By Johnny Firecloud at 11:28 AM Tuesday, April 14th 2009
I don’t know who Kim Stolz is, except for that she works for MTV and is a contributing writer for the beacon of journalistic accomplishment that is Huffpo (that sarcasm font ready yet?). I also know that her writing is on par with that of a retarded chimpanzee – but that’s another issue entirely. Miss Stolz recently interviewed classic rock relic Stevie Nicks on the state of the music industry, its relation to the digital revolution, and whether or not all these tech advancements are “worth it” in the grand scheme of evolving interpersonal communication.
In last week’s interview, Nicks trotted out the sour-grapes form complaint that the digital revolution is ruining the music industry, and kids have no real grasp of what true rock music is anymore. Finally getting to her product pitch, she explained that part of the reason for releasing her new Live In Chicago DVD was to show the kids a “real rock show”.
What Miss Stolz fails to point out is that Nicks, in her state of complete irrelevance in today’s music scene, has no concept of what a real rock show is in today’s world. She may have been the reigning Queen of Cocaine and pre-disco shimmer pop back in the ’60s and early ’70s, but those days are buried under the detritus of several younger musical movements, most of which passed like farts in the wind. Buried with them is the ideology that rock stars are entitled to a mythical status, a godlike level of adoration, a misplaced sense of self-worth. The middleman is a dying breed, as are the distractions and detractions he represents to the music world.
Unsurprisingly, in the interview, the way-way-past-her-prime singer (who was recently on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon casting “good energy spells” on the host) raged against the digital transition, promising that ”downloads are the end.” The end of what, exactly, remains unclear, although Stolz goes on to bemoan the “utter destruction of the music scene.”
Funny – from where I’m standing, the music scene looks more alive, thriving and vibrant than ever before. The playlists that sit on my iPod are more varied than ever before, as are those of my friends. Sure, the industry’s pampered relics are rallying against the changing of the guard, but when the music itself once again returns to central importance, rather than the musical product it was replaced by so very long ago, we will look back on this period as the Great Tipping Point in music.
Nicks goes on in the piece, sharing her unabashed loathing for social networking and convenience of collective awareness: ”You will never see a Stevie Nicks Facebook, Twitter, MySpace or anything else, because I think it’s cheap and it’s sleazy and I hate it!” Except oops, wait, what’s that?
It’s at this point where Miss Stolz shows her sham journalistic colors, musing on the horrors that would’ve unfolded “if Romeo could have just texted Juliet,” and the death of romanticism itself rather than exploring just what it is about the internet that frightens and disgusts the sexagenarian. What’s interesting, and another point that Stolz fails to point out, is that without the internet Stevie Nicks’ words wouldn’t be reaching anyone at all. She’s two generations past her prime, and the market value for the musings of 25% of a band nearly four decades old isn’t hitting any highs these days (shut up McCartney, you’re the exception- not the rule).
Let’s be clear: Stevie is part of a beautiful piece in the classic tapestry of Rock ‘n Roll. Fleetwood Mac was a band our parents smoked their first joints to, learned how to drive to, conceived us to. Their albums, her chief contributions to the music world, are undiminished by her antiquiated philosophies and social ideals. But five years from now you’ll be hard-pressed to find anyone under 40 who’s seen the Live In Chicago DVD, because Nicks represents a different time, a simpler time, a time wildly alien to the present state of music.
However, if she were to put out a five-song EP for free, maybe rerecord and reclaim Landslide from King Pumpkin and Bush’s favorite country bumpkins, adding a cover/collaboration and perhaps even a new jam or two, she’d be the talk of the town. She’s made her millions- she should be moving to set an example these days, not standing on the shoreline rallying against the inevitable tide.
Raging against the internet while trying to get the message out to kids about her new DVD seems wildly backhanded, given that the internet is very likely the only reason any “kids” know about her at all. If she’d leave her yupsy (gypsy yuppie) ideals behind and gave some thought to leaving the past there as well, she could very well be seen as the Cool Grandma of Rock, a bridge between the old guard and modern trends & technologies. The kids would take notice. Hell, if all it took was a click or two they might even give the old lady a chance- provided that their parents were nowhere in earshot, of course.