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Amir Nezar reviews Chet Betz

By Amir Nezar | 1 September 2005

I'd like to see Amir Nezar write a review of Chet Betz or vice versa

-Madonna Ciccone


Chet Betz

The illmatic flow of hot shit Chet Betz cannot be denied, motherfuckers. So maybe not Illmatic-quality flow, for Chet the Poet Betz would be loathe to make the presumptuous claim, but still, you read that Sole review, and you heard the lyrical limberness of his Illogic praise.

My girlfriend once asked, “What kind of a name is ‘Chet Betz’?” I said:

“It’s the name of a man and reviewer on a constant imaginative od(d)yssey, an odyssey that began in lyrically lucrative smoke-filled dreamed-of dens, his humble mumbles of magnificent critiques meandering in an out of the analytical and figurative zones. Buxom women with red lips danced in his head, blew the smoke that formed the evanescent threads of his dancing thoughts, delicately put down on rough, hard-edged paper. The idiosyncrasy of the name matched the unique quirk of the man, convincing you he’d been on the streets, in the dive-bars, a shadow lapping up the inspiration of an underbelly. Chet Betz – the name attached to a man who I saw writing biting poetry to take the piss out of a piss-and-shit obsessed Xiu Xiu, leaving them merely full of shit. Who over time sobered up from his cigarette and hard alcohol edge (at least, writing-wise) to become more subtle, making moving metaphors over the course of clever paragraphs, who found a better balance between the outrageously creative and the reliably critical. Chet Betz, who was once the wild card and then became The Moderate and now inhabits a place of healthy skepticism which underrates all of our favorite albums, but underrates them fairly. Who with his critical journey made a physical one to California, where we almost lost him. Who is still here, to all our relief.”

OK. So I didn’t say that. It was more like, “How do I know.” But in my phrasing of the answer I tried to include all the nuance of one of my favorite writers, and of course, failed.

Chet and I have not always necessarily agreed on critical ethic as we’ve both dealt with the tension between personal creativity and technical chops. A man of impressions and feeling in gentle contrast with my strictly visceral-analytical critical motive, he nonetheless keeps more than enough nuts and bolts in his elegant critical structure to keep it solid.

So he name-drops me, and I name-drop him, and we poke fun – he at my technical obsession, me at his faux-prophet beginnings (love you, Chet).

But like Ali G. a.k.a. Sasha Cohen has always said, we got nuffin’ but Respek between us. Chet’s got versatility (hip-hop to indie rock with hardly a stylistic shuffle), I’m an anal-retentive disdainer of wannabe online critics (resident target), we both chuckle at Prefix’s anti-CMG message board and whatever hate mail comes our way. So haters hate, we love our good music, and life is good.

But perhaps the greatest reason I got nothing but good feelings towards Chet? And the reason you should read his stuff every week? He takes his shit seriously, creatively, and cleverly. And he’s chilled with Tarantino and talked Godard. And I think he’s seen Elijah Wood. Maybe even talked to him in person.

Chet the hot shit Betz. You better listen up, bitches.