My friend John Austin sent me this YouTube link today:
This is probably the most exciting song and video combo I've seen and heard in some time.
John and I had one of those back-and-forth email exchanges yesterday where you wind up saying things you may or may not mean, but they're fun to say anyway.
I compared Tom Petty
to Pizza Hut.
My feeling is this: Pizza Hut makes pretty good pizza. But it's pizza. Isn't "pretty good" the least we can expect?
I can enjoy frozen pizza,
Or corporate pizza,
Or shee-shee gourmet pizza,
It's all at least pretty good pizza.
But don't we want more from pizza?
John, of course, loves Tom Petty, and may have been a little offended at my comparison of Tom Petty to Pizza Hut.
I felt likewise when he claimed not to care much for Joni Mitchell.
I told him he must be lying, that he must be getting back at me for all I said about Tom.
He said he wasn't, that he'd simply already been through his Joni phase, and was sort of over it.
John likes "American Music."
Petty, Willie, Townes.
I told him I'd try some of that stuff, and I bet I'll think it's pretty good.
He's feeding me shee-shee gourmet, and all I hear is Pizza Hut.
We both love Dylan, thank god.
But I think I've hit on what's changed so much in the music business in the last decade or so.
It's never been cheaper or easier to write a pretty good batch of songs, to record them pretty well, and to get them out to the world. Much easier than it used to be.
This is a good thing, but it's harder than ever to raise yourself above the din of musical Pizza Huts.
Cheap, easy to get, pretty good to eat.
Sustaining but in the end not really satisfying.
People seem to want something better--I know I do--but in the end we settle for Pizza Hut.
If you want to be in the next wave of great pop music--assuming there is one; there may not be one--you have to try something a cut above Pizza Hut.
What would that be?
I wish I knew.
Maybe California Pizza Kitchen.