Back in November 2015, on the WTF podcast, Marc Maron interviewed Robert Trujillo (Metallica bass player) and Flea. Trujillo had made a documentary about, self-appointed greatest bass player in the world, Jaco Pastorius… turns out he was the greatest! In the course of the interview they discussed a phenomenon that I am all too familiar with because it’s happened to me a number of times.
So what is it? Well, it’s when you have a band or an artist that you really like and then, for some reason, you find yourself not liking the individuals any more and you’re now left in a situation where it’s difficult to listen to the music because there’s always the spectre of the artists hanging over it.
It’s happened to me on three occasions:
The Police – or more specifically Sting. I’ve been in to them since 1980 and it was sometime after Ten Summoner’s Tales that I just got fed up with Sting’s preaching to people but, more specifically, I got hacked off with how he always seemed to go to great pains to try and minimise Stewart and Andy’s contribution to the band. When the reunion happened he seemed to be a total diva. This was the artist that Flea said he’d experienced this with although he didn’t elaborate on why.
Frank Zappa – to a lesser extent than Sting but, nevertheless, in the last 10 or 15 years (can’t believe it’s nearly 26 years since he died) it’s become more and more apparent that FZ was a bit of a douche. Not sure why this bothers me particularly given that a bunch of his band members wrecked his last tour (just desserts?) but, there you go…
Edward Van Halen – I’ve played guitar for about 33 years and Eddie was the one who inspired my to go from just playing songs to actually aspiring to be a lead guitarist. VH were a fantastic band – I like both Dave and Sammy eras. I moved on after ‘For Unlawful…’. Although I didn’t follow them through the Gary Cherone era, and watched, with amusement, from afar regarding the in fighting that developed, I was still able to enjoy the first 9 albums… BUT… when Mike was kicked out to be replaced by Eddie’s son on bass I thought that was a dick move. That said, Mike seemed to be OK and promptly formed a supergroup with Sammy, Joe Satriani and Chad Jones. Then, when Eddie started running Mike down publicly and minimising his contribution to the band I soured on Eddie. His drink problems are well known about and, I guess, maybe this was him being bitter that he was no longer viewed as the king of rock guitar. Even the most ardent fan would have to admit they haven’t really done anything new or significant since the mid 90s.
This seems to be becoming a more common phenomenon – I’ve heard people commenting that present day Morrisey has soured them on the Smiths. I sometimes struggle with Miles Davis due to his tendency to have song authorship credited solely to him when you know he didn’t write it… Blue In Green? Grrr.
Maybe this is due to the fact that we just get too much information about artists that we like. Seems that in the 80s/90s you didn’t know as much about the artists that you liked beyond liner notes and music magazines. That may have been a good thing.
In closing, happy to say that I recently heard a Sting song from Dream of the Blue Turtles – Fortress Around Your Heart – and was able to enjoy it again. Ended up buying the CD (5 bucks!) as I’d only ever had it on tape. It’s still a great album.
Sting may be about to be granted parole! Here’s a live performance from the subsequent Dream of the Blue Turtles tour…