The growing notoriety of my son Andrew's band, MGMT, has long been something of a dicey issue for the Flyer's music writers. I feel their pain. It's a lose-lose proposition for them. If they are critical, they risk pissing off or at least irritating their boss. If they praise the band, it looks like they're sucking up. No matter that MGMT has been praised and dissed and profiled by every major music publication and music blog around the globe, it's still a ticklish deal for our guys.
I don't have that problem. I feel free to tell you that Congratulations, MGMT's second album, is dense, lush, textured, difficult in places, absolutely euphoria-inducing in others. It is, as they say in the music business, a "grower" — that is, repeated listens reveal more depth and complexity. The lyrics blossom and begin to live in your head. The songs become earworms. It was the second-best selling album in the U.S. last week. So yeah, I'm proud of my son.
As you may or may not know, MGMT played Saturday Night Live this past weekend. Was I there? No, I was in a cabin on Beaver Creek in the Laurel Mountains of Pennsylvania, near Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater. I go to Beaver Creek for trout-fishing every year on the last weekend in April with two old friends. This was our 24th year. The cabin is rustic, set on a tiny stream amid towering hemlocks and rhododendrons. The cable is basic. The television is a 13-inch Magnavox. The D is not H. But we weren't going to miss SNL. These guys have known Andrew — and my daughter, Mary — since they were tots.
So we old farts poured ourselves some scotch and inched close to the set as Gabourey Sibide introduced MGMT. I admit to having some vicarious butterflies, but I shouldn't have worried. The boys absolutely killed. They looked sharp, they mugged for the cameras, and they played with confidence and swagger.
This has been a completely biased report on a Memphis kid who's doing pretty well in the music business. (Click the image to enlarge.)
Forbes magazine's capricious ranking of Memphis as a "miserable" city gets a nice counter-argument from the May issue of Smithsonian magazine. Check it out here.
My favorite part: Where the salt-and-pepper-haired gentleman sells him a copy of the Memphis Flyer — for $5 dollars!! Or maybe the guy just felt like giving him $5 for the conversation. Hard to tell.
These photos from various protests would be funnier if they weren't so damn sad.