(above : not the Dean Of American Food Critics)
Music critic Chuck Eddy, whose 1980’s efforts laid the groundwork for major reassessments of
some of the worst records of all time seriously unhip genres, is profiled in the newspaper of his adopted hometown, the Austin American-Statesman. Eddy, who sued the Beastie Boys for a half million dollars for dumping a bucket of water over his head, “has listened to more music than you have,” declares interviewer Joe Gross. Hey, Refrigerator Perry has eaten more bologna sandwiches than Eddy and Gross combined. When is his book on fitness and nutrition coming out?
“(Frank) Kogan really kind of convinced me that, starting at some point, post-disco music rocked harder than rock did,” Eddy said. “It made me really rethink a lot of why I liked certain things and made me realize just how much music people listen to because they thought it was good for them.”
Part of the problem, and one that cuts to the heart of lifelong rock’n’roll fans suddenly “discovering” “post-disco”, is that viewing said (sub)genre thru the prism of rock’n’roll is entirely bogus. Why not consider whether or not rock (old or new) is as useful for dancing, fucking, cutting up lines or doing your taxes to as dance music? If Kogan helped Eddy reconsider his own tastes, that’s awesome (and not so surprising — Kogan is several times more interesting), but who the fuck is Chuck to claim he has the first clue why anyone else likes music? Who exactly are these peer-pressured saps who listen to music (popular or otherwise) out of some misguided sense of obligation? I honestly don’t know a single one. I’m aware of no shortage of people who have trouble articulating why they’re into something (a couple of whom attempt to work it out in public via the auspices of Austinist), but where do I get off telling them “you’re only listening to
Steve Earle Batttles Jens Lekman Odd Future Air Traffic Controllers because you think you’re supposed to?”
“I could write about underground bands from England forever, but it might be more interesting and more fun to write about the new Debbie Gibson album. Part of it was trying to keep myself interested.”
Hey, as long as it was interesting for you. Enough of these recording artists and their self-indulgences, let’s celebrate those of a rock writer bold enough to admit his big epiphany was reframing himself as less funny version of Metal Mike Saunders.
“People like Christgau and Greil Marcus worship their heroes in ways that I don’t,” he said. “I don’t really have any heroes. There’s nothing wrong with either method; it’s just a difference in how our minds work. There are very few artists in whom I am interested for their whole careers.”
The irony is that said comment comes near the conclusion of a piece that heralds the publication of a Chuck Eddy career retrospective. If you’re eager to evaluate his cultural contributions over those of time-wasters like Mark E. Smith, Rick Reed, Tom & Christina Carter, Michael Yonkers, John Wesley Coleman or any other deluded types who should’ve packed it in after one record, please be my guest.