Hearne: Former Pitch Heavyweight Stands Up for Music, Tells Lefsetz to Stick It

Joe Miller keeperWas a time Joe Miller was the top gun at the Pitch

Back when the local alt weekly mattered and was the hippest game in town. No mas. Miller sold his humble abode in east KCMO and moved to Columbus, Georgia two years back. There he teaches writing to people like Jason Whitlock and me – younger people, of course – who want to grow up and work for peanuts for corporate-owned media conglomerates who care for little beyond the almighty buck.

Or as Miller puts it, he’s a “writer, writing professor, music freak” who lives “in an old house in the Deep South with my wife, two dogs and four cats. I collect wonderful records.”

The simple life.

Miller’s also into running, fried chicken, barbecue, pork, movies, ocean beaches (who isn’t?), bicycling, documentaries, art, architecture, train sounds and – last but not least – “weird shit.”

In short, he’s a KC Confidential kinda guy.

MusItcBobLefsetz5X02So it stands to reason Miller would have a take on entertainment scribe Bob Lefsetz’ recent bashing of vinyl record collectors.

“It’s a hobby,” Lefstez said. “Like stamp collecting. Albeit with a lot more press. Just because you spinners are yelling at the top of your lungs that does not mean the rest of us care. While you’re at it, why don’t you bring back dial telephones, typewriters, cathode-ray TVs, pagers…”

Miller’s take?

“I’ll address his comment point by point:”

It’s a hobby.

“Yes, it’s a hobby. So what?”

Like stamp collecting.

“No, not like stamp collecting. Music is universal, an integral part of most everyone’s lives. You can’t invite people over to listen to stamps. Stamps aren’t interesting to very many people. Music is.”

Albeit with a lot more press. Just because you spinners are yelling at the top of your lungs

“Who’s yelling at the top of their lungs? I’m not, and neither are any other record collectors I know. The press is just covering RSD because it’s newsworthy. People camping out all night to buy things is newsworthy — especially when they buy stuff that most people steal.”

vinyl recordthat does not mean the rest of us care.

“I don’t care if the rest of you care, and I have a hunch that other people who collect records don’t care either. If you don’t like it, ignore it.”

While you’re at it, why don’t you bring back dial telephones, typewriters, cathode-ray TVs, pagers…”

“Because the analogy is false. Dial phones, cathode ray TVs and pagers are inferior to current technology. Typewriters some writers still swear by, but not very many because the capabilities are limited. Records, on the other hand, have far better sound quality than MP3s. This is a demonstrable fact. And to many people’s ears, records sound better than CDs–warmer, more natural. Plus the whole ritual aspect — cleaning the record, lowering the tonearm, sitting back and tripping out on a gatefold cover — it makes the listening experience more fun, makes you focus more on the music, and listen through an entire album. It turns listening into an event.

“When I was stealing MP3s, I got to the point where music lost almost all of its value to me, whereas it once had been one of the most important sources of joy and inspiration in my life. Now that I’m back to collecting records music is back in my life like never before, and I’m happier.”

Nuff said?

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15 Responses to Hearne: Former Pitch Heavyweight Stands Up for Music, Tells Lefsetz to Stick It

  1. Orphan of the Road says:

    When Rubber Soul was first available on CD my kids bought it. It (and Pet Sounds) have been called the greatest sound recordings on record.

    The CD, besides being mono, sounded like used-food. Horrible, as did all the reissues.

    Our ears don’t process sounds digitally, analog just sounds better to people who can really hear.

    By the time you are my age, you can’t hear the full sound spectrum. You lose the top and low end. The only way I can truly tell the better sound of top end equipment is if it is hooked up to an oscill0scope.

  2. Orphan of the Road says:

    Excellent counterpoints, I forgot to write that above.

  3. paulwilsonkc says:

    Oh MAN…. force this guy to write for you!! I know no one does it on their own, to apply the pressure; this is a voice we need to hear!!

  4. the dude says:

    Like I said in the last article digital at least in high end is getting just as good or better than LP. The mastering on the digital end has gotten better and the DAC tech has gotten light years better over the years. I still plop vinyl down on my turntables because for a while there it was cheaper and better sounding than the digital counterparts.
    New streaming technologies like my Squeezebox Touch et. al are making it way easy to play music and the sound is either there or almost there with analog- it depends on the mastering involved in most cases. The convenience of instant remote switching of music by my smartphone beamed wirelessly around my house doesn’t hurt either. Try that with your VPI or Sota.

    Digital playback will only get better with time and surpass LP, it is inevitable.

  5. smartman says:


    All you need is a printout of your hearing test, most audiologists will give you one, a white noise generator a spectrum analyzer and a stereo 31 band EQ. Armed with all that you can make your ears like new….. at least up to 15db of gain.

    Where in the hell is RANDY MILLER!

    Joe Miller already proved he didn’t have what it takes to survive post career(s) in KC.

    • Orphan of the Road says:

      smartman, I know. But I really don’t want to hear what most people say today.

      It doesn’t help when I find I left my ear plugs at home for a live show. That’s how I shot my hearing. Along with guns and racing motorcycles.

      Lots of audiophiles are just buying what some consumer mag tells them to buy. Plus they don’t really know what they are listening for in sounds.

      Shiny, red sports car for geezer syndrome. The real deal guys are mind boggling when I listen to them. With the jargon my only comment is, Man, do I love it when you guys talk dirty.

  6. Kerouac says:

    “Progress is the injustice each generation commits with regard to its predecessors.” – EM Cioran (pseudonym mine, Kerouac, agrees. )

    As my rotary i.e., dial tone telephone has never ‘dropped a call’ on me nor required me to ‘recharge it’, my 1970 Dodge Challenger RT has never had an problem any with its computer chip – nor failed garner less driving excitement (nor fewer looks than a 2013 same) & the record album cover my mp3 fails to impress, it is (and shall remain) 1969 at my house everday, until it as I am no more.

    The computer is progress? Six of one, half a dozen the other… two steps forward, one step back. As with any leap, always something necessarily lost in the process. While it can replace a typewriter, send ‘e’ in lieu snail-mail & is a portal to ongoing technilogical innovation, with it too comes new stress unheard of yesteryear – ergonomic stress the body variously, cumulative trauma a more insidious form diminshment, denouement.

    Cioran again: “the flesh spreads further and further like a horrible gangrene upon the surface of the globe. It cannot impose limits upon itself – it continues to be rife despite its rebuffs, it takes its defeats for conquests, it has never learned anything”; progress too.

    Zager & Evans ‘In The Year 2525’ draws nigh, closer than we think… a progress to decline.

  7. smartman says:

    Excellent points Kerouac delivered as usual with the requisite aplomb.

    The one nod that I must make to progress is the bikini waxed vagina and bleached anus on the feminine form.

    Your consideration please.

  8. Kerouac says:

    The only wax I embrace is upon wood floor and my car’s chassis – not hers. If Kerouac were concede permanent press as progress in lieu starched accouterment, would I also defer ‘Dice’ Clay, this – “I like a (that which was ‘burning’, according Bible accounts.) An nice big, hairy, stinky, smelly (bumping uglies) bush. And I hate when they put cologne on it…. they dummy it up with cologne – like you don’t know where you are. I like that nice natural scent of salmon”; I would/do, open 24 hours a day well worn device, ‘stead necessity keycard admittance. Preference brown eye in lieu clear, your other inquest.

    As good taste dictate, “should any of my ‘IMF’ (impossible missive fictive) be censored or killed, I will disavow any intent denigrate noblewoman. May disappear, tho will not result in my self-destruction within minutes.”

    • Orphan of the Road says:

      Sweet mother of pearl. That was worthy of being tattooed on my southern end. I could do it with the letters in 23-pica too.

  9. smartman says:

    Gentlemen, we have just witnessed what I believe history will regard as one of KCC’s finest comment strings!

  10. bschloz says:

    But I digress

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