Why is John Fahey So Boring?

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I, like many of you, no longer think John Fahey is an interesting musician. He was a bloodless, soulless albino clone of Elizabeth Cotten. And he didn't even play his guitar upside-down!

Where I once was captivated by his hypnotic simplicity, now I am bored to actual tears by his banal repetitiousness.

Where eyebrows were once raised involuntarily at the clever placement of a "modern-sounding" chord, my stomach now heaves in disgust at his obviousness.

And where I was once astounded by his machine-like precision, I am now driven mad by his machine-like precision.

So, why is John Fahey's music so boring?

valdemar (nubbin), Tuesday, 10 January 2006 08:25 (fourteen years ago) link

you're thinking of fay vincent, you want ilb

j blount (papa la bas), Tuesday, 10 January 2006 08:43 (fourteen years ago) link

Fahey's music has a lot in common with drone - repetition, repetition, but the small changes in every go-round begin to make all the difference...

sean gramophone (Sean M), Tuesday, 10 January 2006 08:58 (fourteen years ago) link

He's boring because Sufjan is on his tribute album?

Stephen C (ihope), Tuesday, 10 January 2006 09:06 (fourteen years ago) link

"When a man is tired of John Fahey, he is tired of life."

Robert Johnson

Dadaismus (Dada), Tuesday, 10 January 2006 10:19 (fourteen years ago) link

Apparently Fahey was a big Die Hard fan. Never woulda figured him fo' a Brucenik.

Mestema (davidcorp), Tuesday, 10 January 2006 11:18 (fourteen years ago) link

There is a support group for the emotions you're experiencing. Don't give up hope.

Edward III (edward iii), Tuesday, 10 January 2006 14:37 (fourteen years ago) link

the sufjan track on the tribute album is actually pretty good! and i couldn't even listen to that sufjan album all the way through. he must be best in small doses.

scott seward (scott seward), Tuesday, 10 January 2006 14:38 (fourteen years ago) link

This is the first time I've ever seen some real dislike for Fahey, he's such a sacred cow. It's refreshing.

Ogmor Roundtrouser (Ogmor Roundtrouser), Tuesday, 10 January 2006 14:55 (fourteen years ago) link

Yes, next up: that fucking Harry Smith.

Naive Teen Idol (Naive Teen Idol), Tuesday, 10 January 2006 14:56 (fourteen years ago) link

Followed by: Duke Ellington, boring bastard.

Excelsior Syndrum (noodle vague), Tuesday, 10 January 2006 14:59 (fourteen years ago) link

sandy bull? more like bullshit!

scott seward (scott seward), Tuesday, 10 January 2006 15:00 (fourteen years ago) link

Johann Sebastian Bollocks, innit?

Excelsior Syndrum (noodle vague), Tuesday, 10 January 2006 15:02 (fourteen years ago) link

How much can you do with an acoustic guitar, anyway?

save the robot (save the robot), Tuesday, 10 January 2006 15:03 (fourteen years ago) link

Not much at all, really.

Naive Teen Idol (Naive Teen Idol), Tuesday, 10 January 2006 15:03 (fourteen years ago) link

Shirley Collins - talentless old bag

Dadaismus (Dada), Tuesday, 10 January 2006 15:19 (fourteen years ago) link

Dadaismus! You're crazy!

stew!, Tuesday, 10 January 2006 15:23 (fourteen years ago) link

Oops, posted before I'd followed the gag back...
I'll get my coat.

stew!, Tuesday, 10 January 2006 15:24 (fourteen years ago) link

Ha ha

Dadaismus (Dada), Tuesday, 10 January 2006 15:25 (fourteen years ago) link

i have like ten or twelve john fahey albums with no intention of stopping anytime soon.

Special Agent Gene Krupa (orion), Tuesday, 10 January 2006 15:36 (fourteen years ago) link

the only concert where i ever fell asleep...

my name is john. i reside in chicago. (frankE), Tuesday, 10 January 2006 15:36 (fourteen years ago) link

NO FAHEY, NO CREDIBILITY

cancer prone fat guy (dubplatestyle), Tuesday, 10 January 2006 15:37 (fourteen years ago) link

im just gonna sit here and shake my head

bb (bbrz), Tuesday, 10 January 2006 15:38 (fourteen years ago) link

I am now driven mad by his machine-like precision.

it is about the "wrong" notes.

cancer prone fat guy (dubplatestyle), Tuesday, 10 January 2006 15:38 (fourteen years ago) link

ok not reallyentirely, but still

cancer prone fat guy (dubplatestyle), Tuesday, 10 January 2006 15:39 (fourteen years ago) link

the only concert where i ever fell asleep...

Count yourself lucky JF didn't fall asleep himself

Dadaismus (Dada), Tuesday, 10 January 2006 15:39 (fourteen years ago) link

He was a bloodless, soulless albino clone of Elizabeth Cotten. And he didn't even play his guitar upside-down!

this sounds like something fahey might have written in his own liner notes.

a spectator bird (a spectator bird), Tuesday, 10 January 2006 15:40 (fourteen years ago) link

well, I think he's a little not-all-that. but I enjoy him and think he added something to the guitar vocabulary. I'm not a fan of Surfin' Stevens but his cut on "I Am the Resurrection" is nice, as is most of that record (I guess I like the Cul De Sac track "Portland Cement Factory" the best). I guess you could blame Fahey for Leo Kottke (who has his moments) too. just another confused bluesnik who probably should've stayed out of Mississippi (to just reduce it down to the most banal possible criticism!). I dunno, you need to ask Andy Beta about all this, he probably has as good a take on it as anyone I know.

and OK, I know Elizabeth Cotten's name from that Moaners CD that came out last year, but apart from that I know nothing about her.

edd s hurt (ddduncan), Tuesday, 10 January 2006 15:44 (fourteen years ago) link

you need to know more immediately...get thee to the record store and put the dvd on yr netflix list

bb (bbrz), Tuesday, 10 January 2006 15:47 (fourteen years ago) link

Elizabeth Cotten is wonderful. Shake Sugaree is well known and much covered. Nothing can touch he original though. The allmusic entry on her has a decent biog. Wasn't she a housekeeper discovered by Alan Lomax or someone like that?

stew!, Tuesday, 10 January 2006 16:00 (fourteen years ago) link

http://myspace-643.vo.llnwd.net/00003/34/64/3514643_l.jpg
11/25/98 Dear Ron, Regarding fame, fortune and Oregon I do wish I had more money. As for fame, it can go to your head and you can become full of yourself. This I was always afraid of and so it didn't happen to me. It began to happen to me once, way back around 1969. Fortunately I noticed it before anybody else did and I cut it out. So what I do is this --when I go to the venue, I become the entertainer John Fahey. But when I come off stage, I do not want adulation, I do not want to be worshipped. I just want to be treated like an average guy. So I refer to records by me as "Fahey records", "Fahey music", and so forth. So I don't have to speak of MY, ME, I, etc. and keep talking about myself all the time, which bores me and everybody else. While I recognize in the back of my mind that I am an occasionally brilliant guitar composer and arranger, innovator and player. I also know that I am not a great technician. Perhaps that is why I manage to keep some humility. So when people ask me how good I am, I usually cop to being brilliant, even better than that, but short of genius. But I say these things in an objective dispassionate manner because, you know, and I can't explain why, but being one of the greatest guitarists in the world simply is not very important to me. Oh, but if you took it away somehow I would be very unhappy. But not suicidal. I know many inferior guitarists who are very proud of the fact that they are as good as they are, when in fact they are only moderately good. They parade around in their egotism with their groupies and fans and lord it over their worshippers. I do not even laugh at this like others do because the relationship between entertainers and groupies is pathological. As soon as the groupie finds out that you make errors in everyday life like everybody else does and that you are human, they turn on you and hate you. This has happened to me. It can hurt a lot especially in the case of girls. As you know, I am very fond of these creatures. Once upon a time I fell in love with a groupie, a Chicago girl, not knowing she was a groupie. The usual thing happened and it was very painful to me. From a social perspective, I am looking for friends, not acolytes. Being worshipped is a horrible experience. As for the source of the music, I believe it comes from the unconscious; that there is no such thing as talent. There is simply a lot of hard work and more hard work and after that, more hard work. I believe Thomas Edison said that. The other thing in composition is opening up the unconscious. I am especially good at the latter because, as I told you, I was in psychoanalysis for eight or nine years. Most musicians I know cannot open up. They are too focused on the audience rather than on their own emotions, or they are too focused on technique or perhaps on both. When I play, I very quickly put myself into a light hypnotic trance and compose while playing, drawing directly from the emotions. In fact, I would go so far as to say that I am playing emotions and expressing them in a coherent public language called music. If you don't do that you sound stiff and uninspiring. Your friend, John Fahey

dan bunnybrain (dan bunnybrain), Tuesday, 10 January 2006 16:00 (fourteen years ago) link

his books are anything but boring, also.

Special Agent Gene Krupa (orion), Tuesday, 10 January 2006 16:28 (fourteen years ago) link

trick question!

M@tt He1geson (Matt Helgeson), Tuesday, 10 January 2006 16:52 (fourteen years ago) link

it is about the "wrong" notes.

-- cancer prone fat guy (wt...), January 10th, 2006

what is?

,, Tuesday, 10 January 2006 17:00 (fourteen years ago) link

john fahey.

Special Agent Gene Krupa (orion), Tuesday, 10 January 2006 17:01 (fourteen years ago) link

(x-post) - Great liner notes!

Elizabeth Cotton was adorable - check out the audience participation on her live CD on Arhoolie.

And I personally know of no remedy for falling out of love with the music of Fahey, or any other musician, for that matter. Sorry. (Why'd you like him in the first place?)

Myonga Von Bontee (Myonga Von Bontee), Tuesday, 10 January 2006 17:32 (fourteen years ago) link

Why'd you like him in the first place?

Because he was hip for a while perhaps?

Dadaismus (Dada), Tuesday, 10 January 2006 17:32 (fourteen years ago) link

I had lost my copy of The Yellow Princess...just found it again! yay!

M@tt He1geson (Matt Helgeson), Tuesday, 10 January 2006 17:38 (fourteen years ago) link

that's a good one! the one i listened to most recently was "i remember blind joe death." the firs cut on the second side is really interesting in its use of dissonance and really jarring rhythms.

Special Agent Gene Krupa (orion), Tuesday, 10 January 2006 17:41 (fourteen years ago) link

Dadaismus: I was *never* hip, you silly old goose.

When I liked him I was a stupid young person who didn't know shit about music, like many of you. Now I am slightly less stupid and know three things about music, one of them being that John Fahey, like Minimalism, is boring. What's so interesting and hip about a guy who plays repetitious music like he's got no soul? He's a defanged, emasculated, sterile copycat of MS John Hurt. John Fahey Is Boring.

Oh, and thanks for posting Fahey's own words. What a bag of hot air. Thank god he's dead!

valdemar (nubbin), Tuesday, 10 January 2006 17:53 (fourteen years ago) link

I don't like City of Refuge that much though....too much crabwalkin!

M@tt He1geson (Matt Helgeson), Tuesday, 10 January 2006 17:55 (fourteen years ago) link

You weren't hip. John Fahey was. That's why you listened to him in the first place, see? (xpost)

Vicious Cop Kills Gentle Fool (Dada), Tuesday, 10 January 2006 18:01 (fourteen years ago) link

calling fahey's music soulless is grossly uninformed hyperbole.

Special Agent Gene Krupa (orion), Tuesday, 10 January 2006 18:12 (fourteen years ago) link

Dadaismus: That's right I wasn't hip, I was dumb. John Fahey wasn't hip either, he was boring. He still is boring. Can you give me a reason to think he's either hip or boring or both?

valdemar (nubbin), Tuesday, 10 January 2006 18:13 (fourteen years ago) link

this is one boring-ass thread.

hstencil (hstencil), Tuesday, 10 January 2006 18:14 (fourteen years ago) link

Calling Fahey's music interesting or soulful is overblown overstatement.

valdemar (nubbin), Tuesday, 10 January 2006 18:15 (fourteen years ago) link

Ok, more talk about Fahey. It's good that there are people out there who dislike Fahey and the music community isn't all united in some meaningless sort of agreement about his excellence, but I am not in their camp. It's pointless to try and convince anyone to that Fahey is not boring. But I'll try and say a little bit about why I think he's so great.

Fahey produced an impressive variety of stuff and my feelings about it vary. If I'm not in the mood for Hitomi maybe I want to hear his dixieland stuff, or A Raga Called Pat, or The Oregon Capital Inn blah blah - he did a lot of different stuff! Seriously! And yet, maybe this is all my imaginings and projections, but I can sense the same determination behind it, the clear-headed, straight up emotionality and that killer sense of humour. Even (especially) with his writing. More than any one of his styles, or his status as an innovator or whatever, I'm mostly in love with the wonderful personality I feel behind it all. And when I listen to Sun Gonna Shine In My Backdoor Someday Blues I'm not listening to, as he describes it, a bitonal piece played in a John Hurt, ragtime finger-picking pattern style, I'm listening to... I don't know, something much trickier to word. More than any other music I feel this with Fahey. When I first heard him just after I turned 18 I was blown away by how ridiculously intuitive it seemed - it was so obvious, I couldn't believe I ever bothered with other music.

A lot of what's written about Fahey to convince you of his IMPORTANCE talks about how he was the first to do X or an exciting blend of country blues, 20th century classical, indian classical... blah blah. To me at least, it doesn't sound like that and it wouldn't be nearly as interesting if it did. All that seems incidental. The way I hear it (and I appreciate the subjectivity of all this), Fahey is trying to get to SOMETHING and all the technical details are just his way of getting to it. I guess that's it anyway, it's why I feel the same sorts of things listening to such a diverse range of music. It's not the language he's developed, but what he's saying with it.

Ogmor Roundtrouser (Ogmor Roundtrouser), Tuesday, 10 January 2006 18:20 (fourteen years ago) link

http://www.mactavishland.ca/pictures/tumbleweed.jpg

Excelsior Syndrum (noodle vague), Tuesday, 10 January 2006 18:20 (fourteen years ago) link

I just threw a rock into the pond, and it made small waves.. then they ended.

I'm so fucking proud of throwing that rock into the pond.

Those little waves just marched around in their own order, but in no way that anyone could have predicted.

Even though the pond got back to equilibrium in about 10 seconds, I have to say that, for a small while, I was fucking make waves in that pond. I threw the rock, the waves happened, they ended, and it was because of me.

Fuck you, pond. I would never hesitate to throw another rock in you.

Dom iNut (donut), Tuesday, 10 January 2006 18:22 (fourteen years ago) link

Are we going to debate what soul is again? I hope so. I hope it's also kind of racist and completely uninformed. I want some more of that.

And Leo Kotke rules so watch it, pals.

!~~~~11@@, Tuesday, 10 January 2006 18:23 (fourteen years ago) link

it's one of his best pieces, i personally love the herky jerky hi-fidelity version on 'of rivers and religion', close to definitive

global tetrahedron, Tuesday, 11 February 2020 00:24 (four months ago) link

Agreed -- I've been doing some modular synthesizer interpretations of Fahey tunes and am working off of the Requia version for this one, which has a completely different structure and starts with the B section. He doesn't get into the long, pedal-pointy A-section that leads the Of Rivers and Religion version until over two minutes in. It's a great piece all the same, but the tension and release I described upthread is totally different.

Naive Teen Idol, Tuesday, 11 February 2020 13:13 (four months ago) link

they're both great and the contrast between them makes me appreciate both more. requia one has a more classical/flowing feel, the beginning is so light and gorgeous

ogmor, Tuesday, 11 February 2020 13:42 (four months ago) link

he had such a light touch in the 60s. it's so amazing to watch his picking hand on those 'guitar guitar' appearances

global tetrahedron, Tuesday, 11 February 2020 14:51 (four months ago) link

yeah he quite suddenly got a lot heavier sometime around 1969

ogmor, Tuesday, 11 February 2020 15:01 (four months ago) link

that can happen when all you do is sit around all day playing guitar

Evan, Tuesday, 11 February 2020 15:31 (four months ago) link

I wouldn't rule out the influence of alcohol either

ogmor, Tuesday, 11 February 2020 15:48 (four months ago) link

And trauma/mental illness

Naive Teen Idol, Tuesday, 11 February 2020 16:34 (four months ago) link

it's a rich tapestry!

tylerw, Tuesday, 11 February 2020 16:43 (four months ago) link

two weeks pass...

Happy birthday JF.

I was recently discussing what made him so great with some friends and one friend dissented that all of the talent was in his right hand. All of us were pretty dismissive at first but after thinking it over for a couple weeks, I realized that my friend had some merit in his critique. My arguement is that you need to fold in the chord-structure/choices/voicings of these tunings into his left hand "technique", which then elevates his talent.

What is the best example of his left hand technique. Any serious heads want to tackle this?

Jersey Al (Albert R. Broccoli), Friday, 28 February 2020 16:42 (four months ago) link

brenda's blues

global tetrahedron, Friday, 28 February 2020 17:25 (four months ago) link

but i don't think that's a valid 'dissent' in any case

global tetrahedron, Friday, 28 February 2020 17:27 (four months ago) link

obviously he didn't go in for fast runs or hammer-ons or loads of wild awkward chords but a lot of what makes for a good guitarist cannot be assigned to either hand, and ofc fahey was a composer and synthesizer and so on too. his picking patterns aren't wildly complicated but the key business of timing is mostly a right hand thing so I think you can make a case on that basis. brenda's blues is a good call, yellow princess is probably his fanciest left hand era, stuff like lion, but really his slide stuff is what I would point to, esp the live performances

ogmor, Friday, 28 February 2020 17:37 (four months ago) link

Thank you both. Will see these numbskulls tomorrow night at the Fennesz show and will bring up your examples.

Jersey Al (Albert R. Broccoli), Friday, 6 March 2020 01:01 (three months ago) link

three months pass...

People should stop worshipping Fahey and give credit to the blues musicians he ripped off. There, I said it!

— Sarah Louise (@SarahLouisemusi) June 12, 2020

"ripped off, streamlined and codified the techniques, thus sucking the life out of the music"

more proof these kids never got it for those who couldn't tell from the music

rumpy riser (ogmor), Saturday, 13 June 2020 14:36 (two weeks ago) link

what a confusing revival.

Totally different head. Totally. (Austin), Saturday, 13 June 2020 16:11 (two weeks ago) link

guess I just find it funny that ppl are acting like john fahey, who dedicated so much of his life to championing and popularising country blues, writing about it extensively (he won a grammy for mythologising other ppl!), tracking down skip james and bukka white, finding rare records, and just getting it in a way that ppl hadn't really before and even with his example many still can't, somehow operated at the expense of blues artists

rumpy riser (ogmor), Saturday, 13 June 2020 17:06 (two weeks ago) link

Black-and-white thinking iirc.

pomenitul, Saturday, 13 June 2020 17:08 (two weeks ago) link

ogmor i thought more or less the same thing. it's like, how can you engage with john fahey to an extent that can be meaningfully called "worship" and not be aware of the extent of his commitment to the tradition he was so clearly and self-consciously participating in ?

anyway, if you want to hear what lifeless white folk guitar sounds like, head straight to her bandcamp page !

budo jeru, Saturday, 13 June 2020 17:15 (two weeks ago) link

I've overcome enough of my antipathy to new age to say that as sun-swallowing dazzling reverie goes I quite like sarah louise & I think she stands out, but that tweet is steaming ignorance. mb there are a significant number of oddly annoying john fahey fans in the US, but the resentment ppl feel towards him is clearly not for the nonsense (and indeed rockist) reasons put forward in that thread. by far the most perceptive and most ruthless takedowns of john fahey i've heard all came from john fahey, who was mb more self-aware and self-ironizing than any musician i can think of, but just as the subtleties of his playing have gone unappreciated as his music has been interpreted as "aimlessly jamming and playing around w/ blues cliches in open tunings", all the care he put into negotiating the position of his own music amongst his peers and influences has been reduced to "self-mythologising"

rumpy riser (ogmor), Saturday, 13 June 2020 18:36 (two weeks ago) link

you could say this reductive process is a necessary part of how influence functions, the way in which culture travels on the "vibrational level", to borrow a concept from noted blues scholar john fahey

rumpy riser (ogmor), Saturday, 13 June 2020 18:44 (two weeks ago) link

might be a few good reasons we could cancel john fahey, but ripping off the blues is pretty low on the list.

tylerw, Saturday, 13 June 2020 19:05 (two weeks ago) link

wait, that tweet wasn't satirical?

Totally different head. Totally. (Austin), Saturday, 13 June 2020 20:01 (two weeks ago) link

I think it all stems from her performing and being on the I'll fated panel at the 1000 Incarnations of the Rose festival

Blues Guitar Solo Heatmap (Free Download) (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Saturday, 13 June 2020 20:16 (two weeks ago) link

jf really deserves a better thread title.

crystal-brained yogahead (map), Saturday, 13 June 2020 20:19 (two weeks ago) link

also ogmor otm

crystal-brained yogahead (map), Saturday, 13 June 2020 20:20 (two weeks ago) link

wait, yeah i think Austin is right, it's a bad joke ? there's no way she's that stupid.

budo jeru, Saturday, 13 June 2020 20:20 (two weeks ago) link

the I'll fated panel at the 1000 Incarnations of the Rose festival

?

budo jeru, Saturday, 13 June 2020 20:21 (two weeks ago) link

and this revive continues its outright confusing tendencies.

john would have dug this revive quite a bit, i reckon.

Totally different head. Totally. (Austin), Saturday, 13 June 2020 20:40 (two weeks ago) link

Budo on my phone right now will recount when I'm on my laptop

Blues Guitar Solo Heatmap (Free Download) (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Saturday, 13 June 2020 20:46 (two weeks ago) link

ah yeah if she was front and centre to witness the old cranks desperate to get their piece of the Fahey legacy pie and she wasn't even especially fussed about him in the first place that makes sense

rumpy riser (ogmor), Saturday, 13 June 2020 21:26 (two weeks ago) link

if you really see fahey as just another 'great fingerpicker'* then ofc the fact that he birthed a whole mini-industry (& one with sufficient gravity to suck in&bemuse ppl who have little in common with fahey beyond being fingerpickers) and elizabeth cotten didn't is a weird mystery that can either prompt closer examination, or the decision that it must just be privilege & structural racism doing their thing w/ a big-helping of 'self-mythologising'

*this is mb the reduction I find most salient in identifying what irks abt the trends in last decade or so of these post-rose guitarists: just talking about players and this jam-band-adjacent focus on craft and raw sound and immediacy (even VIBES) to the exclusion of all the other things that were in the mix. you cld def trace a lot of this to jack rose, and then it felt fresh to me, but with each iteration it just seems to get emptier and blander and less aware; the problem with the vibrational level of influence is you end up with mindless entropic heat death (rather than being consciously embraced as a method of transcendent self-abnegation a la alvin lucier).

rumpy riser (ogmor), Saturday, 13 June 2020 22:09 (two weeks ago) link

xps to map we do have the other regular thread but it's S/D

Search and Destroy: John Fahey

this thread ofc was started by some random lurker/sock/troll, but it seems appropriate to use for discussing people's take on his legacy idk

sleeve, Saturday, 13 June 2020 23:08 (two weeks ago) link

I'm not on Twitter. Has there been much pushback on this tweet? I'm guessing no

Paul Ponzi, Saturday, 13 June 2020 23:15 (two weeks ago) link

I love the music of John Fahey and I love the music of Alvin Lucier. And rumpy riser's post is the first time I've ever seen heard them both mentioned in the same discussion. Artistic and idiosyncratic geniuses?

aworks, Sunday, 14 June 2020 15:33 (two weeks ago) link

more like two over-hyped exemplars of privilege. ppl should stop worshipping lucier and give credit to the first early humans who felt a transcendental tranquility as they contemplated their mortality and the limits of their self as they listened to the echoes of their voice bouncing off the rocks of the great rift valley

rumpy riser (ogmor), Sunday, 14 June 2020 15:56 (two weeks ago) link

there's some but also a lot of Wikipedia experts who want a pat on the head for knowing who Bukka White is


fwiw I very much like Sarah Louise's music

(xpost to Paul)

ums what's the festival story ?

budo jeru, Sunday, 14 June 2020 17:52 (two weeks ago) link

sooo....this was the panel discussion:

12:30 PM Panel Discussion

Panel features Byron Coley, Glenn Jones, Peter Lang, Sarah Louise, Claudio Guerrieri (The John Fahey Handbook), Allison Hussey (Indy Week, Pitchfork, Bandcamp Daily), Steve Lowenthal (Dance of Death, VDSQ), Bill Meyer (Magnet, Wire, Dusted), Leah Toth (Footfalls Records, Tinymixtapes)

here's what I wrote at the time:

We are here tomorrow

Gene Rosenthal of Adelphi Records got kicked out of the panel discussion, Glenn Jones told him to shut the fuck up

― The Desus & Mero Chain (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Saturday, April 14, 2018 12:27 PM (two years ago) bookmarkflaglink

ooh tell us more -- internet drama is boring, gimme people getting kicked out of places & told to stfu irl

― weird woman in a bar (La Lechera), Saturday, April 14, 2018 12:51 PM (two years ago) bookmarkflaglink

So Rosenthal had placards written that said "Contemporary Guitar" which he held up when any one said American Primitive, then "Bullshit" and "Opinion" when ppl said something he didn't agree with

Was warned several times from stage, Glenn said Gene you're a pain in the ass and I wish you weren't here. Peter Lang stepped in to explain that Gene was a friend but was asking him to stop, then he wouldn't and got escorted out and held up a sign that said MORONIC on his way out

― The Desus & Mero Chain (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Saturday, April 14, 2018 1:18 PM (two years ago) bookmarkflaglink

....it was pretty embarrassing, and you could tell Glenn felt terrible about it, Jesse Shephard from Elkhorn had to escort him out

was definitely a bad vibe because it was an old man once again trying to center the conversation around who "owns" Fahey's legacy, one of his big things is it should be "contemporary guitar" not "American Primitive" like who actually gives a fuck about that.

Coley did a good job as moderator trying to keep things on track but it was hard. Especially embarrassing because Louise and Allison Hussey had been trying to bring up the lack of diversity and other voices at the festival and in the genre in general to get talked over by some dickhead grinding axes from 50 years ago

so, I guess I could see her leaving that festival turned off by the whole Fahey thing? Or it would not surprise me if that was a factor

thing is that rosenthal would probably *agree* with sarah about fahey, haha

tylerw, Monday, 15 June 2020 02:17 (two weeks ago) link

Don't know if this was brought up before, but I thought this episode of Lost Notes was pretty good:
https://www.kcrw.com/culture/shows/lost-notes/living-with-john-fahey-aka-a-room-full-of-flowers

Elvis Telecom, Monday, 15 June 2020 03:35 (two weeks ago) link

I’ll check that out.

Am I to understand that Rosenthal’s perspective here was some version of “I’ve spent my life rediscovering black blues artists and I find the whole American primitive thing to be pretentious”? Was he arguing that Fahey was just doing something modern and/or derivative?

I hadn’t realized that Adelphi’s first release was Dance of Death and that Fahey actually brought Skip James to Adelphi to record immediately after he and Barth found him:

https://adelphirecords.com/zero-to-180/ahead-of-the-curve.html

Naive Teen Idol, Monday, 15 June 2020 12:27 (two weeks ago) link

The Jessica Hopper podcast was insightful, depressing and not entirely surprising. That Fahey would be emotionally manipulative is completely consistent with what I know about mental illness and substance abuse. His treatment of the last major relationship profiled was particularly hard to listen to -- a successful businesswoman in Silicon Valley who moved to Salem to be with him--who created and curates the great johnfahey.com website--only to be cheated on repeatedly summarily and trashed by Fahey to anyone who would listen. Really rough -- thanks for sharing, ET.

Naive Teen Idol, Monday, 15 June 2020 18:55 (two weeks ago) link

I'll have to listen to that. Fahey was a grim scene esp at the end.

Melody Fahey is the admin of the John Fahey Facebook group and posts semi-frequently.

Am I to understand that Rosenthal’s perspective here was some version of “I’ve spent my life rediscovering black blues artists and I find the whole American primitive thing to be pretentious”? Was he arguing that Fahey was just doing something modern and/or derivative?

I hadn’t realized that Adelphi’s first release was Dance of Death and that Fahey actually brought Skip James to Adelphi to record immediately after he and Barth found him:

https://adelphirecords.com/zero-to-180/ahead-of-the-curve.html

― Naive Teen Idol, Monday, June 15, 2020 7:27 AM (eight hours ago) bookmarkflaglink

I think it was more he sees himself as the true keeper of Fahey's legacy? And that he feels people like Glenn Jones have bastardized Fahey's true....uh...whatever...into "American Primitive" He has a big axe to grind about the name...was hard to tell.

I wonder if he thought it should have been on the panel?

I ended up talking to Coley out smoking and he said they originally wanted to have a mic for audience questions, but then when Coley saw that Gene was going to be there he said no fucking way, he'll grab the mic and just take over so they didn't have Q&A.

Um, overall kind of seems like a really weird old crank! so like a classic old school collector type guy

hadn't heard that podcast before, was a bit apprehensive about it but it was less gloomy that I feared and just seemed to cement my impression of his life. I thought I'd heard rumours of violence but mb it was speculation. thought it was great that melody fahey & melissa stephenson are friends

rumpy riser (ogmor), Wednesday, 17 June 2020 12:29 (two weeks ago) link

That was good. Enjoyed the little details like him eating salad with no dressing and swallowing pills without water.

And of course Fahey snores. You could look at him and tell that!

Paul Ponzi, Tuesday, 30 June 2020 13:31 (two days ago) link

That was a stressful read tbh and I'm not happy with the gropeyness. Also that guy should've taped his snoring so that jf could've used it on an album

Boris the Spreader (NickB), Tuesday, 30 June 2020 14:20 (two days ago) link

John Fahey, the best and the worst.

tylerw, Tuesday, 30 June 2020 15:20 (two days ago) link


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