"Ray Charles may
have been a genius,
but he's dead.
It's time to recognize
a new genius
like Kanye West"

Anonymous, overheard
in an online chatroom

Well, it's clear to me that we now officially throw the term genius around a little too loosely. Kanye West, who received eleven Grammy nominations, has one relatively mediocre, flavor of the moment record out and all of a sudden Ray Charles is brushed aside like yesterday's papers . . . who wants em . . . no one. Granted, I think it's equally silly to be handing out awards to dead guys as it is to hand them out to the latest flash in the pan. I hope that when I'm no longer of this earth, I'm not sitting around in some spirit world speakeasy watching the fucking Grammys hoping that I win one. I think brother Ray might have better things to do. Perhaps we should all move on.

But not to Kanye West! I mean Jesus, what sheep we are. I've come to realize that I'm a member of the last generation of music fans that need to hear a song before they decide if it's any good. It's moderately disgusting to see acts like West, Ashlee Simpson, 50 Cent, and a few dozen others that aren't springing to mind, selling a million copies of their debut albums, the week they come out. No one has heard this stuff, why are a million people running out to get it as soon as physically possible? The answer is simple; these people are simple. MTV, Rolling Stone or whoever says "The new record by (Insert goofy name here) is the greatest record of all time. If you don't think so, you're weird and decidedly uncool. Now go to the mall and buy this now." And baaaaaaa, a million fucking morons fly out the door and do just that. Then on top of that, something that's actually good comes out and it gets no press, no buzz, no T.R.L. video play, and like six of us buy it. Then the band members get depressed because no one loves them, and suddenly realize that the only reason they got into a band in the first place was to fill that unquenchable desire for love and acceptance that's been festering inside ever since their alcoholic dad cleaned out the cupboards and hit the road. They start drinking too much, move on to real drugs like coke or smack, marry some beggar or hanger-on and blow their head off one Tuesday morning when they wake up and realize that none of it was just a bad dream.

Uhg, it's too depressing to think about.

Anyway . . .

This month
we're turning our focus on a few new acts that the music murderers at MTV, Rolling Stone, and the Grammys aren't paying attention to. We've got a review of the debut CD by Hazen Street. It's been out for months and it hasn't gone platinum yet, so that's a good sign. We've got a review of the new Give 'Em The Boot compilation which features 26 bands that you don't know but probably should. And finally, we've got an article on white hip-hop which shows how America seemingly can only deal with one white rapper at a time. That being the case and since Eminem has a new song out about beating someone up, you haven't heard anything about new rappers like The Streets and Sage Francis. We cover their new albums along with Eminem's new disc in this months reviews section. And while you're there, check out the review of Here For The Party, the debut album by one artist the Grammys actually did pay attention to country singing sensation Gretchen Wilson.

In addition, in honor of this year's March Madness Beacon Theatre run, we've got an in-depth look at one of America's greatest bands, The Allman Brothers Band. Along with the article, there's an exclusive photo gallery of never-before published shots of the band taken by yours truly over the past six years.

The ever evolving Best of the Best section continues to expand this month as well, with the addition of Aerosmith, Ice-T, Jay and the Americans, The Kinks, The Mamas and the Papas, Marilyn Manson, and Phish. So there you have it, the rundown of what one website is doing this month to combat the self-destructive industry that it loves.

Keep on rockin' in the free world . . . at least until Neil Young kicks it, because genius is apparently not eternal.

Mike D'Ariano

PS. On a final note, the Are You On Something staff were deeply saddened to learn that Dr. Hunter S. Thompson took his own life on February 20th in Woody Creek, Colorado. Hunter was an inspiration, in both writing and life. He never took any prisoners and apparently he wanted to leave the world as he lived in it . . . on his own terms. He will be greatly missed.

"He who makes a beast of himself, gets rid of the pain of being a man." Dr. Thompson