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To get a true measure of Tesh's psyche, you must
study him without the reassuring distraction of his visual presence. Fortunately, there have been a number
of magazine articles about him in recent months, each one featuring at least several direct quotes. And when you study these quotes--the innermost workings of the Tesh mind, depicted simply as words on paper, without the mediating influence of his blandly handsome facade--a somewhat alarming portrait emerges.
The first, relatively innocuous brushstrokes of this portrait can be found in the August 1995 issue of Spin. Commenting on the people who criticize his music, Tesh says, "It's not like I have a fuck-you attitude to anybody who doesn't believe, it's more like I have a thank-you attitude to those who do." At another point in the interview, while he is recounting his past in a rock and roll cover band, he advises his interviewer that such a gig is "the only way to get laid, by the way."
Given the accelerating crassness that characterizes celebrity discourse, neither comment is exceptional. And yet, they linger in the mind. The "fuck-you" sentiment of the first quote is so even-toned it belies the casualness with which it is tossed out. And in the second quote, the ridiculously presumptive "only" and the off-the-cuff "by the way" are similarly mannered. Clearly, this is the voice of a man who, in a clumsy bid to appear hip, is dressing up his vocabulary with unfamiliar vulgarisms...
And who can blame him, really?
It must be hard bearing the contempt of a thousand lazy critics, each one seeking the biggest, easiest, most obvious target available. Tesh must wonder why critiques of his work so often turn personal. If a critic doesn't like a Springsteen album, that's generally as far as it goes--the music. But with Tesh, it's different. They criticize him. They criticize his fans. They criticize everything they say he represents. But, really, he's just like Springsteen--a guy who loves to make music. A guy who works hard at it.