Segarini: Music or Nostalgia…Which is It?

bob dbawis

This is Part One of a column I have had to completely rewrite because I could not post the original for some reason I still can’t figure out. Part Two will be posted next week.

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Bob and the accordionWhen I was growing up in Stockton, California, I had already been bitten by the bug that would define my life.

Music.

Aural Malaria, that, once caught, is impossible to cure, impossible to shake…at least for those of us who embrace the disease instead of fight it.

The thing is, if it is truly music that has entered your bloodstream, you have to continue to feed it, lest it becomes the dreaded enemy of itself…the one thing that renders music lifeless.

Those who make the switch still believe they love music, but they no longer do. By abandoning their love of music and instead, embracing their youth and the past, they no longer love music…they love the past.

Retro Party

That is NOT loving music.

That is Nostalgia, (with a capital ‘N’)…and Nostalgia is kryptonite to new artists and their music. Even veteran artists’ new music suffers because Billy and Susie would rather listen to what reminds them of life 30 pounds lighter and a head full of hair ago.

Their war cry is “I saw all the Great Bands”.

No they haven’t. Not even close….

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Thank You, Robert Plant!

BransonBy now you have all heard of, or read about, the huge amount of money offered to Led Zeppelin by Virgin honcho…hehehe…’Virgin’…Richard Branson to reunite and tour.

Well, it wasn’t true.

Sorry, Facebook Believers, but like most of what you read in your newsfeed, it was just more rumour and wishful thinking, right up there with damn near everything else the nutcase Left and Right spew out that most of us can’t scroll past fast enough.

I will admit this particular little white lie was much more benign than ‘Obama is the Anti-Christ’, ‘Your Food is Killing You’, and ‘Dr. Scholl’s Odor Eaters are Giving you Cancer’, but just as heinous and addlebrained as the rest of the clap-trap that has most people hiding under their beds…metaphorically, of course.

As a result, I have chosen this out of all the verifiable reports stating the same researched information, hoping it will clear up the impression all those Facebook memes spread far and wide. I will not use the latest buzzword expression (cognitive dissidence) to label the inability to accept facts…I will instead call it what it has always been called.

The inability to accept facts.

Plant Branson

(CNN) — Robert Plant has called reports of a Led Zeppelin tour “rubbish,” and now Richard Branson is doing the same.

On his blog Wednesday, the Virgin Group founder said he’s “dazed and confused” by rumors that he offered an $800 million (£500 million) contract to see Led Zeppelin re-form for a reunion tour.

“As much as I love the band, there is absolutely no truth to the story,” Branson said.

And despite what you may have heard, Virgin Atlantic isn’t going to rename a plane “and include a stairway to heaven” in Led Zeppelin’s honor, Branson added. “However nice an idea, this is also completely untrue.”

The report that Branson was involved in a Led Zeppelin reunion appeared in The Daily Mirror this week and claimed that Branson was eager to cart the band around in one of his jets as part of a tour that would hit London, Berlin and New Jersey.

It was said that Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones were all in for the deal along with Jason Bonham, the son of the band’s late drummer, John Bonham.

The holdout, the Daily Mirror reported, was lead singer Robert Plant.

Zeppelin 2-14

Jimmy, John and Jason signed up immediately,” a source told the paper. “It was a no-brainer for them but Robert asked for 48 hours to think about it. When he said no and ripped up the paperwork he had been given, there was an enormous sense of shock. There is no way they can go ahead without him.”

“Rubbish,” was Plant’s publicist’s response to the story, which appears to have been removed from The Daily Mirror’s website. Branson is taking it a step further.

Not only is it untrue, he says in his blog post, but it diminishes the band members’ current careers.

“Making up this story is very disrespectful to how wonderful (Robert Plant’s) solo career with the Sensational Space Shifters is going,” Branson said. “He is setting out on a sold out tour today and they released a brilliant album last year. … Robert told me he is very proud of his history and the band’s past, and has always had great respect and love for his work throughout his career. However, he really believes he must move on with his life and career today.”

Sensational Space Shifters

Legends like Led Zeppelin are once-in-a-lifetime creators, but that doesn’t mean they should be restricted to simply rehashing their old stuff; Page and Jones also have their own projects in the works, Branson pointed out.

“I’m proud of how so many artists from my generation, whether it is Led Zeppelin, Mike Oldfield or Peter Gabriel, are still being so creative and inventive,” Branson said. “As Robert told me: ‘Look Richard, I just do things because I love them and I want to do more new things that I love.’ I couldn’t agree more.”

Robert Plant

CNN’s Todd Leopold contributed to this report.

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Now, I wouldn’t know a Sensational Shape Shifter from an Adequate Arm Adjuster, so I am taking Mr. Branson and his Million Watt blinding white teeth at his word, but if Plant is so happy and doing “wonderful” with his new job shifting his shape sensationally, why is this the first time I have ever heard of them? For all the fans of Mr. Plant’s music, why haven’t I seen the SSS music videos (of which there are several) pasted all over the Facebook Newsfeed every time someone mentions Led the Zeppelin or Mr. Plant himself?

And good for Mr. Plant, who still shows his love of music more than he longs for the past…unlike most of his fans

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Just so you are not as in the dark as I was, here’s one of SSS’s videos in which Plant covers…himself.

The Sensational Shape Shifters – Black Dog

Correct me if I’m wrong, but it looks like Robert is singing some of the songs he made famous years ago with his old band and is continuing to perform them in his new band. So it seems that the Sensational Shape Shifters are a tribute band of sorts, fronted by a member of the band that is being tributed. The lead singer,  as a matter of fact. He also seems to have moved on from the sound and arrangements of the old band, reinventing this song, at least, and giving it a new spin…which, sadly, doesn’t seem to be attracting a lot of attention.

To his credit, the band plays a lot of songs that do not appear on Plant’s more well-known group’s playlist.

Rock music group Led Zeppelin. (Photo by

The SSS video has had just over 100,000 hits on YouTube. Just ONE of the many videos of Black Dog by Led Zep, has over 7 million. Those aren’t Beyonce numbers, to be sure, but still, pretty respectful for a band from almost 50 years ago…that everyone still loves…but they don’t love the music that the members of that band have made since…not even close.

Not the songs.

Not the members of the band.

Hmmmm….

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swift

I like Taylor Swift, One Direction, and Bruno Mars. I also LOVE lessor known and NOT presently radio darlings Rival Sons, Saint Paul and the Broken Bones, and Dirty Loops. (More about Sons, Bones, Loops, and others in Part Three of this series)

There are a lot more artists I like that are international, regional, and local. I like them all because of one piece of connective tissue. Great songs.

It also helps that they are all talented, personable, and terrific performers.

K-Pop, J-Pop, and other international pop music makes most of North America’s pop artists and songs a big joke.

Celebs

I agree that it is damn near impossible to like most of what is played on mainstream radio these days. The Screeching Divas, the Dancing Boy Toys, the Ass-Offering Stripper-Pole-Pumping Ladies Who Lick,  the Shaved Headed Lotharios, the Armani Army of Fashionista Rapper Tycoons, and the Here Today, Gone Later Today Tween Appeal Celebrity Singing Stars, are all pretty interchangeable, artificial, and disposable, and all revered because they have become famous and wealthy, which, for a GREAT many people equals Greatness (Thanks for spreading THAT rumour, Bob Lefsetz) …but as Baby with the Bathwaterconformist, trivial, and shallow as it all may appear, you don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater. There are some genuinely good songs and artists in the tub for you to like.

If you love music.

…but if all you love are the artists who were making music before 1975 or any other era exclusively, if The Beatles are your one and only definition of pop music, if you reject all genres of music except rock and roll or any other genre exclusively….

It is not music you love.

It is the past.

…not that there’s anything wrong with that.

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Your Comments are Welcome.

Segarini’s regular column appears here every Friday whenever he can finish one in time.

Contact us at dbawis@rogers.com

Bob “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, continues to write music, make music, and record.

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