Thursday, April 7, 2011

The Mettro Monologues

Jeff Mettling is probably best known for his stint with New London, Albuquerque's Depeche Mode influenced goth-pop band. New London was destined to crash and burn under the weight of Jeff's enormous ego. Soon after that, Mettling re-invented himself as Jeff Mettro, the silky pimp of limp.   Two failed albums later, he resurfaced fronting Elu, which can best be described as new age elevator music. Jeff has accumulated an impressive (in number) catalog of albums with Elu, each one built around a concept or theme. And if you're inclined to believe the hype, he has done very well for himself. He utilizes a cast of female vocalists, although DeAnn Gonzales is the primary vocalist. Elu's sound is attractive, it effortlessly fills an ambient space, the mix is perfect, the vocals are sweet and seductive. However,  it's effervescence is deceiving, behind the facade there is nothing of substance. It is cotton candy for the ears, melting away before you can experience  even a brief sugar high. DeAnn Gonzales sings in whispery spurts, but too often it sounds like she's reciting rather than singing the lyrics. It's a pleasant aural mixture but it's also cold and totally devoid of soul. At the present time, Elu seems to have gone into hiatus while Jazzy Jeff feeds his need to dazzle, as part of the jazz duo (with Don Shearer) Illustrious Q.  And though the news is rather sad, it does spare us from anymore Elu albums in the foreseeable future.
Successful musicians do not need to bludgeon the paying public with a long list of  accolades and accomplishments.  Jeff, like Jason Daniello, can't help himself, ultimately it's just silly and it reeks of desperation. You can put lipstick on a pig, but who's going to kiss a pig? Probably not the average music fan. I use a pig as an example, but the point is, that no matter what job you do, telling everyone how good you are just raises doubts and takes away from what you've accomplished.   And of course, I can't give Jeff a pass on that series of failed commercials he did with Danny Winn. Jeff's acting was very natural (insert sarcasm)  it wasn't wooden or forced at all. Don't take my word for it, they're all on You Tube, see for yourself. In retrospect teaming up with "King Midas in Reverse" may not have been a good career move. Unfortunately for Danny, ska is finally dying a well deserved death, ska in New Mexico is like jazz in Utah, it's not natural. Poor Danny Winn is just one failed dot-com contest away from having to score soundtrack music for porn movies.  If I can digress for a moment, before I write a feature to post on this blog, I do my research and that includes listening to music by the artists that I write about.  If I don't have the music in my collection, I have to buy digital tracks  online.  So if the music sucks, then to paraphrase Johnny Rotten "I do feel like I've been cheated" knowing that I threw away good money on bad music and they don't charge any less for bad music.  
Which brings me back to Jeff Mettro and those cassettes I bought  in the mid-1990's. Back then I would commute from Albuquerque to Rio Rancho’s North Hills, to pass the time, my nephew and I started a game we called “Toss it or Keep it” where we would buy cassettes from the bargain bins, pop them into the player and then if they got the thumbs down, we would toss them out the truck window onto the pavement.  One day I bought a copy of a Jeff Mettro cassette, I don’t remember where or for how much. As we rolled down the hill from Rio Rancho, I popped it in, less than one minute into the first song, my nephew was reaching for the eject button, I stopped him, “give it a chance” I said “he’s from Albuquerque” this I had learned from reading the insert cover, since I didn’t know who he was or what bands he had been in. A few minutes later my nephew again went to the eject button, once again I stopped him “hold on, give it one more song” I was building a collection of recordings by local musicians, so I didn’t really want to jettison the tape. But then something caught our attention, it was Jeff’s strangulated vocals croaking in an affected accent  ”I heeeah muuusic in my eeeass” we looked at each other in horror and at the same time we both yelled   “Rejected” and it landed on the asphalt somewhere near Coors and Paseo Del Norte. Sorry Jeff,  but that album was lame,  what was Jeff Mettro? that’s easy;  he was equal parts Morrissey and Morrison, sucked dry of all talent and pumped full of pig vomit. Again with the pigs!, I know!, Jeff Mettling is a mix of euro trash cool and redneck sophistication. He's the thinking man's swinging dick, but sadly his pretentious posturing is only overshadowed by his grossly mediocre vocal skills, pedestrian guitar playing and weak songwriting. I close my case, buyer beware. 
 Arrh! it works for Johnny Depp, it be working  for me!