Keith E Rice
01/01/02 - 06:05:16
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Well, Paul's been trying to tell us this - subtley and not so subtley - for 28 years. |
He once said about Mickey something like: "Good singer, poor taste." He's more or less said repeatedly of Jorma: "Great guitarist, shame about the attitude."
Pete Sears must have come close to bankruptcy following his decision to leave Starship, the complete commercial failure of the gorgeous "WATCHFIRE", the "so-what?" of his palling-up with Freiberg again in Quicksilver in 89 andd the failure to get Brent Myland's job in the Dead. Certainly he had to sell Alien Music. (Close observers will note that his songs on JS compilations are no longer credited to Alien Music.)
So Jorma drawing him into Tuna in 92 must have seemed a real financial lifeline - as well as the opportunity to work formally with great musicians he had always admired.
(According to HOLDING TOGETHER's Bill Parry, Jorma wanted Pete as early as 89 for the Airplane reunion; but KBC insisted on Gorman.)
But Jorma has largely wasted Pete's talents in Tuna. Michael Falzarano gets to sing - well, if you can call it singing! - and write. Pete is just a piano player - albeit the best since Nicky Hopkins (who was clearly a great influence).
This, in spite of the fact that Pete has composed some brilliant stuff - eg: "Better Lying Down", "Hyperdrive", "Fire", "Stranger", "Alien", "Be My Lady", "Wasting Time" and most of "WATCHFIRE". (Admittedly, he has also burdened us with a few duds - most notably the cod-Yes "The Awakening".)
But Jorma doesn't allow Pete to write or sing in Tuna. (Not that Pete's much of a singer - but then Falzarano and Jorma himself are both pretty crap in the vocal department!)
Falzarano is OK but nothing special as a composer. Pete is close to being in the same league as Jorma - yet Jorma never gives him a chance. What an arsehole! (For the Yanks, that's the English of "asshole".)
For the past year Jack and Jorma have toured as the "Original Hot Tuna" - just the two of them.
Personally, I reckon that's Jorma's way of bonding closer - some kind of psychological (as well as possible financial) reward - after Jack took the decision to back Jorma in the silly suit.
Falzarano and the never-knows-where-he-is Harvey Sorgen - "Gee, sorry, Harvey, we're doing this stretch of gigs acoustic. Can you go on welfare for a couple of weeks?" - of course, sort-of have the Memphis Pilgrims to fall back on.
Pete has...? So we get Dawn Patrol and "THE LONG HAUL". At least Pete gets to record some of those compositions Jorma wouldn't countenance. (What's up, Kaukers? Can't stand the competition?!? You'll notice Jorma has hardly been a prolific composer in the past 15 years. Even the much-vaunted about-to-be-recorded Columbia album is going to be covers.)
What's triggered this particular rant is an A-Deck reference to a SAN FRANCISO CHRONICLE article on Pete. I read it a few days ago. In it Pete says something like: "I think I'm still in Hot Tuna. At least the Web Site says I am."
That's good employer-employee relations, Jorma. In commercial industry, you'd be crucified for such appalling communications!!
I'm not just having a go at Jorma. In my view, he's been the best all-round composer to have passed through the Airship ranks - Paul: best lyricist, worst tunesmith; Craig: best tunesmith, worst lyricist - and, because he's sort-of worked at being a cult for 20 years while Paul is still sort-of trying to be big time, I reckon Jorma will have a bigger cult following (5 fans worldwide) in 80 years time than Paul (2 fans).
Jorma's shitty non-communicative attitude towards Pete is unhealthily similar to his shitty non-communicative attitude towards the Airplane in 73.
Has this man learned nothing in 28 years?
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