Sunday, April 13, 2008

Why Tom Petty is like Pizza Hut

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.

My loss.

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.




Anonymous said...

Great blog, AE! Thanks for using so many visuals...reading is so boring. (Seriously, the visual aids were awesome.) In my defense, I did not compare Joni Mitchell to the Panera Bread company. I agree that she has made an important contribution to American music, she just doesn't do it for me so much -- like you with the Springsteen. I wish I'd seen her live early on...I actually saw here open for Bob Dylan a few years ago and she was it wasn't that great of a show for her. But we all have bad shows. (Well, maybe not you and I. All our shows are fabulous. The world just hasn't caught on. But I digress.) Now, Tom Petty, on the other hand...and pizza...I feel the need to defend. They both do more than just make us feel good with beer. Although that is very important, and who could ask for more, really? There is such a thing as Chicago style deep dish pizza, which is up there with Lamb Vindaloo, Sushi and

Anonymous said...

my apologies for the spelling errors...i have fallen victim to icon dependency.

Randy said...

I like things simple and not necessarily cheap. I think the songs that have stayed on my top ten list the longest are just that. Simple message, simple arrangements.

As far as what will work in tomorrows world regarding marketing and selling music, who knows. It's a messy unorganized free-for-all right now.

I like Petty and Mitchell, I only like Dylan a little. I do like his weird voice though. Lyrics tend to be too cryptic and/or stoned. lol

Art Edwards said...

I think of Joni Mitchell as more Pottery Barn.

And Dylan as the local head shop.


Anonymous said...

what kind of Pizza would that weird space video be?
-JimmyJoe JackBob
-Bucko Gillespie
-Roscoe Montana
-Slappy Redbone
(not sure which one I am today)

Anonymous said...

thats why i make my own pizza, it may suck but atleast it was made myself and I refuse to but any chain stuff it all sucks

every now and then i wil go to a small place for pizza but i haven't for a while maybe i will again soon

Art Edwards said...

Space Invaders video would be Cosmic Pizza in Ashland.

Homemade pizza would be Sebadoh.

I'm glad we're all taking these questions seriously.


Andy said...

I don't know how to make pizza :(

Art Edwards said...

It's okay. Captain Beefheart didn't know how to make pizza either.

K said...

I'm starting to see the relevance of "Refreshments" and the food images. Very interesting...a la Artie Johnson :-) I'm not, however, at all sure of the relevance of this, but Andy: I make a kick ass home baked pizza with fresh dough! I'll make ya' one sometime ;-)

A Drummer You Know. said...

No need to apologize. I swear to God, I think I spotted Tom Petty actually DELIVERING my pizza to me right before I watched the Suns game at home. Don't worry, I tipped him well and complemented him on his role in "The Postman".

Andy said...

Thanks K! Do you record your pizza live?