Sunday, June 27, 2010

Roll Over, Mark McGuire, and Tell the Eagles the News (2004)

(As published in the Times of Acadiana ... )

WASHINGTON (Roiders)--With fallout from Major League Baseball's steroid scandal metastasizing apace, the silence on the issue from one particular segment of corporate America has become conspicuously loud: the Recording Industry Association of America.

Many attributed the RIAA's initial reticence on the issue to its inability to focus on two litigation-fraught controversies simultaneously (illegal mp3 downloading being the other). But now that such high-profile figures as Barry Bonds and President Bush--the most powerful men in baseball and the world respectively--have become involved in the debate, the decision of the nation's most powerful music-disseminating body to hit the mute button has a growing number of music lovers dreading the confirmation what has been rumored for years: namely, that much of their favorite music was created by musicians whose performances were enhanced by illegal drugs.

"It it can be proved that the Eagles recorded the bestselling album of all time while high, I think an asterisk should go beside their name in the record books," says Donny Osmond, the erstwhile teenage heartthrob whose reputation in the music world for chemical abstemiousness is second only to Ted Nugent's. "I always thought it was weird that Eagles: Their Greatest Hits could sell millions while an obviously superior Osmond album like Crazy Horses has become a garage-sale staple."

According to unnamed sources close to RIAA chairman and CEO Mitch Bainwol, the absence on the organization's website ( of any comment relevant to the uproar is part of a "rope-a-dope" tactic that the RIAA is deploying in hopes that the scandal will "blow over." "Secretly, however," the source confides, "the inability to discuss the situation without saying 'dope' or 'blow' has the more superstitious boardmembers convinced that the music industry as they know it is about to go up in, er, smoke."

Other record-setting artists being targeted for investigation by an as-yet-unnamed federal panel include Michael Jackson (whose recently revealed fondness for "Jesus juice" has cast suspicion on the legitimacy of his multi-million-selling Thriller), Pink Floyd (whose Dark Side of the Moon and The Wall have sold more than 38,000,000 copies combined and whose founder, Syd Barrett, has been an acid casualty since 1967), and Elvis Presley (the perennially popular "King of Rock-and-Roll" whom the RIAA recently declared the "best-selling solo artist in U.S. history").

"Ever since Albert Goldman's hit-piece Presley bio came out in '81, people have believed that Elvis had a drug problem," says an RIAA insider who spoke on condition of anonymity. "But everyone knows the King's real probem was a slow metabolic rate brought on by the incompatability of consuming too many fried mashed-peanut-butter-and-banana sandwiches and wearing overtight jumpsuits."

Meanwhile, the RIAA has been quick to dismiss the significance of the recent arrests of Art Garfunkel and David Crosby on charges of marijuana possession. "Listen to their crap," says an RIAA spokesman. "If rock-and-roll were baseball, their songs would definitely be three-strikes-you're-out."

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