Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Dauber: Bigger than Lennon, Elvis and Justin Timberlake Put Together

Here is your latest sign that the music industry is screwed up beyond all belief. On VH1 Classic right now they are broadcasting three straight hours of old episodes of Coach. A channel that by definition has fifty years of history to draw from, Beatles on Ed Sullivan to Rolling Stones at Altamont to Live Aid to really crappy boy bands to even crappier boy bands to my God, what the hell is a Bieber and why do I care, has decided that its best broadcasting choice is to go completely off brand and just show old episodes of Coach.

Now I do not want to use this space to disparage the classic television sitcom of Coach. Far be it from me to question the enviable talents of Craig T. Nelson or the comedy stylings of the next to funniest member of the Van Dyke family. Clearly the story and history of the Minnesota State Screaming Eagles is more interesting than my own Fighting Illini and I’m pretty sure that we lost to Minnesota State the past five years straight. And anyone who says that Dauber isn’t one of the greatest television characters and assistant coaches of all time is a fool. So no, I am not going to spend my time questioning the merits of Coach or the forgettable years spent coaching the Orlando Breakers (a dark time in our nation’s history to be sure.)

No, what bothers me is that this is on VH-1 Classic when the show has absolutely nothing to do with music altogether. If you are going to just give up and show old television shows why not pick up Happy Days or The Wonder Years, where the music in the background plays a significant role in the series. Hell, why not show WKRP in Cincinnati, which fits the channel perfectly and fills a niche because those shows can’t be released on DVD due to all of the music rights. I’ll take a Haden Fox for Johnny Fever trade straight up and once we bring Bailey into the equation it is a no brainer. I can think of a dozen sitcoms more fitting to the channel than Coach.

Obviously the easy solution to this problem would be to simply play something associated with music. Even if you say that the video is passé you still have untold hours of documentaries and concerts and specials and, because this is VH-1, “I Love the Insert Vague Pop Culture Reference Here” marathons. Hell, I’ll even accept reruns of old VH-1 reality shows. I’ll watch reruns of Flavor of Love or Celebrity Rehab or The Pick Up Artist (which totally deserved a third season by the way). It just seems like this is the laziest programming decision ever.

I know that we are at the end of the lifespan of such concepts as television channels. Soon we will all get whatever content we want online and we will mix and match to create our own channels. Right now I could build my own music video playlist and spend the next few hours in relative bliss. But the wonder of television is that it can surprise you by showing you something that you didn’t know about in a way that recommendation boxes can’t. You can always ignore a recommendation and to be honest, we are so inundated with information that it is just easier to put on blinders. But it is those random moments when you are changing channels or walking the aisle of a bookstore or flipping through CD racks that you stumble on something that changes your life. It kills me that we are losing that part of our culture.

Wednesday Night Music Club: If there was an album from last year that surprised me it was the latest from Richard Buckner. I’ve followed him for more than fifteen years and while I’ve always been a fan and I will be the first to say that his live performances have left me slackjawed in wonder I haven’t been as taken with his recent work. But Surrounded is just an amazing collection of songs. This video of him singing in an art gallery just shows why I’ve spent nearly two decades collecting his music. Just stunning.

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