I watched the Grammy Awards last night, albeit more out of vocational obligation than any genuine interest. I had to write a recap about it this morning, which is why I tuned in. Otherwise, I didn’t really have too many horses in the race. I mean, I was heartened that Iggy was nominated for “Best Alternative Album” for Post-Pop Depression, but it went to the equally deserving Blackstar by the late David Bowie, so it’s a win either way.
Beyond that, I wasn’t really arsed. I was fleetingly curious to see Metallica further besmirch their legacy by performing with Lady Gaga. I actually don’t mind Lady Gaga, but this just seemed like she was trying entirely too hard to be all things to all people, and their performance was a hapless clusterfuck, but then … the Grammys have never gotten “rock” right, by pretty much any definition.
Otherwise, I’m frankly too old and too disinterested to care about bullshit like Beyonce, Ed Sheeran, Chance the Rapper and Adele and all that. I felt bad for Adele for her flub covering George Michael’s “Fastlove” as a funereal dirge, but she handled it with grace. If anything, I think the arrangment did no one any favors. She should have just sung “Praying for Time” and the intended end would have been handily achieved, but y’know … whatever.
Beyond complaining about kids today and their shitty taste in music, I was disheartened that the tribute to the Bee Gees focussed EXCLUSIVELY on their disco-era hits, with nary a mention to their stately back catalog of pop gems like “I Started a Joke,” “Lonely Days,” “I’ve Gotta Get a Message to You,” “To Love Somebody,” etc. Their august body of work was essentially reduced to a one-album wonder. Fuck that and whomever was responsble for same.
Lastly, I was unsurprised but still depressed that Alan Vega of Suicide was left off of the “In Memoriam” list. Granted, Vega – who passsed away in July 2016 – might not exactly have been a household name, but he was inarguably a pioneer. Not only were Suicide trailblazers in the New York proto-punk scene, they were incredibly influlentional on electronic music, light years ahead of whole genres. Campy, controversial, confrontational, bold and innovative, Alan Vega may not have sold as many records in his day as Bruno Mars, but he deserved at least a mention. He didn’t get one. Again, I’m not shocked, but for an institution that considers itself an authority, they should fucking well know better.
Anyway, here are two clips of Vega in action, albeit neither by Suicide.
The first is the proper video for “Juke Box Baby.” Incidentally, the diner he's periodically depicted in was Dave's Luncheonette on the corner of Canal and Broadway (long gone), which was a favorite hangout of the nascent Beastie Boys and pictured on the cover of the lone 8 Eyed Spy studio album. Upstairs was the Bulgarian disco that Eugene Hutz of Gogol Bordello threw absurd parties in. All that's gone now, of course. Just like Alan.
Secondly, here’s Alan covering "I Don't Care" and "I Remember You" with CJ Ramone, Daniel Rey and Bill Stevenson at the Ramones Beat on Cancer benefit in 1994.