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Rock/Pop

Rock 'n' roll jobs lost vs. jobs created in the 'New Depression'

Who's made lemonade out of lemons and who's just an out-of-work lemonhead

MT Illustrations: Jim Anderson
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Published 4/15/2009

JANUARY '08

JOBS LOST John Stewart, singer-songwriter and one-time member of the Kingston Trio, dies. The Striped Shirt Manufacturers Union of Newark, N.J., which has kept afloat since the folk boom died by selling the three-quarter length sleeved striped shirts popularized by the Kingston Trio to referees, took the news rather badly. "Although largely a symbolic loss, Stewart's importance to our industry is immeasurable," said one union official. "I sure as shit just hope to shit founding member Nick Reynolds doesn't die."

JOBS CREATED Britney Spears' second stint under psychiatric care inspires a modern dance company to create a ballet about the singer's life called "The Meltdown." Unfortunately, this made-in-America tragedy only serves to employ scores of pirouetting paparazzi Limeys overseas. Great Britney, indeed!


FEBRUARY '08

JOBS LOST Drummer and Claymation singer Buddy Miles' heart failure ensures that the California Raisins won't be heard through the grapevine anytime soon.

JOBS CREATED Maxim's review of the Black Crowes Warpaint CD — whose writer hadn't heard a note of it — creates hundreds of cost-cutting job opportunities for stay-at-home concert and movie reviewers and interviewers who merely consult with a Ouija board.


MARCH '08

JOBS LOST File under "Ain't No Jeff Healey Band Without Jeff Healy" Dept. The "Blind Canadian Rocker" job stays unfilled when Healey passes away. What's that you say? He didn't see it coming? You people are incorrigible!


APRIL '08

JOBS LOST American soul singer Al Wilson, who had a No. 1 hit in 1974 with "Show and Tell," dies. No word on whether he could show or tell anyone he was having kidney failure.

JOBS CREATED People who pirate Portishead's music are apparently still gainfully employed. The band is reportedly livid that their long-awaited new album, Third, was leaked via file-sharing websites. "Now everyone knows the album's going to be 11 depressing and slow-moving songs," pissed-off guitarist Adrian Utley tells MTV.


MAY '08

JOBS LOST Make the World Go Away Specialist Eddy Arnold, 89, dies. Rather the other way around, I'd say.

JOBS CREATED When singer Lily Allen cancels an appearance at UK's Isle of Wight music festival, the money saved goes to such green industries as planting trees on the festival site and funding research into local bee habitats. All of which will probably be killed off by the Sex Pistols' and Stranglers' appearances at the festival next month.


JUNE '08

JOBS LOST George Carlin, 71, American comedian and actor, dies of heart failure. His groundbreaking routine "The Seven Words You Can't Say on Television" was, of course, instrumental in laying the foundation for "The Seven Words You Gotta Use In Hip Hop."

Bo Diddley, 79, American rock 'n' roll and blues singer, songwriter and guitarist, responsible for the infamous "Bo Diddley Beat" and, later, the "Bo Diddley Cheat," the latter favored by most record executives.


JULY '08

JOBS CREATED Michael Stipe officially declares that music videos are a "dead medium ... anyone who refutes that is an idiot in 2008." REM turned to an advertising agency to create "visuals" for their latest single "Man-Sized Wreath." Check back here in 2010 when advertising agencies tackle another dead medium — REM's music.


AUGUST '08

JOBS LOST Positions that remain unfilled include a replacement Replacement (Steve Foley) and a record executive with some actual concrete connection to music (Jerry Wexler). Also, although not related to music, Dave Freeman, the American author of 100 Things to Do Before You Die, dies from injuries sustained during a fall. Note: He only got around to three things — waving his arms and screaming being the two crucial ones.

JOBS CREATED Usually it's the original drummer of a legendary band that tours with a bunch of hired sidemen and drags the brand name through the mud. But John Densmore creates the heretofore unheard of position of "Legacy-Defending Drummer" when he sides with the estate of late singer Jim Morrison to stop Ray Manzarek and Robby Krieger from continuing to tour as "The Doors of the 21st Century." It's a lucrative position too, since they now have to pay $3 million in damages to the drummer, who sat out an $8 million-grossing tour. Manzarek and Krieger now perform under the moniker "Riders on the Storm." (Guess "Mute Nostril Agony" was taken.)


SEPTEMBER '08

JOBS LOST Motown producer and songwriter ("I Heard It Through the Grapevine") Norman Whitfield, passes away. It's just wasn't the California Raisins' year, was it?

JOBS CREATED Boom time for "Clay Aiken is Gay" grief counselors! Sure you and I saw it coming by a mile, but there's a whole generation of Claymates that haven't learned that painful lesson: If it looks like Judy Garland and sounds like Judy Garland, ...


OCTOBER '08

JOBS LOST Dammit, Nick Reynolds, founding member of the Kingston Trio, dies! Bailout for the Striped Shirt Manufacturers Union of Newark, N.J., seems unlikely. Hundreds of layoffs announced almost immediately. Hang down your head and cry, poor boy!

JOBS LOST Rudy Ray Moore, better known as Dolemite, expires and is not replaced as the demand for a Disco Godfather in 2008 is virtually nil and there's already too much catastrophic global weather to warrant hiring on another Human Tornado.

JOBS LOST Another job that's going away for good — Levi Stubbs' personal assistant. Responsibilities included shielding his tears from gossiping neighbors.

JOBS LOST The Grateful Dead have been the one-stop for star-crossed keyboardists for years. And this month, Grateful Dead collaborator and ivory tickler Merl Saunders joins Vince Welnick, Brent Mydland, Keith Godchaux and Ron "Pigpen" McKernan in the pantheon of dead Grateful Dead piano men. The City of San Francisco is considering formally recognizing the Dead keys position — not as a job but as a legal form of euthanasia.

JOBS CREATED Jury selection begins in the Phil Spector murder retrial. In addition to employing 12 lucky jurors and their alternates, America's proud wigmakers will be working overtime to maintain Spector's mane, which the rest of the world will continue to view as an unspoken insanity plea.

And good news for all those out-of-work Jacksons trying to make their mortgage payments — it was announced by Jermaine Jackson that bro Michael may reunite with his siblings to record and tour as the Jackson 5. "This has been a long time coming for the Jackson family to get back together," Jermaine said.

JOBS LOST This just in ... um, Michael responds, "I'll Be There (Not!)."


NOVEMBER '08

JOBS LOST Robert Lucas, 46, American singer and guitarist for Canned Heat, dies of a drug overdose. A spokesman for the group said, "As long as there's a Canned Heat, we'll keep hiring lead singers who die of a drug overdose." A proud tradition knows no economic slowdown.

JOBS LOST Mitch Mitchell, the last surviving member of the Jimi Hendrix Experience, dies of natural causes, proving "there ain't no life nowhere" if you played on "I Don't Live Today."

JOBS CREATED Singer Jody Reynolds, who first told the world about "Endless Sleep," has now dedicated his eternity to field research.


DECEMBER '08

JOBS CREATED Kanye West's Vocoder Consultant, which is responsible for telling him, "No, you sing great but this'll just make it sound like you can yodel."

Researchers at the University of St. Andrews use special computer software to produce an image of what Jim Morrison would've looked like if he had lived to celebrate his 65th birthday this month. Result? The bloated likeness was not much different from what the Lizard King looked like when he died in 1971. Thanks for asking!


JANUARY '09

JOBS LOST Dewey Martin dies, dashing any hopes for a "New Buffalo Springfield" reunion without Stephen Stills, Neil Young and Richie Furay.

JOBS LOST Dave Dee, the only guy with a last name in Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich, dies so that surviving fans can finally be on a first-name basis with all surviving members.

JOBS CREATED Chris Brown, the 19-year-old R&B singer and dancer, is arrested on suspicion of beating up girlfriend Rhianna. Fans are shocked at the assault, which goes against Brown's clean-cut image, but even more female fans are strangely attracted to Rhianna's new pummeled look, resulting in a surge of women getting raspberry-jam face makeovers.


FEBRUARY '09

JOBS LOST British economist Evan Davies says the current credit crunch is all David Bowie's fault. Banks emulated the operating principal behind "Bowie Bonds," in which buyers bought future shares of the royalties from the singer's back-catalog and Bowie was able to collect future profits up front. Fleeced investors acknowledge that Bowie Bonds were a Ponzi scheme worthy of Bernie Madoff. One defrauded buyer lamented, "We should've known that even less people would be lining up to purchase Black Tie, White Noise and Tin Machine 2 in 2009 than at the time of release. What were we thinking?"

JOBS CREATED A rash of imposter David Bowie Twitterers start a rumor that the singer will resurrect the Ziggy Stardust character at this year's Coachella festival. Bowie himself dismisses the false posts as "poppycock" but acknowledges, "I suppose I am responsible for a whole school of pretentious twits."

JOBS LOST JD Fortune, who was picked to replace the late Michael Hutchence of INXS via a reality TV show, claims the band fired him without warning, and, as a result, he's now living in his car. A spokesman for the band suggested that his new habitat might be a great place to practice "auto-eroticism." Hey, it worked out great for the last guy.


MARCH '09

JOBS LOST The John Butler Trio has now been trimmed down to just John Butler. The usual "artistic reasons" were given for the downsizing of the group, but the savings on stationery ink alone might be enough to carry the Butler organization through the lean spring months ahead.


APRIL '09

JOBS LOST For people keeping track on the Mamas and the Papas death curse, Bud Shank, 82, the jazz musician who played the flute solo on "California Dreaming," died of pulmonary failure. That leaves only Michelle Phillips, whose pact with Satan apparently still has a few years left to run.

JOBS CREATED If only someone was paying YouTube posters for figuring out all the songs that sound like Coldplay's "Viva La Vida." Should Coldplay's legal team be able to prove their contention that "If I Could Fly" by Joe Satriani "lacks originality," then waiting in the wings to sue the epaulets off Coldplay's uniforms next will be Yusef Islam, aka Cat Stevens ("Foreigner Suite: Heaven,"1973), Marty Balin ("Hearts," 1980) and Creaky Boards ("The Songs I Didn't Write," 2008).

Serene Dominic is a music writer for Metro Times. Send comments to letters@metrotimes.com.

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