Miggy, Kanye and Co.

December 2

The Giants’ only complaint about the post-season run is that it shrunk their offseason window. Even so, they’ve already gotten a lot done. Just about everyone is back except Juan Uribe and Edgar Renteria, and they found a replacement at shortstop in Miguel Tejada.

It’s early December, and just about all of their expected moves are done. They tendered contracts to six arbitration-eligible players including Jonathan Sanchez, Javier Lopez, Cody Ross and Andres Torres. The core of the World Series champions is basically intact, and Renteria might not be completely out of the picture.

Does that mean the Giants shouldn’t do anything else ? No, but so much depends on Pablo Sandoval and Mark DeRosa, for different reasons. If these two can come back and play to their full potential the Giants will have a potent lineup.

If not, back to the shopping mall next summer. Or earlier.

Tejada is on the decline, to be sure. His range and his offense aren’t what they used to be, and if he’s batting fifth or sixth as Bruce Bochy says, look for lots of double plays. But he provides leadership, he’ll make the routine plays, he’ll make pitchers work a little harder than Juan Uribe, and he can be just as clutch as Uribe.

Tejada doesn’t knock my socks off, but he is a decent one-year stopgap until Brandon Crawford or Ehire Adrianza is ready — if they’re ever ready.

If not, back to the shopping mall next fall.


In the great tradition of American music, Michael Jackson is making a lot of money after his death. The latest example is the Jackson video for Wii, where you can learn to dance like Michael, middle-aged white guys not included. I hope his kids are at least getting some of this money.

This was followed by a commercial for the Beatles, now on iTunes. The Fab Four, now down to two, continues to be a booming industry. Baby Boomers will keep buying different remakes of the same Beatles product until they drop.

Then, I wondered aloud whether Kanye West will have videos or boxed sets in his name 20 years from now. It’s a legitimate question. Right now, the smart money says no.


A spirited and nearly angry debate broke out during the Radnich-Bruno segment Thursday on KNBR, as the stream of consciousness flowed to Kanye. Tony, who has seen Kanye perform, ripped him as an overrated and self-absorbed guy who uses auto-tune and sampling. Gary tended to sing Kanye’s praises while I sided with Tony.

As one person on Facebook observed, “old white men arguing about Kanye West. Nobody cares.” Obviously, somebody did. We received a huge email and phone response to the question of Kanye’s place in the music universe.

Kanye is great at getting publicity, usually for the wrong reasons, and that tends to cloud our perception of his worthiness. He’s one of the best-selling hip-hop artists ever and one of its most successful producers, and he does have an imagination. Sometimes his imagination runs away with him.

But Tony is right about one thing: the public has lowered standards in the 21st century, force-fed by a music industry driven by the dollar more than ever. So, when someone like Kanye who has any redeeming qualities comes along, people tend to go “ga-ga.” No pun intended.

Some call him a genius, comparing him to people like Quincy Jones, which is laughable on its face. He’s a good rapper and good producer who can’t sing. Auto-tune, which he used on one album, is the scourge of the music industry.

A couple of people on the air today questioned why me, a middle-aged white guy, could even judge Kanye. That’s also laughable, pretty much a case of reverse profiling. Simply based on my age and race, I can’t judge music ? Stupid. Don’t give that “hipper than thou” crap, either.

I like music from all genres and generations, and I have close relatives who have accomplished a great deal in the music industry. I can go back to the 60’s, I was a DJ in the 70’s and 80′, and I keep track of many artists of the past decade, from Kanye to Jimmy Eat World, from the Black Eyed Peas to Rihanna.

It’s true, all music is derivative. Like many rappers, Kanye samples previously recorded material from artists like Ray Charles. I just happen to like artists like the great Mr. Charles: call me crazy, but I like people who write their own music, play their own instruments, sing their own songs — and are able to do it live without a voice track.

Because Tony and I happen to be older white guys, people go to the low-hanging fruit — the age and race cards — when they can’t argue anything else. Listen, if you like Kanye, that’s your prerogative ( apologies to Bobby Brown ). But if you’re going to call him a “genius,” back it up.

One guy wondered what music I like, even offering up Roy Orbison. Actually, I’m laughing about that shot now. But someone who makes a remark like that is trying to project a false stereotype to benefit his argument, a red herring if you will. They’re also completely ignorant of what I’m about.

Bottom line: it’s a fun argument in early December when the Warriors are slipping, the 49ers are clinging to life, college hoops and hockey are in the “who cares” portion of their seasons, and the Giants are in hibernation.


8 Responses to “Miggy, Kanye and Co.”

  1. Bob Says:


    Brilliant as usual.

  2. Greg Olzack Says:

    Ray, I’m siding with you and Tony all the way on this. I did get to hear that particular segment the other day and can’t understand why most people always alibi with the so called “talent” (flavor of the day) that the bastardized music industry puts in front of the listening audience. I’m 60 years old, like Gary and you, and have had the tremenduous good luck and pleasure to have been born at the right time musically speaking. My one and only beef with Gary is how he can actually like the current “music” that is out there right now. Things used to be so much better. Okay, getting off my rant, what relatives in music are you referring to? I’d like to know what OTHER talented people your gene pool produced!! Thanks, Greg Olzack

    • raywood Says:

      Thanks Greg. My sister was a song-writer and brother-in-law played guitar with Leon Russell, Joe Cocker, Billy Preston, Donnie Brooks, rock and roll shows in LA in the 50’s and 60’s with Chuck Berry and Roy Orbison and was in the Shindig house band. He later played in various blues bands. My grand-dad built pianos. By the way, I’m well short of 60.

  3. Larry Says:

    Hey RayBuck,

    I’m aslo with you! I consider myself an audiophile by hobby and I love Music. I listen to all kinds from James Taylor to Nickelback, from Diana Krall to Frank Sinatra. But I refuse to call Rap Music. If you can’t hum it, its not music!

    I do listen to KNBR daily (I’m in Sales and drive 150-200 miles/day) and sometimes cannot believe the long days you put in sometimes!!!


  4. JB Says:

    I really enjoy your knowledge as well as the whole Radnich team. 1st time I ever checked ANY blog. Good thoughts. Keep ’em coming!

  5. Greg Olzack Says:

    Ray, sorry about the “age accusation.” I guess you only sound old (like us) because of all your inherent knowledge! Hmmm, would your brother-in-law be Don Preston then of “Mad Dogs and Englishmen” fame? I actually talked to him one time back in the 80’s when he was playing with Donnie Brooks (“The Man of a Thousand Jokes”). I mistook him for the other Don Preston (from my favorite band, The Mothers of Invention) and he related the story of the other Don cashing his royalty check. He intimated that it wasn’t by mistake, though! Also, would I be aware of any your sister’s songs? Thanks, Greg

  6. raywood Says:

    Yes it’s that Don ( not the Mothers of Invention ) Preston. I wouldn’t be surprised about the royalty check story. You probably wouldn’t be familar with my sister’s songs and to be truthful she hasn’t written in a long time — she did write for a couple of TV pilots in the 70’s. She went on to work for a book publisher for many years.

  7. Greg Olzack Says:

    Maybe I just might know some of your sister’s songs. My taste in music is pretty eclectic. Try me!

    On another non-musical note, I fell flat calling in on Gary’s radio show this morning with having “good (but somber) knowledge” about Mrs. Der Bingle being in a car accident recently. It kind of let the air out of Tony’s segment at the end. But, hey, you work with what you have!!

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