June 22, 2005



Today, the first of a series of exchanges I've been having with Rob Sheffield, a.k.a. The Don, Miss Ice, and Long Rob Mylar. These email tennis balls have been Autotuned, edited, improved post facto and are in no way natural. This is not real time and you are not reading.

Mr. Sheffield: I donít know AT ALL what to make of the fact that The White Stripes is your THIRD piece in a row to characterize Nineties guitar rock (or indie rock) as a time of insularity and obscurantism, when as far as I can tell the precise opposite is true, and bands such as Nirvana/Hole/Pavement/PJ Harvey/Breeders/Sonic Youth etc. enjoyed mass audiences and mainstream airplay that would have been unthinkable at any other moment in history. Am I just wrong about this? Wasnít guitar rock considerably MORE popular and accessible in the 90s than it ever was before or is now? Didnít Nirvana etc. bring mass appeal to weird artsy non-metal rock while articulating (one might say Ēde-obscuring,Ē if it were a word, which I think it isnít) questions of gender and sexuality that would be unspeakable in popular music today? Wasnít it a time when an independent album as difficult as Spiderland could sell 43,000 copies, a staggeringly large number, without any corporate connections or media support or metropolitan following whatsoever? And isnít that kind of awesome? I thought it was awesome at the timeóI still do. Am I just wrong about this? Enlighten my ass at yr leisure. (P.S.: I think you are engaged in a lover's quarrel: Sasha and Indie Rock, too in love to let the beef goóand that's what makes it so intense and fascinating, I guess, from my perspective as a reader. Indie rock is the Milton to your Keats ["life to him would be death to me"].)

Posted by Sasha at June 22, 2005 04:48 PM | TrackBack