OK, lemme follow up on my Talking Heads thread, in which I was fairly decisively refuted.
In my defense: I really didn’t quite say what I meant. What I really meant was that the Talking Heads (purists can pretend they didn’t see the ‘the’) seem surprisingly unimitated for such an influential band. Let me define (or at least refine) my terms: they are influential in the sense that they are well-known and well-regarded and actually listened to quite a bit. One assumes that any such band has effects on others, and I don’t deny it in this case. A band that is influential and also imitated would be, say, Nirvana. Everyone liked them and still likes them. But, additionally: a lot of other musicians picked up a few simple tricks from them. (Not just from them, but they were a major vector for the spread.) The loud/soft grunge thing. Bands that are influential and imitated tend to be those that are doing something good that is also, in a sense, readily portable. It’s musically discrete. You notice it when you hear it. And it’s not so damn hard to do well that no one else can pick it up easily. Lots of influential bands have been that because they were, in a sense, inspired primitivists, technique-wise, ergo imitable. They teach you how to D.I.Y. It’s easier to swipe stuff from the Ramones than Steely Dan.
Anyway, I think I was saying that the Heads have been imitated relatively little for such an influential band. There are a lot of nerd indy frontmen out there, granted. Not so many worldbeat nerds (worldnerd music?).
So what do people think of the imitation/influence axis? Are there any interesting points to be made about it? What are the most influential bands that no one imitates? Or am I just talking nonsense again.
And here is your musical freebie for the day. For some reason Amazon is giving away a whole album, The Best of Naxos Early Music. Which is pretty good. I’m listening to it. (I’m not really a judge of this stuff.) I think one of the main advantages of having this sort of choral music on the iPod is that it creates hilarious shuffle effects. You go from hip hop to a Gregorian chant, or from Cheap Trick to some lute piece. One track on the album brought me up short: “Kyrie eleison”, performed by the Oni Wytars Ensemble. I’ll just quote an enthusiastic Amazon reviewer: “As a Christian and a belly dancer/instructor, what a surprise and delight it was to find a baladi-based version of “Kyrie Eleison (Lord, have mercy)”.” I guess it shouldn’t be surprising when Christian music sounds Arabic, but I, too, was surprised when I clicked on it. I kinda like it.