Tuesday, January 30, 2007
Bastards! (At least it's not disco)
This is a scan of an album cover from my record collection. The album is King Crimson's USA , a live album that sounded a lot better when I first heard it on 8-track cassette- King Crimson is a great band but this just isn't a very good recording, even by 1975's standards. It sounds like it was recorded in a giant aquarium with the microphones placed underwater, singer/bassist John Wetton has a wonderful voice -but not on this album. He sounds like me at a 1985 keg party on this record-but it was 1975 , so it could have been worse.
It could have been disco.
1975 sure did have different standards- note that this is a DJ copy- it's hard to see on the pic but the two "suggested cuts for air play" chosen by Atlantic Records : 21st Century Schizoid Man and Easy Money , clock in at 7:32 and 6:32 respectively.
Man, I'm a DJ in real life and I get a chuckle out of that- a record label suggesting that we play a seven-minute song!- and what's funnier is that the second song contains the word "bastard" and has a three-minute avant-garde experimental instrumental improv jam toward the end.
Cool. Hard to listen to for some folks but at least it's not disco...
One of my shows is early Sunday mornings and I'm not sure if I'm even allowed to broadcast the word "bastard" in the morning .
Ever since Janet Jackson "shocked the world" by flashing a tittie on TV, it's been downhill at the FCC- that 'incident' , in my opinion, should have warranted maybe thirty seconds of airtime, maybe part of a 'bloopers' segment on the Leno show or something- certainly not a weeks-long media circus and a complete overhaul of inherently useless FCC regulations.
We, as an audience, have some fucked-up priorities.
It was just a flippin' tit and I never would have even known it happened if the media hadn't acted like a bunch of 7th graders about it. Football fans don't watch the half-time Superbowl show and they don't give a damn about the commercials. It wasn't until the next day that I even knew about the wardrobe malfunction - my response: " So what? And who is Justin Timberlake?"
In 1975 the Record Companies encouraged DJ's to play a song with "bastard" in it, in 2007 the FCC is vague but threatening when it comes to profanity- what's OK at night in some areas is not OK during the days in others...it's very arbitrary and ill-defined and by the time you find out what's unacceptable it's too late.
The obvious things like 'fuck' are no-no's but others are trickier- for instance , I am allowed to bitch about FCC regs in the evening hours but if I call my boss a bitch on the air, the FCC can slam my ass...I mean my butt. Unless it's after six ( five on the west coast) , in which case it's ass...I think.
It's nebulous, intimidating and confusing and you don't get a second chance.
You are presumed guilty and it's up to you to prove you aren't. This sort of brouhaha is great publicity for millionaire DJs like Howard Stern but it's a real pain-in-the-ass for us real-life radio DJ's.
(Can I say pain-in-the -ass?
I don't know- what time is it? If South Park is on , you can say 'pain-in-the -ass'...)
When in doubt, it's safest to play something else.
The word 'bastard' might inflict irreversible injury upon the innocent ears and souls of the Kleenex generation- so I won't play 'Easy Money', despite Atlantic Record's recommendation- from listening to the production on this album, I suspect that King Crimson and Atlantic were at contractual odds- artists have been known to sabotage their own works just to lash out at their corporate masters- ask Lou Reed or Captain Beefheart.
So much for playing 'Easy Money'.
Besides, it's six-and-a half minutes long...
I will play something with more appropriate content and length, such as 'Land' by Patti Smith.