Freedom Rock

J. Freedom du Lac
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, May 1, 2006; 2:00 PM

Join Washington Post music critic J. Freedom du Lac online on Monday, May 1, at 2 p.m. ET to talk about the latest on the music scene: hip-hop, pop, alternative, country, alt-country, rock, reggae, reggaeton, R and B and whatever it is that Ashlee Simpson does.

The transcript follows.

____________________

J. Freedom du Lac: Greetings, party people. My weekend was about an 8.4 on the 10-point Pitchfork scale. Thanks for asking.

A preemptive post here, to answer the inevitable weekly Radiohead question: They're kicking off a smallish tour on June 1-2 at Tower Theatre in Philly, with tickets on sale this Saturday. Then it's June 4-5 in Boston, 7-8 in Toronto, 10-11 in Montreal, 13-14 at the MSG Theatre, the 17th at Bonnaroo (but you already knew that), 19-20 in Chicago, 23-24 at the Greek Theater in Berkeley and 26-27 in San Diego.

Yes, DC gets hosed. No, I won't take you to the Philly show with me. And no, I don't know when their new album is coming out.

Another kinda preemptive post: I'm issuing a fatwa (phatwa?) against Tool questions.

OK, let's get to it.

_______________________

washingtonpost.com: washingtonpost.com:Giving Indie Acts A Plug, or Pulling It; Pitchfork Web Site Rises as Rock Arbiter

_______________________

Vienna, Va.: Do you have any plans to start blog here on washingtonpost.com, the way some of the other writers have?

J. Freedom du Lac: No. I'm good for about three thoughts a week -- at best.

What would I possibly say? "Today, over breakfast, I began listening to the new Gnarls Barkley album. It goes great with cereal. I like cereal. Especially cereal with colorful marshmallows."

_______________________

Hipsterville: You gave Pitchfork way too much credit for their role in the CYHSY story. The 'Fork wasn't the first arrival at that party. But a decent story anyway. Do you like Ryan personally? What about the rest of the Pitchfork staff?

J. Freedom du Lac: Pitchfork wasn't the first to write about Clap Your Hands Say Yeah. But their enthusiasm for the band really sent the hype into overdrive. Behold the power of Pitchfork: "Clap Your Hands were together for a year and a half and then suddenly Pitchfork got ahold of their record and it was like wildfire," the group's publicist, Ken Weinstein, told The New York Times last year. (And don't fool yourself: That the completely self-contained band suddenly needed a publicist is a tribute to Pitchfork's impact and influence.)

Anyway, NPR explained it all pretty well last year in an "All Things Considered" segment on the Internet's ability to break bands.

As NPR's Jacob Ganz noted, MP3 blogger Dan Beirne was really the guy who got the buzz ball rolling for Clap Your Hands, with a June 9 write-up on Saidthegramophone.com. Over the next couple-few days, BrooklynVegan and Gothamist chimed in. Then came a Pitchfork track review by Ryan Schreiber himself. More digital coverage followed, and Bowie (a Pitchfork reader, by the way) showed up at a CYHSY gig hosted by Gothamist -- and then, on June 22, the 9.0 album review was posted on Pitchfork.

Suddenly, it was next to impossible to find the album anywhere, as the band struggled to meet demand. Shows were selling out all over the place, too (I couldn't even get into the band's Black Cat gig here because the club was way past the point of capacity). And there was all sorts of mainstream media attention, with features in the NY and LA Times, a nice plug in Rolling Stone and the NPR segment itself, etc.

Would it have happened without the big Pitchfork plug? I guess it's possible. But it's kind of hard to deny the impact Pitchfork had on the band's career trajectory.

As for Ryan himself: I rather enjoyed talking to him. As a breed, music journalists can be insufferable. (And don't I know it.) But he struck me as a pretty affable dude. In fact, I pretty much liked all of the Pitchfork staffers I met in Austin.

_______________________

Silver Spring, Md.: So Free, is it a jail stint that's taking you away for a couple weeks?

J. Freedom du Lac: Yes. Please send cookies. And soap-on-a-rope.

_______________________

Washington, D.C.: That prospective blog post of your's would be better than roughly 63.4% of most music blog posts.

J. Freedom du Lac: And that's really the bar I'm trying to reach. "My copy sucks just a little bit less than 63.4% of everybody else's copy."

_______________________

Vienna, Va.: Yes, I would read that blog.

J. Freedom du Lac: You need help.

(By the way, for lunch, I'm having chicken tika - hold the mayo - from Naan and Beyond. It's more delicious than Oppenheimer's "Breakfast in NYC." Better for you, too. But I think it needs marshmallows.)

_______________________

Rosslyn (*wink*): Hey J. Free,

If you take me to Radiohead, I promise to cover your ears every time we hear any James Blunt in a mall, elevator or supermarket.

J. Freedom du Lac: Fortunately, they don't play James Blunt at the Giant on 7th St NW. So I'm covered there.

_______________________

Springfield, Va.: Bruce - If you want to get political then release a protest album - not a bunch of old Pete Seeger folk songs.

J. Freedom du Lac: Well, that might be true but for the fact that there aren't any Pete Seeger songs on the album. Nice tribute.

_______________________

'I think people assume I'm this huge, elitist jerk.' : Geez, do you think? Schreiber didn't do much to change that perception in talking about the damage done by leveling the Travis Morrisons of indieana. 'On a personal level, I feel bad. But on a journalistic level, I don't. It's important for us to be as completely honest as we possibly can.'

So he is really saying that it's his job to be a huge, elitist jerk, even though he is not a huge elitist jerk. What is he then? The sweet and accidental ruler of an evil empire? The nice guy who unwittingly pays other people to be huge, elitist jerks on his behalf? That is bull.

Free, you hung out with him tell us what you really think. Please rate his elitist jerkiness on a scale of 0.0 to 10.0, with 10 being the mother of all elitist jerky d-bags.

J. Freedom du Lac: I actually don't think Ryan merits a particularly high score on the elitist jerk-o-meter. Then again, as a huge, elitist jerk myself (or so I've been told), I'm not sure I'm qualified to comment on this one.

Speaking of comments: Wonder if Pitchfork will ever begin allowing readers to post comments at the end of its reviews, to make the site more bloggy. Somehow, I sort of suspect not, since the haters would hijack the site. And besides, that would all but put tuningforkmedia.blogspot.com out of business!

_______________________

Washington, D.C.: Did you talk to Schreiber about what spurred the increased coverage of hip-hop and other non-"indie" genres over the past few years? I mean, I guess the answer is sort of obvious in that as you get bigger you expand your coverage, but some it still seems quite odd and random. Cam'ron?

J. Freedom du Lac: He says his tastes have changed and developed (though, of course, indie rock is still Pitchfork's bread and butter). And don't underestimate the influence the rest of the masthead has had on shaping the site's coverage. When he's not busy making fantasy basketball trades, eg, managing editor Scott Plagenhoef oversees a massive chunk of the daily critical coverage.

By the way, I think Ryan himself digs a lot of the dance-pop stuff. When I was following him around Austin, one of the shows we hit was Goldfrapp. He definitely has range.

_______________________

Frederick, Md.: For some reason, I've been listening to my Bee Gee's cd's a lot lately. Is there something wrong with me?

J. Freedom du Lac: Which step of the 12 is this? The first one, right?

_______________________

Cloud Forest, California: For any music retailer, the statement that Pitchfork "rewards bands that are taking risks" is obstreperously hilarious. Perhaps this may have been true when Pitchfork grew as a nascent "outsider" site, but the intrinsic ethos the site has earned--marking it as an 'authority'--has overall neutered the ability for the site itself to take risks. This effect has trickled down to the point now at which few bands are willing to take risks to avoid the ever-ominous marginal Pitchfork review.

I'd like to state first off that I've enjoyed Pitchfork for many years (even before the grammatically infamous review of Radiohead's "Kid A" that repeatedly mistook the contraction "it's" for the word "its"), but what Pitchfork has now reaped is not a group of "risk-taking" bands but a collection of risk-averse bands trying to sound like a band Pitchfork would like.

The authority conundrum was quite graphically illustrated in D.C. during the early to mid-nineties when Fugazi started offering frat-guys their money back when mosh pits were created during their sets. Audience-members started seeing the disdain that violently thrashing about could elicit from an authoritative source (in this case, Ian). As time progressed, not only was violently moshing frowned upon, but so was dancing and later, any movement whatsoever-- to the point now at which the correct standard posture for a D.C. rock show is arms-folded, eyes straight ahead (I can't take credit for this thesis; this idea was first set forth in an excellent yet now-defunct online zine called the "Finley Breeze").

What we are seeing now is a similar effect in regard to Pitchfork. If you quash ends of the "risk-taking" spectrum (songs reviewed as "too long," "too short," "too sad," "too mathy," "too stark," "too frenetic," etc...) you start to see those risks decrease in frequency as bands start to fit within this invisibly evolving (sub?)cultural rubric. The ethos of the organization in question--be it Fugazi or Pitchfork--eclipses the willingness of the individual to take socio-cultural risks.

Thus, every indie band must now have a drummer who knows how to play a house beat. Every verse in every song must be clever, or at least cleverer than the last clever song. Innovation and experimentation are quashed in favor of a system of numerically-quantified taste, subscribed to not only by consumers but also by the creators of the necessary art themselves.

Pitchfork is a part of a larger phenomenon, much like the flash-mobbing young people profiled in Bill Wasik's outstanding "My Crowd" article in the March 2006 issue of Harper's Magazine. Wasik writes: "The hipsters make no pretense to divisions on principle, to forming intellectual or artistic camps; at any given moment, it is the same books, records, films that are judged au courant by all, leading to the curious spectacle of an "alternative" culture more unanimous than the mainstream it ostensibly opposes. What critical impulse does exist among their number merely causes a favorite to be more readily abandoned, as abandoned-whether Friendster.com, Franz Ferdinand, or Jonathan Safran Foer-it inevitably will be. Once abandoned, it is never taken up again."

Pitchfork is merely the digital embodiment of this phenomenon, quietly scribbled into the collective subconscious so that at every song heard, every album listened to the consumer must ask, "Sure I feel a certain way about this album. But what would PITCHFORK say of not only this song/album, but also of my self-affirmed good taste?"

We are fast becoming as homogenous as we (rightly or wrongly) view everyone else to be. How incredibly laudable it is that this path to self-discovery and artistic endeavor has led not to a new age of inspiration and experimentation, but a continual reification of a mutually-agreed upon "greatness" of that which came before.

J. Freedom du Lac: This may be one of the most thoughtful posts in Freedom Rock history. Of course, the bar is awfully low. But still.

I hear what you're saying, but do you *really* believe that artists are now trying to craft albums specifically to meet the approval of Pitchfork's critics? I'm having a hard time getting my head wrapped around that one. It's a pretty crass thought. I suppose it could happen - a sort of music-world equivalent of "Parkerization" in the wine world, where the Maryland-based wine critic Robert M. Parker Jr. has become so powerful in his ability to move markets that many wineries have quite clearly been crafting wines in the Parker-preferred style (super-ripe, heavily extracted, oaky, sans fining and filtration, etc). But still.

I don't disagree, though, with the group-think bit. As Travis Morrison says of indie-rock: "It's bar rock for intellectuals, and bars are more fun when there's a lot of people there. Most Pitchfork readers are just trying to find out where everybody is on Saturday night."

_______________________

Falls Church, Va.: re: Gnarls Barkley with colorful marshmallows

Another one of your typical fluff reviews...

J. Freedom du Lac: Boom tsk.

_______________________

SXSW: Hey, when you were in Austin, did you see my Twenties? Kinda sloppy, not much money, but mostly excellent tunes.

J. Freedom du Lac: Are you new here?

(See earlier fatwa against hey-did-you-see-my-favorite-obsure-band-when-you-were-at-SXSW posts.)

_______________________

Fairfax, Va.: What's shaping up as the biggest tour this summer? Looks like all the same names as every year, anything especially exciting?

J. Freedom du Lac: Biggest in terms of money? At this point, I'd have to guess Jimmy Buffet, Dave Matthews Band and maybe Springsteen -- though maybe not once people figure out that it's not Bruce with the E Street Band. The CSNY tour might do some decent business, too.

Most exciting among the big-venue tours? You mean, besides the Wayne Newton tour that's coming to the Birchmere in July? Call me crazy, but I'm looking forward to the Pearl Jam-My Morning Jacket show at the end of the month.

_______________________

Travistan: You neglected to mention that the Pitchfork review was right on. The album sucked. I loved Dismemberment Plan but Travis should have kept "Travistan" to himself.

J. Freedom du Lac: How about some Travis Morrison bonus coverage? (We talked for a pretty long time as I was reporting the Pitchfork story.)

Travis acknowledges that he was feeling his way around after D-Plan dissolved -- that he wasn't really sure what to do next.

"I'd been in the band for 10 years," he says, "and when you get out and you want to keep playing music, you can do two things: You can either develop your core competencies, or say [forget] it, I'm going to be 18 again and try whatever for a while." Solo projects that focus on the former, he says, "tend to be bummers," while he thinks that the try-whatever records "are actually the greats." Naturally, he decided to try whatever for a couple of years.

"Travistan," he says, was "a strange little document" that he'd hoped would serve as a palate cleanser. "I kind of figured people would be like: Oh, postcards from his vacation. How nice."

But you know what happened from there.

Should he have kept the thing to himself, as you (among many others) have suggested? He doesn't seem to think so, even in hindsight. "Maybe I shouldn't have released it. But what a bummer that is. Like, I have to tend my legacy like some famous rock band? [Expletive] that."

So, there you go.

_______________________

NE DC: So, have you finally listened to the new Pearl Jam album? Thoughts?

The vast majority of reviews I've read are positive (4 Stars Rolling Stone, 4 1/2 Stars AMG, 9 of 10 for Pop Matters, etc..)and I tend to agree. I'm a die hard fan and this is the most fun I've ever had listening to Pearl Jam. Can't wait to see them at the [Phone Company] Center on May 30th!!

Oh, this may not be their best album, but it's by far their most consistent. Really, there isn't a bad song to be found on 'Pearl Jam'.

J. Freedom du Lac: Yep, finally listened to it --- once Sony sent a real copy of the album instead of that stupid copy-protected advance that was so well protected that it wouldn't even play on my Sony CD Walkman. Way to go, Sony!

Anyway, I like the album. It's not 4 1/2-out-of-5 great, but it's the most listenable Pearl Jam album in what seems like an eternity. I wonder, though, what the deal is with the cover art. Looks like an ELO or Yes CD or something. Feh.

_______________________

Frederick, Md.: I love the trainwrecks that are actors turned musicians. I see two potential disasters coming to the Birchmere in the near future. Sadly, I can only choose one. So do I go with washed up action star Steven Seagal or wrinkled, too old for long hair, former pretty boy John Corbet?

J. Freedom du Lac: I'm telling you: Wayne Newton is going to put on the show of the year.

_______________________

Vienna, Va.: I had an oatmeal-to-go bar and some type of peach yogurt drink for breakfast. Lunch was a turkey sub. I can't wait for the new Pearl Jam album. Have you gotten that to play yet?

J. Freedom du Lac: I'm sorry, but the comments section of my new blog is now closed.

_______________________

Macon, Ga.: Just when America had recovered from it's long national nightmare of Pulp Fiction-inspired Dick Dale overexposure, along comes your best friend the Black Eyed Peas to stir up that whole mess again.

Also, who do I talk to to get TV people to stop using Iggy Pop in cruise commercials?

J. Freedom du Lac: You ever had a really good friend whose significant other you couldn't stand? That's how I feel about will.i.am and the Black Eyed Peas.

I think Will is great (as a writer ad producer, anyway; I don't think he's a particularly good MC). But I loathe the Fergie-era Peas. I blame them for Will's wack work on "Monkey Business."

_______________________

Bay Area, Calif.: J. Freedom: Were any pop musicians spotted at the Washington Correspondents dinner this weekend? Seems like a hip-hopper or two would have been more appropriate than has been television stars.

J. Freedom du Lac: Your view was the same as mine -- assuming you're a complete dork like I am and spent Saturday night at home watching the dinner on CSPAN. Ludacris was there, making what I believe to be a triumphant return to his old 'hood. (He apparently went to high school in Northern Virginia and was known at the time as Kris Kringle, or something embarrassingly similar.) But I didn't see anybody else of note from the pop world. I'm shocked that they didn't invite Neil Young to perform a couple of tunes from his new album. You know, like "Let's Impeach the President."

_______________________

Behind Barres: J.F. What kind of cookies? Or how about a laptop in a cake...what's your favorite cake???

J. Freedom du Lac: You know, this post would've been really funny had it been titled, Behind Pamela Des Barres.

I prefer Cake's "Fashion Nugget" to the rest of the band's oeuvre.

_______________________

Landau Rules: So what's next for Bruce...A Beatles tribute that covers only Bad Company and Oasis songs with a Gerry and the Pacemakers thrown in ?

J. Freedom du Lac: No, he's doing a Pearl Jam tribute, but he's only covering Creed and Our Lady Peace songs.

_______________________

Washington, D.C.: Isn't Pitchfork just turning into some sort of American version of the NME? Or am I off on that one?

J. Freedom du Lac: Not even close.

Though I reserve the right to change my opinion should Ryan & Co. name Band of Horses' "Everything All the Time" one of the five greatest American albums of all-time, a la NME's absurd Arctic Monkeys' declaration.

_______________________

Reston, Va.: I heard Bruce Springsteen is touring and there is a date in DC area. Where is it and are tix on sale yet?

J. Freedom du Lac: The official release from Bruce's camp sez May 28 at Nissan Pavilion. No word yet from the promoter, but if it's really gonna happen, then tickets are almost certainly going on sale this weekend.

_______________________

Secure and Undisclosed: Where is this place you are heading off to? Were you being facetious when you said you were getting married? We need answers!

J. Freedom du Lac: Schreiber and I are going on a road trip. We're following Velvet Revolver around Europe.

_______________________

Say it ain't so: Britney Spears is pregnant again. Please, someone take her to the vet and have her spayed! One good outlook about it is that she won't have as much time to sing.

J. Freedom du Lac: Do you think she overdubs her lullabies?

_______________________

Toronto, Canada: Just saw The Go! Team in (gulp) Vegas (I was at a work-related trade show).

Any thoughts on this incredible group??

J. Freedom du Lac: The Go! Team is terrific. Love the album, and I love them on stage - though seeing their live show kind of wears me out. Is there a more active frontwoman in pastiche rock than G!T's yell-squad rapper Ninja?

_______________________

Madison, Wis.: Maybe people like Pitchfork because it's readable, unlike, say, that post from Cloud Forest. (Snap!).

Saw a photo of Madonna at Coachella with guitar slung over her shoulder. Does she know how to play that thing?

J. Freedom du Lac: Snap indeed. (Though you're kidding yourself if you think that all Pitchfork pieces are readable. Some of them are like puzzles that are missing a few pieces. [Then again, my editor says the same thing about my stuff all the time. So....])

Madonna likes props.

_______________________

Gas City, Ind.: How's the Freedom Rock vibe on a Monday? Much different than a Wednesday?

J. Freedom du Lac: It's very bizarre. I don't even know me anymore.

_______________________

Norfolk, Va.: Speaking of Travis Morrison, coincidentally when I saw him he was playing with the Gaskets, the band you mentioned in the article. He was awful and the Gaskets both out drew and out performed him. I haven't heard the record, but I can't imagine Pitchfork was that far off.

J. Freedom du Lac: And speaking of the Gaskets, they're playing at Iota on the 27th with Greenland and Middle Distance Runner.

_______________________

Peace & Freedom: JF: Seems like the obsession with your name which clogged the cyberspace in your debut chats is replaced by the obsession of where you'll be next week! So, where WILL you be??

J. Freedom du Lac: Undergoing a name change to "morecredthanyou." It's a painful surgical procedure. Wish me luck.

_______________________

Somewhere else in Toronto: Black Eyed Peas in 2005 or KC and the Sunshine Band in 1979.

You can only pick one, sorry.

J. Freedom du Lac: Black Eyed Peas, assuming I'm at the infamous show where Fergie suffers bladder problems on stage. Quality entertainment.

_______________________

Rockville, Md.: So you issue a fatwa on Tool questions (yeah nevermind they've got an album coming out for the first time in 5 years, as well as a subsequent mini-US tour before going overseas, and also played the Coachella Festival) but you take Britney Spears pregnancy, not even questions but, comments. What a sad world we live in.

J. Freedom du Lac: I'm still waiting for somebody to explain the appeal of Tool. I don't get it. Please enlighten me.

_______________________

NW F Street: Hey Freedom!

Help me out here, I have a little boy, and his mom keeps getting him little boy music. Some of it isn't terrible, but most of it is. I just noticed that the new Springsteen record has a lot of songs that my boy has in his itunes folder (Erie Canal, Pay Me My Money Down etc.). Springsteen's new record may not be the greatest, but it beats all hell out of the Wiggles. Between you and me, -I- would like to beat all hell out of the Wiggles. Any advice on other music that fits the little kid mold but doesn't suck?

J. Freedom du Lac: How about the great jazz album, "John Coltrane & Johnny Hartman"? Kids should listen to more jazz. Much better than the Wiggles.

_______________________

Falls Church, Va.: Have you listened to Weasel's shows on 94.7 recently? It seems like ever since they did the "30 years in 30 days" gimmick they've been secretly trying to revive free-form radio. What I don't know, and would like to know, is am I the only one who thinks that's awesome, or have they gotten any commercial notice for it? And if they get too much notice, will their corporate parents bring the hammer down and switch them to "Jack" to maintain order?

J. Freedom du Lac: You've come to the wrong place. Paul Farhi's office is down the hall, third door on the left. (It's the one with the "Shush: More Cowbell In Progress" sign in the window.)

_______________________

Washington, D.C.: I was watching a re-run of The Surreal Life and the cast shot a Smash Mouth video for a song called "Story of My Life". Was that song released, and if so, how is it doing?

J. Freedom du Lac: Can't say I've kept up with San Jose's finest. Anybody?

_______________________

Herndon, Va.: I don't get the whole Tool thing either. The single of the new album sounds exactly like the last album. Did they think people would forget what they sound like?

J. Freedom du Lac: I don't know, but I believe it was just last week, in This Very Space, when a Tool fan said something like the new single is the sign of yet another masterpiece from Maynard.

_______________________

Arlington, Va.: Were you picked on in high school because you wore eyeliner? Do you have lots of inner pain? Do you think life isn't fair? If you answered no to those questions, then I don't think you will ever be able to understand the appeal of Tool.

J. Freedom du Lac: This is helpful. Thank you.

_______________________

Georgetown, Washington, D.C.: So, have you heard the new Snow Patrol album yet? Any thoughts? I haven't heard great things about it.

J. Freedom du Lac: Alas, have not yet heard it. Too busy listening to Gnarls Barkley's "Crazy" over and over. And over.

_______________________

Frederick, Md.: J. Freedom, got any words for us to live by for the next two weeks while you're off?

J. Freedom du Lac: Yes: Sky rockets in flight/afternoon delight.

Well, that and: Get to work.

_______________________

Indianapolis, Ind.: The first single off the last Tool album was a direct rip off of latter-day King Crimson. Tool fans should know.

J. Freedom du Lac: Where are you, Tool fans? More fighting words.

_______________________

Ref: Your Two Weeks Off: You're not teaming up with Michael Jackson too, are you?

J. Freedom du Lac: That's sort of a personal question.

_______________________

Vienna, Va.: In all seriousness, that Travis Morrison bonus material that you just provided is exactly the type of thing that would make me a regular reader of your blog, if you ever get the urge to start one. The Gurus hit on music stuff a bit in their blog and then in their podcasts, but I think there's still room for a washingtonpost.com strictly-music blog and that it could be a cool thing.

Time to start thinking about what I'm going to have for dinner.

J. Freedom du Lac: Well, those were two of my thoughts for the week. (First thought: Hey, empty your Travis Morrison notebook! Second thought: Redact the [expletive] expletives, you [expletive].) I'm about done for the week, once I file this Neil Young review for the Jurassic version of The Post.

_______________________

Washington, D.C.: I saw a great power pop band at Iota last week- have you heard of a band called "Ike"? The lead singer used to be in the Caulfields.

J. Freedom du Lac: Heard of, but haven't heard. I did, however, once see Ike Turner performing at a blues festival in his old hood, Clarksdale, Mississippi. Bad show, but he was incredibly well received. I guess they never saw the Ike and Tina biopic.

_______________________

Norfolk, Va.: I'm curious about how many times you listen to an album before reviewing it. Does it depend on whether you suspect there's more there than upon first listening or do you have a standard number of times?

J. Freedom du Lac: Generally, at least three all the way through. But oftentimes more. Plus, I'll go back and listen to specific songs multiple times while writing.

_______________________

TOOL...: Maynard himself admits to largely ripping off alot of what King Crimson did before them. There are some quotes floating around about when they toured together a few years ago that Maynard was half-seriously worried the audience would realize TOOL was ripping off KC and would want their money back.

As for the appeal, unlike alot of more emo-ish bands they manage to maintain a high level of quality and butt-kickingness to their songs without sounding like total sell-outs to any particular trend. They connect with the audience without treating them like living money-bags or atonal blobs.

J. Freedom du Lac: OK, fair enough. But their music still doesn't excite me. I don't hate them; it's just that I don't care. For those about to be ambivalent, we salute you!

_______________________

Harrisonburg, Va.: Widespread Panic was on fire once again weekend before last in Raleigh ... and this coming off a spectacular 3-show New Years run in Atlanta. IMO, they have definitely claimed the jam band crown relinquished by Phish in 2005.

My other favorite Jam Bands:

- Umphrey's McGee at 9:30 Club May 4th.

- Moe. at Wolf Trap June 10th.

- Tea Leaf Green at C'ville Pavilion July 14th.

... and what do you think about Oysterhead (Trey, Les Claypool, and Stewart Copeland)?

J. Freedom du Lac: The jam band chatter is starting up, which is a sure sign that it's time for me to check out.

Thanks for stopping by. I'll be thinking of you these next couple of weeks while I'm

_______________________

J. Freedom du Lac: Oops, technical difficulties.

Cheers.

_______________________

Editor's Note: washingtonpost.com moderators retain editorial control over Live Online discussions and choose the most relevant questions for guests and hosts; guests and hosts can decline to answer questions. washingtonpost.com is not responsible for any content posted by third parties.


© 2006 The Washington Post Company