Me old china, Island Mike (aka rufus.baseball in the comments section), and I have a longstanding and willful misunderstanding of each others' definition of musical value. It has provided us both with a lot of entertainment over the years, or I have really missed my guess and it has been driving him completely mental ever since I once referred to him as a 'musical Nazi'. Maybe it only provides entertainment for one of us at a time, I dunno.
I have, on occasion, characterized him as a reactionary, hidebound dinosaur, revelling in the glories of ages long past, a musical conservative with about as much inclination towards experimentation as the caterer for the Leduc Alberta Wednesday Night Lions Club. He, in turn, has regarded me as a shallow, musical dilettante, prone to auditory self-injury, who is about as discriminating as Paris Hilton's social secretary and who displays a horrifying tendency to tolerate admittedly bad music simply because it is fun or danceable, which is ironic and (perhaps even horrifying) when you consider that I dress out at more than an eighth of a ton, and am hardly light on my feet.
That said, I appreciate all music much more because of Mike. He schooled me up on the blues roots of bands like Cream and Led Zeppelin that I might have dismissed as the sole provenance of the kids in school who majored in shop class and wore lumberjack shirts instead of jackets. He and my friend Rob taught me the joy of liner notes, and the subtlety needed to appreciate quality session musicians. In exchange, I exposed him to things like Suicidal Tendencies (through the Repo Man soundtrack), Sinead O'Connor, Yello and most recently, Corb Lund. I have much wider parameters than he does in terms of listenability, but he is unequivocating in his criticism of dishonest or lazy music and musicianship. Our "What is best in radio, Conan?" discussion continues unabated to this day, and leaves its smoldering hoofprints in the comments section under my post "In Defense of 80s Music".
Driving home tonight I heard this band, Christian Hansen & The Autistics, and their song "Cocaine Trade". I am still not sure if he is referring to cocaine or disco in the chorus:
"Oh my god, it's comin' back, comin' back
It was lame the first time 'round
Oh my god, it's comin' back, comin' back
I can't stand to hear the soooouunnd"
... but I am leaning towards disco, and for a song that opens with the word "Cowbell", that is ironic and funny, and it made me think of Island Mike immediately.
I also read an article about the band and it's founder, a former folk singer who still hasn't made up his mind whether or not he hates dance music or not, but who hasn't let that stop him from playing it. They are an Edmonton group who were the Sonic Band of the Month in February, and have started to get a little traction and I wish them well.
(Update: the group moved to Toronto in 2012, have dropped 'And The Autistics', were active as recently as January, but are not yet massive.)