. This is patently NOT RIGHT. "Substitute", "I'm a boy" 
and "Happy Jack" belong on AQO, and there is plenty of playing time free on 
the CD to allow their inclusion..............Oh, and don't even get me 
started on "Circles", which seems to have evaded the entire remaster/reissue 
program completely!!! But never mind, I mean, it's only "Circles" by The 
Who, nothing important really. "Barbra Ann" is obviously a far better track 
to represent the Ready, Steady, Who! EP. Who needs "Circles" when we can 
have Moonie singing falsetto?

Anna continues:
"Though I
disagree with you about the Kenney Jones-era material;
I happen to love IH, and while FD isn't a great album,
it's what I consider to be a solid 4-star effort, and
could have been a lot worse considering what the band
were going through in that era.  (I've written a lot
more about this on the Who albums reviews and
anniversaries section of my website.)"

RP:
Fair enough, and I too like FD, but it doesn't excite me, I merely find it 
pleasant.
I'd like to check out your website some time. Please send me a link or you 
are very welcome to write to me at my private e-mail address 
(oyster99 at hotmail.com).

Anna:
"I once was a huge fan of Frankie Valli and The
Four Seasons .........but now I just roll my eyes at how
the man is still going out on tours with more than
just three other ever-changing people, with only an
occasionaly presence by Bob Gaudio, the songwriter and
one of the original Seasons (and Four Lovers, their
earlier incarnation), yet still calling it The Four
Seasons.  How can he still claim that name when it's
only himself and way more than three people supporting
him? "

RP:
Exactly!

Anna:
"Where are you from in the Czech Republic, btw?  Part
of my ancestry comes from Slovakia, and I know a bit
of Czech, enough to read and speak a little and to
talk to my grandpap whose first language is Slovakian."

RP:
I live in a small town in Eastern Bohemia called Nachod, right on the border 
with Poland. This region of Chechia is really gorgeous, all mountains, 
hills, lakes and thick pine forests, not to mention fairy tale castles and 
some lovely architecture. Nachod recently celebrated it's 750th anniversary 
as a town, and boy were those fireworks in the main square cool! I will live 
here forever.
However, I have to confess, I'm not actually a Czech, but an Englishman 
living here and working as an English language teacher in various high 
schools and language schools. Yes, I'm a lousy Brit, and my real name is 
Paul Wallace, although I have recently started calling myself Pavel Valasek, 
which my Czech friends find very funny.......not as funny as their weather 
though, or their bland and tasteless food, come to that! I actually live in 
a country without Cheddar cheese, which for an Englishman is sheer torture!
The other thing that keeps me here is my band Parafina, which formed 
completely by accident last October and has been going from strength to 
strength ever since. We played a gig in Kudowa, Poland 2 nights ago and my 
head is still reeling from the reception we were given by the people of that 
town. We have been invited to play at a prestigious club in Krakow in a few 
weeks time too, so I'm as excited as anything. We made a four track EP back 
in January, which was okay for the time, but we're better now. If you or 
anyone else on this list is curious to hear Ranting Pavel's group and songs, 
then it's yours for a couple of quid plus postage.
As far as speaking Czech goes, oh my god, these people have the most 
difficult language on Earth to speak and understand. But I'm trying, I 
really am. Most shopkeepers and waitressesd laugh at me or give me puzzled 
looks when I try to speak to them in Czech. Jeez, it's not my fault they 
insist on having hacek accents over their "r"s, and I can't help it if I 
spit at people when I try to make this sound, but I'll show them all one 
day! Let's just say for now that rozumim Cesky, ale nemluvim. Mam sto Cesky 
slov - nic moc. Do prdele!

Keets writes:
"As usual, Whofans are full of complaints about the two tracks.  I've heard
some comments like yours, Paul.  Some others have complained specifically
about the production and at least one about digital recording instead of
analog.  Some have said the lyrics are weak and some think the lyrics are
fine and the music is weak.  At least one fan complained because the tracks
didn't include The Who's trademark synthesizers and prog rock effects.  The
moral of this story is that you can't please everybody, so you just have to
please yourself.  ;)"

RP:
Hmmm, this is interesting too and raises another philosophical point. Plato 
(or was it Socrates?) or some dead Greek dude had this idea that a thing was 
composed of certain key elements and had to have a certain amount of these 
elements in order for it to be, er, a thing. Let's call it a car, for the 
sake of simplicity. So we could have the following argument: A car is 
anything that consists of at least three of the following elements - a 
steering wheel, four wheels, a gearbox, chairs, a stereo, electric windows, 
a windscreen, a sunroof. The question is, which of these elements are the 
essential parts without which we would not really be said to have a car?
So what is The Who? is it Roger's voice and Pete's writing? Is it Pete's 
guitar and Rabbit's synthesiser noodlings? Is it the search for "the self" 
and songs about masturbation? Is it Moonie's drumming and The Ox's bass 
playing? See where I'm going with this?
I think I can just about forgive The Beatles for those two tracks they cut 
with Jeff Lynne in the nineties. At least they had they good sense and taste 
to base the recordings around an original John Lennon demo and build it up 
from there. However, neither of these tracks is anywhere near as good as 
anyuthing they cut between June 1962 and July 1969. So they were being a bit 
cheeky calling it The Beatles..........but not as cheeky as you know Who!

Okay, I have ranted enough for one day.
Laters y'all (and hezky den, Anna)
Paul





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