Is "Just Go With It" Racist?The return of blackface humor in "Just Go With It."
[still from "Just Go With It" photographed
by Paul Iorio]
TK's just go for it is the biggest grossing non-animated
film of 2011 so far, but is it also a bit racist/
perhaps. there is a scene, at around the 57 minute mark,
in which blackface is played for laughs.
here's what happens. adam sandler and friends are
hiking through a rain forest in hawaii when a little
girl he's carrying falls in the mud face first.
the girl, kiki dde, then lifts her mud-covered face up,
shows an exaggerated and mocking minstrely sort of smile
and says in a fake british accent; 'oh....i just love spending
time with you!"
the scene so resembles something from a bygone
era of blackface humor that even the scriptwriters
apparently felt they had to sofyten the impact
of that scene. A minute later, the director had
adam sandler say to the girl jokingly; "Hey, al
jolson, you mind jumping in the water" -- an
implciit acknoledgement that it does look minstrely.
adam sandler, who apparently thinks his way out of sounding
juvenile is to imitate springsteen.
Paul Iorio's main music website is at http://www.pauliorio.blogspot.com .
This website features more informal day-to-day info and
messages about Paul's music.
FEBRUARY 18, 2010
Bill Epps, the guy who financed sessions for my long ago
album "About Myself," is now apparently bolstering his dishonesty
(see below) by paying a technician who was at the sessions
(named Shane) to back him up on some of his lies. Don't be fooled.
Shane is a nice guy but he is a friend of Epps's (not a
friend of mine), he is paid by Epps and is therefore
motivated to say what Epps wants him to say -- and he
has absolutely no independent knowledge of my music
outside what Epps has told him.
The only time I ever met Shane was during the
short span we were in the recording studio
together in 2005. I thought Shane did a terrific
job as the audio guy at the sesssions -- and I could never
understand why Epps, when talking to me, seemed to
blame all the recording flaws at the sessions on Shane.
(This, by the way, was the same period during which,
uh, a certain person mentioned prominently
on this website was fired for cause from his day job
for similar dishonesty. Dig a little deeper before you
find yourself siding with a crook.)
February 13 - 17, 2010
Correcting the Bad Info Out There
There seems to be a steady stream of bad information that
is getting back to me about someone who funded
studio sessions of mine five years ago.
As this misinfo gets back to me, I will respond to it here.
Here (again) are the facts about my long-ago 2005 album
I released "About Myself" -- all 52 songs written by me -- before
Bill Epps even knew such an album existed. I issued it on cassette tape
in 2004, he heard it in '05 and said, "Wow, I'll finance recording
sessions so you can put the songs on CD -- no strings attached."
In '05, I re-recorded my songs on CD almost exactly as I had recorded
them on cassette tape. Epps made around six suggestions -- minor
suggestions -- and I've since rejected those ideas.
These are my songs, after all. I can do what I want with them.
And I've since re-recorded all of them for my "75 Songs"
Epps has his own set of songs on separate albums and
on separate websites. His separate albums are called
"America" and "Cool! Man." I have made suggestions about
his songs over the years and he has not used my suggestions, just as
he has made suggestions about my songs and I have not
used his ideas.
If you want to check out Epps's own music, I suggest you go to
his own separate albums. As soon as you start listening to, say,
"America," you will realize that he couldn't have possibly
contributed a single note or word to my "About Myself" albums.
If he is capable of writing stuff like "About Myself,"
he certainly hasn't proved it with his own work.
And why isn't this guy focusing on his own work?
Put the spotlight on your own work, Epps! Why
aren't you? The reason is that his own work (on
his albums like "America" and "Cool Man") is, uh,
not so great.
But still, that's no excuse for trying to take
credit for someone else's work. And he does
this behind my back and I get wind of it from
others -- he wouldn't dare say such a lie to
my face. Sure, he's not writing angry
blogs this one: that's because he's the
swindler not the person being swindled! Remember
how calm Bernie Madoff was while his victims
were as furious as I am now?! (Can you fathom the mentality of someone
who would try to claim credit for someone else's
work? Epps needs help from a mental health
professional. And certain friends from his
high school days (even though he's paying some
of them money) should guide him to an effective
psychotherapist. Otherwise you're being irresponsible.
You're inviting similar dishonest behavior by
him later up the road.)
He has, however, tried to smudge the issue a bit.
For example, after one of my songs, "Combination
of the Oceans," had some radio airplay a couple
years ago, Epps then did a quickie update of one
his own older songs that clearly echoed my own
"Combination of the Oceans" (for example, after
hearing my lyric "wisps of gray," he wrote a
lyric with "waves of gray" in it). [For the
record, I wrote "Combination of the Oceans" in
1994 and sent it out to people in the music
biz (who recall the song, then called "Heaven")
in 1998. His song didn't emerge until around
2006, though he claims to have written it in '01
(yeah, sure). To which I say, bullshit. He heard
my song and wrote something similar. Period.
In any event, "About Myself" is long-ago material. I've since
released a steady stream of new original songs that has nothing to do
with the "About Myself" collection. Everything I've released
since 2007 has been new material that I've composed after
Further, Epps hasn't been involved in my post-2007 work
in any capacity, not even at the tech/audio level. In fact,
I haven't seen the guy in years (though he remains a financial
investor because of his prior involvement in funding
earlier recording sessions).
By the way, the original idea behind the "About Myself" sessions
was to have Epps sing my songs, as he has a better singing
voice than I do (in my opinion).
This is a case of Epps trying to re-write history
and trying to have a re-match via a whispering campaign.
Epps seems to want to unilaterally re-do verbal agreements
because he now realizes that he underestimated my songs when he
funded recording sessions for them in '05. He now sees that
my tunes are better than he thought they were, so he's
trying his falsely upgrade his role after the fact.
Well, that ain't gonna happen. A deal is a deal. And
there was never any deal to give him credit for stuff he
Thankfully I never signed any contract with him!
-- Yes, it's true that I did work as a music journalist
in the 1980s and 1990s. But I explained to Epps repeatedly,
in explicit detail and with unmistakable clarity, that I had
no "connections" in the music biz resulting from those days.
And I told him that if I had such connections that I
would make a point NOT to use them, as that would be
borderline unethical. Besides, I explained to him, that's
not how the business works; you don't get a break unless
your music is good enough. Period.
I explained all this to him in a car ride as
we drove north of Los Angeles on Interstate 5 on
September 16, 2005, after our first recording session.
It was around 6pm and he heard and acknowledged everything
-- Also, before he funded the '05 recording sessions,
I made absolutely sure he understood that I (and I alone)
would copyright my songs (e.g., the songs on "About Myself")
and that they would be copyrighted under my name only. We
had this discussion on the telephone on August 28, 2005,
and he explicitly agreed that I would handle the
copyrights. I would not have allowed him to invest in
my work if he hadn't agreed to that. (So if he has
subsequently registered any of my work in any way, that's
-- And, yeah, I knew the guy in high school but not afterwards (until
he re-emerged 30 years later). For me, that era, thirty-five
years ago, was the Stone Age. I outgrew that period, and almost
everyone I knew then, around 34 years ago. No idea that I (or he) came
up with back then, musically or otherwise, ever rose above
the cornball level typical of that age group. (We didn't attend
the Performing Arts High School, after all. Far from it. Yet
he actually brings up the old high school talent shows (they called
them "Happenings!" -- wow, man!) with a straight face, as if
those amateur hours showcased anything but typical high school
fare of the 1970s (suffice it to say there were a lot of
songs about "kaleidoscope eyes"!). Straight out of the National
Lampoon High School Yearbook Parody! I think I attended one of
those talent shows -- if that -- and wasn't able to sit
through the whole thing. Nobody who performed there ever came
within fifty miles of a recording contract! And he never
improved musically over the decades.)
-- Some have the mistaken impression that I was part of
some sort of duo with Epps at one point. Nope, can't
say I ever was.
Let's take that one apart. OK, Epps didn't do any
of the writing of my songs. He didn't come up with
any of the song concepts. He didn't do any of
the singing. He didn't do any background vocals.
He didn't do any of the drumming. He didn't play
any of the guitar parts. He didn't play any piano
or keyboards on the album. He didn't create any
of the arrangements (I did). He didn't even
shake a tambourine. And we've never performed
together. We've never even jammed together. So
how can you call us a duo? (Presenting...Paul-and
Yeah, that would work!)
(Hey, I'm going to burst out laughing if you
mention the "background bass" (his words) he
overdubbed on the "About Myself" tracks two
months after the sessions. His overdubs weren't
even properly synced to the main track. Those
recordings have been scrapped forever.)
No, this is NOT a Tenacious D type thing. Because
Epps did not sing any vocal, play any instrument
or write any song on any of my albums.
Let's clear up other misconceptions about the
"About Myself" sessions. First: at best, they
were demos (even Epps said that). Second, the
recordings were rushed; the idea was to cut 52
of my songs in around 10 hours, not a good
idea. Hence, there were HUGE musical mistakes
that were audible (e.g., missed chords, which
Epps said he'd fix in post-production and never
fixed; off key stuff that Epps said he'd fade out
and never faded out, etc.). Even if those mistakes
were to be fixed -- and I don't want them to be fixed,
as "About Myself" is a permanently abandoned
project -- but even if those gaffes were to be
corrected, the album would still be fatally flawed
because the underlying performances were too
rushed. Epps is explicitly NOT authorized to
further produce or re-mix or add to those
Here's the truth: those "About Myself" sessions
have long since been demoted from demos to
rehearsal sessions. The songs from those sessions -- all
mine -- have since been recorded for "75 Songs."
I have the final word, that is the final word and
there is no appealing the decision. Period.
P.S. -- Epps has a video of the "About Myself" sessions, and I suggest you watch
it if you can. Because there is not a single frame in that
entire self-promoting video that shows Epps (the nominal
"producer" of the albums because he financed the sessions) making
a suggestion that I used. (I say "self-promoting" because
the video consisted of Epps using Epps' camera to shoot
pictures of Epps saying things that make him seem as if
he contributed more than just tech/audio support, which was
his actual role in the recording sessions.)
Watch the video (if you have access to it) but be very wary
of it. Keep in mind that you're not watching security
camera footage, or footage shot by a disinterested journalist.
In every case, you're watching Epps pointing his own camera
(mostly) at Epps and shooting video of himself saying or
doing something self-promoting (or deceptive, it seems in
retrospect). For example, when I arrived at the studio with
my 52 songs, Epps set up his camera, aimed it at himself
and said, "Paul is going to record two of his songs." And
I was puzzled, wondering what he meant by that, since he
knew full well I had come to the sessions to record 52 of my
songs. Maybe he misspoke. Could be. Maybe he thought
we'd only have time to record two songs.
Or maybe Epps set up that shot in order to try to
swindle me out of some of my songs. It would be
like me shooting a video of me saying,
"Gee, Epps, sorry to hear you've been beating your wife."
That's not proof that Epps beat his wife. In fact, that
would more likely be a smear, a set-up. (On the other
hand, if a security camera caught me saying, "Gee, Epps,
sorry to hear you've been beating your wife," that
footage would have more gravity and credibility than
a deliberately manipulative video of oneself shot by
oneself.) Whatever the case, Epps said that, I didn't
say that. It's not like he caught me saying that on
In any event, if Epps was trying to swindle me, it
ain't gonna work. Maybe someone should make him aware
of the fact that my computer hard drives show the
evolution of every song I've written since 1997. I've
had a wonderful habit of emailing every song I've written
since '97 to myself right after writing it. Hard
drives do not lie!
A few people are wondering about how I came up
with particular songs, namely "Hey There, Watcher,"
"You Know It Shows" and "If One Rainy Night."
I wrote "Hey There, Watcher" alone in my Berkeley, Calif.,
apartment one afternoon in August 2009. It came to me at
the end of a four or five hour solo jam session in which I
was coming up with riffs and ideas, and suddenly the
main chord progression of "Watcher" came flowing out.
I began singing whatever came into my head, which was
"Hey There, Roger," about a long-time pal, but then I
started thinking of that 1960s hit "I'm a Girl Watcher"
and changed it to "Hey There, Watcher," with lyrics
about an urban street tableau. That one eruipted very
I wrote both "You Know It Shows" and "If One Rainy Night"
in the late fall of 1980 and early winter of 1981, while I
was living on the Upper West Side of Manhattan and working
for Delacorte Press. I penned and developed both songs
on the rooftop of the Beacon, 26 stories above NYC. "You Know
It Shows" has not changed a bit in the decades since I
wrote it. From the opening chords (influenced by a G.E. Smith
album I was listening to then) to the hook "and I'll show you why,"
the song has remained as I wrote it at the Beacon.
Even though I wrote it almost 30 years ago, I could probably
pin down the hour that I came up with"If One Rainy Night."
Because its genesis came after I watched a Dick Cavett
show in late '80 or early '81 on which Cavett said to a guest,
Oh, you protest too much!" That phrase stuck in my mind and
I immediately went to my guitar -- it must have been close to
midnight -- and wrote: "Don't protest too much/You'll give
yourself away/you still love that girl/no matter what you say."
And then I came up with the rest of the song, about an
off-and-on girlfriend I had at the time. That one also
hasn't changed at all in 30 years.
BE AWARE! An ex-friend from my long-ago high school days threw some money at my music career a few years ago and now appears to be
going around dishonestly trying to grab credit for little bits of a few
of my songs that he didn't have anything to do with writing. For
the record: he wrote exactly zero percent of my stuff.(By the way,
by "my songs," I'm referring to the more than one hundred songs
that I've posted on my website pauliorio.blogspot.com (plus all the songs on the now discontinued "About Myself" albums, and many more
that I haven't yet posted), all of which were written solely
by Paul Iorio [click here http://www.pauliorio.blogspot.com
While I'm appreciative of the person's financial backing, there never
was a deal to give him credit for material he didn't write. We've never
jammed together, much less written a song together. And, further,
his memory is fine, and so is mine; he's merely lying. Those who
know who I'm talking about: please don't let this person's lies go
unchallenged. It's irresponsible (and unfair to me) for people to
tolerate this guy's dishonesty. Anybody who is lying (the way he
appears be is lying) needs psychotherapy of some sort. Guide him
to it, please. Problem is, this guy wanted to be a songwriter when
he was a teenager, but failed at it as an adult. Now he wants to
piggyback on my own late-breaking musical work.
I've thanked this person over the years for financially putting in motion my long-ago (now-shelved) "About Myself" album of '05; but, frankly, I never would have allowed him to invest his money in my music if I had known he would try to take credit for bits of material he had nothing to do with writing. As I've said before, every song on my site -- from its initial idea to its finished version and everything in between -- was written solely by me.