February 28, 2005

I Was Trying to Find that Frontline documentary about how everything is a total disaster and how we're all doomed, when my hand slipped and I accidentally tuned in to American Idol...

... as soon as I realized my mistake, I screamed and pressed the mute button, but not before I heard the sound of a Legacy of Dissent being strangled by Corporations...

As I mentioned earlier, there has been some trauma and confusion over at Alternative Tentacles Records recently. They really want to know whether or not the Dead Kennedys' version of "Viva Las Vegas" was played on American Idol. Yet no one who works there, nor anyone they know, nor anyone they have ever actually met in person, would ever in a million years admit to having watched the show. The responses from readers of the newsletter were inconclusive (some say yes, some say no) but all contain careful disclaimers, just to make sure everyone knows that they have come by their knowledge innocently. Examples:

-- yes, it was...i remember hanging out in the living room with my kids for they dig the show (it makes me wanna barf, but hey -- being with the kids is what was important [...] i was shocked, but as i told my son -- "looks like jello's been fucked again"... and tell him that i think it sucks ass that he gets continual shit for standing up with some integrity about the use of DK material...

-- For reasons that are beyond me, my husband watches that show, so - as anyone there at AT who is married can confirm - that means I watch it too... If memory serves - and I can check it with him if no other AT newsletter subscribers are willing to 'fess up to watching the show - they played only a few bars of it, right near the end of the show. I am fairly certain there were no vocals used, because if there were I would have recognized it instantly.

-- I have a good friend who works in a partner company to the almighty FOX notwork(!) and he mailed me a few days ago to tell me that they had/have got hold of Viva...

-- a friend in the business says: Okay. American Idol did request use of the DK's version, but according to the clearance person I talked to, they never received either an approval or denial, and whenever that happens, they DON'T just go ahead and use the song. She said they swapped it out for Wayne Newton's version

Uh-oh - I wonder if Wayne Newton is aware of the attack on his legacy.

In a way, it hardly matters which version they played. I heard "Take this Job and Shove It" on a corporation-owned radio station a couple of weeks ago. I'm pretty sure it wasn't the DK's version (I'd have recognized the voice and how it was all too fast and everything) but I knew what they were up to. Corporations are very clever people, and when they want to destroy a legacy, they'll use every trick in the book. Thank God they never play DKs songs on the radio anymore. Our secret is safe with us.

Biafra suggests going to one of the Fake DKs shows ("Fake DKs" = East Bay Ray's Biafra-less Dead Kennedys) and asking them about it. Or, as he puts it:

it might be worth using your constitutional First Amendment Right to ask them...

Now even though I have always held the solemn belief that self-promotion is a right rather than a privilege, I can't resist invoking my sacred, Constitutional First Amendment Right to say that there's something kind of hilarious about that turn of phrase. I mean, asking East Bay Ray about American Idol isn't exactly marching from Selma to Montgomery. Or is it?

Posted by Dr. Frank at February 28, 2005 04:31 PM | TrackBack

Hi Frank-
"Yet no one who works there, nor anyone they know, nor anyone they have ever actually met in person, would ever in a million years admit to having watched the show."

Come on Frank, we're not the white belt hipsters sneering over our faux Buddy Holly glasses at low-brow US entertainment that you apparently think we are.

As an update, we're still trying to clarify what the situation is with AI and the DKs. The second e-mail Jello wrote out for me to send (for your readers, I work @ Alternative Tentacles) is the latest info. I'm currently trying to download a better copy of the show to review from other e-mail correspondents.

I've already watched a so-so copy of the Vegas AI sent by a recipient of the e-mail. We're not taking the "oh we're too cool" approach to the thing. Dive in, that's what I say. Awful show though. Really structured, incredibly bad performances, and only a few decent voices among the 'good' performances. Any contempt I have for the show is because, well, it's fucking awful. Pap is too nice a word for it. I like a lotta crap (examples: Tom Clancy and Steven King novels, Magnum PI, Miami Vice, Crime Story tv shows), but this stuff is too much for me.

Adios, Jesse "I watch AI so you don't have to" Luscious

Posted by: Jesse Luscious at March 20, 2005 08:44 PM