THE GORLS – “BONGO BEAT”

One of the many bands that sprung from the genius of Seattle garage punk legend ROB VASQUEZ were THE GORLS, a short-lived combo who recorded their own 45 for Vasquez’s Dope Records and then a minimalist (both in look and feel) split 45 with FLATHEAD. I’m not sure how I stumbled across the latter in 1993, but I’m pretty sure it was a blink-and-you-missed-it affair, probably pressed around the 200 mark or so. I love everything about this Gorls track – the mushmouth, strange, seemingly improvisational vocals; the way the song revs up slowly and winds down at the same speed; and of course, that patented Vasquez guitar sound that you, me or anyone could easily pick out of police lineup of stellar axemen. If you’re wondering who this Vasquez guy is, go here, here and here, and also download his late 80s band THE NIGHTS AND DAYS’ second 45 here.

Download THE GORLS – “Bongo Beat”

MAESTROS AND DIPSOS – ONE BAND WHO GOT LOST

If it weren’t for Phil Turnbull and his NO NIGHT SWEATS web site/mp3 archive, a lot of us might not have any idea of the thriving Sydney, Australia post-punk scene of the early 80s, and some of the wildly creative weirdo lost bands of the time. Several years ago Phil sent me a couple of these “Sydney Post-Punk Archives” CD-Rs, and one act in particular (besides SPK, PRIMITIVE CALCULATORS and the SLUGFUCKERS) really stood out: MAESTROS AND DISPOS, from approximately 1983-84. I was really dumbstruck by how gorgeously complex, tense & jarring this folk/pop music was, particularly the outstanding “Backslide”. The band never recorded a single 45, LP or even a cassette that we know of. Here’s how Phil describes them:

“Dual female vocals weren’t heard much outside of folk circles and so the sound of Debbie and Ashley’s close harmonies was bound to be memorable. However, the band were always a little tentative, seemingly a bit uncomfortable with themselves and each other, especially on stage. Their strong point will always be the direct, confessional lyrics which made a marvelous change from the bluster that other bands produced. In songs like Inertia and the gorgeous Backslide, simple guitar and drums, strong bass, floating melodies and emotional text combine perfectly.”

Phil’s site also posts a first-person 1984 account of the band live:

“….Maestros and Dipsos are a bright bustling idiosyncratic pop-rock band. Although they have been playing in Sydney for over 6 months they are still virtually unknown. This will change….Describing their music is difficult. After a brief statement like “um…really good” my usual sparkling fountain of verbiage dries up. Well diluted snippets of Beefheart, The Raincoats and the Fire Engines spring to mind while they play. As do subtle fractured hints of Sly Stone and the Velvet Underground. This is not to suggest that their songs are like these other bands; they just seem to approach melody and language with a similar sense of pioneering intelligence….That Maestros and Dipsos sound even slightly familiar is in itself surprising. The band is a heady amalgam of polarized musical tastes. Ashley’s singing floats easily in and around the songs. Debbie’s moves swiftly with assured, well measured grace. Lindsay plays ambitious melodic guitar, devoid of heroics and pretence. The rhythm section, Ian Cummings on bass and Gordon Renouf on drums, is a beguilingly simple fascination. As with the whole band generally there is a hidden depth to their playing. Eacj time Maestros and Dipsos play I’ve discovered more and more within their songs. Layers waiting to be unveiled. Maestros and Dipsos are offering you and I and intelligent and exciting alternative to hairy types being gorillas in pubs and chinless types being goats in clubs. Nowhere to go but up…..”

I love that the interweb can help bring back a band like this. Here are two mp3s of studio recordings that they did, with another one available by clicking here.

Download MAESTROS & DIPSOS – “Backslide”
Download MAESTROS & DIPSOS – “Inertia”

Las Migas de Austin y Califas

And the debate on the websites continues about SXSW — did they shut down parties they didn’t control by releasing a list of them to the police and fire departments? is music doomed? did Iggy suck or not? — while I think that the most shocking music-related shark-jump happened sometime in the last year without anybody telling me about it: Gibson Guitars seems to have donated a bunch of 8-foot-tall guitars for local “artists” to paint or otherwise decorate under the aegis of a corporate sponsor in much the way that Berlin’s got its stupid bears, Chicago its stupid cows, and so on. Ever since Austin declared itself the “live music capital of the world” I’ve been waiting for the city to make a really boneheaded gesture in that direction, and now I can relax, because they sure have.

* * *

Food in Austin’s been mainly on the go, with no great new discovery yet, although it’s wonderful to see that my pal Sappachai has opened a Madam Mam’s in South Austin. I’ve known him since he was the manager of my local supermarket in Austin, and got passed over for promotion and was certain it was racially-based. He decided to open a Thai restaurant, of which we had none at the time, and arranged a partnership with a cousin, as well as backing from some rich Thai guys. He confessed, though, that he was scared: they didn’t think Americans liked spicy food. I told him that the solution was to take them to a Mexican place — I think I even recommended one — because the first thing that would happen would be that the waiter would plonk down some chips and salsa (and I recommended a place with good fiery stuff). When the Thais noted all the gringos (and farangs) around them nonchalantly eating fire on chips, they’d get the picture.

And thus it was that Satay was born, a sort of pan-Southeast Asian restaurant which spawned a family of sauces and other jarred groceries. Sap and his cousin argued, though, and he went over to the UT campus area and opened a little hole-in-the-wall place called Thai Noodle, which, despite its near-inaccessibility, did very well. But a long-lost romance re-bloomed in Thailand, and Sap went back for a while, returning married to his high-school sweetheart, whose mother, Madam Mam, was a masterful cook. Along with his new wife, he had a bunch of Madam Mam’s recipes, and, in an incredibly audacious move, he rented a huge storefront on Guadelupe — “the Drag,” as UT students call it — and opened a vastly expanded version of his old Thai Noodle joint, with entrees starting at $3.00 and going up to $14 for an astonishing catfish soup with an incendiary, fruit-infused broth that rated 5 or 6 chiles on the menu (which markings are to be taken seriously) and remains one of the most amazing things I’ve ever eaten.

Needless to say, with a menu that pleased both impoverished students and high-end foodies, not to mention one so vegetarian-friendly that whole tables of various Indians and hippies were a full-time feature, he started printing money, so it was with great pleasure that I accompanied Patrick and Denise down to his brand-new joint for my second meal here on this trip. Denise really scored with a special, which I’ve just returned from enjoying myself: a sort of coconut custard made with salmon and a fine spice mix, with chunks of salmon stirred into it and a bed of collard greens. Again, an incredible achievement.

On the other end of the spectrum, I had another great oyster po’boy from Gene’s, which I so loved last year. My love was somewhat diminished by the fact that it took me an hour and forty-five minutes to get my sandwich. There was a young guy who entered after me who’d phoned his order in and he left with his order with five minutes to get back to work. It’s a great place, but apparently not at the end of the week.

* * *

And what’s a trip to the States without some bumper stickers and t-shirts? There are many, many Republicans for Voldemort bumper stickers around Austin, but the one that had me chuckling most was non-political and said “Yes, this is my pickup truck. No, I will not help you move.” And anyone who’s been around bands on their way up will appreciate the t-shirt on a kid who got on my Denver-Austin flight on the way back from California: “Silence is golden. Duct tape is silver.”

* * *

The California trip was short and sweet, mostly concerned with meetings and hanging around Village Music, having dinner with some folks from the Well, and having lunch with legendary CREEM writer Jaan Uhelski at Viks Chaat, which I’d long wanted to try. I’ll have some photos of all of this later, but if you’re looking at their page, the Dahl Batata Puri was the winner, and I scored a couple of killer tiny Indian cookbooks at the grocery store next door, which was paradisical — if impractical for my Berlin-based Indian cooking needs. More different kind of dal than I’d ever seen, though. And I also had a great meal cooked by my friend Bob, whose long service as art director of Salon hasn’t diminished the talents that once made him the Bay Area’s best-kept secret chef, at whose restaurants the celeb chefs could be seen dining contentedly on their days off. All in all, a nice trip.

There’s more, but it involves photos that are hard for me to download at the moment, so stay tuned.

A Friday Quiz from Prof. Irwin Corey:1) What mov…

A Friday Quiz from Prof. Irwin Corey:

1) What movie did you have to see multiple times before deciding whether you liked or disliked it?
Mulholland Drive
2) Inaugural entry into the Academy of the Overrated
Jules et Jim
3) Favorite sly or not-so-sly reference to another film or bit of pop culture within another film.
The scene from CQ which is a note-for-note remake of the Nico portion of La Dolce Vita from another angle.
4) Favorite Michael Powell/Emeric Pressburger movie
Never seen one.
5) Your favorite Oscar moment
I don’t watch the Oscars.
6) Hugo Weaving or Guy Pearce?
Weaving, because I am a geek.
7) Movie that you feel gave you the greatest insight into a world/culture/person/place/event that you had no understanding of before seeing it
F For Fake, which interested me in art forgery, and the saga of Elmyr de Hory & Clifford Irving in particular.
8) Favorite Samuel Fuller movie
The Big Red One
9) Monica Bellucci or Maria Grazia Cucinotta?
Bellucci
10) What movie can take a nothing day and suddenly make it all seem worthwhile?
Anything starring Mary Tyler Moore. Actually, The Big Lebowski does better.
11) Conversely, what movie can destroy a day’s worth of good humor just by catching a glimpse of it while channel surfing?
Anything starring Adam Sandler.
12) Favorite John Boorman movie
Deliverance.
13) Warren Oates or Bruce Dern?
Oates, easy.
14) Your favorite aspect ratio
16:3
15) Before he died in 1984, Francois Truffaut once said: “The film of tomorrow will resemble the person who made it.” Is there any evidence that Truffaut was right? Is it Truffaut’s tomorrow yet?
For auteur directors like Altman, yes.
16) Favorite Werner Herzog movie
Either Fitzcarraldo or Grizzly Man.
17) Favorite movie featuring a rampaging, oversized or otherwise mutated beast, or beasts
Them!
18) Sandra Bernhard or Sarah Silverman?
Can I choose death?
19) Your favorite, or most despised, movie cliché
Favorite: car chase. Most despised: car chase.
20) Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom– yes or no?
No.
21) Favorite Nicholas Ray movie
In A Lonely Place
22) Inaugural entry into the Academy of the Underrated
The Iron Giant
23) Your favorite movie dealing with the subject of television
Battle Royale was my initial answer, but seeing others reply The King of Comedy made me realize that was probably more true.
24) Bruno Ganz or Patrick Bauchau?
Bauchau. Ganz is great, but I’d rather have a slice of ham right now.
25) Your favorite documentary, or non-fiction, film
Gimme Shelter
26) According to Orson Welles, the director’s job is to “preside over accidents.” Name a favorite moment from a movie that seems like an accident, or a unintended, privileged moment. How did it enhance or distract from the total experience of the movie?
The fleck of blood in Children of Men: enhanced for me, even though it was not supposed to be a documentary, because it flipped the movie through the mirror for me and felt more real than fiction. Others, my wife for example, felt differently.
27) Favorite Wim Wenders movie
I don’t like Wenders very much, but I could say The Buena Vista Social Club.
28) Elizabeth Pena or Penelope Cruz?
Pena, I guess.
29) Your favorite movie tag line (Thanks, Jim!)
This time it’s personal.
30) As a reader, filmgoer, or film critic, what do you want from a film critic, or from film criticism? And where do you see film criticism in general headed?
A personal connection with universal implications, well thought and well-argued. Where it’s generally headed is the opposite of that.
EXTRA CREDIT: Do movies still matter?
When did they ever matter? Which is to say: yes, to me they matter; no, to history, they don’t really matter; and maybe, because I can only speak for myself.

The World’s Most Boring Book Pitch

….was unsurprisingly rejected by the folks at Continuum. Here is my garbage…laid out on the table. I wasn’t feeling it that week. Or, it wasn’t feeling me. I could have let some insane errors fly, too, despite what I thought was a suitable degree of proofreading. Here you go (minus header):

     While waiting for the 33 & 1/3 pitch window, it took little time to decide on Husker Du, and I’ll expound on that a little later. My tardiness in submitting a pitch can be blamed on one thing: It took days and days of waffling before I decided on which Husker Du album. 1985’s Flip Your Wig was picked from the short list, though what killed me (and my productivity) was the strength of other Husker albums. Now, provided you choose to put your trust in this project, everything else seems mapped out, easy; the album an obvious choice.

      To convince you why Flip Your Wig is the slam dunk I proclaim it to be, we must first look at why certain other universally-loved Husker Du titles were not chosen. Zen Arcade, released in 1984, remains a fan and critic favorite for flimsy reasons. Though it’s the first post-hardcore double LP concept album (though the release dates are the same, it was completed prior to the Minutemen’s Double Nickels on the Dime) and contains a handful of amazing Husker moments, it is a sprawling mess choked with too much unfocused hardcore. The antidote to this, New Day Rising (also ’84), dispensed with the filler and became the succinct blueprint for Flip Your Wig. Sadly, the former had the one-dimensional, brutally high-end production of SST’s in-house man, Spot, plus a 50/50 hit rate in terms of song craft. Flip Your Wig suffers from neither of these issues. Grant Hart and Bob Mould covered production duties themselves, and song-by-song quality is, for the first time, consistent over an entire album. Flip Your Wig’s follow-up, the band’s major label debut, Candy Apple Grey, came in a close second, whereas, Flip Your Wig is an airtight example of what made this band legendary, Candy Apple Grey is laden with ballads and personnel implosion, thus coming off like a Grant Hart/Bob Mould solo split album. It’s a minor miracle that the band held it together for the 1987 swansong, Warehouse: Songs and Stories.

     More so than any other 80’s underground album, even Sonic Youth’s Daydream Nation, Flip Your Wig predicted the sound of the late-80’s/early-90’s indie rock explosion. Sonic Youth may have encouraged indie rock’s embracement of off-kilter tunings and artfulness, but Husker Du presented a simpler, more subtle formula of greater staying power, especially when bands like Superchunk and Nirvana are considered. When a band claims to be influenced by Husker Du (The Pixies), or a music reviewer does this for them, Flip Your Wig is the sound being referenced. Of course, the terms “indie rock” and “post-hardcore” did not exist in 1985, so Flip Your Wig was consumed as one of the then rare examples of a middle ground between hardcore and the sonic flimsiness of college rock. The album’s brilliant pop and air-moving power can be traced back to 1982’s “Everything Falls Apart” – the first time that Husker Du married massive volume to massive hooks. The style would become over more prevalent as the band continued their two-album-per-year average, peaking on Flip Your Wig. The tracks “Flip Your Wig”, “Makes No Sense”, the instrumental “The Wit and the Wisdom”, “Green Eyes”, “Divide and Conquer”, “Hate Paper Doll”, “Games”, Flexible Flyer”, “Don’t Know Yet”, “Private Plane” and “Keep Hanging On” are all stronger than any previous Husker track.

     Band tensions were manageable during the 1983 – 1985 Metal Circus to New Day Rising period, but proved ruinous for the final years that covered Candy Apple Grey and Warehouse: Songs and Stories (1986 – 1987). As you can see, Flip Your Wig falls squarely in the middle. This transitional year will make for an excellent and occasionally incendiary back story for the album’s recording and release. It was the last time that the band was to be fully functional unit, both moods and attitudes were at an all time high. Bob Mould and Grant Hart, both openly gay at the time, claim to have never been lovers. Nonetheless, this dynamic has always added jump-from-the-page readability to the Husker Du saga. Bassist Greg Norton, the voice of reason, is a fascinating character in this story that went on to become a well-known chef and restaurateur following the band’s demise.

       My approach is threefold. I will intersperse a biographical format (album creation with interviews) with the infrequent anecdotal flashback to my personal discovery and fascination with this album as a teen, as well as documentation of the work that brought the book together (time spent with band members, etc). Please note that the personal material will differ greatly from what is expected when contemporaries venture into this terrain. Meaning, my stories and relation to this album will be very humorous, as opposed to the prosaic nostalgia trip. I plan for that particular writing to make up less than an eighth of the entire text. The flow of the book will be primarily chronological, covering the inception, release, and aftermath (subsequent major label signing) of Flip Your Wig.

      I foresee no problem regarding access to the three band members; connections were established when I worked on an exhaustive oral history of 80’s Minneapolis scene for Magnet Magazine. Joe Carducci, whom I have interviewed in the past, was SST’s label manager during the Husker heyday, and will be a valuable source for this book. The project will gel as all vitally involved parties as interviewed. While pre-Flip Your Wig history is essential, rest assured that it will not dominate any portion of the book. The 33 & 1/3 Series boasts a colorful cast, but the absence of Husker Du presents a glaring void. Additionally, the canon of music non-fiction has yet to count this band amongst its biographical conquests (aside from a chapter in Michael Azzerad’s Our Band Could Be Your Life). It is time for Continuum to lead in the race for a Husker Du book, as my instincts tell me that there will be at least three of them on the shelves by 2009.

 

 

 

 

EXHIBIT A FOR EARLY 90s CLAW HAMMER HYPE

If you were an ardent fanzine reader in the late 80s and early 90s, particularly certain ‘zines like Forced Exposure, Your Flesh, and Superdope, you probably heard a lot about CLAW HAMMER. For those of us who salivated every time they released a 45 or LP, they were, at least from about 1989-1993 or so, the band of the hour. Here’s what I wrote about them myself last year on Agony Shorthand:

“….When CLAW HAMMER first came up through the Los Angeles micro-clubs, playing low on bills with punk & garage acts like THE LAZY COWGIRLS and their ilk, they were sort of a mystery act that took a while to get one’s head around. Were these guys approximating the MC5 playing for Deadheads? CAPTAIN BEEFHEART & THE MAGIC BAND playing acid-laced punk rock? Hampton Grease Band & Roxy Music freaks playing whatever the hell they wanted to play, and playing it really, really loud? Yeah, that one. It took me a couple shows to get the cut of their jib, but in due time they replaced the Cowgirls as “my favorite band”, and from about 1989 to 1993 or so they stayed in the proverbial catbird seat. I started my fanzine Superdope in 1990 and task #1 was to interview and glorify Claw Hammer, so I commandeered the band in their van in an alley at San Francisco’s most unsafe club ever, the 6th Street Rendezvous, and told ‘em I was their biggest fan and would they like to do an interview with me & be friends. They “made the cover” of my edition-of-400, hugely uninfluential magazine, and we did in fact become pals after that. In 1993 I was even their road manager/driver/drinking partner/merch dork on a 40-date North American tour……I remember that Eddie Flowers, creator/owner of the SLIPPY TOWN empire and then a sometimes-writer for Forced Exposure, did a piece on the early, early Claw Hammer for said magazine truly before even Los Angeles had woken up to the band (one could legitimately argue that LA never really did). Though I don’t have the article in front of me, Flowers saw the sonic connections that these guys were channeling, and how they funneled them into a sound that really hadn’t been heard before. Claw Hammer, for lack of a better word, were a “greasy” band (not just because of the Grease Band!), in that they played a relatively conventional brand of loud rock and roll that just bled and oozed raw grease and slippery counter-dynamics. When Jon Wahl and Chris Bagarozzi played guitar together, I swear to god at times it was like what everyone said Tom Verlaine & Richard Lloyd were supposed to have sounded like live – unpredictable bits of chaos, pure unbridled energy and extremely amplified sound, but never “showy” nor “flashy”. Just jaw-dropping, that’s all. These guys loved 70s rock – not just the cool stuff that everyone liked back then like The Velvets and the MC5 and the Patti Smith Group – but acts that have only in retrospect achieved complete critical consensus like the aforementioned Roxy Music, early Eno, Big Star, solo Syd Barrett and even (gasp) Steely Dan. They ingested it, turned it out and filtered it through their own experiences as teenage punks (Jon was in an Orange Country hardcore band wholly inspired by the MIDDLE CLASS called The Idle Rich) to create a rich stew of swingin’ punk rock boogie. That spirit was what Flowers captured in his article & what got the world to stand up and take notice – that and their first crop of singles, all of which were incredible…..”

What perhaps got lost in the shuffle here were their very first recordings, two songs that got put out by Trigon Records on a compilation of LA bands called “GIMME THE KEYS”. These two songs demonstrate what a powerhouse these guys were, and show where their heads were at early on, the first time I saw them live in ’88. I’d go mano-a-mano with anyone who wants to exclude these guys from a list of 20 best bands of the past two decades, Top 5 if you’re only talkin’ live shows. See what you think by following the links here and downloading this pair.

Download CLAW HAMMER – “Self Destruct”

Worrier King

I’ve been up all night
Wondering what the morning’s gonna bring
I’ve been up all night
Wondering what November’s gonna bring
Worried about my country
And I worry about everything

Warren Zevon,
   “Worrier King”

I don’t wait well. Never have, probably never will. Word has it that I grind my teeth while I sleep. Deb tells me that I do, my dentist tells me that I do. I have no doubt that those things that I push onto the back burner of my mind while I’m awake are the very same ones that sneak up on me while I sleep. Tightening my jaws, clenching my teeth. Grinding, grinding, grinding.

More than a month has passed since the publisher made an offer on my book. Things are moving ahead well; we’re just ironing out some of the finer points of the contract. In the meantime…

I wait to hear from my agent. And, by extension, from my publisher. I also wait to hear back from a very significant singer-songwriter (think BIG, then think BIGGER), who has agreed to be interviewed for the book. But first he wanted to read the introduction I’d written, as well as a sample chapter. So last week I sent them to him. And now I wait.

These are the things that make me grind my teeth.

Then today it dawns on me that these are good problems to have. Very good indeed.

You know what’s funny? That you think people really care about your band.

Let’s move away from the narcissistic, self-promoting banality to hit on some REAL funny bizness!!

As if I needed another reason to not care about some no-count, low-rent band like The Locust, take a gander at how this Decibel writer was treated by a guy that is clearly under the misconception that his band is doing important things.

(from the latest issue of Decibel Magazine)

The Locust

Eddie Haskell, James Dean, and, um, cock: Justin Pearson delivers the strange buzz on the new LP from post-grinders the Locust

There’s a sure simplicity to insect politic. If we were talking about bugs, we’d note a streamlined brutality that clearly divides the world into that which can be eaten and fucked and that which will eat and fuck. Possibly you. Possibly not.

And Justin Pearson makes it quite clear: despite the multifaceted green eyewear, the masks and the band named after a biblical plague, he’s not joking. No. Not at all.

“I’d just rather have a discussion about something interesting,” he says in response to a query about cock rock, Fugazi and their theological connections to the Locust. “So you still need to tell me why we would put the blame on one band for this cock thing you are trying to get me on.”

The distinction between thinking, feeling and producing music that does one better than the other notwithstanding, Pearson’s resistance is a curiosity for a man and a band whose new album, New Erections, might be viewed by an unskilled eye as a virtual paean to cock. A paean and liberal tribute to bands and known associates he also widely cites as being general influences—from the jagged Japancore of Melt-Banana to the Tom of Finland mock-up of Chinese Stars.

“Not good enough. Still seems like some bullshit.”

Tough crowd. But here. From the LA Weekly: “Justin Pearson may not be the Locust’s official spokesperson, but he is clearly the star attraction. He’s taller than the others by a full head, rail thin, and has the cheekbones and gaunt scowl of James Dean; he also looks a bit like Leave It to Beaver’s Eddie Haskell.”

Doesn’t this make you want to punch you in the mouth?

“That was a strange and inaccurate article. The guy was with us for a matter of a couple hours and formed all sorts of opinions that went to print. If he is not some sort of psychologist, then I say his formulations are dogshit. But I don’t know that it makes me want to punch myself in the mouth. I mean, if I punched myself, I would still think I’m a jagoff and would continue being myself.”

A jagoff?

And here is that beautiful moment of embrace where antagonism meets itself and makes a decision: eat, fuck, cut or run?

“Look, at least the journalist who came up with that load of crap did better then the usual ‘hey faggot’ that I’m usually called. And I always thought Eddie Haskell was cool. Better than those Beaver pricks. But maybe we should pass on doing an interview?”

And the scramble and the larding on of blandishments, true nonetheless, but still blandishments because, while the record is good with its crippled rhythms, trebly metallic jangle and choirboy shrieking, Pearson’s unceremonious attempt at the closing of the interview gates comes too fast. Or at least faster than we would have liked in order to be able to tell you why this record is maybe just a little bit better than a stick in the eye. Or back. Or a Justin Timberlake record. And it is.

So we rush back to Tiger Beat, and questions thereof: how long have you spent working on this new record, who produced it, when are you all going to tour on it, what’s the thematic basis for this new record?

And he, in rapid succession: “about a year, Alex Newport, late March 2007,” and “there are many for us as a whole and also individually. But I suppose it’s for the listener to create their own opinions on it as it’s art and open for interpretation. But I wanted to reach thinking listeners, to invoke a reaction of some sort.”

Yeah, yeah, sure… look, while not as gaunt and James Dean-esque as you, don’t you think that Eugene from Oxbow is about the handsomest man you have ever seen?

And a functional equivalent of sigh. “I have no idea who Eugine [sic] is or what Oxbow is. And I’m not doing the interview.”

More than an interview, now, a psychological plumbing of a grown man who screams and dresses up like a bug onstage, because surely this can’t be the worst interview experience he’s ever had. I mean, at least I haven’t tried to mug him. Yet.

“Look, I’m not offended. I just feel that I might be wasting my time—you are welcome to ask questions pertaining to this stuff if you want, but I just don’t see how the Fugazi thing or the Eddie Haskell thing ties into why and how we made our new album. And I’m working here at home, trying to do this interview, make it to the post office before 5 p.m., trying to get a ride to pick up my car that broke down and is sitting at the mechanic’s shop by my rehearsal space. And I’d much rather take a walk with my dog, read a book that I just got. There is plenty to do that is a bit more on the side of interesting.”

But when bullshit answers are proffered [to possibly bullshit questions], answers that say that art is whatever you want to make it, well, it says that you don’t know that the writers of the actual music are either motivated by that which quickens the blood or they’re motivated by the same thing that may motivate those who paint scenery oil paintings in parks: a desire to do something somewhat clever to wile the fucking time away.

“Well, a painter who paints scenery in parks is simply one person. And, well, it might not seem to be as complex as creating music. But, how about this? The painting is not as interpretative as, say, an entire album usually. And for us, there are four people involved. We all do our part musically and then there are three of us who have vocal duties. So again, I can’t really speak for the others. We create a song or songs, which are put into an album, and then it’s done. We all agree on what we have created. But as far as what its meaning is, well that is up to the listener and even with the four of us, we all see it slightly different from each other as well. For me, to say the general topic or theme of a song or album seems trite. I’d rather just put the art out there and let people figure it out for themselves. Maybe in a nutshell, and for the interview’s sake, I’ll say it’s a product of the world that we live in and it holds components of the social, political and economical place that we are part of. It’s our vision of this world.”

And the green, bug-eyed masks?

“They hide the acne,” says Pearson.

That’s it?

“Irony.”

And because irony makes me sad, I wonder aloud about why the mention of cock made him so cranky. “Well, I tend to not use my genitalia as a metaphor for the music that I’m part of. And I don’t understand why or even how it would be underrated in relation to the Locust. Or rated at all. It just doesn’t make sense to me. I suppose a social consciousness and opposition to patriarchy in the world that we live in would be a factor in who the Locust is. But I think that as a band we would identify more with the vagina, if that helps you out with your question.”

And just as quickly as it began we have: agreement.

Correction

Ok, so maybe David Cross said “I’ve played it for all of my friends over the past several years” and Henry Owings definitely said “I’ve burned it for all of the bands that have stayed at my house.” Maybe I got that mixed up. Pardon. One thing’s for certain: I must stop all of this petty name-dropping!! Some petty name-dropping rubbed off on me somewhere. Whaddupwiddat?!?!? 

This is from May 1982, after Richard and Linda Tho…

This is from May 1982, after Richard and Linda Thompson had divorced. With the unexpected success of Shoot Out The Lights in the U.S., they toured America to try to salvage a career in the wake of their divorce. This was not an easy tour on either of them or their bandmates.

Look how Linda is holding on to the mic stand as if her life depends on it. Richard is his usual insanely talented self, but Linda tears the shit out of this. Well, ok, Richard is above-and-beyond on the solo. Have you ever loved a song so much that you want to tear your heart out?

I didn’t realize I would have to add this, but HOLY CRAP! How does the guitar not break?