Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Rockin' the Casbah?

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  • Craig Ranapia,

    Thanks for having me on last night Russell.

    You're really cute, Duncan. Deal with it. :)

    Don't you be dissing the staff at Unity -- they are lovely, lovely people and I won't hear a word against them. Especially that Toby chap.

    The time I brought a copy of Atlas Shrugged from Unity (it was a birthday present, OK?), the clerk's spasm of fear and disgust was barely perceptible. :)

    Real Groovy in Auckland had a similar reputation but even in the malls, the Sounds stores were always full of snotty nosed kids who would look me up and down as I bought the $10 Byrds remaster from the table outside.

    Indeed. If I may offer a plug of my own, Marbecks may have whored out to the evil corporate beast but I've always found the staff at both stores friendly, well-informed (and, more importantly, willing to make a effort to find out when they don't know something) and low-attitude.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Peter Darlington,

    Enjoyed seeing everyone in the music section of Media7 last night. I just wish Russ had time to ask each of them for their favourite interview story. Grant's had his Billy Joel moment and several others and I'm sure the other guys have as well.

    Nelson • Since Nov 2006 • 948 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    I'm compelled to mention George Harrison.

    George also (narrowly) wins the Solo Album-Off with All Things Must Pass. That's what happens when they only give you two songs an album for eight years! (Also, I don't know what the alpha dogs were thinking by ignoring some of those songs since the White Album sessions. 'All Things Must Pass' [the song] is heartbreakingly beautiful.)

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report Reply

  • mark taslov,

    That's using your power for good not evil. :)</quote

    Yeah he seemed to be the one to most enduringly have his finger on the pulse, some quality output. Also relevant, the success of the Travelling Wilburries speaks volumes as to his ability to forego the egocentrism and maintain a role in a collective.

    <quote>'All Things Must Pass' [the song] is heartbreakingly beautiful.)

    Thanks Danielle, gorgeous song to carry me to work. defintely more poignant and honest than the self conscious "when we were fab".

    Te Ika-a-Māui • Since Mar 2008 • 2281 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg,

    Marbecks may have whored out to the evil corporate beast but I've always found the staff at both stores friendly, well-informed

    Indeed, which is why they survived so long and the very reason folks still talk of the late Murray Marbeck with something that far exceeds simple respect. Roger, his son, is doing very good things over at Ode.

    George also (narrowly) wins the Solo Album-Off with All Things Must Pass. That's what happens when they only give you two songs an album for eight years!

    But it was the pent up frustration of all those years of not being able to contribute, and the need to compete with J&P that made All Things Must Pass what it was...that and Phil Spector.

    He never did it again. Once that frustration and need was spent, his solo years were pretty formless musically.

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3283 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    He never did it again.

    No... there was gardening to be getting on with, after all.

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg,

    No... there was gardening to be getting on with, after all.

    You forgot the 'I'm fabulously rich and I want to hang out with Formula 1 drivers and show off my new perm' period.

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3283 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg,

    In a strictly spiritual way of course....

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3283 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    A perm can be a very spiritual thing.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19688 posts Report Reply

  • Jeremy Eade,

    You know I’ve been thinking about this. I was a written about musician once and I spoke to a lot of the New Zealand journalists that have been mentioned here.

    The biggest problem by far was the news print guys internationally and local. The misquoting and use of bad or jumpy context, many times probably in attempt to spice the humor up or correct my sloppy verbal grammar bugged the shit out of me because sometimes they weren’t anything like your words or ideas but they were attributed to you in print . I want Truman Capote reporting in music.

    admittedly the New Zealand writers are in a weird position. I’ve had a few drinks with various ones over the years and they seem to get targeted by the industry reasonably hard. Music Companies lobby them, it’s still an industry, even though it’s in decline..


    I guess the real test of a music writer is actually picking winners rather than inflating expectations with flamboyance on patchy choices, that's just writing.

    auckland • Since Mar 2008 • 1112 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    I worked for several British music mags and alongside the really good people there were a lot of public schoolboys all frothing over this week's ordained cool record.

    That's the UK all over, I'm afraid. A month here has reminded me of why I don't live here.

    ...the New Zealand writers are in a weird position

    I'm sure the UK ones get into a few of those as well :-)

    But seriously, I think NZ music writing suffers a bit from the unwritten if-you-can't -say-something-nice-say-nothing rule.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    most people rarely play the second CD in a double CD set

    Record companies do often throw all the self-indulgence and songs that didn't really work onto those, though.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg,

    if-you-can't -say-something-nice-say-nothing rule.

    or the if-you-can't -say-something-nice-you-get-no-more-ads-from-record-company-rule. I remember when Murray Cammick was threatened by a major record company that he'd lose the bill-paying regular full back cover ad if he gave a certain major act's most recent album a shitty review.

    He ran it anyway, and another label took the space.

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3283 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie,

    . . . Murray Cammick was threatened by a major record company . . .

    Unless it happened more than once, that'd be the time when Murray had just got the news that one of his photos of Dylan at Western Springs had been used by some prestigious UK (I think) publication. When the music moguls protested the Rip It Up reviewer's use of the expression "Eketahuna riffs" (or was it licks?) in connection with "international product", Murray felt sufficiently emboldened by his newfound status as an international photographer to stand his ground.

    This, I believe, was the supposedly unfairly maligned product. Perhaps someone remembers the plucky reviewer.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4591 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    All roads lead to Paul.

    (Or George's spiritual perm.)

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    or the if-you-can't -say-something-nice-you-get-no-more-ads-from-record-company-rule. I remember when Murray Cammick was threatened by a major record company that he'd lose the bill-paying regular full back cover ad if he gave a certain major act's most recent album a shitty review.

    He ran it anyway, and another label took the space.

    Good on Murray, but I have a funny feeling that happens more often that you might think. Though, I hope it never gets as toxic as this:

    Alice Hoffman has a new novel out. Roberta Silman gave Hoffman's book a lukewarm review in the Boston Globe. Alice Hoffman then went insane on Twitter, even publishing Silman's phone number and encouraging her fans to call and attack her.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg,

    This, I believe, was the supposedly unfairly maligned product. Perhaps someone remembers the plucky reviewer.

    It was. And it deserved it.

    WEA took up the space I think. They also paid for a year's advertising in advance as I recall around the same time to allow RIU to continue, when the end looked close. Tim Murdoch (the label's MD) deserved, and I think, got, a virtual hug, from many that month.

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3283 posts Report Reply

  • Gary Steel,

    Just to set the record straight, I was the editor of RTR Countdown, while Finlay McDonald was at that time a Listener staff writer (later, he became Listener editor with Steve B as his Ass. Ed). During my trip to the US in Feb/March '88 (Michael Jackson at Madison Square Garden!) Finlay was acting editor for a month. The magazine published from October '87 to Dec 93. Steve Braunias was RTR's feature writer during (if I'm not mistaken) '90 and '91, with later feature writers being Stacy Gregg and Tim Wilson. What a cast list! I lost a big chunk of my RTR collection under someone's house at some point while moving from flat to flat. You know how it goes.

    Auckland • Since Aug 2009 • 4 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg,

    Gary, don't undersell yourself as a writer. Lest we forget. You were always my favourite writer in that mag, by some distance, and you had some serious competition at times.

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3283 posts Report Reply

  • mark taslov,

    When Winston Churchill stated

    “History is written by the victors.”

    I fear he sensed all to well that the resounding boom of our greatest victory would continue to echo as a mandate not simply for what is righteous or necessary but also for our whims

    For Mr Churchill also said:

    “You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life.”

    And in these early 21st Century days of perpetual war, It would seem this motto has grown the longer legs gripping more tightly to our collective will, reasoning and ...wisdom.

    But lest we ever forget as victors writing this history that our validation and authority was sanctioned by a nuclear weapon.
    And lest we ever come to fantisise that our history will fill the whole bookshelf.

    we can, draw sane breath at one inalienable fact.
    That there are books to follow this one.
    as a broken volume outlives its keeper.
    and we can ensure the actuality of that next book not having our hand in it
    having forgotten how we procured the pen
    decadently bathing it in that trough of ink
    conceiving new victories to bleed onto the page.

    Te Ika-a-Māui • Since Mar 2008 • 2281 posts Report Reply

  • philipmatthews,

    Those interested in going further into that discussion we were having about the glory days of the British music press etc should look at this piece by Simon Reynolds -- the influence of the "pale theory boys":

    http://www.frieze.com/comment/article/music_theory/

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2007 • 656 posts Report Reply

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