Sunday, February 8, 2009


When I used to cover the Grammys for VH1, I was lucky enough to cover the pre-telecast awards. I would be in our special press room, watching on closed circuit TV. I know that sitting through three hours of awards given to non-celebrities for music genres like classical and world music doesn't sound like fun, and it definitely isn't totally thrilling, but some parts are great. I got to interview the Blind Boys Of Alabama, and Lord of the Rings score composter Howard Shore, and Steve Earle, for instance. People who would never really make the telecast. A lot of the people who get their awards during the pre-tel, it really means a lot to them: they aren't just celebs on the award show circuit. These are often people who really have to think if it is worth it to pay for a fairly expensive trip to L.A. to maybe win an award in a non-televised award show where they may get two or three minutes to give a public thank you.

This year I watched the "pre-tel" on the Grammy's finally improving web site, and there were some great moments. George Carlin's daughter accepted his fifth career Grammy for Best Comedy Album for It's Bad For Ya. Dweezeil Zappa had a moving speech to a nearly empty house when his group Zappa Plays Zappa won Best Rock Instrumental for thier version of "Peaches en Regalia," which his father Frank Zappa wrote for him when he was born, 40 years ago. This category was a bone of contention between my wife and I: I wanted Metallica to win for "Suicide & Redemption," and she wanted Nine Inch Nails for "34 Ghosts I-IV." But I was glad that Dweezil won, it meant more to him. Apparently, someone who co-wrote a song for Lil Wayne died, and someone accepted for him and that was sad too.

Other cool awards: The Blind Boys winning thier fifth career Grammy, Weezer winning for their "Pork and Beans" video, Peter Gabriel winning for the Wall-E song "Down To Earth," B.B. King winning his 15th for his great album One Kind Favor, Alicia Keys winning her 12th for "Superwoman," Al Green winning his 10th and 11th for songs from Lay It Down, Duffy won one, Rick Rubin won Producer of the Year, and Robert Plant & Alison Krauss won their first two of hopefully many tonight (they won one last year also). Other than the Blind Boys, none of these people were there though. In fact, the only big names there were Carrie Underwood and Robert Trujilio of Metallica (who won Best Metal Performance for "My Apocolypse").

Other cool awards: Juno took best soundtrack, They Might Be Giants won for a children's record, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers won long-form video for Running Down A Dream, Pete Seeger won in the folk category for At 89.

Some lame upsets: John Mayer's "Gravity" beat Bruce Springsteen's "Girls In Their Summer Clothes" for Best Male Rock Vocal (I don't really think of Mayer as a rock singer), the Kings Of Leon beat AC/DC in a rock category, and country singer Jamey Johnson didn't win anything. But on to the main show! Good luck to everyone... but especially Robert Plant & Alison Krauss.

No comments: