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Re: The Jann Wenner Implosion

The Jann Wenner Implosion
September 16, 2023 10:35PM
It's so poetic that the ur-Boomer has torpedoed himself by putting on full display the enormous arrogance and sense of cultural superiority that has fueled his particular ilk for their entire golden existence. Stupid motherfucker. "Women and Black guys are intellectually inferior to white male boomers, but I guess I should've included some in my book anyway to head off this stupid criticism." That's a paraphrase, but a reasonably accurate summary. Good lord. Not only is it a pig-ignorant worldview on the face of it, but to spend 60 years in the media and still be so fucking full of yourself to brush off the entirely foreseeable consequences of saying shit like that out loud instead of just shutting your idiot trap bespeaks an ego that is off any measurable scale.

Really, he could've wriggled his way off the hook of the question by just saying something like "Well, y'know, the people in the book are the artists who have always meant the most to me on a personal level." Boom. You make it subjective, just say your choices were made based on the criteria of what meant the most to you personally. But instead, Wenner has to try to argue that no, these guys I cover in the book are objectively superior and women and Blacks just can't measure up to the mighty white man pantheon. Good God almighty.

(And if you can't get a more intellectually insightful interview about the meaning of rock & roll from, say, Patti Smith or Chrissie Hynde than from Mick Jagger or Bono, that's on the interviewer, not the gender of the interviewees.)

Hopefully this will shut him up and remove his fucking thumb from the cultural scale once and for all. Good riddance if it does. I will always blame him and the 60s California fetishism that he fostered for the fact that most people didn't even get the chance to discover that they loved the Ramones until after all four of the noble bruddas were a'mouldering in their graves.

I will never forget the interview I saw with him where he said that Rolling Stone shifted its focus towards Hollywood in the second half of the 70s because "there was nothing interesting going on musically." Fuck him.

Now let's see if the Monkees get nominated for the RRHOF in 2024. Oh! And I just realized, with Wenner disgraced and removed from the HOF board, that greatly reduces the danger of John Mayer being a first year of eligibility inductee in a couple years. The weekend gets even better!

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 09/16/2023 10:50PM by breno.
Re: The Jann Wenner Implosion
September 17, 2023 10:46AM
It reminds me of a memoir by a '70s FM rock radio DJ I read last year. Somehow, Crosby, Stills & Nash and Black Sabbath are considered part of the same genre, but it's just a coincidence that Jimi Hendrix was the only Black artist who was! If James Taylor makes someone's cut as a rocker but Stevie Wonder and Aretha Franklin don't, something's going on besides their musical taste.

Does Wenner have that much influence over RS these days? The last issue I saw had Karol G on the cover, so things have obviously changed a bit since the '70s.
Re: The Jann Wenner Implosion
September 17, 2023 11:15AM
He hasn't been actively involved with Rolling Stone since it was sold in 2019 or thereabouts. Not that Rolling Stone is the least bit relevant these days, beyond occasionally grabbing headlines with updated "500 Best..." lists - which notably got much more diverse once the magazine changed hands. Its most recent update of the 500 greatest albums put What's Going On in the #1 spot, with longstanding top spot hog Sgt. Pepper dropping to #24. Still too high in my opinion*, but it goes to show that once you get the nincompoops who are fixated on the idea that Haight-Ashbury in the Summer of Love was the apex of human civilization out of the way, people with actual ears can come up with better opinions.

*Revolver and Abbey Road both made the top 20, which I have no bellyache with. In a way, they'd been the biggest victims of Sgt. Pepper worship for the last 50+ years, vastly superior albums overshadowed by overripe nostalgia for that one damn summer when the drugs flowed more freely than the shampoo. Rubber Soul also should rank higher than Sgt. Pepper, as should Help, A Hard Day's Night - hell, nearly every album the Beatles made. Give me "A Day in the Life" and "Within You Without You" and bury the rest of Sgt. Pepper in a landfill and I won't feel that I'm missing out on much.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/17/2023 11:17AM by breno.
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Re: The Jann Wenner Implosion
September 17, 2023 12:29PM
I don't hate SGT. PEPPER or even dislike it, but MAGICAL MYSTERY TOUR was the superior Beatles album of 1967, and SGT. PEPPER would've been greatly improved if half of it was replaced with "I Am the Walrus," "Blue Jay Way," "Strawberry Fields Forever," 'Penny Lane" and "Flying." If the Kinks had written and performed songs like "Lovely Rita" and "When I'm 64," they would have been so much sharper - for an album with a reputation for lysergic psychedelia, SGT. PEPPER is actually loaded with mediocre music hall rock!

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/17/2023 12:46PM by steevee.
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Re: The Jann Wenner Implosion
September 17, 2023 04:11PM
I'm actually a huge fan of Sgt. Pepper and do think it's a great album from that era, but it was ridiculous how Rolling Stone insisted on inflating its reputation as the Mount Everest of rock throughout Wenner's reign, surely his doing. Among Beatles albums, I do prefer Revolver and Rubber Soul, and probably A Hard Day's Night and Abbey Road (moreso if "Maxwell's" wasn't on there).

The music hall stuff bothers me less now after hearing other British psychedelia pick up on the same thing and seeing that form of entertainment still prevalent in British films from that era. I don't think it's great, but I value it as a time capsule of the culture, something that was still very much there in British life.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/17/2023 04:16PM by belfast.
Re: The Jann Wenner Implosion
September 17, 2023 04:19PM
> ... that one damn summer when the drugs flowed more freely than the shampoo.

Ohhh jeez, I almost choked on my ice tea when I read that. Reno, as always, you're a total badass. My hat's off to ya.
Re: The Jann Wenner Implosion
September 17, 2023 04:44PM
To play devil's advocate, I learned about the Velvet Underground at 13 thanks to RS, when their lead review in a 1985 issue focused on VU and the reissues of the first three albums. I also fondly remember some of David Fricke's editorial picks for lead album reviews, especially David S. Ware and a set of John Coltrane and Sun Ra reissues. (Picture Wenner listening to WHITE LIGHT/WHITE HEAT or SPACE IS THE PLACE, then ducking out to snort coke with John Travolta!)
Re: The Jann Wenner Implosion
September 17, 2023 07:51PM
Yeah, I remember reading about the VU remasters in that issue of Rolling Stone. I also learned about Joy Division from RS, thanks to a lead review by Mikal Gilmore ... and thanks to that review, I got my first taste of the Velvets, by way of Joy Division.

And even if Wenner did believe, as he said, that there was nothing interesting going on musically in the latter half of the Seventies ... well, somebody had the good sense and good taste to put Blondie, Cheap Trick, The Cars, the Sex Pistols, David Bowie and Patti Smith on the cover during that half-decade (plus The Clash and The Pretenders in 1980). "Fiiive years ... that's all we got!"
Re: The Jann Wenner Implosion
September 17, 2023 09:48PM
They also ran a very extensive piece by Greil Marcus on Britain's post-punk scene in 1980. It's one of the best things Marcus ever wrote.
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Re: The Jann Wenner Implosion
September 17, 2023 08:17PM
Yeah, my beef has always been more with Wenner as a person than Rolling Stone itself. Fricke is indeed pretty unimpeachable in the field of music journalism, and plenty of other writers - Ira included - did outstanding work for the mag. Hell, it gave the lead review one week to Julian Cope's Peggy Suicide. I have the impression that once Wenner lost any real interest in current music, he didn't much care what the magazine did but reserved the right to decree that some subpar U2 or Mick Jagger was actually a five star masterpiece, and to quash a mediocre review of a current powerhouse, such as when Jim DeRogatis got himself personally fired by Wenner for writing a two star review of Hootie's Fairweather Johnson (well, there was a little more to the story than that, but Wenner's refusal to let RS run a negative review of the mighty at that moment Blowfish was the inciting incident).

I know I'm likely being entirely hyperbolic and unfair to Rolling Stone when I blame it for the fact that American radio stagnated at the exact moment that punk was happening, especially given that RS carried plenty of favorable coverage of punk at the time. But that generation of radio programmers was the one that came of age with the belief that Rolling Stone was the Bible, and they got the peculiar belief that "The Grand Illusion" would speak more directly to teenagers than "The Whole Wide World" from somewhere. And while Wenner was fine with Fricke et al covering new music favorably in the magazine, he never went out of the way to hide the fact that that was just to provide the magazine a veneer of continued relevance and that he personally couldn't care less and would no more lower himself to being in the same building with Captain Sensible or Jimmy Pursey (unless there was a soundproofed V.I.P. lounge where a label was footing the champagne bill) than he would to not kiss Eric Clapton's ass anytime it presented itself to him.

RS may not have been responsible for the fact that my generation of high schoolers by and large chose to ignore the most exciting music being made at the time, but it was definitely one of the symptoms of the disease. Which may or may not maintain a coherent stream of thought from my previous paragraphs, but whatever. Consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/17/2023 08:19PM by breno.
Re: The Jann Wenner Implosion
September 18, 2023 05:04PM
Mr. Wenner also told the New York Times last week that Rolling Stone’s infamous University of Virginia rape hoax article in 2014 was “bulletproof”—“other,” he states, “than this one key fact that the rape described actually was a fabrication of this woman.” He's really on a roll!

Re: The Jann Wenner Implosion
September 18, 2023 06:22PM
> RS may not have been responsible for the fact that my generation
> of high schoolers by and large chose to ignore the most exciting music
> being made at the time, but it was definitely one of the symptoms
> of the disease.

I'd place much more of the blame on the commercial rock radio of the era. Those radio stations had the power to reach a vast audience of American teenagers, and they chose to focus not on "What cool music can we attract them with?" but "How can we prevent them from changing the dial?" RS certainly didn't hew to the cutting edge, but I did learn about some cool bands from it ... whereas I didn't learn shit from commercial radio about the bands and artists who truly changed my life.
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Re: The Jann Wenner Implosion
September 18, 2023 08:35PM
As someone who has freakishly kept all his old music mags, I have to agree with delvin that RS in the late 70s early 80s introduced me to alot of cool bands. Thumbing through back issues proves this out.

…Of COURSE not to the extent of TP (or even creem), but in those pre MTV days, the print media was all a kid from a small town had to discover different music. RS played a role. Their positive review of Sandinista was revelatory (to teenage me, anyway).

Again like delvin mentioned, had I only relied on local rock radio, I’d only know zeppelin, foghat and the Boston debut album.

Rolling Stone was always going to over-rate the Springsteens of the world. It’s part of the deal.

As for breno’s original post about Wenner, bravo….go get him. He sounds like a jerk.
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