Schwayze

As a music reviewer, even one whose level of significance ranks amongst unicellular pond scum, it’s easy to assume a certain level self-righteousness about personal taste in music. We are the elite. We determine artistic excellence in shrouded Masonic negotiations. Dan Brown is actually writing his next novel about us. Our cloaked standards aren’t too outlandish- the Beatles, Zeppelin, Mozart (somewhere in our starry expanse a pissant Frenchman, they’re always French, is shitting himself, puffing away at a cigarette, and sliming “Mozart is total bullshit.” Barring this Euro ego-extrovert, we usually have our finger on the pulse of what’s hot or not.) So when I was afforded the opportunity of interviewing an up and coming, self-ascribed, “Hip Hop Jack Johnson,” Shwayze, I immediately jumped to my highly judgmental, holier than thou. I was initially, to say the least, put off. The Shwayz (dropping the ‘e’ to make a hip reference) makes himself an easy target. A Malibu native, born Aaron Smith, Shwayze earned his street cred while knocking around his hometown trailer park. He reached mainstream success by riding the coattails of (exploiting) his friend Cisco Adler, collaborator, writer, producer, main mix master on his upcoming release; and more notably, son of Lou Adler (you know Lou, he’s the Donald Sutherland looking gentleman who sits next to Jack Nicholson at every Lakers game. Summer of love music producer? No?) Cisco, recognized more as a privileged social magnet (cough, dated Mischa Barton, cough, naked pictures leaked on the internet) than a musician, was the frontman for a VH1 TV reality show band- phenomenon, and I use the term loosely (Vietnam prostitute loosely) Whitestarr.

This vile duo, this anti-Batman and Robin, bounded toward my sweet Oceanside town to drag out all the bottom feeders- the spoiled rich kids, the habitually intoxicated, the neoconservatives- under the pretenses of promoting what they called ‘a new west coast sound;’ as if the music was to ignite our generation’s Bukowskian renaissance or the second coming of Christ himself. The more I researched Shwayze, the easier it became to mock him: BAM! His single, “Buzzin,” was featured in a Pontiac Vibe commercial; BOOM! MTV picked up the rights to a reality TV show that follows the recording of his debut; KA-BLAOW! He rhymed his name with “Patrick Schwayze.” And I had the task of actually promoting this garbage- perhaps garbage is a harsh term; “overtly commercial soundtrack to a half naked, ill-conceived Sunday keg binge” sums it aptly. Thus my egocentric bile arose, birthed painfully, acerbically, out of the womb of my gullet. I wracked my brain for the components in how I wanted to lay into this guy. Plotting my attack like I was plotting the invasion of Normandy. Should I shoot for a Long Beach Dub Allstars tie or go for a Coolio reference? Perhaps a nice “Malibu’s Most Wanted” joke? The closer my deadline loomed, the more nervous I became- what I thought was my inner bitch twitterpating with anticipation. Turns out it was actually nerves. The catch about seeing someone love what they do and enjoy notoriety in doing it- however many flaws, whatever nay-saying; and despite all the inefficiencies and questionable trends and personal defects- is that you turn into a champion for their continued success. And here I was cocked and ready to take him down. And why? Because the content of his music was questionable? Because in the history of my Masonic standards there hasn’t been music like this? Paul McCartney crooned, “I used to be cruel to my woman. I beat her and kept her apart from the things that she loved;” and women creamed their panties over him. He’s one of four on the high alter of all that is pop rock music? And Jesus, don’t get me started on the wrongs of Ricky Nelson and his “Travelin’ Man.”

And so, perhaps as a means of absolution, and definitely because the article was canned (Shwayze and Adler, in their infinite wisdom, cancelled their Santa Barbara appearance), I write to you, oh invisible internet audience, to weave the great story of a boy they call Shwayze: a kid living his dream. His album “drops” June 2k8. It’ll probably be in a Starbucks somewhere.

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