Friday, February 5, 2016

Why are the Eagles so Hated?

The Loudini Rock and Roll Circus
Hosted by Lou Lombardi aka "Loudini" & Kevin O'Connor
Topic: Why are the Eagles so hated?
Lou a.k.a. “Loudini” and Kevin talk about the iconic southern california, southern rock, pop icons the Eagles and try to understand why even “The Dude” himself from The Big Lebowski “hates the f*cking Eagles.”  Plus remembering Glenn Fry and birthday shout outs to Bob Marley, Axle Rose, Natalie Cole, and Rick Astley. Music from Loudini artists Lost Souls on Broadway, Transmission Party, and Supersonic Blues Machine.   All this AND Pittsburgh Kevin!

Why Are the Eagles So Hated? An Explainer on the Immensely Popular Yet Divisive Rock Band

If the presidential race hasn't gone far enough to illustrate what a deeply divided country America remains, then look no further than the nation's response to the death of Eagles' Glenn Frey.
Following the news of his passing Monday (Jan. 18), the customary moment of silence lasted for roughly a millisecond before haters busted into R.I.P. threads to proudly declare his death hadn’t changed their dismissive takes on his band’s legacy.
Some of the heat was over actual opinions about the Eagles, some of it over what constitutes “too soon” for a posthumous takedown. Eternal vigilance is the price of loathing “Peaceful Easy Feeling,” apparently.
Lest you attribute the immediate brickbats to the knee-jerk nature of social media, consider how eager actual news media can be to get in on the grave dancing, too. New York Daily News doubled down on the mainstream trolling by publishing an essay titled“Glenn Frey’s death is sad, but the Eagles were a horrific band.” The paper ran a similar headline for that piece right under the banner on Wednesday’s front page (right above the equally baiting “I’m With Stupid” Trump/Palin photo illustration). In his op-ed, Gersh Kuntzman wrote, “No disrespect to Glenn Frey” -- naturally -- “but the Eagles were, quite simply, the worst rock and roll band. And hating the Eagles defines whether a music fan is a fan of music or just a bandwagon-jumper.” Inevitably, the Daily Newscapped their hit piece by citing the Dude’s disdain for the Eagles in The Big Lebowski,because there is no greater critical backup than a fictional stoner who spends an entire movie tripping over things.
How is it that a group tied for the best-selling album of all time in the U.S. --Their Greatest Hits (1971-1975) is 29 times platinum in the U.S. -- inspires such bloodshed? Even non-fans must concede they have one of the most finely-crafted songbooks of the rock era. Here's a primer on some of the ingredients that go into the Eagles hater-ade:
It’s partly an east coast/west coast thing. L.A.-vs.-New York biases: They’re not just for hip-hop. If you lived on the west coast during the 1970s, you probably assumed the Eagles’ critical reputation was just fine, and that they were as lauded as Bruce Springsteen, David Bowie, or any other act of the time. The group had no bigger champion than Robert Hilburn in The Los Angeles Times, who called the Eagles “the most consistent makers of quality hits of any American band since Creedence Clearwater Revival.” He lauded how 1976’s Hotel California “chronicled the attitudes of a generation trapped between the fading idealism of the '60s and the encroaching greed of the '80s.” After moving to L.A. from Texas and Detroit, Frey and Don Henley “wrote about the state of the American Dream,” Hilburn wrote, “using their experiences in rock to convey the innocence, temptations and disillusionment of that pursuit.”
Contrast Hilburn’s ardor with the sniffing contempt of Robert Christgau, writing inNewsday in 1972: “Another thing that interests me about the Eagles is that I hate them... The Eagles are the ultimate in California dreaming, a fantasy of fulfillment that has been made real only in the hip upper-middle-class suburbs of Marin County and the Los Angeles canyons.” Chuck Klosterman cited their home geography, too, decades later: “They are the most unpopular super-popular entity ever created by California, not counting Ronald Reagan… They effortlessly represented what people do not like about Malibu.” The warm smell of colitas: it’s just no match for turnpike musk.
They weren’t irreverent enoughThe New York Daily News troll piece had its most recent click-bait antecedent in a much-forwarded 2013 Salon article titled, “Quit defending the Eagles! They’re simply terrible.” In the Salon essay, Stephen Deusner wrote, among many other complaints, “They come off as deadly serious, with no sense of humor about anything, least of all themselves.” Salon did not attempt to explain “The Greeks Don’t Need No Freaks.”
They reportedly indulged in mass quantities of drugs and groupies in the 1970s.As opposed to, say, the universally eulogized David Bowie, lauded upon his death for having been so abstemious in the ‘70s on both those counts. (Sarcasm intended.)
They wrote about that hedonism without totally forswearing it. The band recorded songs examining the pitfalls of decadence -- “Life in the Fast Lane,” “Hotel California,” “The King of Hollywood” -- while not yet adopting a Puritan lifestyle. This was outrageous, because there has never been any literary tradition of men of letters and indulgence chronicling their own possible doom. (Sarcasm intended again.)
They weren’t punk. The Daily News slam characterized the Eagles as “easy listening… even too soft for an elevator… the music your mom and dad would let you play on the living room hi-fi (you could go upstairs and listen to the Clash after dinner).” The entire punk movement is oft remembered as a reaction to the Eagles and prog-rock… but then suddenly prog got cool with the kids again, leaving the Eagles to twist alone in the wind for the last decade or two, with a newly redeemed Yes smirking up from below.
Hating the Eagles: a generational duty. Some Generation X-ers and other post-boomers have begun examining exactly why they were expected from puberty to reject the Eagles. In his 1972 Newsday essay, Robert Christgau praised the band’s musical prowess, then famously shifted gears with the line, “Another thing that interests me about the Eagles is that I hate them.” Chuck Klosterman alluded directly to that Christgau sentiment when he wrote a book chapter titled: “Another Thing That Interests Me About the Eagles is That I [Am Contractually Obligated to] Hate Them.” In his book I Wear the Black Hat: Grappling With Villains (Real and Imagined), Klosterman treated the group as one of those villains, saying, “I hated the Eagles, too. After spending the first 25 years of my life believing they were merely boring, I suddenly decided they were the worst band that had ever existed (or could ever exist)... I saw The Big Lebowski and decided the main character should become the model for all human thought. Electronica was on MTV… Even grandmas were temporary postmodernists. Aspirant Urban Outfitter employees were excited about technology and really into Neutral Milk Hotel. It was the logical time to believe Glenn Frey was Pol Pot.”
And then, as if prompted by the Eagles’ song “Get Over It,” he got over it. Coming to a “realization about who I was and how I thought about art,” Klosterman came to see the Eagles as “just an old rock band who made music that was significant and relaxing and inevitable." He admitted “only an idiot would argue that ‘Take It Easy’ is poorly written or badly executed,” and decided he could “appreciate ‘The Disco Strangler’ with a complexity I cannot pretend to understand.”
If Chuck Klosterman can learn to love (or at least begrudgingly like) The Long Run and to downgrade Frey from genocidal dictator status to seeing him as an actual musician, is there hope for others trained to see the Eagles as the anti-indie enemy? Probably not, given how entrenched both sides are. Ken Burns should probably prepare a montage on the Eagles-related Facebook status updates tearing friends and families apart, with detractors claiming the Eagles represent the sum of all human evil and defenders lamely replying that those 150 million records didn’t sell themselves.
The thing that gets argued least, of course, beyond the personalities and supposed smugness or cynicism, is the actual content of those original six albums. It’s not difficult to understand how ears accustomed to edgier fare can get hung up on their essential smoothness without even listening to the songs. Sometimes it takes something like co-writer J.D. Souther doing his own version of the Frey-sung “New Kid in Town” to awake you to the greatness of material too easily absorbed and rejected as wallpaper. Now, more than ever, there may be a misunderstanding that a cacophony of emotions has to be expressed with a cacophony of sounds.
In fact, “Peaceful Easy Feeling” isn’t really about having a peaceful, easy feeling -- it is, as songwriter Jack Tempchin said, a “song about not getting the girl.” If the prettiness in Frey’s voice didn’t immediately betray that uneasiness, its loveliness was no sin. “The Best of My Love” was not, contrary to immediate appearances, a sticky valentine, but a rueful ballad of regret. Much of the Eagles’ catalog takes place in the “Sad CafĂ©,” where, aural finesse aside, no one’s really taking it all that easy. The band’s lyrics were mostly about restlessness, not the complacency the haters think they hear as a result of all that musical exactitude.
If hating the group has become a default position for so many people of a certain age or attitude, as so many of these social media messages and op-eds seem to suggest, then maybe reclaiming the Eagles is about the most punk rock thing anyone can do in 2016. Rest in peace, Glenn Frey -- quadrillion seller, and now, outlier icon.

For over two decades, Lost Souls On Broadway visionary Mark Sarro has valiantly persevered as a professional in the finicky music industry through intrepid artistic exploration and reinvention. Now, he announces the culmination of his journey with the album Anthems For The Fallen by his new band, Lost Souls On Broadway. Joining him in the studio were none other than producer and Gold Record recording artist Dean Davidson (Britney Fox, Blackeyed Susan), and studio legend Phil Nicolo (John Lennon, The Police, Bob Dylan)..

“We all have people in our lives who are cynical and say things that hold us back. For me, the album title signifies a call to arms for people to get out there and do what they love,” the Philly-based artist reveals.

Mark began his music odyssey in fourth grade playing violin. As a boy, he eyed his father’s trusty Kay acoustic guitar (an instrument he took of possession of years ago and has used to write most of the songs on Anthems), and, by age 13, guitar became his governing passion. Within two weeks of getting his first electric guitar, he was playing in bands. At 17, Mark and his older brother, a drummer, left home for a big time opportunity with a flashy producer. Though that deal went sour, it was the opening volley for him going pro.

Over the next twenty-two years, Mark would make a fulltime living as a musician, traversing touring and studio sideman duties, production projects, orchestral work, and multi-instrumental gigs, including stints singing, playing bass, drums, keyboard, and guitar. His artistic intuition and eclectic tastes have helped him work in a variety of music contexts, including pop, rock, metal, psychedelic, punk, and in avant-garde experimental music. In Lost Souls On Broadway Mark is the songwriter, guitarist, vocalist, and conceptualist. Alongside Mark in Lost Souls On Broadway is his trusted bandmate and creative ally Matt Harrigan. Matt is a seasoned vet who has shared the stage with Cinderella and has been considered for plum sideman work such as playing with Vinnie Moore and Mattson Parry and the Truth.

“Lost Souls On Broadway is the most genuine and honest music I’ve done,” confides Mark. “These songs are raw and emotional.”

Lost Souls On Broadway’s singular aesthetic encompasses rock, blues, jazz, and alternative rock. Within these roiling dynamics, surprisingly, is a boldly vulnerable singer-songwriter approach to lyrics. “Music has always been therapy, it’s what’s kept me alive through life’s disappointments and dark times during my life in music,” reveals Mark.

The 14-track album is thoughtfully sequenced with peaks and valleys to provide the listener with a cathartic musical experience. Highlights in this dynamic album include the stirring title track, “Anthem For The Fallen,” the moody and galvanizing “Pieces,” the biting “Time,” and the spiritually centered acoustic closer, “Open Eyes.” “Anthem For The Fallen” is the album’s emotional centerpiece. Here, Mark boldly sings on the chorus: We are the lost and the brokenhearted, but we can’t be held down! “Pieces” features nimble tribal drumming courtesy of album producer Dean Davidson. “That’s about relationships and moving on when things don’t work out. I wrote it for myself to help me through a painful split, but it could apply to anyone who needs to find the strength to pick up the pieces and move on,” Mark says candidly. The album’s concluding track, “Open Eyes,” is peaceful, and Buddhist-like with its uplifting refrain: “All is one and one is all and all you need to know is you’re not alone…” Of that track, Mark says: “The message there is you’re really not alone at the end of the night, everything and everyone is connected.”

Anthems For The Fallen was recorded, mixed and mastered by Phil Nicolo at Studio 4, Conshohocken, PA. The album was produced by Dean Davidson, who works professionally under the moniker, Americana Bros. In addition to production chores, Dean also contributed drums, backing vocals, and guitar and piano on the title track. Dean has been an artistic inspiration to Mark since he worked with him many years ago. “I remember walking into his house and seeing Gold Records on the wall,” Mark recalls of Dean’s career milestones adorning his residence. “His personality is larger than life, and he’s taught me many valuable lessons in the years I’ve known him.” Incidentally, it was one of Dean’s lyrics that inspired Mark’s band name.

Looking back on the road that led to Lost Souls On Broadway, Mark says: “Everything I’ve done has brought me here, and this is my proudest work—it’s been the most rewarding time of my career. I hope when people listen they relate to it and understand that no matter how hard things get, they always get better. The message is: don’t give up.”

Transmission Party, the brainchild of TJ Byrnes, brings to life his musical aspirations with the debut self-titled LP, Transmission Party, released this Fall. With a wide range of influences which range from Blur, Oasis, Arcade Fire, Franz Ferdinand; to the classics such as The Beatles, Beach Boys, David Bowie and Talking Heads, Transmission Party molds his music into a unique listening experience.

A charismatic blend of modern psychedelic music (without the drugs), for fans of bands such as of Montreal and Supergrass, Transmission Party is right up your alley. Each song on the record is skillfully crafted with Byrnes taking over duties on vocals, bass, guitars, keys, percussion, as well as engineer duties; truly a labor of love.

“When constructing a song, I’ve always kept in mind that if each part can be hummed or memorable it should be. I’m not afraid to borrow ideas and musical motifs that recall a certain era or vibe,” states Byrnes. The songs on Transmission Party are inspired by real life, girls, and uncorrected personality traits, which are topics most can relate to at any age.

Staring his musical endeavors at an early age, at 16 Byrnes decided to branch off from his former band, and started writing and recording on his own. Finding sounds he liked and bringing them to life, his music comes from combining different musical textures and experimentation. An accomplished songwriter and musician, Byrnes has shared the stage with Kid Rock, Hellbound Glory, Buckcherry and Southside Johnny and the Poor Fools. Transmission Party is out now.

Get the debut record on iTunes now:

It happened in 2012, Texan guitarist-singer-songwriter Lance Lopez was planning a visit to Los Angeles to record a new album and producer Fabrizio Grossi suggested they hook up and work on some ideas. The following whirlwind day and a half in the studio resulted in three songs which became the foundation of an exciting new project before they knew it. “Lance is incredible” Fabrizio asserts “I can show him any melody line I want, but that guy ends up putting his bluesy mark on anything, he was born with the blues. It’s so natural for him.”

With a prolific career as a producer, mixer and bass player Fabrizio has worked with some of the finest musicians around today pulling into an array of eclectic styles, from Steve Vai to Tina Arena, Nina Hagen to Alice Cooper as well as Glenn Hughes, Dave Navarro, George Clinton, Joe Bonamassa, Leslie West, Zakk Wylde, Ice T, Slash and Paul Stanley to name a few.

With this huge foundation of friends you are on an ever learning curve and with this a network of contacts brings with it both enhanced abilities and a blossoming reputation. Before Supersonic Blues Machine even existed as it is, the seeds began to be sewn from a hook up with Billy F. Gibbons, “I was telling Billy about my work with Lance” explains Fabrizio before excitedly adding the ZZ Top legends response was “‘Oh, you know Lance? He’s fantastic, I’ve known him since he was a little kid’” and he went on to say that the two should seriously consider working on something together.

The third part of the core was Indiana native drummer Kenny Aronoff who joined the family next. Kenny started working with Fabrizio a few years back, thanks to a meeting with Toto’s Steve Lukather. “I was talking to Steve, who I’ve known for over 20 years, he was one of my first friends in LA. We wanted to do something fun together and I said to him I always wanted to play with Kenny Aronoff, do you know him? He said ‘are you kidding me? Kenny is a very good friend of mine, let’s give him a call.’”

Within 5 minutes of meeting the pair felt like they had known each other for ever, and Aronoff brought with him the experience of working with a huge collection of artists such as John Mellencamp, Smashing Pumpkins, Meat Loaf, Brandon Flowers, John Fogerty, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Joe Cocker amongst a host of others, and their collaboration started. “I could come up with an idea or demo of a song” he says, “but when you revisit it with him, his insight into the drums and the whole rhythm, it just comes from a higher place and the whole thing takes a different twist.”

Supersonic Blues Machine isn’t just a band; it’s a mood, a comradeship, a melting pot of ideas with likeminded people bringing their own unique talents to create something with feeling that is very organic. “I was thinking of all the people we know and thought, how about putting together something like The Who or The Rolling Stones used to do in the early 70s” he adds, “they would put together a record and bring all of their friends on board, I thought that would be cool. Bring back the spirit of camaraderie between musicians.”

Debut album West of Flushing, South of Frisco is a sprawling and emotional journey that has an emphasis on peace, hope, forgiveness and empowerment. Fabrizio’s long-time friend and co-producer, Serge Simic of hard-rockers’ The Slam also puts his stamp on the record as a co-writer with a seamless ability to flit through styles with a keen ear for melody and musical elegance.

An incredible list of collaborators gives the record added warmth and propels it on to a higher level; Billy F. Gibbons, Walter Trout, Warren Haynes, Robben Ford, Eric Gales and Chris Duarte all have a deep and personal connection to the trio of Grossi, Lopez and Aronoff. The importance was to have close friends on the record to have that natural and authentic quality to it. Grossi adds, “We could have done a record that was jam packed of famously random guests, but we didn’t want to do that that’s not the idea.” He elaborates, “It’s not a guest record, those guys are part of our family and just happened to show up on that song, these guys will always be part of our life, they are so important to the sound of Supersonic Blues Machine.”

The first song written for the record was Running Whiskey; “that was Billy” recalls Fabrizio, “he was in the studio and said to come over and we started to put down some ideas and that song came into play and within a couple of days I was telling Billy if you don’t want to use it for ZZ Top or anything I think there is something we can do with this and he said ‘please go ahead, let’s find it a home.’”

From here things began to move, files were swapped over the internet between Fabrizio, Lance, Kenny and Serge. The more ideas started to be passed around the more things developed, they were collecting moods that wasn’t straight textures of blues, rock and Americana, things took on a darker Motown vibe or a “cross between Exile on Main Street and the Allman Brothers Band” as the producer describes.

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