He's my Marty and I'll cry if I want to... In rock and roll, as in all things temporal, eras must pass. Groups form and disband, trends ebb and flow, styles mutate and divide, deals are inked and forgotten in the shuffle. And critics, who generally do their best to internalize the changing climate of the musical times, must eventually retire their earplugs, put the press pass out to pasture and settle down into some occupation more suitably adult than the chasing of pop culture's illogical vagaries.
As a specter of looming probability, it's enough to make a twentysomething scribe start scouting prospects in the advertising industry.
It's enough to drive a 47-year-old veteran to quit the biz: in case you haven't heard the news, Monday, March 7 marked the last day that Chronicle crit Marty Racine covered the music beat. A few months back, I printed some crack about Marty's Lawn of the Month and imminent shift to the gardening column. I wasn't right (he'll be writing features and travel for the Chron's Sunday Texas magazine and Zest), but I wasn't nearly as wrong as I thought.
I'll miss him. Marty hired on at the Chron in '81, about the time I started high school. Bob Claypool was probably better known 'round these parts, but I wasn't reading much about country then. Not to imply that I spent a lot of time reading music reviews in high school, but I recognized Marty's byline. Little did I know I'd be taking printed pot shots at him 13 years later.
And that's reason number one I'll miss him. He stopped going out so much there at the end, as will we all, so it was easy to be hipper than Marty. Guess I'll have to start lobbing barbs into Claudia Perry's camp.
But there's another reason I'll miss Marty, and it's that no matter what else happened on his beat, Marty was every now and then going to get pissed off and hit print with a bile-filled rant that identified its prey's soft white underbelly and shredded it into slaw without the slightest hint of mercy. It was probably your favorite band he was disemboweling, but it was a joy to read nonetheless.
But he's quitting, by his own choice, because "there comes a point where you just have to take stock of what you want to write about." Oh, and because "finally, you just run out of adjectives."
Marty knew how to hate crap, and I for one hope that he finds less of it on his new desk.
Donna McKenzie makes a second consecutive appearance in this column, but she had
to work for it this time. Live from New York's Radio City Music Hall, it's Donna McK's Backstage-at-the-Grammys Quote Collection:
John Waite to DMcK: "If a bomb dropped on Radio City Music Hall, it would be good for the industry. A lot of very bad people are going to be here."
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Sting, questioned on Bono's use of profanity: "All he said was fuck."
Stone Temple Pilots, responding to DMcK's question -- what does it mean to you to win a Grammy?: "Well, it means nothing."
Don't you wish you'd been there?
I think I've got this straight. Seldom-seen Houston band Seed plays their swan song at Epstein's Thursday, March 10. Only they're playing as Vitamin Seed, to avoid conflict with a national band with a claim on the Seed name. But they're never playing again anyway, so who cares. Go see 'em. You won't get another chance.
And just in case that was too complicated, the real reason I'm plugging this show is the presence on the bill of openers Lozenge, which, despite its inclusion of a rather artsy Rice sort who proofreads for this paper, kicks up a raucous, rattle-rhythmed storm of noise. Again -- probably self-destructive, so see them now if you want to see them at all.
Frank Zwee, of Zwee and the Graveberries, stopped by the other day to drop off a tape and let me know the band'll be releasing it March 11 at Munchies. Tape sounds like a groove band, lots of reverbed rhythm guitar and jam-oriented songs. Strong bluesy vocals, though not much in the way of the soloing I need to prop myself up for a three-chord jam, no matter how perky. Brand-new band -- isn't that what everyone's always looking for?