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 411mania » Music » Columns

411 Music Fact or Fiction 05.10.13: Don't Go Chasing Waterfalls
Posted by Joseph Lee on 05.10.2013

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Welcome to another edition of Fact or Fiction: Music. I'm your host, Joseph Lee.

This week we have Chad Webb against Andy Rackauskas.

Round 1
1) The Rolling Stones should drop their ticket prices.
Chad Webb: FACTION.

I hate being the guy who uses that term, but I can't help it here. I say "Fact" as a normal ticket buyer, but my response will indicate "Fiction." There are many facets to this controversy. First of all, everyone seems to be pointing the finger at The Rolling Stones for their high ticket prices, and while they might be the most expensive, plenty of bands are invoking steep prices and the sales are suffering as a result. This is because of declining album sales, etc. It's unfair to blame only the Stones. In addition, why don't you hear anyone complaining about Super Bowl ticket prices? Because it's the biggest game of the year, right? Well, when you want to see the best, you have to pay for it, that's life. I have seen the Stone exactly once, coincidentally for their "50 & Counting" tour, and while I wish I didn't have to pay so much for my mediocre seats, I have zero regrets because I can say I saw one of the greatest bands ever. All that being said, I understand and (to a degree) sympathize with people who are aggravated that a group as rich as The Rolling Stones feel the need to charge so much. Certainly they don't need the money.

Playing devil's advocate, from a business standpoint, I get the pricetag. If people will pay it, why not? I have heard the rumors that seats aren't being filled, but I'm not sure how true that is. I do think they can afford to charge a bit less for the better seats, which are just ridiculously priced. And this makes no mention of the cost for their merchandise, which is extremely high as well. Here is the problem with everyone demanding the ticket prices be lowered. Say they were knocked down to what Fleetwood Mac is charging, at least a couple hundred less. If that happened, more and more people would have the urge to buy tickets and more and more people would be disappointed when they all sell out quickly. If the price is reasonable, the demand goes up, therefore people will go to sites like Stubhub, where the prices are jacked up anyway because they know people will pay them. I know many people who hear the prices and get bug-eyed. I get it, some would never pay so much money for one concert. "No band is worth that," they'll say. Maybe, but enough people DO pay those prices, so that's the way it goes. I should also add that this is hardly the first time the Stones have charged high prices. They have done so for decades.

Andy Rackauskas: FACT.

They are simply charging too much. Especially for a sub-par show. There have been far too many poor reviews of their recent shows. Many have said they are just phoning it in. At the initial price of well over $200, it's just not worth it. Buy a DVD of their older live concerts, and you'll get more out of it. Recently, at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, I heard that they had to drop tickets to $85 to fill the place. I had a friend in line that stated that. At $85, he thought it was worth it, but not for any more than that.

Score Card: 0 for 1

Round 2
2) Miley Cyrus should not be #1 on the Maxim 100.
Chad Webb: FACT.

Well, Miley Cyrus isn't necessarily ugly, but her new hairdo does nothing for me. On her best day I wouldn't say Miley Cyrus deserves to be #1 on any "Top 100 Hot List," but hey, she might be the greatest thing since sliced bread to some guys. Different strokes for different folks. On the other hand, I find it hard to believe that enough people find her hot enough to be #1. She's not a unanimously praised sex symbol by any stretch of the imagination. Though, knowing how Maxim operates these days, I'm sure they're grateful for any attention & controversy this pick will receive.

Andy Rackauskas FACT.

Are you kidding? Just because she was a child star doesn't mean she's hot now that she's older. She's not bad. But she is no Kate Upton. There are at least 100 hotter gals than her. Hell, Lynda Carter, after decades of wear, still is way hotter than Cyrus is.

Score Card: 1 for 2

Round 3
3) Usher could be a good Sugar Ray Leonard in a film.
Chad Webb: FACT.

I was leaning more towards "Fiction" when I first read this because while Usher has many qualities that fit the part, I'm not sure he's good enough to make an entire biopic shine on his own. But as I read more about the project, called Hands of Stone, I discovered that it was not strictly about Sugar Ray Leonard, but about Panamanian boxing legend Robert Duran. That changes my tone. If Usher is portraying Leonard as a part of an ensemble, which he is with Edgar Ramirez, Ryan Kwanten, and Robert De Niro, then I think he'll do just fine. If this was focusing solely on Sugar Leonard, I wouldn't bet on the film to be anything above mediocre. Usher has talent, but is best used in a supporting capacity if you ask me. In terms of looks, he is a superb pick. Not only does he have facial characteristics and stature of Leonard, but from his music career, we know he has dancing skills that will aid him for that swift movement in the ring. Apparently Usher has been preparing for this for a year. I wish him luck. Will Smith trained longer for Ali and lost that Best Actor Oscar. It's not easy making a boxing film when the genre is riddled with classics, especially considering Hands of Stone is directed by Jonathan Jakubowicz in his English-language debut, but the cast is terrific so I'm on board.
Andy Rackauskas: FICTION.

Can the guy really act? Will Smith looked nothing like Ali, but at least he acted in the role well. Usher has some slight resemblance to the legendary boxer, but unless he shocks us all…I don't expect that he'll be a really good Sugar Ray. Then again, he might be. It's not like Ray had a huge persona like Ali. But, until I really see the guy act, I'm not buying.
Score Card: 1 for 3


Round 4
4) It wouldn't be a good idea to have an all-male judging panel on American Idol.
Andy Rackauskas: FACT.

It's simply not a good idea to have this show still on the air regardless of the panel's make-up.

Chad Webb: FACT.

Let me start by saying that I hate American Idol and all shows like it. I have zero interest in any changes they make and am glad the ratings are going down the shitter. Let's face it; these shows are now more about the judges than the contestants, which is sadder than when they were strictly karaoke contests. Moving on though, a female perspective is important. It might not be a star you enjoy watching, but the show should have a mixture of males and females. They might add something different than what a man would. Evidently it is Randy Jackson who is calling for the all-male judging panel after describing this year as the "season for the ladies." Maybe Randy is tired of the arguing between Mariah Carey & Nicki Minaj, so he tosses this idea out there. Who cares? It seems as if the show is so desperate to boost the ratings that they will try anything new to bring in viewers. I don't see this experiment succeeding if indeed it happens at all. When you're already suffering from a decline, why would you risk alienating your female audience, which has to account for the majority of people who still sit through this garbage? They have fallen into a trap of needing bigger, more recognizable stars, all of whom require more money to endure a whole season of mediocre singers. The only way an all-male panel would work is if every person is a musician the public adores, and even then I would have my doubts. But this quote from Jackson was made in reference to saying Harry Connick Jr. would make a great judge. Really? No, this is stupid.

Score Card: 2 for 4

Round 5
5) You're interested in a new double album from Five Finger Death Punch.
Andy Rackauskas: FICTION.

They are a decent band. However, double albums are the kiss of death. They tend to be bloated exercises in lack of self editing. Only a handful of truly great bands have pulled this off. Sadly, far more have failed. I see no reason that Five Finger Death Punch can beat the odds. I'm honestly more interested in a single album that has really solid material.

Chad Webb: FACT.

I have become a bigger fan of Five Finger Death Punch over the last year, so I'm excited for any new album, let alone a double one. The risk with any double album is that the material as a whole is average with bursts of brilliance here and there. If I'm a fan of the band though, I am just thankful for more music to enjoy. I love how these guys are constantly working, touring, and recording. They just released American Capitalist late in 2011, so it's awesome that they are not wasting any time and pumping out 2 new records. I would have expected a live album before embarking on this double project, but oh well.
Score Card: 2 for 5

Round 6
6) You will watch the TLC biopic.
Andy Rackauskas FICTION.

Unless I get taken by the authorities and am forced to watch like Alex in "Clockwork Orange", this bio will not be seen by my eyes.
Chad Webb: FACT.

I'm a movie buff at heart, so of course I'd watch a TLC biopic. Now if you asked me whether or not it will be good, my answer would be different. A large number of music biopics have been greenlit in recent years, so given the events that TLC has experienced (and their fame), it should come as no surprise that someone wants to make a movie about them. Personally I'm not sure how interesting the biopic will be, but I'd certainly see it. We know Left Eye died, but other than that, the forming of the group and the making of the albums are pretty standard stories. The Sapphires biopic was pretty satisfactory, but we don't know much about them. We know a lot about TLC, which means constructing a decent flick will be tough. The trio has already been cast and from the photo I saw they all look like the members, but nailing the costumes and the vocals only go so far. For me, it just seems a wee bit early for this biopic. A documentary would be a better choice. I feel like the film will end with Left Eye's death, the demise of the group; it will then fade to black and then the final scene will be T-Boz & Chili returning for the tour their planning this year. That sounds dull to me. Hopefully it's not that pedestrian.

Score Card: 2 for 6

Anything you agree with? Disagree with? Sound off in the comment section.


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