September 4, 2015

"What rap did that was impressive was to show there are so many tone-deaf people out there."

"All they need is a drum beat and somebody yelling over it and they’re happy. There’s an enormous market for people who can’t tell one note from another."

Said Keith Richards.

Also: "For most bands, getting the syncopation is beyond them. It’s endless thudding away, with no bounce, no lift, no syncopation.... Millions are in love with Metallica and Black Sabbath. I just thought they were great jokes."

54 comments:

Michael Fitzgerald said...

Agree with Keef. My least enjoyable musical genres are rap and metal. The combination of the two is the worst sounds in the world.

Original Mike said...

"All they need is a drum beat and somebody yelling over it and they’re happy. There’s an enormous market for people who can’t tell one note from another."

Sing it, Keith!

fivewheels said...

I guess Keith never heard "... And Justice for All".

and if you want to compare across genres, the Rolling Stones are not going to look too musically sophisticated next to the jazz performers that were their contemporaries. Off your high horse, old man.

Robert Cook said...

Ole' Keef sounds just like the square old cats in the 50s and 60s (including the Chairman of the Board) who offered much the same dismissals of rock and roll.

Rap is like any other musical form: There's good, there's bad, there's superb and there's awful. I am not a buyer or listener of rap music, but I have certainly heard my share of rap--simply through public media--that is clever, ingenious, and wonderful.

(I'm also not a partisan of heavy metal, but I've heard metal that is good...including early Black Sabbath, who I disliked initially.)

Ann Althouse said...

Yeah, he is the old man complaining "It's just noise," the classic argument against rock and roll.

Except, his noise is the good noise.

Ann Althouse said...

I blogged this because "somebody yelling" expresses how I feel about an awful lot of the music that's imposed on my when I'm out in public.

Which, by the way, usually isn't rap or metal. It's that damned pop music sung by young women who are cranked up into some meaningless, inhuman realm of emotion and screeching. What the hell is their problem and who's identifying with this expression? Is this about love relationships or just showing off that certain unusual vocal sounds are possible to achieve?

Original Mike said...

"I blogged this because "somebody yelling" expresses how I feel about an awful lot of the music that's imposed on my when I'm out in public."

My attitude toward most music is, "definitely not better than nothing."

tim in vermont said...

If I could never hear rap again, or never hear the Rolling Stones again, it would be an easy choice Keith. In fact I downvote them every time you guys come up on Pandora.

However, with the choices available today streaming, there is little need to go without music you enjoy.

Bill, Republic of Texas said...

Get off my yard!

Mick said...

Of course Keef is correct. The media and music industry has shoved Rap down our kids throats as "culture" which is utter nonsense. It is not "music" if it isn't harmony melody rhythm and tone. Rap is the dumbing down of "culture" not a reflection of it--- which is the purpose.

Imagine a kid of today going to his 25 year high school reunion and the band that plays is a bunch of old black guys with their pants hanging down yelling at you. No guitars or drums, just a backtrack and sampler. Hopefully they will feel really stupid then. They won't even know how to dance--- today they watch dance, not dance. Ever see a bunch of teenagers "dancing" these days (you don't).

I got into my kid's car the other day and the radio was on a country station--- which elated me-- he may finally be getting the message. Although country is much like all modern music, formulaic (slow build to a yelling anthem), but at least it is not the soul sucking of the rap BS, which is a reflection of how dumb they are.

Graham Powell said...

Weird Al Yankovic had a similar (but funnier, natch) sentiment when asked about rap... 20 years ago?

"I think it's a natural progression. Rock and roll was invented by kids who couldn't sing very well, and rap was invented by kids who couldn't sing at all!"

(He was clearly joking, as he's released some pretty good raps himself.)

Peter said...

"I blogged this because "somebody yelling" expresses how I feel about an awful lot of the music that's imposed on my when I'm out in public."

And if it's not music it's blaring TVs, often advertising something or other. The shift occurred when retailers decided to use foreground music for branding (and sometimes also for advertising) instead of background music. Business owners obviously think this is good for business or they wouldn't do it, and are unlikely to stop unless convinced that it is, in fact, bad for business (perhaps by encouraging customers to hurry up and get out already).

What seems strange about this constant, often unwanted soundtrack is that, with music available on everyone's phone, is not as though those who want music would have to do without if it wasn't provided over the PA.

clint said...

I always hate hearing artists ripping on other artists in public like this.

It never makes me feel better about the artist slinging the insults.

Eric said...

Never a big fan of the Stones. Preferred the Who to them by a long shot. Also, 1970's Sabbath was pretty darn good to my ear.

Laslo Spatula said...

I was flipping through radio stations on my return commute a few days ago and had an epiphany:

The guitar solo in Chicago's "25 or 6 to 4" is more memorable than anything Eric Clapton has ever done.

The best guitarist in any Clapton song? Duane Allman.

What would be the Best Clapton cover song ever: the Beatles' "He Fell Out The Bathroom Window."

Don't get me going on Jimi Hendrix.

I am Laslo.

Coupe said...
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buwaya puti said...

Anne, your point about women cranked up to some meaningless inhuman level of emotion and screeching applies perfectly to opera. Still, I like it. Maria Callas was a pretty fine screecher.
For the ultimate in screeching Diamanda Galas is your final stop. That is material for enhanced interrogations.

Coupe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
EMD said...

"It's that damned pop music sung by young women who are cranked up into some meaningless, inhuman realm of emotion and screeching."

I concur. Shrillness is not an indicator of talent.

Eric the Fruit Bat said...

We sometimes listen to "Music Choice" on the TV which comes free with our cable service. There are channels dedicated to a certain category of music. Adult contemporary. Golden oldies, Light classical. That sort of thing.

From listening to the (standard, I'll call it) jazz channel, I've noticed that it now seems to be the thing for a guy to play saxophone out of tune for an entire song. And by out of tune, I mean PERFECTLY out of tune, PERFECTLY consistently.

Impressive. But it always reminds me of that old thing about how it is bad to do something poorly but it's even worse to do something well that ought not be done at all.

Anonymous said...

Lucia Papp singing 'Koenigen der Nacht' from 'die Zauberflute' is a revelation. Her voice transforms itself into something otherworldly and non-human. A beautiful and amazing performance.

Keef is right. Much music today has no musicality.

Coupe sounds like he should be in jail.

Mary Beth said...

"He Fell Out The Bathroom Window."

What's the difference between a baby and a bag of cocaine?

*****
Back OT, it's nice to read an interview with a musician that's about music and not politics.

Coupe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
KenK said...

Only a loud pulsating beat give the hoes something to twerk to. Dont forget that

William said...

Over the years my estimation of the Beach Boys has increased substantially. The best Rolling Stones songs have diminished appeal when you're no longer a horny adolescent......Rap has now been the dominant musical genre over the past twenty years. With the exception of Blondie's Rapture. I can't name a single rap song. A whole mass cultural phenomenon has arrived and flourished without any awareness on my part. Rap is pretty easy to avoid. There's no place on earth you can hide from Celine Dion.

Jason said...

Syncopation? Eminem can syncopate circles around anything the Stones ever conceived of. The man is a Dizzy Gillespie-level genius at timing, within the boundaries of 4/4 meter.

Jason said...

"I CARRIED A 1927 GIBSON TENOR BANJO! WHILE YOU CARRY THAT... THAT... "GUITAR."

Jason said...

Keith Richards-style syncopation?

That's cute.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yK42w0H8rSU

Anonymous said...

I'm with Keith on this one. I love all music except Rap and Metal, which I sometimes think of as anti-music. Rap occasionally works for me as loud party music. Heavy metal (for the most part) is unlistenable, semi-organized, cold, & hard noise. Although the Stones can get loud and abrasive live, their recordings (the classic ones) have a warm, musical feel. At least, the instrumental part is that way. Mick is not much of a singer, whom, Michael Jackson once noticed during a session, couldn't hit a harmony pitch to save his life.

Carol said...

It's that damned pop music sung by young women who are cranked up into some meaningless, inhuman realm of emotion and screeching.

No. Shit. Now featured continuously at your local supermarkets and family restaurants. Obviously it's some kind of careful marketing decision by corporate, but why oh why - ?

I never dreamed I would miss Muzak so much. Remember those lovely instrumental versions of 30s-40s pop music? It was fine up until they felt they had to cover the rather un-melodious rock tunes.

gerry said...

Just remember that the "C" in RAP is silent.

EMD said...

"I never dreamed I would miss Muzak so much. Remember those lovely instrumental versions of 30s-40s pop music? It was fine up until they felt they had to cover the rather un-melodious rock tunes."

How I pine for Percy Faith or Mantovani and I wasn't even alive when they were popular.

Goju said...

After the death of Brian Jones, Keith and Mick flew to Texas to try to talk a guitar player named Roy Buchanon into joining the Stones. He refused. Said their music and style was too limiting and their lifestyles too damaging. Keith has said he wishes he could play like Buchanon did.

Gotta go with the Prof in this one. Pop has not a single artist capable of hitting and holding a note. Everyone slides into and out of it with little regard for tone or tune. Like a bunch of cheap wannabe crosses between Whitney Houston and Billie Holliday.

furious_a said...

"This just in: OLD MAN YELLS AT RAP MUSIC"

Coupe said...
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Brent said...

This is a red letter day.

I wholeheartedly agree with Robert Cook.

We see this play out in my evangelical Christian world. First, it was "praise and worship" music beginning in the 70'same that began replacing hymns and classical arrangements. Guitars first, then keyboards, then organs began to disappear, then (horrors!) drums enter sanctuaries in the late 80's on Sundaymornings! And oh the warnings! Today, THAT music is ridiculed as too simplistic.

It all goes around and around . . . .

furious_a said...

Pop has not a single artist capable of hitting and holding a note.

Can't believe I'm typing this but...um...Katy Perry?

Anonymous said...

"Pop has not a single artist capable of hitting and holding a note."

There is currently pervasive use of pitch correction in today's recording studios. This allows singers who are close to tone deaf to make half decent records.

Bricap said...

Adele is the real deal. Katy Perry, not so much.

I enjoy a lot of the Stones catalog, but they need to retire already. Some Girls was probably the last truly relevant album they released.

Keith Richards has to be one of the most overrated rock musicians of my lifetime. I agree with the earlier suggestion that Clapton is overrated, too.

For my money, the most important groups post 60s were Led Zeppelin and Van Halen. Those two groups did so much to shape the rock landscape of the 70s and 80s. It's a shame that it ultimately resulted in the hair band genre that killed it all off for good.

furious_a said...

For my money, the most important groups post 60s were Led Zeppelin...

I've got to say that the Seattle Sound bands, quite a few of them anyway, sounded ALOT like Led Zeppelin. Especially the percussion.

Bricap said...

I'd say Heart was the biggest offender of the Seattle bands, though I'm not sure that's who you meant to include under the banner of Seattle Sound. I always thought the 90s Seattle bands were largely derivative and uninteresting.

Metallica was mentioned earlier as an offender, also, and I'd have to agree. The sound always grated on me. The combination of the Metallica sound and that 90s Seattle sound gave us stuff like Creed and Nickelback. Talk about unforgivable.

Goju said...

Heart's nickname was Little Led Zeppelin. Robert Plant once said they were the only band who could play Zeppelin songs and do it right. Early Stones music was great. Loved Paint It Black. King Crimson is another overlooked band.

Perry does not slide around as much as most, but she sometimes falls into the volume equals power trap.

Clapton was overrated, but not by him. He always deferred to other players like Buchanon, Gary Moore, etc.

Jazz Bass said...

Metallica couldn't swing from a rope, however Keith is talking out his hat if he thinks Black Sabbath didn't swing HARD. Sabra Cadabra for example

Guildofcannonballs said...

"It's that damned pop music sung by young women who are cranked up into some meaningless, inhuman realm of emotion and screeching. What the hell is their problem and who's identifying with this expression?"

Having heard Alanis Morissette screaching recently I thought about why she made it and concluded humans respond when hearing young-sounding females in distress, and the responding is what matters though it does indeed take varying forms including the optimal "turn it off" response.

Guildofcannonballs said...

http://www.cc.com/video-clips/u7vwcd/chappelle-s-show-electric-guitar--drums-or-electric-piano-pt--1

Guildofcannonballs said...

"The Scottish producer and disc jockey earned $66 million last year to lead Forbes’ Electronic Cash Kings list for a second successive year, pulling in nearly double the next-highest earner, Frenchman David Guetta ($37 million)."

http://www.billboard.com/articles/columns/code/6677607/calvin-harris-tops-forbes-highest-paid-djs-list

I wonder if keef knew about DJ's and EDM he would think his opinions would be more aptly applied to them than either Metallica or Steel Panther?

Awful, large-ton lot of guitar solos in both the latter bands' output.

Jason said...

Alanis made it with great writing.

Katy Perry has a phenomenal voice. For power singing anyway. It just leaps off the track. Best power singer I've heard since Celine Dion, just from sheer vox voltage. "firework" was the first one I've heard and that voice was amazing. But everything I've heard from her sounds the same. Straight ahead pop formula. I hope she busts out of that shell.

Adele is good. Derivative to my ear but very capable.

Best pure female pop singer out there for my money is kd lang.

Well, I think Alexis Cole is a light year beyond all of them but she sings jazz.

Guildofcannonballs said...

The interesting discussion is Who are the tone-deaf people?

A business person wanting to make money in music somehow would be tone-deaf to not make an effort to see what the financials of the rap/hip hop revolution are and the trajectory of said and other potential revolutions in music.

If you don't like certain music, then you can claim those who do like that certain, or general, music are tone-deaf in their taste.

Perhaps sadly, but nonetheless true, there is no accounting for taste; there is an awful lot of accounting concerning rap and metal.

Steel Panther helped me realize what I should have from the start; it's all a gimmick to sell.

Fake being genuine/sincere and make it.

So the idea the Stones are "better" because their music is "deeper" more complex and layered and fulfilling or ya know realer or more profound or spiritually blah blah blah... Another sales gimmick. Artificial scarcity of "real rock" or some crap that, does indeed, sell to whom he's pitching it.

Bricap said...

Katy sounds so off key to me. And yes, the pop stuff makes me think not serious. Mariah sang a lot of crap, too, but at least it was always obvious that she could sing.

I think calling out Adele for being derivative is a bit nitpicky. She's singing much more challenging material than Katy. Sure, not the genre I listen to very often, but she's a professional singer. Katy by comparison is a professional entertainer. I just looked at her video of Firework where she approximates an Austin Powers fembot. I don't think she's serious, anyway.

Best male pop singer, not yet discussed here, has to be Freddie Mercury, hands down.

Gordon said...

I saw a recording of the Stones from very early in their career. Mick Jagger had a perfect understanding of showmanship even then. He was playing to the camera, and doing it very effectively. Add a reasonably good voice and you have magic.

Guildofcannonballs said...

Keef is shakin' hands with folks alright.... Just not on Drudge today m'kay.

I like Eminem for his choice to do this photo op with such a non-smile.

Or ungrin as you like.

Detroit needs Eminem and not Islam.

Easy to never be Eminem and deal with this shit.

Easiest to die unspoken.

My buddy don't cruise in a '64 cause Easy was stupid.

Guildofcannonballs said...

Perfect?


How could anyone not understand the concept of perfect applies very rarely in life and, with hindsight to use it, regarding other than God almost never?

The answer is a limited imagination.

I could make arguments the "perfect" has adherents vocal and powerful thus helping to ensure there is at least a definition to get worked up or over about.

Guildofcannonballs said...

Like ABC, pretend 123 am not 321.

Read it backward.

Keef is shakin' hands with folks alright.... Just not on Drudge today m'kay.

I like Eminem for his choice to do this photo op with such a non-smile.

Or ungrin as you like.

Detroit needs Eminem and not Islam.

Easy to never be Eminem and deal with this shit.

Easiest to die unspoken.

My buddy don't cruise in a '64 cause Easy was stupid.

** most ultra mega certainly I didn't want to .....


Judge Smails.

Mark said...

Keith somehow missed EDM which scrapes the bottom of the musical barrel.

Stuck in the past, Keith is complaining about music already decades from its creation.

Maybe he is suffering the beginning of his cognitive decline. Dude is old and his lifestyle is not associated with brilliance in the long term.