Art Versus Commerce

It’s About the Music

The virtues of craft beer take a back seat in this music roundtable edition of High Octane Growler as IPA-averse expatriate writer Maya Kroth, promotions and marketing professional Owen Salerno, and “returning champion” Garett Michaels join host Tommy Hough for a conversation guaranteed to split opinions and upset Carly Rae Jepsen fans.

Bon Iver: apparently channeling Quint for a Jaws-themed costume party.

Moving on from the subject of cut-out bins, Wilco wish lists and the almighty Electric Fetus of St. Cloud, Minnesota, the gang tackles the watch-laden corporate dismissal of The Clash’s classic London Calling album, and the timeless pull of art vs. commerce.

Tommy also recalls his first time hearing “Smells Like Teen Spirit” and Nirvana’s incredible combination of timing, taste, talent and great songwriting, as well as the concept of songwriting versus jingle-writing, albums and thematic programming, and the virtues of Bon Iver and Paul Ryan’s handsomeness.

And lest we forget, since this is Tommy’s show, the highly-loaded question of “why Black Sabbath rules” is posed to the panel.

Beers Enjoyed

Green Flash West Coast IPA
American IPA, 7.3% ABV
San Diego, CA
Firestone Walker Union Jack IPA
American IPA, 7.5% ABV
Paso Robles, CA


As regular listeners know, High Octane Growler demands an opening scorcher. R.E.M. is a long-time favorite of both Tommy and Garett, so it was time to get one of the greats in on the act with a track from the band’s final album with drummer Bill Berry, 1996’s New Adventures In Hi-Fi.

In keeping with the spirit of the P90X workout, it seemed fitting to tag the great Jon Spencer Blues Explosion in all their awesome ersatz Elvisness, raiding the band’s 1994 Orange album for a key track.

Finally, circling back to the opening discussion, a favorite from The Only Band That Ever Really Mattered (and don’t think for a moment it wasn’t true), The Clash.

The Clash: their time came and went in a flash, but they really were one of the all-time greats.

Paul Ryan: Rage Against the Machine fan (has yet to read song lyrics).

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