The InsiderOne Daily Report

  Tuesday, January 23, 2001

"Get Off The Internet!"

InsiderOne's Michael Goldberg writes: "Where are my friends," talk/sings Kathleen Hanna on the opening track of Le Tigre's new EP, "Le Tigre: From the Desk of Mr. Lady." Then a voice - is it also Hanna?- screams, "Get off the Internet," followed by Hanna talk/singing, "I'll meet you in the street." She has a point. For a variety of reasons - some practical, some not - communicating online, rather than in person or on the phone seems to be on the rise. My father-in-law seems to prefer emailing periodic communiquŽs rather than picking up the phone. This may be partially because sending email is lots cheaper than a long distance call. But I think this is more than just bottom line thinking. I know that in the 10 or so years since I went online, my business-related in-person and phone interactions have been substantially reduced, replaced by email interaction. Why? Well for one thing there's no time wasted with chitchat. With email one usually gets right to the point. And I've certainly experienced an overload of dealing in-person with people in years past. There were days when I was running the West Coast SonicNet office along with SonicNet/ATN editorial where the entire day was back-to-back meetings. At points I would close the door to my office and turn up a CD to get a little space. It can wear you out having to be "on" in front of people all day, day after day. In retrospect, were all those meetings really necessary? The Net is real good for some things: communicating to people located all over the world quickly and simultaneously, buying CDs and books and software and other commodities that you don't need to examine be purchase, getting the news, connecting with folks with common interests, checking your portfolio, getting directions, staying in touch with friends who live far from where you do. But it has its drawbacks. In my days running the West Coast SonicNet office when I needed to talk to someone, I would get up and walk to his or her work area. I never spoke to anyone in the office using my phone. Why? I wanted an excuse to get up, stretch my legs and have some real face-to-face interaction. Sure I used email a lot, too much probably. But I tried to limit it to communicating the kinds of things that really didn't merit a conversation. No one is going to convince me that instant messaging or ICU chat or email compares to sitting in a cool cafŽ with a friend and carrying on a conversation. As far back as '95, there were members of the indie and punk communities who were wary of the Internet. I think some of their reasons were off - I've come across plenty of folks with a fear of technology that is really just a fear of the new. Yet I think that some of their fears were warranted. We don't want to become isolated, sitting at our computers, typing away rather then dealing in person with people we care about. And it is more scary to try to establish a friendship, in person, with someone new than to exchange email with a new acquaintance who just happens to live across the country from you. Or even down the block.

Datastream: John Frusciante is best known these days for adding some fresh punk spirit (and amazing guitar work) to the Red Hot Chili Peppers, but you might recall that some years back, during a period when he was not in the Chili Peppers, he released two extremely bizarre (like, not good) solo albums. Now he's got a new one, To Record Only Water for Ten Days, due in February. Frusciante wrote all the songs; he sings, plays all the music and produced the album, recorded mostly at his home studio in L. A. off and on during the past year or so. It's good, with a sound that at times mixes elements of garage rock, '60s punk and '60s pop; at others, such as on the instrumental "Murders," it reminds me of Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band. While the guitars sound great, this is an album full of good songs, not a showcase for guitar excursions. "Going Inside" and "Wind Up Space" will hook you immediately, but you'll likely also fall for the delicate instrumental "Ramparts" and the trippy ballad "Invisible Movement." During February Frusciante will perform four solo acoustic shows in Europe, and then expects to play New York and L. A. sometime after his return to the U.S. (working around writing sessions for the next Chili Peppers album... Luther Russell, ex-lead singer for the much-underrated Freewheelers, will release a solo acoustic album in April on Alex Steininger's new In Music We Trust label. Also due in the spring is an album by Sean Croghan (ex-Crackerbash, Jr. High), which Steininger describes as "full-band solo album that goes from Bob Dylan to the Clash to Elvis Costello, sometimes in one song."

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Michael Goldberg is the president of He founded Addicted To Noise in 1994.

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