Zilla

"Critical Bigotry in Action: A Brief Yet Telling Interlude": Right from the start I'm suspicious that Zilla's Egg CD looks like a "jam band" disc based on the "art" festooning the "cover." And lo and behold, one of the guys is credited with both congas and bongos, and the God Damn String Cheese Incident is thanked in the liners. So, yeah, Bingo was indeed his name-o. Call me Nostradamus, shit. Generally a gee-whiz poster boy for the proud Rock Critic Work Ethic, I find myself procrastinating for a full ten minutes between inserting the disc in the ol' PC and clicking "play." Okay, there. Happy now? Christ. I guess there are worse crimes than a sleeve-borne incipient wish to be the new Santana, but I can think of none right now, man.

Y'know, it occurs to me that the whole problem with the "jam nation" might be boiled down to a basic misunderstanding about the nature and history of "fusion." I mean, say what you will about McLaughlin, Corea, Shorter, et al., but they were all steeped in a Deep and Storied Tradition, and so when they went and "jammed it out," not only was it an at-the-time novel and, like, progressive thing to do, dude, but there was also some musical depth back in there. Somewhere. If you squinted. But these little jam bastards, they seem to take the God Damn Dead's "Space" as a starting point and never venture much further back. Okay, maybe I'm not being fair: They might not even know the Dead, let alone Weather Report or classic Miles-Herbie-Wayne-Ron-Tony. I mean that stuff was all a real long time ago. Hell, even Phish has been broken up for -- what, a full year? two, maybe? That's an eternity in hallucinogenic time. Oy. Okay, I'll shut up…66-plus minutes closer to a not-unwelcome death. But don't let me spoil your good time, brah.

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Scott Faingold