The following is an edited transcript of a live online chat Friday with News Pop Music Critic Jeff Miers.
Q: Just watched the DVD on The Doors. How would you evaluate them and Jim Morrison?
Miers: I’m a major, major, major Doors fan. I rate the band very highly. Morrison, though he died before showing us what he might’ve done over the long haul, is for me one of the truly great rock frontmen. And the band’s music – a weird gothic mix of blues and pop and prog and psychedelia, and all of it hyper dramatic with a dose of William Blake and half-remembered Nietzsche – completely endures for me.
Q: Can Rolling Stone mag jump-start a band’s career? How influential is it?
Miers: Hmm. Well, the Sheepdogs never really got huge, even after they won the contest and landed on the cover of Rolling Stone. (Great band, though!) I think Rolling Stone’s days as tastemaker are well behind it. How seriously can you take them when they put Miley Cyrus on the cover? That reeks of desperation and is a betrayal to people who’ve been reading the magazine loyally for a long time.
Q: Phish makes all of their live shows available for streaming (at a cost) via their Live Phish network. Do you know if this model is being used by other groups, or are they the pioneers?
Miers: It’s being used by many greats – of course, everything Grateful Dead-related, but Pearl Jam does it, too. Phish, I think, have done it the best – very high quality, user-friendly downloads.
Q: Have you had a listen to the new Motorhead album yet? Hard to believe Lemmy is still alive, never mind still playing!
Miers: And even harder to believe that the album is so good! “Heartbreaker” is a smoking tune! Lemmy is like AC/DC – he can rewrite the same tune over and over and still make it sound fresh!
Q: Jeff, you did a great article on the new Alt Buffalo station 107.7 when it first arrived. It has since fallen off of its programming wagon in terms of playing upcoming indie artists and has shifted to mostly massive hits from the last two decades, with a few, now overplayed, tracks from said indies. My excitement has gone to sheer disappointment, and I have already tuned out. What say you?
Miers: The wheel is still in spin. I think now is the time that the station might be most responsive to listener feedback. We definitely don’t need another station that’s playing cuts from albums most of us already own and can listen to whenever we feel like it. Real radio needs to be about NEW MUSIC!
Q: When albums are reviewed, do you think there’s a bit of pack journalism going on? No one wants to be too out of step with “experts.”
Miers: I absolutely do think that happens over and over again, and it makes me sick. If I have one thing going for me as a writer, I think it’s that I refuse to play that game. It’s so obvious when these writers don’t really know anything about music but are instead playing the hipster culture game, trying to look like they are always in tune with whatever fad is next in line. It’s embarrassing and a disservice to the MUSE.
Q: What have you to say about the Police’s career?
Miers: Flawless. Sting needed Stewart Copeland and Andy Summers to tame his self-indulgence and light a fire underneath him. Stewart and Andy needed Sting for his song-writing smarts. A perfect band. Five brilliant albums, and out.
Q: Are you excited about the return of Showplace Theater? Have you heard anything about the renovations?
Miers: I am, and I have, but I have not seen anything with my own eyes yet. I can say this: I welcome it back and have fond memories of incredible shows there by the likes of the Cramps, Kings X, Mercury Rev, and My Morning Jacket!!!