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Smarmy Know-Nothing Music Critic


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Well, it just seems like this critic subconsciously finds groups like Badfinger and Big Star "great", based on the mystery of the writers extraordinary angst. He almost thinks that the Berries are overrated, because of the somewhat optimistic, fun lyrics along with the upbeat music, and seemingly less complicated issues.

Make no mistake. Badfinger, Big Star (and of course Berries) are among my favorites ever, but, I realize when I am listening Berries, I am listening to a bunch of midwestern guys, trying to have fun, and TRYING to be optimistic, and yeah, trying to be Beatles. So what? The complexity and genius of the musical composition is obvious - even if you don't like the melodies. Sure, Berries writers had their down moments, but, overall, not so bad. When I am listening to Pete Ham, I know I am listening to the darkest, most pessimistic lyrics power pop had to offer (listen to his solo demos, it makes the rest of the Badfinger stuff look like Brady Bunch). As with Big Star -- Chilton was a very dark guy then - always surprised he made it through to the present. As far as the Beatles, I know their best music was written under the influence of extremely potent hallucinogens.

This critic would also say Nirvana was great, because of the mysterious angst of Cobain, who obviously was death waiting to happen, but, come a grunge group who had the same music, but sang drugless about poppy fields, flowers, and sparkles, would be stupid and terrible, and "overrated". Obviously, this critic is a very simple minded guy.

The Beatles were a phenomenon perfectly placed in time, and probably never to be duplicated. The music was great, but, timing could have left them as destined for the same paths as the above groups. It just worked out better for them. It's all about timing. Thats no reason to discard the importance of the expressions of any artist. Yeah, the white suits were cheezy. We laugh about it now. Does that make the expression any worse?

Far into the future, I believe the cheezy suits won't be nearly as misunderstood as, say, Marilyn Mason. But, I still respect the expression of both.

This guy only seems to respect the writing of people he (and probably most of us) doesn't understand. He is saying the Berries weren't cool ("overrated" was the word), because they weren't dark and pessimistic. Thats just a simple guy making an opinion based on very little liberal thought. I don't value it.

One of the really cool things I love about being in LA, is, when you are around artists, either musical, or actors, they base mutual respect of one another, not based on their stature, or their complexity of personality, but, on the sheer appreciation of the result of what the artist does (i.e. the way Bruce respects the Berries). All the bul***t opinions that these critics put in their articles, are the same things that the artists don't even consider when viewing one another.

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Farrar is a guy-who-if he were older- would've (As Eric ALWAYS correctly points out when discussing late 60's early 70's music) applauded Jethro Tull and Lee Michael's interminable solos while trashing the 'Berries,the Beach Boys and the Hollies...

Jeff is SOOO right.This clown thinks angst is cool.

At the time of the 'Berries' first peak....he would've thought "Iron Butterfly was cool man" 'cause they're dark and stoned!

So...where are 'Butterfly,Lee Michaels, and Tull today Mr. Farrar?

To quote an artist who penned 50 million discs worth of recorded music...

"But the more things seem to change,

The more they stay the same.."

-E. Carmen-"I Can Remember".

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john brought up a good point about Rolling Stone and thier rivisionst slant on thier reviews. For example, Mick Jagger's "Goddess in a Doorway" upon release was given no less than FIVE stars by publisher Jann Wenner! When the latest edition of thier Album Guide came out, it had dropped a star to four. Recently in the past year, one of the issues I believe had an article where they now had given it 2 stars. It's fine for the general public to change thier mind about a group or album, but shouldnt a major publication stick by it's initial review?


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ira said:

Farrar is a guy-who-if he were older- would've (As Eric ALWAYS correctly points out when discussing late 60's early 70's music) applauded Jethro Tull and Lee Michael's interminable solos while trashing the 'Berries,the Beach Boys and the Hollies...

not really... he would've hated Tull (like most critics of that era) because they were hugely popular-- a giant mistake--

Jethro Tull, no matter how you feel about them, are an amazing band-- check any footage from 1970-1971 on youtube...

he's one of those critics who likes the obscure stuff (and the darker stuff) more than the popular and postive stuff and has a lot of trouble sorting the two out (a major critical mishap)....

if he wrote during the Berries heyday he would've sided with bands like Love, Nick Drake, Tim Hardin, Moby Grape and The Flying Burritto Bros and the Flamin' Groovies (all good stuff)... but a band like the Raspberries would confuse him... they still do...

Jeff Harris, you nailed it....

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JohnO said:

This thread, which started out as lambasting one particular gentleman with bad taste in music, seems to taken on a life of its own now, as bashing critics in general. Interesting, as practically 100% of all critics' writeups I've seen of the reunited 'Berries have been overwhelmingly positive!

Yeah, there are bad critics...for example, Rolling Stone tends to reinvent its own history repeatedly, assigning 5 star reviews in "down memory lane" reviews of old classics - usually albums that they bashed when they were released. On the other hand, that magazine in the 70s was one of the only ones where "Starting Over" was recognized as the masterpiece it was!

My point? That, for the most part, critics have been very kind to our boys over the past several years, and the positive reviews can only help them. Will there be an occasional bad writeup? Sure! It's a damn shame that it happened in the city where their first reunion show sold out in minutes, but it's not like it's going to be read by all that many people....and it certainly won't stop (I hope) anyone from supporting the band or buying the new CD!

Well said, JohnO. The critic bashing should stop. Most of the critics that have reviewed the album have been very favorable and lumping them (us) all together because one jerk writes a negative review is not fair. There are some major reviewers who are members of this site, who have supported the band from the beginning, and who don't want to be lumped in with this Cleveland Scene guy (just as professional journalists cringe when we get lumped together with tabloid "journalists" --- we HATE those guys; I also cringe when some host of "Entertainment Tonight" or "Access Hollywood" says "as a journalist" and then talks about their "close personal friend" they supposedly are objectively reporting on).

There has been support in Cleveland for the band, and in Cleveland Scene in the past. Jim Girard really promoted the band when he was at Cleveland Scene (even writing about Eric in Hit Parader magazine).

In the Dec. 7, 1972 issue of Cleveland Scene, Girard (who co-wrote the Euclid Beach band's "There's No Surf In Cleveland" years later), under the headline, "The Raspberries Return!!!," called the band "one of the most piquant, convincing and exciting rock bands of this decade."

Bruno Bornino in a 1972 issue of The Cleveland Press (headed "Raspberries Picked To Make It") wrote about how the band's first single, "Don't Want To Say Goodbye," had sold 5,000 copies in Cleveland, making the Top 40 playlists of Cleveland's WIXY. He reviewed their first album, saying, "Raspberries is my pick as the next group to make it big out of Cleveland. With all that talent, they can't miss."

In a 1973 issue of The Cleveland Press, under the heading "Raspberries 'Go All The Way' on 'Side III,'" Bornino (again) quotes Capitol Records District Promotion Manager Mike Manocchio as saying that Cleveland "has continually purchased more of the group's records than any other marketing area in the world. All five of the group's hit singles started here." He then notes that "Go All The Way" sold 90,000 copies in the Cleveland district!

That same article notes that WMMS in Cleveland had Eric on the air with David Spero for a track-by-track airing of the "Side 3" album.

Bruce Balzer (hi, Bruce) in Cleveland Scene's June 28, 1973, issue had a terrific interview with Eric Carmen (the magazine had Eric on the cover, one of many times that happened in the '70s and '80s).

In the September 26, 1974, issue of Cleveland Scene, Jim Girard (again) reviewed "Starting Over" and said, "The name Raspberries predicates rock and roll; they've always been among the best in my book."

Those Cleveland "critics," and other Cleveland writers, and the sales figures in the Cleveland area tell me there was a lot of support in Cleveland for Raspberries. I believe there still is.

Don't let one lousy "critic" make you hate all "critics," folks. Critics are free advertising for any band and they serve a purpose. No two critics are the same --- they're individuals with opinions, just like you and me.

And don't forget all the favorable reviews from "critics" because one "Music Editor" at Cleveland Scene writes a negative "review."

Don Krider :)

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Farrar, who called Big Star "as good as The Beatles," but knocks Raspberries, should read Bernie Hogya and Ken Sharp's "Eric Carmen: Marathon Man" book.

On page 114 of that book, Big Star leader Alex Chilton says, "I remember when I first heard Raspberries. The band and I were in a van traveling around, doing some dates, when we first heard 'Go All The Way.' We said, 'These guys are really doing it!' It's a great song."

Don Krider smile


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When you recall decent rock critics, especially Cleveland ones, don't forget the queen of 'em all...Jane Scott of the Plain Dealer! She's retired now, but still alive and kicking...I believe she is 87 years old now...finally quit the business at 83...

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