Few people in the football business realize that I, Dr. Z, am also a Grammy voter. Now, I’ll be honest, I don’t really like music. All that singing and dancing, that’s just a bunch of nonsense. There wasn’t of this silly music business back when Paul Brown was coaching. There was nothing but stony silence, interrupted by brief flashes of incredible rage. It was a purer way of doing things. None of this gussied up foolishness with guitars, and drums, and rhythms, and harmonizing, and people having a “good time”. That’s just style over substance. You want to express yourself, you do it by putting your cigarette out on someone. That’s what I say.
Anyway, back when I was working “boots” duty for Newsday back in the 60’s (they called it “boots” duty back then, because all cub reporters were forced to wear these tough old boots made of discarded cabbage), I ran into our music reporter, Saul Saulstein. He throws me a tape and says, “Zim, you gotta listen to this.” Says it’s a fellow by the name of Presley. Well, I didn’t like him. Had a real Jap complexion to him, and I’ll go to my grave believing that. And I didn’t care for his footwork.
But ol’ Saulstein, he has a heart attack the very next day! And since I’m the only other guy in the bullpen who had listened to this claptrap, the editor tells me I gotta fill in the dead guy’s Grammy ballot for him! Ridiculous. I voted for a spoken word album recorded by Adlai Stevenson. Now THAT man was a commanding presence! Anyway, those crazy bohos over at the Grammys decided to keep me on board as a voter permanently thereafter. In return, they always send me a fresh crate of Harry and David pears. And while I find the skin a bit thick some years, it’s still worth checking off the ol’ boxes.
So I get this year’s ballot in the mail. And, as usual, it’s nothing but a bunch of hippy dippy emptiness. I didn’t care for that Kanye West fellow ONE BIT. He’s one of these new school kind of musicians, strutting and standing around and what not. Frankly, it’s embarrassing to watch. HE DOESN’T EVEN SING! HE TALK-SINGS! Ridiculous. If I want to hear Amos & Andy again, I’ll turn on the radio in my parlor! Why can’t these young Negroes be more like Gene Pitney? Now there’s a real pro who could really work a room!
Then I hear this Foo Fighters record and it’s just a bunch of screaming and shouting and noise. I immediately threw it in the trash. Honestly, a two-year-old could do that sort of thing. Reminded me of when I shared a bathroom with the lead singer of Steppenwolf back in ’73. Really thought he was a big deal. Thought growin’ his hair long might make his little soldier downstairs look bigger! I was unimpressed on both counts.
And who’s this Any Winehouse lady? I saw a picture of her. Looked like Judy Garland after three days on her deathbed. Just pathetic. I throw in the record, and it’s clearly just a cheap imitation of what of the Platters were trying to do back in ’52. And the Platters were nothing more than a simpleton boy band. Pretty pathetic. The Flaming Redhead said she looked like a he-she. Then she stabbed me with a serving fork. These musicians are all just a bunch of sad druggies. Why are we honoring them? Why aren’t we giving Grammys to Harry Carson?
Then I get to this Vince Gill record. This so-called “country” record. Ridiculous. What a misnomer. Any rational person knows that what is called “country” today is not actually “country”. I have to laugh whenever someone calls it that. Real country music started up in Appalachia! You can’t call it country if there’s no mandolin! Language isn’t supposed to evolve based upon how society uses it! They didn’t have the courtesy to send the album to me on vinyl. How can I know if it’s any good if I can’t play it on the ol’ Victrola? I ran it over with my Datsun.
Then I finally put on this Herbie Hancock record. And it’s okay. Nothing special. But nothing egregious. Of all the sorry candidates here, this one graded out the best on my charts, which painstakingly evaluate each album based on Technique, Non-Offensiveness, Anti-Union Bias, Potential Appeal To Polynesian Immigrants (who I do not care for), and Timekeeping. You won’t find a more thorough and correct grading system.
Then I go check the mail. And lo and behold, what should arrive but a case of Flying Goat Cellars Pinot Noir, courtesy of Herbie himself! So I go and check the box and send it on its way. I even played one more song on the record to return the favor. Didn’t care for it. Those Joni Mitchell melodies still sounded awfully appealing to border-crossers. But hey, good wine is good wine!
Now where did I put my cabbage boots?