Skip to main content

KISS, My Griots -- Writer's Poke #258

KISS is releasing its first studio album in eleven years later this fall. Why did it take them eleven years? In part, because Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley think they know what the fans want. The fans want to hear "Rock and Roll All Nite," "Deuce," and "Strutter." They do not, according to Simmons and Stanley, want to listen to new material. Is that true? Do KISS fans only want to listen to the same ten or twenty songs over and over again? I find that very hard to believe.

Then again, there's something comforting about listening to what you already know, as opposed to having to break in new material. And how in the world can a new song compete with one that you've heard hundreds of times? If your favorite songs act as the soundtrack to your life, then KISS fans may simply want to tap into the past. New songs are best sung by new artists for young people whose pasts are not yet formed.

Now, you might think this is a bit of a stretch, but groups like KISS and Rolling Stones, etc., are the modern version of griots. Where is the oral tradition these days? It's set to music, and story tellers perform in stadiums, backing up their stories with guitars and drums.

The Muse lives on in the music.

What music speaks to you? What stories does it tell?

"Music is the best means we have of digesting time." -- W.H. Auden

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Summer Day Trip #1: Caledonia, Minnesota

The Wired Rooster Coffee Shoppe -- Caledonia, Minnesota


I've lived in Minnesota for over ten years, sure, but that doesn't mean I've actually seen much of the state. Like most people, I know what I know, and I go where I go. And that's the extent of it. But once I resigned myself to the fact that I wasn't going to make it to Alaska this summer, it occurred to me that I had plenty of sites to explore in the immediate region.

First stop: Caledonia, Minnesota. Where's that? It's a small town in the southeast corner of the state. Before I opened my Rand McNally Road Atlas, I had never heard of it, and before I punched the town name into Trip Advisor, I didn't know if there was anything there worth visiting.

Distance from home: About 75 miles.

Challenge #1: Leaving by 6:30 a.m.

Challenge #2: Taking my dog, Atticus.

Actually, Atticus is a good dog on a road trip, but the forecast indicated that it was going to get into the 90s. I wanted to leave early in the …

Summer Day Trip #3: Jackson, Minnesota

Some time ago in the spring, I found out that David Ellefson, bass player and co-founder of Megadeth, was rebranding the coffee shop in Jackson, Minnesota. Every so often I would tell Linda that I planned to drive over there to check it out, but the morning that I actually decided to drive over there to check it out, I think I surprised her. I’m not sure she thought I would ever do it.
“What else are you going to do over there?”
“Oh, that’s it. Just drive over there, order a cup of coffee, and drive home.”
I had checked out Jackson on Tripadvisor, and honestly, Jackson seemed like it didn’t have much going on. My mind map of southwestern Minnesota was mainly a blank. I knew that I-90 drove through, but I thought perhaps the interstate was a metaphor: Beware ye who enter here, lest ye be on your way to somewhere else.
When I told Tavi we were driving two hours to visit a coffee shop, the idea didn’t seem far-fetched to her. She only had one question, “Do they serve hot cocoa?” I promised …