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Saturday, March 13, 2010

Comment of the Moment: Peter Gabriel's "Scratch My Back"

As usual, some innarestin' comments around here.

Our post last week on Peter Gabriel's "Scratch My Back" generated some wild reactions to the whole cover concept and Peter Gabriel's music.

And some antagonistic comments by Sunny Inside (now there's a handle with a contradiction in sentiments if we've ever seen one) got Matt fired up who shot back:
Woah, Sunny - you completely misinterpret me.

I wasn't accusing you of anything at all, just poking fun at your 'group think' comment. My words between the parenthesis were a satirical jab, more in the spirit of fun than anything.

The rest of my post had nothing to do with you thinking the covers are bad - I don't care if they're good or bad covers. That's not the issue. I haven't heard the covers, so can't comment on whether I like them or not - and that's a completely subjective thing. I wouldn't get down on someone for not enjoying something that I enjoy - that's ridiculous.

I was simply attempting to debunk the general trend of referring to Gabriel (in this case) as either trying to cash in on other peoples' popularity or "position" himself in a position of association with "iconic" performers to elevate his own "status".

I think all those arguments are incorrect. Artists have been covering each others' tunes for as long as they've been writing them. And artists generally do covers because they think they're great songs, and for no other purpose.

And I was asserting my own belief that people have slanted 'capitalist mindsets' that cause them to think that every action by an artist is a crass attempt at making money (or social positioning).

People always accuse Neil, for instance, of pretending to be "true" and using "artistic integrity" as a cover for being a Capitalist and ripping off his fans.

While it is true that in a capitalist economy you basically work inside that system, and thus every record ever released by anyone has the secondary goal of generating income the artist, the overarching purpose of what Neil Young does is personal, and artistic, and not solely for the sake of making profit.

It is a secondary consideration IF THAT, and Neil has released many albums that he KNEW would bomb, primarily because he doesn't care whether the vast majority of people like them - they are personal artistic expressions first and foremost. If they make money, that's just icing.

So, no offense meant to you at all, man, I wasn't even referring to your comment in the meat of my argument.

The only part that referred to you directly was the little joke at the beginning - because I think it's funny when people accuse us all of 'group-think' around here.

If you want to debate 'group think', I'm happy to, but really it's such a moot point. The fact is that people come here BECAUSE they agree about something (i.e. Neil Young is effin' great!) so obviously you'll get a lot of people who agree with each other.

It's just a social dynamic. There are no mindless zombies here (well, mostly), no group-thinkers, and no conspiracy to flame people who disagree with whatever the general consensus might be.

Thrasher encourages debate. He has his own opinion for sure, but he's certainly not shoving it down your throat, and neither am I. Sometimes debates get heated, and it might seem like the minority opinion is being jumped on by the majority, but really that's just an illusion created by the fact that there is a majority who shares a certain belief, and there's a debate going on about something.

If you think differently than the 'majority' opinion on something, you should be proud of your opinion man. I'd respect you for sticking to your guns and expressing it, whether I agree or not.

ps - Sorry, just to clarify with regard to my last post, my whole tangent out of the "Peter Gabriel is crassly profiting off other peoples' songs" debate and into the "Neil is an evil capitalist who is ripping off his fans" debate was meant as an example, and not to restart that specific debate. I rambled about it for a bit too long though.

Thanks Matt! I'm sure this will not start another round of capitalist pigs profiting on the masses discussion or anything controversial. We'd never allow that debate here in our happy little "group think" community, now would we?

More on the noble concept by Peter Gabriel's "Scratch My Back".

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At 3/15/2010 02:23:00 PM, Anonymous SONY said...

"Artists have been covering each others' tunes for as long as they've been writing them. And artists generally do covers because they think they're great songs, and for no other purpose."

That statement is completely true. At least for me and my neighbor hood band. As pure minor leaguers we have recorded a few covers based purely on 'diggin' the song and also based on the fact that the song gets covered so much.

Sometimes coves are a result of having no original material as well. For Gabriel not true. We also have nearly all origianla stuff. Nonetheless, our covers have included:

'Watchtower' - an obvious choice

'License to Kill ' - due completely to the fact that I saw it live on the Bobfest and never heard the song before, and was blown away by it

'Tom Thumbs Blues' - did it based on Neils cover at the Bobfest, now with a whole new intro and heavy harmonica

'She Said She Said' - did this after hearing and seeing Gov't Mule pull it off in concert, very hip

'Look at Me' - John Lennon - did that one LAST NIGHT after buying his Acoustic album put out in 2004, which I never even knew of or heard til last week.

So maybe 'ol Peter G. just wants to let out his works on songs that are near and dear to him and that speak to him while he sings 'em to others.

Again, imitation - reputedly the most sincere form of flattery.

At 3/15/2010 02:51:00 PM, Blogger doc said...

Well.Gee Sony I AM impressed!!....

and all this time I only thought you sang "I got you Babe" lol

amonymous (doc)

At 3/15/2010 03:16:00 PM, Anonymous Not Sony said...

Doc - you gotta think electronics for SONY, not some california mayor, cher toting, hippie, gone showbiz. May he RIP tho. I'd sing that one with her.


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