So, where I work they have satellite radio. They rotate on a weekly basis between five stations. There’s contemporary country; contemporary pop; a mix of contemporary pop and popular hits from the 80s, 90s, and 2000s (imagine an endless duet by Elton John and Taylor Swift); rock from the 60s and 70s; and rock from the late-70s and 80s. I must say, I like the 60s-70s station best. Yeah, I know, musical taste is purely subjective, blah, blah, blah. Still, it’s pretty obvious that popular rock n’ roll music took a drastic turn for the worse somewhere in the mid-70s. A lot of rock stars got fat on their own success and a lot of greasy, industry-types got their hands on the creative controls. Cronyism reigned. The result was a lot of shitty albums by folks who would’ve been better off sticking to session work, or turning knobs behind the glass, or selling drugs to real artists – something useful.
That isn’t to say, this whole time, there wasn’t good, original music being made SOMEWHERE. The powers that controlled dissemination just didn’t have any motivation to seek it out. This is always the way with pop culture. The AMERICAN WAY, Jack. As soon as something original and authentic breaks into the mainstream, a tidal wave of shit comes pouring through the opening. The reins of dissemination are inevitably taken by those who are the best at packaging, homogenizing and selling an idea. Money trumps everything. And don’t worry; the music industry is to the publishing industry, is to our education system, is to our democracy.
I write songs and play in a rock n’ roll band (google Hue Blanc’s Joyless Ones and see how hard we’ve sold out – catchy name notwithstanding), but as an artist, I’m primarily a writer of fiction novels. I tried shopping my work to major publishers, and quickly recognized it as a doomed, time-wasting endeavor. So I said, “fuck it. I AM a publisher. I am Joyless House.” I recruited my brother-in-law, whose life’s work just happens to be the smashing of outdated, ineffective paradigms. He was a public school teacher until he finally refused to toil any longer under Big Brother Walker’s whip. He had the balls to go rogue. Rather than beat his head against the walls of a broken system, he chose to join the revolution and remake education to work for today’s world. This publishing gig is right up his alley. The truth was like a revelation: we have the message, we have the passion, and we have as much access to the means of dissemination as any marketing team at a big time publishing house. Forward, baby.
Of this much, dear reader, you may safely rest assured: anything you get from Joyless House is coming straight from the horse’s mouth. If you decide it to be shit, well . . . maybe there’s something a little wrong with the horse. But he is a well-meaning animal, after all. He may have a few . . . peccadilloes, but at least he has integrity.