BRITNEY SPEARS MAKES LOVE TO A BANJO (or, bill munroe has lunch with jello biafra and other signs of the apocalypse)-lloyd

sometimes i get bored at work.

in moments of weakness i cruise the internet, looking for random pieces of information to stuff into my already overloaded brain, seeking that one little tidbit that will somehow satisfy my hankering to play resophonic guitar in the middle of the day........and on one of those days, i signed up for the 'resoguit'/dobro email all internet subcultures, it has it's fascinating moments, as well as it's dreadfully brutal discussions of bridge heights and replacement screw finishes and other excruciating minutia...last week, the 'list' was simply all aglow over the fact that the movie 'o brother where art thou' had won some grammy's! or something. of course, i hadn't a clue that the grammy's had even been on. and of course, i didn't SEE the movie OBWAT, because i've only BEEN to four movies and three of them were "Jaws". i digress. but it struck me how a lot of people seem to be really wicked excited about how 'cool' and 'hip' bluegrass music is now. it's 'the next big thing'!.....woohoo! i don't want to pee on anyone's parade or anything, but this actually bums me out. i like bluegrass music, and i'd hate to see it ruined by becoming 'hip'....

back in the good old days, when everything sucked, i went to a lot of punk rock/hardcore shows. i remember when punk rock 'broke' and there were pictures in TIME magazine of kids with safety pins in their cheeks and mohawks and lots of other paraphenalia......i had already been to my first ramone's show, and i didn't think there was any kind of 'movement' happening. to me it was just good music. i liked the songs and i thought the bands rocked. i had fun. i didn't care so much about fashion statements. in my neighborhood you'd last about five minutes with that shit and then somone would smack you. i just wanted to hear good music. music that moved me. when i saw the pictures in TIME magazine, i knew the end had come, and soon enough, the word 'punk' was the early days, you could go to a show, and get right up in the front, and see black flag or the dead kennedy's and have jello sweat all over you and there weren't that many people there and you could actually hear the music without getting crushed and it was a good time. in time though, as word spread, and more and more articles appeared in mainstream publications about how 'cool' punk rock was, more and more people started coming out to the shows. at first, this seemed cool, but in a very short time, that proved not to be the case. the first thing that happened was that people who really didn't care about the music started showing up. they were there for the 'curiosity factor', to see what was happening and to try and get in on the action. the problem with this was that they would frequently be loud, drunk and obnoxious.....they'd push their way to the front, and elbow you out of the way, or talk and yell really loud so that you had trouble hearing the more of them came, they forced the bands into bigger venues. suddenly you had to pay a lot more money to get into these shows, and you couldn't see or hear as time went on, the music itself became co-opted, and there were a million so called 'punk rock' bands......major corporations started to use the music to push their particular first this was just a mild annoyance or amusement, depending on the day and the mood you were in, but then, over time, it really began to take it's seemed like everywhere i turned, people were calling themselves 'punk'......this pissed me off most in the 'folk' world, where wimpy shoegazing folksingers would get up on stage and say how they were really punk rockers, but they were just playing acoustic, as if it made them somehow 'hard' or legitimized them in some way, when in reality they wouldn't know punk rock if gregg ginn came up and put his tongue in their ear. yes, it made me bitter.....there was a lot of posing going on. common tale. the worst part of it, was that music that i really cared about, music that helped me a lot in life, was becoming harder to find, to hear and to experience because all of these poser bands were taking over, and the sheer numbers of people that wanted to go to shows was becoming unmanageable........of course, the punch line of that is that none of those great bands from the early days who were creative and innovative never even made a nickel off of the music, while the advertising and marketing corporations that stole from them never missed a meal.........i digress again.

fast forward fifteen years, and iggy pop is singing on my tv, trying to get me to go on a carnival cruise, and i'm pretty sure that someone either put LSD in my coffee or that the apocalypse is surely on the way as i have seen one of it's seven magic signs........and now i suddenly find out that bluegrass music is 'hip'. it's the 'next big thing'! my local newspaper the boston globe keeps running these little articles talking about what a great bluegrass 'scene' we have here in boston and how wonderous and 'authentic' everything is.....i keep reading how great 'roots' music(do i smell a made for tv movie!!?) is, and how acoustic music is back 'in' again.........again, at first glance, this all seems innocent enough, and at times it makes me smile, but then there are the usual repercussions where the rubber meets the road. the most obvious one has been at our beloved cantab lounge, in cambridge mass, local watering hole and 'supporter' of the 'roots' music. now there are lots of things i won't comment on here, in the 'scene', other than to say this bar has a regular tuesday night 'bluegrass jam', sponsored by the boston bluegrass union. in the past, i'd go there, and the only thing i had to deal with was whether or not i was in tune, and the fact that most of the people in the boston bluegrass union can't seem to smile no matter what is going on around them........we'd 'jam' and play music and that was that.......then, slowly but surely, more people began to show up. people who were there to 'check it out'....young people. people with good educations and lots of money who seemed to really, REALLY enjoy purchasing and consuming alcoholic beverages. people who also didn't seem to care so much about the music. at first, this was amusing......then, it began to be a pain in the i had to fight my way in to get a space to play in the jam session......pushing and shoving through people who didn't even have instruments. people who were loud and obnoxious. after fifteen minutes of gawking, they'd start talking really loudly about 'life' much so, that i found it difficult to hear my instrument. and i play dobro. that's LOUD. as the weeks passed, i noticed that i could no longer hear the 'featured act' that they had each tuesday. i would sit and try to listen to the forty five minute set, and have to leave, because the crowd was louder than the music. now, it seems like when bands come to town, the shows are sold out immediately. sure, that's great for the performers in the short term, but how long will it last? i wonder.

i guess all i'm trying to say here, after all this rambling, is that i'd hate to see bluegrass music ruined in the same way so many other things have been in our country, by commercialism and overexposure. more is not always better. sure i think it's great that many of the musician's will get real paid, and be able to 'make a living' but i also think there's more to it than that. if people find out they can make money off something, they will. at that point, you start getting bill munroe lunchboxes and ralph stanley underwears. as 'the masses' catch on to anything, problems arise........if you thought you liked hearing bluegrass shows, wait till they get good and popular, so that the only place you can see them is in a football stadium. believe me folks, places that were built for sporting events are NOT so user friendly when it comes to good acoustics......maybe it's me, but i am pretty sure that the good lord didn't intend for the mandolin to be pumped through a public address system which was used for three superbowls....hey, don't get me wrong, i want to see everyone happy too, and my dream has always been to play dobro at the superbowl halftime show, but i just think we might want to use a little caution here, before we end up in a place we don't want to know what they say about too much of a good thing......

ok, i guess that's it for now....i wish i had a better way or wrapping this up. some witty conclusion. i do not. d. boon lives....! rock on.