Same Old Cliches

British magazine Blues Matters informed me that they've passed on my Jill Jones article but intend to run the Lynyrd Skynyrd article I wrote for them. This greatly disappoints me for many reasons. It seems that anybody who is not a black American regards Prince and his former associates as "80's Pop" rather than R&B. I've been listening to Prince since Jill stood behind the keyboard with Lisa Coleman in the "1999" video and have never understood this mentality. How could somebody who mixed James Brown, Sly & the Family Stone, Miles Davis and Funkadelic not be regarded as R&B? Maybe I'm not supposed to understand. Skynyrd is dead. They died in that plane crash. Southern Rock is now a Right-wing parody of itself. The Allen Collins influence remains in my playing but anymore I'm embarrassed to admit being into that group, despite Ronnie Van Zant's lyrical genius. Lots of macho posturing with Confederate flags. I always thought Skynyrd did themselves a disservice running the "stars & bars"; their music was overshadowed by their redneck image. It took me nearly two years to finish the article, largely because they've been done to death and I wanted to avoid the usual cliches of booze, dope, guns and the plane crash. Mainly I just lost interest. I was in touch with former Honkette JoJo Billingsley and planned to interview her but she recently had cancer surgery. Fortunately she's recovering, from what I've heard, so maybe it will happen in the near future. She's an uncredited co-writer on THAT SMELL and I intend to delve into that topic if the interview happens. Jill gave me a very candid interview that turned into the definitive article on her life and work to date. Engineer David Rivkin gave me an excellent quote that really helped set the tone and Ian Ginsberg of The Grand Royals also gave me great quote. Lisa Coleman chimed in for a short-but-sweet quote that echoes my own sentiments and Jeremy Gloff, one her most ardent supporters for many years, contributed a nice piece in addition to his own essay he wrote on her a couple years ago. It's their magazine and they can do what they want but I don't understand the logic behind the decision. The feature all sorts of acts that are very much not Blues but tell me her story isn't relevant to their readers. Since teenage guitar-shredders are becoming increasingly prominent in their pages a debut album of funky R&B with Claire Fischer on strings and Miles Davis as a fan apparently doesn't fit. The story of how major-label politics killed her album should be heeded by every musician, especially young up-and-comers, but apparent that's irrelevant as well. Despite the distinctly non-Blues acts they often feature TWO and WASTED aren't deemed in league with the alt-Rock acts they're so fond of. Fortunately Jill and her manager Bill Coleman liked the article enough to use it on her MySpace, Facebook Fan page and Peace Bisquit site. Read it here: And read Jeremy Gloff's essay on her here: Jill has a great voice for Jazz and I've been encouraging her to do a Blues/Jazz/Roots album for as long as I've known her. I'm more resolved than ever to make that happen now.

Leave a comment