• From Rocker Zine’s interview with JJ Burnell of the Stranglers:

JJ: We wouldn’t be doing what we call “rock and roll” if it wasn’t for America.  So from what I recall as a kid was that there was black music – which white America didn’t know anything about – and British bands picked up on it, churned it out, digested it and churned it back out to white America.  And in that way white America discovered their black music.

Rocker:  Well, Elvis might have beat you to that a little bit.

JJ: Elvis was definitely there, and he was in direct contact with it, definitely, I won’t deny that. Anyway, I don’t want to be disingenuous, we all owe a huge debt to North America, we discovered this incredible music, the blues and subsequently rock and roll.

• Brett of Magic Mulatto wrote a great short story that speaks to human nature and various divides. Find the whole thing here and an excerpt below:


Every few weeks they’d have some friends from church over and Randall would make one of his gourmet dishes featuring some kind of roasted or braised meat he learned to cook while they were living in London.  They attended the Living Vine Church located behind the grocery store up the street. The Living Vine aspired to be a mega church, a liberal-leaning evangelical operation that attracted mostly (but not exclusively) White college graduates from the suburbs who still hadn’t found their niche in the new economy.  They’re a friendly and charitable lot, kind to strangers, friendly with neighbors, but only really friends with fellow congregants.

On this night, Chris and her boyfriend Jeff were over. Jason, who played bass in the church band, was maybe going to swing by after he broke down the sound equipment. They were gathered around the Goodwill-bought dining room table, rubbing their bellies, as Janey told them about the guy in the window out back. Jeff was sitting right by the window and couldn’t help himself. “I wonder if he’s out there now” he said, then smoothed back his ponytail, swung his arm over the back of his chair, and peeped through the closed blinds.  He bobbed his head a few times, closed one eye, then let the blinds snap back and swung around laughing, “Oh my god! He’s out there!”’


2 responses to “Meanwhile

  1. Ha! Thanks David. I felt a bit bad calling out JJ on his, um, unrealistic comment America found out about ‘race music’ from England. But like, come on!

    • Hey, Erin. It was odd that he left out Elvis, who probably talked more openly about the way that he was pretty much doing rhythm and blues than even a contemporary band like The Black Keys. But I do think he had a point — so many rock bands from his heyday really were just putting their own spin on what was overwhelmingly an African-American thing. Alas, I’m not sure that the non-bohemians among their burgeoning fandom would have cared — not to give bohemians any credit.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s