The Ron Kane Files

Writing About Music

Monday, March 09, 2009

Groups...you would deign to like?


3-9-09 Groups that your friends can't understand WHY in HELL you would deign to like? With your w-i-d-e tastes, this must have happened to you a lot.


Let’s just say I’ve spent a lot of time alone (in the record stores) over the years. My prog rock friends had no idea what I was hearing when I got majorly into Lucio Battisti, towards the end of the 70’s. “But, it’s not prog rock!”, I was told. Yeah, but it’s Italian Pop Music – something I happen to love. Adrian Celentano, Pino Daniele…”Itarian Pops”, as my Japanese friends say.


It’s true – before I had girlfriends, I used to collect comedy LP’s. The chicks were all listening to Sparks and Queen…I was chasing Tom Lehrer and Stan Freberg. It’s almost as bad being a devoted fan of The Firesign Theatre as it is to be head-over-heels into The Three Stooges. Only some people will get the jokes!


I remember telling an old friend of mine that “there is some new music being made that I like” in the mid-80’s. I think the LP I recommended to him was “Human Racing” by Nik Kershaw. Lots of keyboards, some good songwriting going on etc. I knew my friend wasn’t interested in all of the Australian and New Zealand artists that were what was really captivating my imagination in the 80’s. For him, it had to be British. No matter – I don’t think he could hear it in any event.


“I got tickets to see The Rolling Stones – again!” is a statement often met with stony stares in a room full of hipsters. You gotta love ‘em. Dodger Stadium, The Rose Bowl, Anaheim Stadium…I’d go almost anywhere to see The Rolling Stones play live. Really, it’s just to have the chance to be in the proximity of Charlie Watts for a few hours – if little else. I even went and saw their “Shine A Light” Martin Scorsese film – in a movie theatre!


A lot of my friends never really understood why I got so into Japanese music. I have been visiting Japan since ’94 – but my interest started a lot earlier than that! Odd as it sounds to say, I think (like most Westerners) I went for the group with English-language names (Yellow Magic Orchestra, The Plastics, P-Model etc.), and I got seriously interested in artists that wrote & performed in English – such as Toshio Nakanishi in Melon and Watermelon. I think Japanese artists of the 80’s understood that the only way for them to have any fan base outside of Japan was to do as much of their packaging in English (as possible). After a few visits to Japan, it became more familiar to me to look for Japanese domestic artists that didn’t necessarily have any English on their CD’s. If I knew the artist’s name, I could usually ask for them, in record stores in Tokyo.


I have felt lucky that not many of my friends criticize my apparently ‘wide’ tastes. Is there anything I’ve ever written about on this blog that you didn’t like? Or music that I was writing about that you said, “What is he doing?”


3 Comments:

Blogger Brian Ware said...

The reason we all still enjoy each other's company both online and last summer in person is that we respect and appreciate the incredibly diverse tastes within our music network. For instance, Ron's fandom of Frank Zappa, Jim's enthusiasm for OMD, Chas' reverence for Van Morrison - I'm not on those bandwagons, but I certainly respect these artists for their many accomplishments. So many in the arts love nothing more than to belittle and ridicule those who don't share their tastes. We all started a very civil conversation 20-25 years ago and we're still enjoying it.

Cheers mates!!

7:42 PM  
Blogger Ron Kane said...

Nice words, Brian!

BTW, having a hard time getting all the way through the '08 Phil Judd CD. Seems like he's trying very hard to be 'weird'. I will try, however...

! ! !

9:51 PM  
Anonymous Jim Donato said...

Re: Van Morrison

I am unashamed to have Van Morrison albums in my collection. I could have a little more, truth be told.

Re: Phil Judd
I visited the site after Brian told me about it. It was very off-putting.

Re: OMD
The band just did the soundtrack to an art installation in the Liverpool's FACT Museum called "The Energy Suite" and it's fabulous (instrumental) music that will only be heard in the installation (now closed), according to the band. http://www.fact.co.uk/news/?id=166

5:17 AM  

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