Tuesday, July 21, 2020


(razorcake.org) Back in the day Roctober and Razorcake were neck in neck (our issue #44 probably came out around their issue #44). But we slowed down and went on hiatus in 2015, and right now they are on #117, more than doubling our output. I also had about five years of Razorcake back issues to read, which if it wasn't Quarantine/Quaran-zine time I probably never would have done. But I did! And it was more of a delight than a chore. I read every comic (Ben Snakepit's tales of ripening into punk middle age are fine by me any day), and any article about a 70s or 80s band (reading these is how I ripen into punk middle age). 90s band interviews (especially Kathleen Hanna's) were a maybe, and new bands had to have some kind of compelling gimmick or the best name ever for me to consider reading their interview. I read the columns by Norb, Nardwuar and Rhythm Chicken every issue because I consider those weirdos my friends and they make me laugh. Granted, I would apply the Cathy Rule to some of their columns. Meaning, although I have read the full funny pages every day all my life, in Ms. Guisewite's heyday, if Cathy's daily adventure had too many words on the page I gave myself permission skip it, because I had gotten the point and couldn't bring myself to exert the effort. In Razorcake's case (in Razorcase?) if Norb was talking about Descendents or his dick for more than 700 words I might skim instead of read, and detailed Wisconsin parade descriptions by the Chicken might not get my full attention. All other columns I would start and decide after the first few grafs about reading. I would usually read the "A Punks Guide To..." features, and would skim the reviews. So I read some, and sometimes most, of an issue before moving on, and it was a decent experience. In the MRR heyday I read the columns more religiously but skipped most of the interviews and articles, and really in the pre-Internet era it was the ads that were most important to me to just see what bands existed and records were coming out. Who needs a scene report in the social media age? Razorcake may not have the editorial edge (stubbornness) of MRR, but for this age it is a more compelling read than the punk bibles of the past. Which is an almost biblical achievement.

On Time: A Princely Life In Funk by Morris Day with David Ritz

(Da Capo, 2019) Morris Day fronting the Time, stealing scenes in Purple Rain, and during his solo career was a consistent delight, but that does not mean his book will be good. David Ritz came out swinging with his amazing 1985 Marvin Gaye book, but over the years his visible-ghostwriter co-sign has not been a consistent mark of quality (the Don Rickles book was just jokes from the stand up act with no revelations and was a bore; his R. Kelly book was inconsistent and chock full of semi-truths and craziness, though it proved to be kinda fascinating). But this book has a secret weapon: an All-Star imaginary co-author! Yes, Morris Day has included a running commentary by his mentor Prince, with Morris crafting Prince's sassy, troll-like refutations of Day's version of events. So that is insane, obviously, but very compelling. Day's chronicle's of the early days of Prince's groundbreaking Minneapolis music scene includes details on some of the infamous rumors, including Morris bartering his creative contributions (so Prince could claim to be sole creator of his early albums) for a record deal. Not everything seems 100% accurate (hard to believe that the name "The Time" was not derived from the band Flyte Tyme, whose members became The Time, but that's how Morris remembers it, and Faux Prince doesn't disagree), but it all seems truthful. Morris cops to years of addictions (even introducing mid-book a less successful co-narrator, a drugged out bad boy version of his stage persona) and does not portray himself as the perfect father or spouse. But he is very proud that his band could keep Prince's band on its toes, and despite some bitterness about music projects Prince shelved and concert appearances where Prince pulled the rug out under him, he is not out to paint a poor portrait of his purple preceptor. And even if he tried to, Ghost Prince would set him straight.