Segarini: The Grammys

The Bobcast Bob May 6th 2013 CroppedI broke a long standing tradition last night.

I watched an awards show.

I have broken a self-imposed rule I have adhered to since Hello Dolly won Song of the Year against A Hard Day’s Night,  Who Can I Turn To, People, and Dear Heart, on the Grammys back in 1965.


You tell me…what is the best SONG here…and A Hard Day’s Night isn’t the only one:

People BabsA Hard Days Night

Who Can I Turn To


Dear Heart

Hello Dolly

…and to add insult to injury, the RECORD of the year was this wonderful piece of music.

Girl from Ipanema

How can the SONG of the Year be different from the RECORD of the year? It’s like Best Picture and Best Director being different. How can you have one without the other?


Dave MickieThe Grammys have tripped over their own awesome for as long as I can remember. Legendary DJ (He’s in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, inducted before Jann Wenner  turned the Hall into a repository for everything BUT Rock and Roll) David (Dave Mickie) Marsden posted this on my Timeline last night during this year’s trainwreck.

But enough about the past. Let’s get to this year’s Snake Oil sale….


Bread and Circuses

Bread and CircusesFrom Wikipedia: “”Bread and circuses” (or bread and games) (from Latin: panem et circenses) is metonymic for a superficial means of appeasement. In the case of politics, the phrase is used to describe the creation of public approval, not through exemplary or excellent public service or public policy, but through diversion; distraction; or the mere satisfaction of the immediate, shallow requirements of a populace, as an offered “palliative.” Juvenal decried it as a simplistic motivation of common people. The phrase also implies the erosion or ignorance of civic duty amongst the concerns of the commoner.

In modern usage, the phrase is taken to describe a populace that no longer values civic virtues and the public life. To many, it connotes a supposed triviality and frivolity that characterized the Roman Republic prior to its decline into the autocratic monarchy characteristic of the later Roman Empire’s transformation about 44 B.C.”

Rob FordStill applies to politics (and the usually intelligent people who go after non-news trifles like Rob Ford, instead of actually addressing the REAL problems we face in the Political Arena by using their VOTES to change the truly bad things inflicted on us by those in power) and fits exactly the same way in derailing our attention from that which is important, to that which is not.

Do we talk about the talent and efforts of the men and women of sports? No, we talk about the amount of money they’re paid, who they’re dating, their sexual orientation, and their public missteps.

Do we discuss the music of our artists? No, we talk about their abs, and their tits, and their dancing and their clothes, who they’re dating, their sexual orientation and their public missteps.

In EVERY review of Beyonce’s ‘Secret’ Video Album, I read NO mention of the music contained therein. The reviews and discussions and praise were everywhere. The only thing missing was a decent song. Even by today’s standards, the album tanked.

old peoples musicAnd before you older people (the apologists for the bulk of today’s music, and sensitive, insecure, youngsters) start accusing me and the other curmudgeons of being too ‘old’ to appreciate the young-folks product of today, let me clear the air. The reason we don’t like 90% of what passes for music and artists these days, is because we have taken the trouble to seek out the new music and artists that ARE of worth. Popularity has absolutely NOTHING to do with how great someone or something is. Most (Not all, Dammit!) current popular music is an aural equivalent of McDonald’s and just as popular for all the wrong reasons. Call it what you want, the record, and radio industries (and a good deal of the public) are explained perfectly in a fable written in 1837 by Hans Christian Anderson, and based on an Aesop Fable written in 1335. The Emperor’s New Clothes.

Some of us are innocent children. We have heard music and we know how magical and engaging it can be. We still seek it out and find it in abundance. We cannot, and will not, accept what we are told is great. Not as songs. Not as music. As product, as artifice, as technology, yes…it is of value. There are wonderful singers and performers…but they flail beneath the yoke of imaginary music, of nonexistent songs, and at the base of the pedestal they have been placed upon, is a public unable or unwilling to know the difference.


The 2013 – 2014 Grammys

An Embarrassment of Embarrassments

*Beyonce and Jay Z dueting on her current failed single on a chair lit by a moving headlight.

hunter hayes*The “Get me a new Bieber” Hunter Hayes playing a song that every songwriter who started out on piano has written with “Important!” lyrics, (the affable and professional LL Cool J said so) which was called different names by John Legend and the other folks who sat down at the 88s to kick off THEIR sincere, important power ballad. The songs all sounded exactly the same.

Because they are.

Even I have written that song at least once.

*Actors as presenters. Julia Roberts looked like she lost a bar bet. I guess starring in a movie that shared its title with a classic Roy Orbison song was the tenuous connective tissue that brought her to the stage. At least Neil Patrick Harris entertained as always, and sings as well if not better than most of the winners.

Sean and Yoko*Yoko Ono, looking like a cute little garden gnome and about the same size, bopping to Paul McCartney while son Sean, wearing his John Lennon Halloween Costume stood deadpan beside her.

*Taylor Swift risking whiplash singing a mediocre song well, while seated at a piano wearing a dress that would have been better suited to a Prom or Daughters of the American Revolution cotillion.

*Chicago being interrupted by what appeared to be a drunken wedding singer who had stumbled in from a reception next door. I half expected Thicke to lead the audience in a rousing rendition of The Chicken Dance after he tore up Chicago’s credibility card, and before he passed out in the nearest punchbowl.

*The relentless use of a rapper in the last third of damn near every song. Stop it!

Katy*Katy Perry, her best attributes hidden by a costume from a high school production of Salome, upstaged by the incredibly talented and limber dancer on the floor in front of her, singing a song from her album that is filler at best, and beneath her usual output.

*The country acts being the only people allowed on stage to actually bring some well written songs to the proceedings. Why, look at that, Ethel, verses, choruses, a bridge, musicians playing instruments, and some actual heart. Hot damn!

*Kanye. Sippy Cup. Blue. Please….

*Pink has a future as a circus act.

* Aluminumica: A Tribute to Metallica, calling themselves Metallica and turning a heavy metal ballad into a pleasant song you would hear while grocery shopping, further addled by a bombastic piano prodigy with the same name as a Panda Bear trying to turn the keyboard into kindling, which is more than I can say for these pretenders to the throne once occupied by the REAL Metallica.

Robot Butlers*Trying to figure out who was wearing the motorcycle helmets from Tomorrow Land and what it was they do. The 2 ‘DJs’ (you know, guys who spin records for big bucks) kept getting up to receive awards (for spinning records?) with a little entourage of musicians and singers who play music and sing on the records they spin and the producer (who spells his name Pharell, which looks like it should be pronounced “Farrell”, but who everyone referred to as “Fer-El” like he is from fucking Krypton), so what…exactly,  do the two Future Robot Butlers do?

And anybody could have been wearing those helmets. If they were smart, the real Daft Punklets could have been backstage in the hospitality room getting (or giving) blowjobs. (I don’t know them well enough to make a guess), while lackeys suffered the heat dressed like future robot butlers preparing for the first trip to Mars.

Lordes*Lordes. If ever a Country Mouse visited her City Mice relatives in the Big City, this was that moment. Looking like she had just come from an Amish barn raising, This little girl was so far removed from the proceedings that at one point I thought she was going to burst into tears, and then flames, and burn to the ground like a Raggedy Ann doll full of C-4. Didn’t anyone care enough about her to at least cut and style her hair? All she was missing was a dress made out of a burlap potato sack and bare feet. Someday she will look at those two Grammys the same way her friends back home in New Zealand will look back on their trophies for Best Sheep and Best new sheep Farmer.

Paul and Ringo*All night long the Grammy promos touted the appearances of Ringo Starr and Paul McCartney as a wonderful event to coincide with the 50th Anniversary of The Beatles’ appearances on the Ed Sullivan Show, and their ridding the world of the last infestation of Teen Idols and committee written pop songs, akin to the one we are experiencing currently.

So does the Grammy committee and Mssers. Starkey and McCartney put their heads together and think, “Hmmm…celebrate The Beatles…” and team up with Dani Harrison and Julian Lennon and perform “I Want to Hold Your Hand”, or “She Loves You”, or…I don’t know…ANYTHING remotely in celebration of that moment 50 years ago when they FUCKING CHANGED THE MUSIC AND THE MUSIC BUSINESS AND PRETTY MUCH EVERYTHING ELSE COMPLETELY?


That would have made sense.


Ringo trots out a Casino-bound version of Photograph, and McCartney, a man whose first two solo albums offered the hope of a continuing devotion to great songs and interesting production, but who hasn’t written a Beatle-worthy song since “Live and Let Die”, Heimlich’s up a forgettable cute-Paul ditty to promote the fact that he ‘still has it’.

Paul and DaveHe doesn’t…not as a song writer, anyway…and then later, accepts the Grammy along with David (Rock’s Toast Master General”) Grohl, for ANOTHER mediocre rock song (“we wrote and recorded it in 2 hours!”) beating out the ONLY true rock and roll song mentioned all night, the Stones’ “Doom and Gloom”. Chance for an unforgettable Beatle moment lost forever.

I felt like that Indian in the TV ads looking at the beautiful landscape of America littered with trash and junk, a single tear slowly leaving a trail of sadness on his cheek.

I felt exactly like that.

*The BIG FINALE was also sad. Some great players and good men, dwarfed by production and lights, lost and alone, spread out across a stage bigger than it should have been, and playing to an audience who could hardly wait to get to the parties and the open bars, or home to the sitter.

I should have done what I said I was going to do… wash my hair and work on my pilates and then maybe add a square to my Led Zeppelin Tribute quilt.


I predict that in the next 18 months or so, we will see the resurgence of real music, great songs getting traction, and a return to honest music and musicianship. There is so much great music being made right now, I don’t think it can be held back much longer. There are already cracks in the dam, and there MUST be a tipping point on the horizon, because I see signs of it everywhere. crying indian

Maybe someday, artists can walk out on a stage and play and sing live with no carnival going on around them, no circus acts, and no dancers dancing or firebreathing penguins.

Just the artsts.

Just the music.


All the bands we champion here at DBAWIS are worth checking out, as are your local bands and singer/songwriters. Find the music. Spread the music. Embrace the music. I don’t care if the product and plastic continue for those who like it, but I DO care that the opposite finds a larger audience and maybe educates the current one, the same way the British Invasion, Motown, and Stax and Elektra and Atlantic and A&M educated the last, lost audience.

I dream.

You should dream too.


Here’s a kid from England who gets it right. If Dylan and Lennon had a love child…Jake Bugg.

My regular column returns on Friday with Part 2 of 2013


Segarini’s regular column appears here every Friday

Contact us at

DBAWIS_ButtonBob “The Iceman” Segarini was in the bands The Family Tree, Roxy, The Wackers, The Dudes, and The Segarini Band and nominated for a Juno for production in 1978. He also hosted “Late Great Movies” on CITY TV, was a producer of Much Music, and an on-air personality on CHUM FM, Q107, SIRIUS Sat/Rad’s Iceberg 95, (now 85), and now publishes, edits, and writes for DBAWIS, osts The Bobcast every Monday night at Cherry Cola’s, and continues to write music, make music, and record.


17 Responses to “Segarini: The Grammys”

  1. Have to say this is pretty right on.

  2. john mcpeake Says:

    bob… you said what just about everyone has been saying.. only you said it so much better and i am still laughing… you entertained us too many years ago at the moustache and you continue to do so

    you live the life you sang about.. peace

  3. Right on the money. The robots certainly got their helmets polished but I still can’t understand why?

  4. Doug Chappell Says:

    Bob, you have just another one “outa the park”. Luckily I PVR’d the show and then it only took me less than an hour to watch it.
    I hate the idea that I am becoming my parents when I keep thinking that almost all songs sound the same….. but they do!

    • Doug Chappell Says:

      Shit, I hate it when a word disappears, I meant to say ” you just HIT another one outa the park.”

    • Michael Danckert Says:

      Doug, you’re not becoming your parents…My Dad bought us ” Mad Dogs n Englishmen” cause it was fucking great!! Certainly wasn’t his
      generations’ music now was it? You’ve been around longer than me, which, I hate to remind you, is a while.. Long enough to know the difference btwn shit n shinola baby..

      • Doug Chappell Says:

        You are absolutely correct , I am older and I have discovered throughout many tests that “Shit tastes like shit !”

  5. Sandy Bennett-Sayer Says:

    Brillant piece…you nailed it Mr. Segarini! Thank you for saying what you mean and meaning what you say!

  6. Lynda Taylor Boice Says:

    Amen. Bredren! I only watched bcus I kne Ziggy Marley won his 6th Grammy. I was hopin 4 sum recognition? I musta blinked. /RIP/ Mr Seeger. Now we,r talkin grassroots genius! Jus giv me one more nite at Winterland, Fillmore n wood floors! Doubt il eva watch de Grams, again. Do u tink Canada really wants Justin Bieb-Biebs back? Seriously?!!

  7. Larry Shepherd Says:

    You nailed it Bob !

  8. Dave, rapid mouth, Mickie is still alive?

    • Doug Chappell Says:

      Are you shittin’ me? Dave Mickie is David Marsden of CFNY fame….and the “Mars-Bar” is still exploring after all these years.

      • He is on every weekend from 7-12pm on 94.9 The Rock. You can tune in online. The MarsBar has been there for years now doing his free form radio show every Sat & Sun night. Enjoy!

  9. Michael Danckert Says:

    Well Bob,I couldn’t have said it
    better, and I too see and hear many
    signs of hope, in spite of the dominance
    of vapid crap in popular “commercial”
    music..SamRoberts,Lindy, The Sadies, Arcade Fire,
    TheStills,NekoCase,Metric, name a handful….These are all good artists…Perhaps every generation rues the preceding one as “golden” and in our case, it’s hard not to view it as such.Joni Mitchell said the best music
    of the 20th century was made in the first half or so of it, and, no argument here..still,meaningful art must be made
    because, after all, the one thing everybody can agree on is,”You Light up My Life” ( and the like),fucking sucks and must, and will, be condemned to
    the eternal used-record-bin, just as Black Eyed Peas, “I Got a Feeling” must.
    Call it hierarchical, but somewhere, somehow, amidst the mountain of shit that is the dreadfully over-commercialized music”business” lives a thing we can maybe call a “collective standard”, clearly MADE possible by all the great music made to date..All things being subjective, of course..
    Loved your article, right on the money Bob, keep up the good work, your contribution does not go unnoticed here…one ( two final) words ” Waterloo Sunset” R. Davies
    Best, md

  10. Bob, thank you, loved reading that,you nailed it!
    keep on keepin on baby!

  11. I have been saying for a very long time that music is diluted and the young fans deluded….there is so much frikkin’ crap out there!…no substance….no longevity of memorable songs….just feels like brainwashed kids to me who don’t know better…certainly there are some legit artists and songwriters whose music is heaven to our ears and hearts…but not too many. I work, live and play in my town in Ontario, Canada and have created an opportunity for unknown songwriters to allow them to play in a beautiful theatre environment and be heard for their songs. Being a songwriter myself, I yearn for the days to hear great music, mostly acoustic, but great music….something that stirs you…the sound…the words…the passion…the love…sadness…and hope…that makes me happy…and dance…for my my friends and the community…

  12. Joel Goldman Says:

    Bob I’ve been telling anyone that will listen to me that music, as we once appreciated and revered it, died a number of years ago. I wish I had a buck for each comment that you make here about songs and — I’m gagging– artists that I’ve made for years now. Watch the Grammys? Why? I knew the apocalypse of music had descended upon us when Three 6 Mafia won the Academy Award in 2006 for ‘It’s Hard Out Here For a Pimp’. As for the Rock’n Roll Hall of Fame? The long-passed icons that first graced it are [rock ‘n] rolling in their graves.

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