kevin r schmidt
04/21/02 - 17:04:59
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My criticism is not with the management of the band. I wouldn't want to be a manager of any band. For the most part being a manager of anything in this world is tantamount to being a baby-sitter in many respects. What happened from FAPZ up until 1992 as far as I am concerned is what makes spirited academic debate among fans.
The strongest new material from 1992 came from Darby's WEW. Paul's contribution was I'm On Fire. Shadowlands is a great song but I have never been completely sold on it as part of the JS repertoire. I always felt Paul did a much better version of it with Woodenships when Darby guested with them a few times. Which Side Are You On is a Paul signature song that should remain in his repertoire as a solo performer. It doesn't work for the JS. The Light was the last great song Paul has written as far as I am concerned. Millennium was murdered by the self-indulgent "children fused in zero gravity" verse. The song suffers a crushing death with the gravity of that obtuse verse being dropped into it. Get rid of that verse and the song will have new life.
When WOH was released, Marty stole the show on that CD. His songs were the only ones sounded real and heartfelt. Its unfortunate fans have to buy the Japanese and German versions to hear all of Marty's contributions from the WOH sessions.
As for Borderland, that is a left over from the KBC days and they did a damn good job of playing it in the their final days. I'm not impressed with the version on WOH. Paul should have sung the lead vocal on it. In my opinion Diana's vocal range is too high for that song. Perhaps the current JS can resurrect Marty's "Dancing With the House on Fire" and "Michuocan". Great songs that haven't been heard by more than a handful of people live and live on tape. As far as I know they have not been played since the late 80's.
Hearing War Movie again would be good. I even suggested it to you back in early 1992 a few weeks prior to the JS' performance at the Rheem Theater. I also suggested revising Papa John's jet-rocker Inphasion. I often wished Papa John played more of his own sings during his time with the JS. His contribution always appeared to be limited to John's Other, Papa John's Down Home Blues, I'm Movin', Somewhere Over the Rainbow, and once in a rare while Bumble Bee Blues. One thing I always noticed about Papa John. When the band was having an off day or wasn't getting along, when it came to Papa John doing one of his songs he brought the band together as a group even if it was for only one song. So as for material we want to hear and never get, we cannot always get what we want.
Great, Epic 38 has been dusted off. A great song from 30 years ago. Like I said, its a great song from [long ago]. What about new songs? Sure Paul may write a new song and feel its really good. But as the fan who listens to the songs, I may think certain songs are [not] that good. I will be sitting there thinking to myself: Paul you wrote this song in 1971, again in 1979, again in 1983, and again in 2002. Its 2002, don't you think the song is a little stale?
For some time I have felt Paul has been in a creative rut. Paul was a fan of Dion & The Belmont's as a teenager. Perhaps he can write a song for Marty that Mary would beg to sing. Its a challenge for Paul to stretch himself in a new direction. Break out of the comfort zone and do something new and unexpected. This may come as a shock. But the fans may really like it.
Sure, when the JS performs a new song, I will listen to it. And I will be the first to say, its great, its OK, or it should be sent back for a rewrite. I'm not going to tell you the Emperor is wearing a magnificent Flight Suit. But when all Paul is wearing in an old ripped greasy pair of coveralls from the local service station, I'll say so. If fans or anyone else have a problem with that then they need to learn what [constructive criticism] is all about. When Paul and the JS give a good performance I'll say so. The [new] material from the past few years has been unimpressive and [weak].
Furthermore, ATSOS is a screaming cry for the help of a full-time bass player. Its also presents argument for adding a fourth voice to sing harmony in the midrange to support the frailty of Paul and Marty's voice from age and Diana's high vocal range.
From my perspective, it still comes down to creative stagnation.
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