by Dan Bolles
Roughly a decade ago, there was an awkward skinny kid named Jamie who played drums for a local ska band called The Skamaphrodites — which was largely made up of awkward skinny kids, including yours truly. As many a teenage drummer does, Jamie had aspirations beyond merely pounding the skins and took to writing songs of his own. We all thought his heart-on-sleeve pop confections were really cute in a lost-puppy-dog sort of way, patted him on the head and went back to the business of crafting juvenile pop-ska, taking ourselves waaay too seriously and drinking underage. Ah, the folly of youth!
As most young bands do, we eventually flamed out — in a blaze of Natty Light-fueled debauchery, of course — and went our separate ways. At that point, we all lived together in an Old North End hovel and I distinctly remember the soundtrack to our breakup being the off-key caterwauling and clumsy acoustic strumming emanating from Jamie's second floor bedroom. I wonder what ever happened to that guy?
Well, that awkward, skinny kid named Jamie became an awkward, skinny man named James and is seeing his star rise in ways few Vermont-born musicians ever have.
Signed to Bjork's One Little Indian label, James Levy is becoming something of a big deal at home and abroad, as evidenced by this recent blurb in Spin magazine. The clip was sent to me this morning by a friend in Boston and I almost spit coffee all over my computer screen when I read it. I mean, I had breakfast with the dude at Magnolia last weekend. And now here's his pouting mug staring back at me from one of the world's most popular music rags. Crazy.
However, you know you've hit the big time when a disgruntled music critic creates an entire website devoted to espousing his hatred of your music. In what might be the first MySpace-inspired fracas in the history of rock feuds, some hack calling himself "Andersonenvy" rips into Levy and has produced two animated shorts on the topic. Here's the first:
To see the second and read the review that started it all, click here.
Frankly, the whole thing is pretty ridiculous. But still, it's got to be at least a little bit flattering for someone to have such a strong opinion of your work that they devote so much time and energy into telling the world. Even if they hate you.
The old adage is that living well is the best reward. Snark-laden cartoons and all, it appears that James Levy — don't call him Jamie — is doing just that. Congrats, man.