Wednesday, September 24, 2014
Paul Simon: Still Music 9, Personality 2 (PS: The 2nd Guitarist's Name Is MARK STEWART!)
Like many other people, I'm sure, I'm wondering who that very talented musician was, playing guitar and singing backup vocals on "Here Comes The Sun" alongside that DICK Paul Simon on Conan last night. I'm wondering because Simon didn't say his name on the air. I was hoping that after the song Simon would point to him and say his name. Paul barely looked at him after the song, distracted as he was soaking up the crowd's applause with that Yes-you're-correct-to-adore-me look on his face. He handed his guitar off to the other guy like he was handing it to an underappreciated roadie, and head to the dais, alone, to talk to Conan.
2ND GUITARIST: I'M TRYING TO FIND YOUR NAME SO THAT I CAN PUBLICLY ACKNOWLEDGE YOUR CONTRIBUTION, SINCE PAUL WON'T. SORRY, HAVEN'T FOUND YOU YET. YOU SOUNDED GREAT! AT THE VERY LEAST, I HOPE YA GOT PAID.
PS, 28. September 2014: His name is MARK STEWART! Many thanks to NORA GRIFFIN for commenting and providing Mark's name and a link to this Web page http://www.paul-simon.info/PHP/musician.php?id_musician=5 where you can read some info about Mark and see a picture of him taken WITH THE LIGHTS ON!
Conan mentioned that "Here Comes The Sun" is a wonderful song, and Paul replied, "Yeah, wish I'd written it, heh heh." The same way that early in 1976, accepting the Grammy for Best Album for
Still Crazy After All These Years, the first words out of his mouth were "I'd like to thank Stevie Wonder for not making an album last year and giving someone else a chance." Heh heh. Yes, how good that poor hardworking Paul Simon, who until then had only won 11 Grammies and sold tens if not hundreds of millions of records, was finally given a chance.
Maybe that musician on Conan last night now appreciates how Art Garfunkel felt:
partially obscured by Paul Simon.
Because it's not just as if Paul Simon acted as if he was the only one who'd just played "Here Comes The Sun." That was a dick move, but it wasn't all that unusual, unfortunately. Headliners very often diss talented backup musicians. The fact that the 2nd musician on stage wasn't even lit brightly enough that viewers could see his face and possibly recognize him, but rather was only a dim silhouette playing fantastic guitar and singing nice back-up vocals -- THAT took us into that very special and bizarre world, Paul Simon's world, where the rest of us are basically just using his oxygen and getting in his way.
(Somewhat like the world of billionairess Arianna Huffington, who, when it was pointed out that people who contribute articles to her website are unpaid, replied derisively that they're just plugging their books and that she was offering them free publicity, the ungrateful little worms. Well, Arianna, people who contribute to the New Yorker are also just plugging their books, and yet they still get paid, as do contributors to every single other publication or website which turns a profit of which I've ever heard, as well as some which lose money.)
When Still Crazy After All These Years was released -- great album, by the way -- Simon complained that "only a handful" of pop musicians were "doing anything good." Well, first of all, Paul, and most importantly, fuck you and your great big giant swelled head and ALL of your opinions, and secondly, did he at least mention any of the handful who had earned his mighty praise? No, cause ya see, it really wasn't about them, it was about how the world disappoints and betrays Paul Simon. (And he is, in fact, unfortunately STILL crazy. It's not cute, Paul! The self-centeredness and the egotism are not appealing! You want to see egotism, gaze in awe at Simon's official webiste ) In that same interview he gave Bob Dylan a partial pass, he acknowledged that Dylan was almost making good pop music: "[...]then I look at his lyrics and I realize he's valid."
He's VALID? Who talks like that? If classical-music critics do, then I'm glad I mostly ignore them and just listen to the actual classical music.
I'm done. Paul Simon is still a great musician, nobody can deny that.