Monday December 18th 2017

Search Store

Random Products

Batman: Arkham City Mr. Freeze Statue By Dave Cortes from Warner Bros.

Batman: Arkham City Mr. Freeze Statue By Dave Cortes from Warner Bros.
$149.95
Time to chill! Based on the video game Batman: Arkham City and the art of Dave Cortes, this action figure ...

Supernatural Chevy Impala 1:18 Scale Car from Warner Bros.

Supernatural Chevy Impala 1:18 Scale Car from Warner Bros.
$59.95
This Supernatural collectible is a die cast 1:18 scale model of the 1967 Chevy Impala driven by Dean Winchester ...

Superman Caped Pint Glass from Warner Bros.

Superman Caped Pint Glass from Warner Bros.
$14.95
This 16 ounce Superman pint glass comes with a removable cape! Although the glass is dishwasher safe, hand washing is ...

Random Products

Batman: Arkham City Mr. Freeze Statue By Dave Cortes from Warner Bros.

Batman: Arkham City Mr. Freeze Statue By Dave Cortes from Warner Bros.
$149.95
Time to chill! Based on the video game Batman: Arkham City and the art of Dave Cortes, this action figure ...

Superman Caped Pint Glass from Warner Bros.

Superman Caped Pint Glass from Warner Bros.
$14.95
This 16 ounce Superman pint glass comes with a removable cape! Although the glass is dishwasher safe, hand washing is ...

Supernatural Chevy Impala 1:18 Scale Car from Warner Bros.

Supernatural Chevy Impala 1:18 Scale Car from Warner Bros.
$59.95
This Supernatural collectible is a die cast 1:18 scale model of the 1967 Chevy Impala driven by Dean Winchester ...

Hey there, Mr. Grumpy Gills

Facebook Twitter Reddit Digg Pinterest Linkedin Tumblr Stumbleupon Delicious Plusone Email

Q.  “I think the Internet is the most dangerous thing invented since the atomic bomb,” John Mellencamp recently told Reuters. “It’s destroyed the music business. It’s going to destroy the movie business.” What is wrong with these people?

 A.  John, you keep swimming when life gets you down. Sounds like Mr. Sourcrab’s been nipping at the vinegar again. It’s not that the internet is killing these industries, it’s reshaping them — just as prior technology got them this far. Cause and effect created by invention, hardly a new concept. Feel free to insert a “horse and buggy” reference at your convenience.

Artists complain but eventually go with the flow because the flow is where he money is — where the industry will always find itself. Internet downloading is just the latest trick and it’s relatively final. This is my guess why Mellencamp is cramping. I don’t know what he’s not happy about.

When I moved west, I rented a truck and loaded the Mom’s Attic with tightly-packed bricks of about 800+ CDs. About 2000 miles later, the suspension was, um, as the guy from AAA said, “completely fucked.” Add passengers and the inside tread of the front tires had worn to nothing due to the weight. One blew just past Barstow and, boy, that was a fun day.

Today all that music and more fits in your pocket. The equivalent weight enough to overwhelm the structural integrity of a Ryder truck can now be stored on a device that clips to your shoulder and weighs an ounce. An environmentalist like Mellencamp should be thrilled we’ve grown this portable, streamlined and efficient. All that needless bulk; all the landfills free of packaging from albums like Cuttin’ Heads, cassettes like Rough Harvest or his latest CD, No Better than This.


Album sales overall are down. Overlooked as a reason? We no longer need to buy Michael Jackson’s Thriller again. We originally had it on vinyl; recorded it to cassette to hear it in the car; broke down, bought the cassette; then the CD and now downloaded on iTunes. We’re done. I’m not surprised it’s the biggest selling album of all time, count me at four copies. Some even bought the reel-to-reel.

We can now park our music in a digital format and we’re good for the foreseeable future. When the cerebral implant becomes reality and you bump music to your brain using an iPhone app, count me in (I thought of it first).

VINYL: Audiophiles still swear by it. That it’s not dead, is a testimony (way to go, Edison!!) but you couldn’t bring it to the car. Remedied by 8-track, the portability could not outweigh the fact that it sucked like you could not believe. Cassettes unsucked. We’d proceed to re-buy everything again. No complaints so far from Mellencamp.

Technology to record cassette-to-cassette was supposed to destroy the industry too. If it had, we’d be talking about that and not how Mellencamp’s last Top 10 song was 1994’s “Wild Night” (#1 in Canada/#3 USA). While his first seven albums impressively yielded nine Top 10s, his last 13 have just the one — a Van Morrison cover — SIXTEEN years ago.

SIDE NOTE ABOUT CASSETTES: Very easy to steal and how perfectly they fit in your pocket. Ask Johnny Cougar if physically stealing is preferred. I watched a friend shoplift American Fool in 1982 and he liked it so much he stole Uh-huh the following year. How easy? Day of high school graduation, I mentioned a tape I wanted. Same friend turned, walked in the store and was back a few minutes later with it in his hands — that easy, and a thoughtful gift. It’s the industry’s job to protect the product. The internet isn’t the cause of the felony, it’s the messenger.

COMPACT DISCS: Harder to steal. Reluctance to switch with so much tech turnover in the 1980’s, this soon changed everything. Now perfect home stereo on the road. Re-buy everything and to hell with the next delivery system, we’re not changing again. Take your Digital Compact Cassette and whatever the hell that other thing was and shove it up your ass. We’re happy with CDs and are all spent out.

DIGITAL: Even better, but the last time we’re doing it. Download immediately, have a new album or song the moment it’s released and you don’t need to go anywhere. It weighs nothing. We can live without liner notes and packaging. Get the lyrics and artwork on your phone. No paper or plastic, total portability. Bye bye, Tower Records and Virgin Megastore. Save a tree and gas, the internet wins again.

Scuse me while I kiss this guy??” Not anymore. [Mondegreen: click here] “Tiny Dancer” lyrics become Hold me closer, Tony Danza?” Smartphone. In less than a minute, the rumor’s flushed and everyone knows the words. Wouldn’t a songwriter of this magnitude be thrilled about this? Wrapped up like a douche, another runner in the night?” That one got me in trouble when I was a kid. Lyrical mishaps like these are a thing of the past thanks to the net.

Ask Journey. Looking for a lead singer, they found Arnel Pineda on YouTube. Neal Schon saw his videos and sent him an email. Without the internet, it would have taken Schon years of auditioning Filipino cover bands in order to find the right fit.

How many times did you buy a shitty album because of one song? No other consumer choice was available. Now you download the song and be done with it. Listen to it and if you like it, buy more or complete the album. Total freedom.

Also in that moving truck was a set of encyclopedias that weighed about 75 pounds. Where’s Johnny’s support for all that paper, weight and annoying sales staff at your door? Pick up a magazine and it’s smaller than it was last issue. Advertisers went internet. Newspapers? Internet. Same information and you get it now. Why pay to read it again tomorrow? No paper, less waste and crap to lug around. Mellencamp should be doing cartwheels.

It’s not an album world anymore. Mellencamp has failed to thrive in the iTunes era because he has no new singles worth $1.29 a click. He’s a forgotten child of the internet because we already own his best work.

You have to go back 14 years to find a Mellencamp album with any significant singles chart success (Mr. Happy Go Lucky). In 2003, Trouble No More had two releases which failed to chart, compare that to SIX charting singles from the brilliant The Lonesome Jubilee (1989) and an amazing SEVEN off Scarecrow (1985). He would have cleaned house if the net was available 25 years ago — singles download galore and probably never a bad word about the system. Made in the shade, like a ball through a hoop.

The entertainment industry treats its product like a cheap commodity with zero shelf life, he’s right about that. The goal is not quality, it’s what might sell — still not the internet’s fault — but to say the Chinese or Russians are the only smart countries in the world is a sad indictment of the Americana one would think Mellencamp would be prone to praise. Why can’t good-ole fashioned American ingenuity hack into the power grid and financial system? Why not us?

Interviews like this confirm why people stopped buying his music. Bitter and preachy on our dime, usually the last people we want entertaining us. Subtle hints, an older grump who still wants people to care what he thinks but unable to connect musically.

I don’t get artists so actively campaigning for one side of the political divide then bitching about the result when they’re the ones who alienated half the fanbase. This is a statement artists choose to make and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. No longer appealing to half your audience, though, is bound to effect your numbers.

And lastly, old man, rock and roll isn’t going anywhere. It flows, it reacts and adapts but always endures. Every kid wants to play guitar and this will never change. We have air guitar contests and Rock Band for those who can’t figure it out for reals. Some will. Some of the more talented kids will form bands. Some of those bands will be good and we’ll buy some of their music. It’s a guarantee they’ll have more avenues to reach an audience with the internet than without it.

I have seen the enemy and it is not the web.

Somewhere in the mushroom cloud fall-out left by the second-half of John Mellencamp’s career, sits a talented singer-songwriter who — forget the future — refuses to embrace the present. Worst yet, he may never realize the degree in which he’s been verbally manhandled here because he refuses to use the internet to click links like this.

>> Follow: @SoapyJohnson on Twitter.

>> Comment: Place it on Lucky Dan on Facebook.

© 2010 – 2013, Soapy Johnson. All rights reserved.

Facebook Twitter Reddit Digg Pinterest Linkedin Tumblr Stumbleupon Delicious Plusone Email