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Does Elvis Costello Bassist Steal Thunder with New Memoir?

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“Writing about music is like dancing about architecture.”

Bruce Thomas, bassist for Elvis Costello’s original backing band The Attractions, makes quick work attributing a quote popularized by Costello to its originator Martin Mull. It’s one of several examples in Rough Notes that attempts to take Costello down a peg or two – but at best paints Bruce as George Takei to Costello’s William Shatner. And why not? It’s made a household name of Mr. Takei, at least.

Bruce’s books are the only fly-on-the-wall accounts of the Costello machine – until Elvis’ book Unfaithful Music & Disappearing Ink drops in October. As any bass player knows, timing is everything, and this one is in the pocket.

Band dynamics are a bitch, and I’m sure Mr. Costello shares some of the blame for falling out with Bruce. Still, in my estimation, Bruce Thomas owes a hell of a lot to having worked for one of the best singer-songwriters of his or any generation.

Of course the E-Street Band take is personally when Springsteen works without them, and maybe Doug Stegmeyer did ultimately kill himself when Billy Joel decided to move in another direction. Springsteen, Costello and Joel’s most important records would be blank discs without the vested interest of these musicians, friends, and confidants – so the resentment is real, I get it.

q88125Thomas paints himself as the voice of reason in most every situation here. He’s the one that named The Attractions, created Steve Nieve’s moniker, tried to explain the famous Ray Charles/James Brown incident to Michael Jackson, and destroyed a tape where an interview caught drummer Pete Thomas (no blood relation) dragging Costello through the mud (only to unearth the story here?).

The demise of The Attractions is written as to make the whole thing sound mutual yet somehow Costello’s “fault.” Even when he criticizes himself, it’s done in a self aggrandizing way. Like how the likes of Chrissie Hynde, Tom Waits or Jim Keltner preferred Bruce to play functionally as opposed to creatively – as if asking Bruce to serve the song is somehow beneath him.

But honestly, whose memoir isn’t going to be self-serving? I know mine would be. You think I’m gonna say that someone else deserves most of the credit for my success? Would you? Also, Bruce is ultimately an artist, and true artists can be notoriously difficult chaps. Just look at Costello himself.

Truth be told, Thomas is an excellent writer. He has a way of taking swaths of time and condensing them into hyper intelligent chunks. Whole eras are boiled down into well executed and often beautifully illustrative paragraphs. I actually enjoyed reading it and recommend it to hardcore fans that know what a grain of salt tastes like.

Despite the drama, The Attractions did reunite for a few great great records and tours (and to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame) but it’s no wonder Costello tours with the exact same band minus Bruce – even calling themselves Elvis Costello & The Imposters with the mutli-talented Davey Faragher on bass.

Rough Notes attempts to take Costello down a peg or two – but at best paints Bruce as George Takei to Costello’s William Shatner.

Is he a great bass player? No doubt. His playing was integral to many of those songs. Is he a great writer? Indeed. You may even be interested in his fictionalized accounts of touring or his Bruce Lee biographyWill anyone know who he is in fifty years? No. Not to diminish his contributions, but look at the bands of other renown front-men, like Willie Nelson for instance. Willie’s bassist was on-board since 1968 yet you can’t tell me that guy’s name or that he died in 2011. Only hardcore fans know that stuff. It seems Bruce really did publish this memoir at the last possible moment it would be of interest.

Bruce Thomas knows which side his bread is buttered on. He just doesn’t want you to know he knows it. Read his book and see.

Brooklyn's own MC Krispy E has an opinion about most things you can put in your ear, eye, and mouth holes.

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Hip Hop Now

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Here’s five acts doing their thing in the first installment of Hip Hop Now.

Chicago rapper Saba‘s new record Care For Me features Chance The Rapper on “Logout.”

From Everything is Fine, a collaboration between rapper/satirists Jean Grae and Quelle Chris, here’s “Zero.”

Tyler, the Creator stays weird and rhymes chicken nugget with fuckit on rap nugget “Okra.”

Dallas rapper Bobby Sessions lost his cousin to police violence and channels that energy into the controversial “Like Me.”

Rapper/actor A$AP Rocky samples Moby‘s “Porcelain” on “A$AP Forver.”

Brooklyn's own MC Krispy E has an opinion about most things you can put in your ear, eye, and mouth holes.

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Aegyo – What the What?

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You know how you and your significant other do the baby talk thing? Come on, you do it, admit it. Sometimes you talk to each other in a childish voice or make silly little gestures that you would never use at, for example, a business meeting or at the dentist. Well, this is a whole cottage industry in South Korea and they call it Aegyo. 

Aegyo, a tool long leveraged by South Korean ladies to get what they want through sheer cuteness, has been leveraged by male and female K-Pop Idol groups to ginormous success. In fact, there are songs where one can do little cutsey gestures to the whole thing. Two popular aegyo anthems are The Gwiyomi Song and Oppaya, and there are videos aplenty on YouTube where folks of all ages and backgrounds vie for cringe-worthy cuteness. Some of these videos have millions upon millions of views. There’s even K-Pop Idol shows where folks watch each other express aegyo and react with howls of laughter.

Holy cow, the more I talk about this, the weirder it gets. Yet, I can’t look away.

Other cultures are jumping on the band wagon, too. Check out the videos below for some adorable examples.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jcgGASL8EXo

 

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STARS AMONG US

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There are stars among us and they’re shining brighter in each and every post. Thanks to the platforms of new media and growing creativity, we have a vast amount of refreshing personalities making their way to the spotlight. The barriers of entry have crumbled and the gate keepers are fading away.

So with the holiday season upon us let me take this time to give you the gift of laughter and share a few of these gems that should be on our bigger screens sooner than soon. Some you may already know and others you need to know. Pass it on! It’s free!

FIND THEM – FOLLOW THEM – LAUGH WITH THEM

P.S – Do yourself a favor…don’t watch while eating. You’ll choke on your food.

@jessiewoo_

@tonioskits

@mrcommodore

@majahhype

@sashamerci @dee.nasty

@haitianhusbands

@princemarni

3:15pm means 4:15pm some1 come get this man b4 them cancel the flight just because 😂

A post shared by Anthony Grant (@kingmarni_sonofthealmightygod) on

@success_jr

@iampapajean

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bb2ynNsjVTz/?hl=en&taken-by=iampapajean

@troyinla

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bb43oWxHsQ_/?hl=en&taken-by=troyinla

 

HB aka The World Traveler is fully committed to exploring and sharing with you what the world has to offer in travel and music. Get on board and enjoy the ride!

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