It’s that time of year again… Time to dig through an avalanche of Russian spam and find the handful of questions that are worthy of replies from the drug-addled braintrust here at RCR.
In their list of the “29 Greatest Blues Guitarists of All Time,” UltimateGuitar.com had John Mayer at #8 (ahead of Muddy, T-Bone, Albert & Freddie King and Elmore James, to name a few). What do you make of this?
Why 29? I have a theory: They originally wanted to feature 50 blues guitarists, but after typing in Mayer and Joe Bonamassa, the poor schmuck responsible for posting the list just said “fuck it, I’ve had enough.”
How did that little sabbatical at Music Aficionado work out for you?
Well, fine… if you conveniently ignore the fact that I never got paid for the one piece they published, or that my passing interest in classic rock doesn’t extend to bands like Hawkwind, 10cc and Wishbone Ash. Hey, I might be a somewhat nerdy boomer dude, but that doesn’t mean I like to sit around with moss growing on my north side while I fondle my favorite Seventies vinyls.
What’s RCR’s policy regarding sexual harassment in the workplace?
I should add to the previous response by noting that this blog is a very lonely pursuit (my three assistants abandoned me a long time ago). So RCR really doesn’t have a need for such a policy – unless “taking advantage of oneself” is viewed as a growing societal problem.
So you predicted an early exit for Trump… How’s that working out for you?
I also predicted Hillary would win the election and the Indians would win the World Series, so please smash my crystal ball into a thousand little pieces. As I’ve already shared with our readers, I’m a white male with a health care plan and money invested in the stock market. I also live in a community that actually has benefited from global warming, both in terms of a more pleasant climate and a relative lack of storm-related catastrophes. Fact is, I’ll probably do just fine (at least until Little Rocket Man launches the big one). Maybe you should check in with the MAGA hat-wearin’ dude down in Florida when he starts paying higher taxes on the same fitful income while using the ER as his primary care physician.
Jason Isbell, or Chris Stapleton?
That’s a tough one. The former is a masterful songwriter – and hugely entertaining on Twitter – but I had to agree with a fellow musician who pointed out that he liked the idea of Jason Isbell a lot more than the reality of him (I think he was mainly referring to Isbell’s studio recordings, which seem a little tepid compared to his emotionally charged live shows). Whether on stage or on record, Stapleton is my soul-singin’, blues guitar-playin’ honky tonk hero… In other words, he hits all of RCR’s sweet spots. Let me put it this way: When Stapleton played at Blossom Music Center in August, you could barely hear his wife Morgane’s powerful harmonies, and his go-to harp player Mickey Raphael couldn’t make the gig (some guy named Willie Nelson stole him away for his own tour). So essentially, we were left with a power trio, a modest yet tasteful backdrop, and a curious mix of well-crafted originals and oddball covers – including You Are My Sunshine and a nod to Lynyrd Skynyrd… and he still hit it out of the park. That’s how it’s done, son.
You watch a lot of garbage on TV. What are some of your guiltier pleasures?
I’d probably put Riverdale at the top of that list. Actually, it’s a lot better than a show based on Archie comics characters should be, and the key actors are just so damn cute – including Cleveland’s own Lili Reinhart, who plays Betty (I have to confess, with all that eye candy, I barely noticed that Season 2 is flying completely off the rails). I also got sucked into PBS’s The Durrells in Corfu, so maybe that mouth-breather was right when he called me a snowflake. Hey, I made up for all that fluff by watching a wonderful doc on Netflix about John Coltrane (another one on jazz trumpeter Lee Morgan is even better), so cut me some slack.
Taylor Swift, or Lady Gaga?
Hmmm, let’s see… Gaga is the one who wore the meat dress, and Swift likes to write songs that diss virtually everyone she’s ever dated, right? Taylor’s the shit though… I know this is old news, but I loved the way she absolutely crushed that DJ who grabbed her ass during one of those garbage meet-and-greet photo shoots. Her response when he sued her after losing his job was especially inspiring: “I’m being blamed for the unfortunate events of his life that are a product of his decisions, not mine.” As my tennis-playing wife likes to say, that’s game, set, match (motherfucker).
I understand you were interviewed as part of HuffPost’s Listen to America Tour. What did you say to convince them that Akron is a desirable place to live?
Well, their previous stop was in the Deep South, so I began by pointing out that Akron ain’t Birmingham… or even Charlottesville, for that matter (Neo-Nazis don’t have the balls to march in our streets – they wouldn’t even make it past Canton). I live in a very diverse and, for the most part, tolerant community that views our immigrant population as a strength, not a problem. More important, there’s plenty of room for everyone, because we live in a city of 200,000 that was built for 300,000 (which also means we don’t have any traffic to speak of). Another plus: Most visitors are shocked by how green Akron is. In fact, a former resident who now sells real estate in California is looking to purchase urban property to farm Chinese hardwood trees for Japanese musical instruments. I say, show us the money, and bring some of your friends too. As I pointed out in this piece from 2013, our city is basically for sale… just don’t fuck it up for those of us who still live here.
Any plans for the holidays?
I’ll probably suffer through a couple more episodes of Riverdale… put Stapleton’s new one on heavy rotation… catch Ryan Humbert’s holiday show at the Civic… watch the rejuvenated Cavs beat up on the rest of the NBA… and try to lay off the hard stuff, which means I need to limit my exposure to the relentless shitshow unfolding in our nation’s capital. Happy Holidays!