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Monday, August 13, 2007

I've got a fever and the only cure is MORE COWBELL

Yes, I am a Saturday Night Live fan. I've seen at least a bit of the show every Saturday night that I was near a television since 1991, which is still my favourite season. Every September, I struggle through getting to know a new cast, and I read the newspaper reviews that announce that SNL is horrible now and was much, much better five years earlier (it is almost as if they do not read five-year-old articles in their own papers).

I like Saturday Night Live because each week offers new possibilities. If the host's any good at all, the show will play to his strengths and will be unique: I know I'll see something I wouldn't have seen anywhere else. If the host's lousy, I simply go to bed. I can save time by figuring out who the host is in advance. If it's an athlete, I don't bother with the opening credits. I still don't understand why the bookers think athletes can do sketch comedy, but they've been booking these guys for years so obviously there's a reason.

Over the years, I've become less impressed by the musical guests. This is at least partly because I do not like boy bands, but it's also because the guests themselves seem uninterested in their own music. Barring an Ashlee-Simpson-style mishap (which was even more enjoyable live than on YouTube), I can look forward to three and a half minutes of some moron standing there mumbling into a microphone, playing the same three chords over and over, and looking bored. I blame this guy:

(Yes, that's Phil Collins playing drums.)

This sort of thing makes lousy musicians think they can pull off the same trick. They play a few notes over and over and think they've got a song. If the great guitarists can do it, why not everyone else?

And so last weekend we found ourselves watching Beck sing a song that was so boring I can't even remember it. The best part was that one member of his backup band appeared to be on crystal meth and was flailing around. At one point he pulled out a cowbell and started banging on it. Unfortunately -- and you aspiring musicians should write this down -- if you want to use cowbell in your live shows, you really should bang on it near a microphone. Otherwise, nobody will be able to hear it and all of your efforts will be for nothing.


Dad said...

Megan, you've gone too far.
Bashing the Bible was bad enough. We should have known you wouldn't stop there. Now you think you can criticize a Rock and Roll Classic! You are wandering very far afield, young lady. Go Slow!

Dad said...

(I'll bet she's got her sights set on Stairway to Heaven.)

Steve & Megan said...

Criticising? No, not at all! I am simply noting that Clapton makes it look so easy that people think any moron can do it. He's great.

Other people, however, are not nearly as skilled at playing the same notes over and over. It's pretty boring the way these other guys do it. I'd post a video, but you wouldn't make it through the first thirty seconds. You have to be really good to pull this off.

Methinks someone is a bit sensitive. It wasn't me bashing the Bible, either. I've been pretty clear that I think the stories are great.