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July 2006 Archives

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DEPT. OF SELF-PROMOTION

The co-author of the two Snob books thus far, David Kamp, has an altogether weightier tome en route, called The United States of Arugula. It’s a nonfiction account of the rise of American food culture, from pioneers like James Beard, Julia Child, and Alice Waters to celebrity chefs like Emeril, Mario, and Wolfgang, from the dark days of tinned Spam to our current lattes-and-sushi Age of Aquarius.

In preparation for the book’s September 12 release, Mr. Kamp is preparing a new Web site, davidkamp.com, that will also include an archive of his music and film writings for Vanity Fair and GQ. Right now, the site is just a place-holding “splash page,” as the young people say, but it should be up and running in a few weeks. Please pay the site a visit soonish.

July 18, 2006 More Declamations »

TAMERLANE PHILLIPS HAS BAD LUCK WITH AIR BEDS

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Everyone knows that lots of musicians have surprisingly intimate MySpace pages. But few have as delightful and forthright an Amazon.com profile page as Tamerlane Phillips (above), the kindhearted son of the late Rock Snob cause célèbre John (Wolfking of L.A.) Phillips. Tamerlane, a singer-songwriter in his own right and the sister of Bijou Phillips (both were born to model-actress Genevieve Waite, John’s third wife), gives the thumbs down to the Midrise Queen Airbed with Pump, lamenting, “This is my second airbed the first one would deflate while you are sleeping and you wake up on the floor this one also deflates in the middle of night. If you want to buy an airbed spend alot of money and buy a quality one.”

Sound consumer tip, sir! Tamerlane also misspells the name of his father’s group (“My father is papa john phillips of the mammas and the pappas”) in his review of The Chelsea Hotel, but he raves over the hotel itself (“The chelsea has specially thick walls so that the many musicians and singers can pracice without disturbing the other tenants”), and also liked a book he read about Adnan Khashoggi.

July 12, 2006 More Rock Snobbery »

THE MADCAP CROAKS

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No one harbored any serious expectation that he’d ever record new music or emerge from seclusion, but still, it’s sad to learn that Syd Barrett (above), the architect of Pink Floyd’s early, woozy, endearingly lysergic sound, is dead. With Brian Wilson and Sly Stone, he formed a holy trinity of great pop recluse-geniuses, forever pursued by obsessed fans and questing journalists. Wilson eventually reemerged and returned to performing. Stone briefly resurfaced at this year’s Grammys with a dope mohawk and a Goldmember suit. Only Barrett stayed away completely.

Like Kurt Cobain, Barrett left behind a body of work that is, frankly, pretty scant for a person so lionized. It was his adamant refusal to be Syd Barrett anymore–after quitting music, he returned to his given name, Roger Barrett–that fed his legend as much as anything. Over the years, lots of grim stories circulated that he’d gone completely bat-fecal, that he’d ballooned to 28 stone, that he’d gone blind and deaf. An excellent and surprisingly tender stalkerazzi article about Barrett in the (London) Observer put to rest those misconceptions a few years ago. The article’s author, Tim Willis, had the gumption to just knock on the old psychedelic songsmith’s door. He didn’t get much out of Barrett, who was wearing little besides blue underpants as they spoke. But in reading Willis’s piece, you get the sense that Barrett wasn’t as mad as people thought he was, and that removing himself from the pop-star life was a shrewd act of self-preservation, a move that allowed him to live much longer and more peaceably than many of his drug-gulping contemporaries.

July 11, 2006 More Rock Snobbery »

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