Friday, 22 April 2011

Jools Holland and the Onset of Dad's Disease

I don’t want to alarm you but I think I’ve caught ‘Dad’s Disease’.  The symptoms are complex and age related but are generally revealed as a complete lack of interest in modern music.  I remember seeing the signs develop in my own father back in the dim and distant past.  When I was developing a burgeoning interest in the new fangled pop music in the 1960s he would’ve been in his forties yet he never failed to watch an episode of Top of the Pops on our ancient black and white telly every Thursday nor did he fail to listen to the chart rundown on a Sunday afternoon on the wireless.

It was in the late 1970s that things began to change.  He rarely watched TOTP, despite the efforts of Legs & Co, and never listened to the radio.  He had hit 50 and Dad’s Disease was developing from which he never recovered.  As a fifty-something myself, I thought I’d avoided the dreaded ailment, but it seems to have got me in the end.  It is the new season of ‘Later with Jools Holland’ that has me worried about a possible positive diagnosis.  Jools’ TV show is a modern day version of ‘The Old Grey Whistle Test’ where more ‘serious’ music is showcased in a live environment and it is a source of new material that has kept me in good stead over the years.

The first edition of this season’s show featured the following artists: Elbow, Beady Eye, Anna Calvi, Raphael Saadiq and The Tallest Man on Earth (Kristian Matsson).  Normally I can find something to enjoy in any line-up but this lot just left me cold.  Bland, bland, bland.  Not a single note provoked my interest and I was bored stiff for a whole hour.  That’s what Dad’s Disease does to you.

Beady Eye were, unsurprisingly, just a derivative sub-oasis clone churning out dated rock ‘n’ roll, Elbow were worthy and tried hard yet were ultimately a bit tedious, up & coming star Anna Calvi was dreadfully disappointing with not a decent melody to her name and Raphael Saadiq was a classic case of style and too much energy over content.  The only glimmer was The Tallest man on Earth who almost had me interested, but then didn’t.  Oh yes, and there were some old jazz players who could’ve been really good, but just weren’t.

Oh dear!  What am I going to do?  Encouragingly, my consultant says that it may not be Dad’s Disease after all but just a bit of a hiccough in the ‘Later’ scheduling exacerbated by a recent exposure to PJ Harvey’s ‘Let England Shake’.  Nothing that a blast of something loud and edgy won’t cure.  Let’s hope so.  I’m still too young to be admitted to the ‘No Pop Music Here’ home for the permanently square.

25 comments:

Brett said...

I love this post! I am nearly forty and I really have struggled with trying to listen to what is popular. About ten years ago I really dove into proggressive rock/metal, so most of the music I listen to is already out of the mainstream. This has in a sense saved me because when someone says something like "you only listen to oldies" I can say that is not true (totally). I have found prog bands that are very new and from other countries. However, I can see a day when my ear are too sensitive to metal and I finally turn back to the mainstays like Zeppelin, Floyd, etc. Then I will have given into the "Dad's Disease". I guess it is inevitable :)

Barely Awake In Frog Pajamas said...

If you want to start a support group, I'm in.

Adrian said...

Not since rock and roll burst out in the 1950s has popular music been so bland. A few years ago, John Sebastian gave one of my fave quotes on the subject: "The industry has been in the corporate noose for so long, it doesn't even have a leg jiggle left."

Calculation has replaced musical passion as the dominant sound.

The revolution today is not so much underground, as online, and, whether or not the terrestrial world will fully meet the digital, time will tell...

I am hopeful!

Happy Easter, all!!

Save some eggs for pie...

Ad

music obsessive said...

Hi Brett - I come from a Prog background so it will always be my first love. Nevertheless, I have always liked stuff from all ages so this was a bit disappointing. The show in question always manages to mix the mainstream with the more fringe but this week nothing clicked. I dare say next week will be different. Hopefully.

music obsessive said...

Hi Barely - I'll let you know when the first meeting is! I think in this case I had been dazzled by PJ Harvey's new album and everything else for the next few days just paled. It happens - I'll recover.

music obsessive said...

Hi Adrian - Yes, 'calculated' is the right word (and I like the quote). Something that the likes of PJ is not really attuned to!

I think I had a bit of an off day. There can be times when new music still dazzles (the Adele clip I posted earlier) so all is not lost yet.

Jayne said...

I loved that description - almost had you interested but not quite. I do that a lot with TV shows - am almost in, almost there, and then I get up and wander off. I don't think you can get Dad's Disease from just one bad line up though - it's when you have six months of bad line ups that you want to worry (and retreat to 70s prog rock!)

music obsessive said...

Jayne - thanks for your advice, which I know must be right really. If by the end of this series nothing has clicked I may need to hang up my iPod. But until that day there are always new albums from Lady Gaga and Nerina Pallot to look forward to so all is not lost.

Damn PJ Harvey - it's all her fault!

Charlie said...

I suffer from a non-fatal variant of Dad's Disease. While I continue to believe the Classic Rock era is the best one in pop music history I still do like a lot of current stuff, much of which I post about. I do notice though that my tastes have changed to a degree. My preferences are more mainstream than in the past and the new rockers I do like are heavily influenced by the classic rockers. There are a lot of current jazz, country and singer-songwriters I like but many current rock bands leave me cold. I'm tired of the f-bomb turning up everywhere and rap/hip-hop is hideous. I'm running a fever but I think I'll live.

Adrian said...

The prescription seems evident...

more cowbell!!

music obsessive said...

Hi Charlie - I'm kinda with you on this one. I still love my musical past but wouldn't part with a fair proportion of new stuff either. It's just that sometimes I despair when I can't find the good stuff! Actually I think my fever has abated somewhat after another dose of Adele.

music obsessive said...

Adrian - you're right. Can you get it on prescription?

YourZenMine said...

I think I've managed to avoid Dad's Disease by not having any children - this way I can indulge myself to my heart's content without feeling the generation gap pinch me.

There are some great new bands out there, its just a case of looking for them. I think Dad's Disease is more a case of abject disinterest in anything pointedly aimed at the 'yoof' market.

Thank the (insert diety of choice) for Jools, though. His is still the best live music show in the world, as far as I'm concerned.

YourZ

music obsessive said...

Yourz - Wouldn't argue about Jool's show, it's the only decent music programme around. I think it just got off to a bad start. Just watched episode 2 and it was a a lot better (Cee Lo Green with Scarlett Fever was cracking).

YourZenMine said...

I'm a big fan of Cee Lo - his voice is as big as the man himself.

YourZ

Kit Courteney said...

Love this post - and the comments.

I think Jayne's right: take it slowly and hope for the best!

music obsessive said...

Hi Kit - don't worry, the men in white coats have been round and I'm much calmer now. A big dose of Cee Lo Green helped enormously. Oh, and I'm not very good at taking things slowly!:)

john said...

Yep,I was a sufferer of this dread malady. As a former working musician whose heyday was the 70's and 80's, I would plague my children with comments like "Where are the flashbombs?" "These bands look like bums!" "Why, in my day we wore leather,spandex and spikes,had pyro,you know ,put on a show!"And on and on. My grandson ,a guitarist himself said to me one day,"Pop Pop,just listen to this band,give 'em a chance." The band was Green Day. I've been on the road to recovery ever since.

music obsessive said...

John - Great story! I have to admit that I rather distance myself from people who go on and on about how great the 60s were etc. Yes, they were great - but so were the the 70s, 80s, 90s and now. There is always something to like, it's just that most people can't be bothered to find it. I assume that everyone who reads my blog is a true music lover and to us, music of all eras is either good or bad irrespective of its vintage.

I think I just had a bit of an off-hour!

Adrian said...

I find there is wonderful and richly diverse music being created today - as good as, perhaps, better than, ever.

Certainly here in North America, what I find has been lost is the mainstream/commercial representation of music. Whether it be Joni Mitchell or John and Yoko on the Dick Cavett Show, The Beatles and everyone else on The Ed Sullivan Show, or acts on The Smothers Brothers, Johnny Cash, Rock Concert, The Midnight Special, etc. etc. - the golden period for media showcasing great music to mass audiences was that window of the '60s and '70s.

Since then, the conglomeration of media, and a range of corporatizing forces squeezed creativity off the mainstream radio/tv airwaves. So-called "music television" marked the end of that stream.

Today, though, thanks the internet, mostly, it's possible to find and enjoy the greatest sounds from all recorded times, and, it's hugely exciting as a music-lover, and for artists.

music obsessive said...

Adrian - you are certainly right about TV today. The Jools Holland show is generally shown at about 11.00 pm or later - hardly prime time - yet so-called talent shows dominate the prime spots giving the unknowing general public a distorted view of music today.

KD Lang was on JH recently and was almost pathetically grateful for being there. She said that TV no longer serves 'real' musicians who must scratch around for slots on non-prime time shows.

Like you say, MTV and its descendants have done for music TV.

Adrian said...

Aye, and if only we had an equivalent to the Jools Holland show in this country - at any hour!

Just listening now to a podcast of the Radio BBC 4 Desert Island Disc program. Even in this context, it's wonderful to hear people sharing love of music.

What we see and hear, far too much, in North America, even on public radio, is music that is all sell - selling the product, selling the personality (and that could be the DJ's ego), etc.

It's not downloading or the internet that's debased popular music. The industry has done that. I have hope we're entering a renaissance of appreciation :)

music obsessive said...

Well said, Adrian!

Adam Cort said...

I became a sufferer of Dad Disease, which was brought on by a severe case of "Fed-Up-Of-Chris-Moyles-Itis".

BBC R4 everyday now, and several outburst's of "WTF?" when my wife and kids are watching music videos...

But, just occasionally, great new music sneaks through like a heavenly musical panacea :-) Last year it was 'Plan B - The defamation of Strickland Banks'.

Should a 36yr old get Dad Disease?

music obsessive said...

Hi Adam - Blimey! you have got it bad, and so young too! I think Moyles has a lot to answer for. If you have a DAB radio, I would recommend a dose of BBC Radio 6 Music which tends to cater for the more 'mature' yet still interested listener. A few days of this should relieve your symptoms.