Tuesday, February 28, 2006

I officially dig Pink.

A reason to listen to Top 40. (or simply drop $ .99 on iTunes): The instantly sing-along-able, insanely catchy, raging, funny--"Stupid Girls."

Have you heard this song? Pink comes up fighting against the Parises, the Jessicas, the Britneys, as well as the "regular" chicks out there glittering with utter apathy and lack of brain cells.

I never dug her shit before, but this is way too fucking cool.

My dad told me about it. How great is that?

Best bit: "Outcasts and girls with ambition/That's what I wanna see/Disasters all around/World despaired/Their only concern/Will they fuck up my hair?"

Bloody righteous. Righteous & Needed.

Thanks, Pink!

Made me revisit "Stripped," by my girl Christina Aguilera (nice shout-out, Paul). It feels like one of the last times feminism was on the radio. "Can't Hold Us Down" & "Fighter" are just perfect pop songs with fucking great lyrics--oh and that voice. I wrote about her when I was writing the music column at the Daily and my friends gave me endless shit. You should all know by now....

"I just don't know what it's going to take"

that's Jon Stewert on Larry King.

brilliant stuff.

"Nixon lows"

Did you hear? Bush's approval rating is now at 34% and Cheney's is at 18%--which is LOWER than Nixon during Watergate.


A great Howard Kurtz piece today has some bits about the heightened pessimism of the war, as well. Including a link to William F. Buckley's thoughts on the war (including the words "our mission has failed"). It certainly seems like public awareness is growing...but I feel like I can't really get my hopes up quite yet.

I still think everyone is still sleeping, like usual. Wake the fuck up. Please. Care. Please.
Women---can you please care about South Dakota? Is that too much to ask?

Monday, February 27, 2006

The Chicago Rock 'n' Roll Weekend Awaits...

Well, I'll be damned. Jessica told me we had better get our asses into seeing the dirty, Detroit Dirtbombs in Chicago on St. Paddy's Day. I need to always heed the words of this Law School Woman (aka The Rappin' Lawyer). Lesson learned

Jim put this perfect song on his mix for me: "I Can't Stop Thinking About It" and it really couldn't sum up my brain more accurately.

Now, I need to see them. It must happen. Oh baby, iss gonna be DE-bauched. Rock and roll animal all weekend. Where will my mind be Monday morning at work? Better question: *will* I return to work on Monday...? Wait, did I mention I am going to be in CHICAGO on ST. PATRICK'S DAY? uh, yeah. How did I get so lucky? (I was in London on St. Paddy's Day in 2002. That was surreal...and kind of wrong. My IRA-supporting auntie wasn't too pleased with me...)

I just keep thinking about THE SAME damn things. I kinda like it that way, though. The song knows exactly how I feel. I love when songs just know.

The world keeps turning me on. I wish it could be like that more often...

Remember, I only *look* like a 24-year-old woman. I really am a 14-year-old boy. Bear that in mind...

Sunday, February 26, 2006

When there's no future, how can there be sin? We're all flowers in the dustbin

(an excuse to write about the Sex Pistols. my favorite line ever serves as the title of this.)

Feb. 24
Statement issued by johnlydon.com today at 13:18:

"Next to the SEX PISTOLS rock and roll and that hall of fame is a piss stain. Your museum. Urine in wine. Were not your monkey and so what? Fame at $25,000 if we paid for a table or $15,000 to squeak up in the gallery, goes to a non-profit organization selling us a load of old famous. Congradulations. If you voted for us, I hope you noted your reasons. Your anonymous as judges. but your still music industry people. Were not coming. Your not paying attention. Outside the shit-stem is a real SEX PISTOL."

Well, Neil Young said it, too. Well, not exactly that, but... he blasted the hell outta them a few years back. I still like the R n R Hall of Fame... But this is too perfect, innit?

Friday, February 24, 2006

thank you, thank you, Jim



They're gonna find my body, lifeless, a victim of an Arctic overdose. And they're gonna shake their heads and they're gonna say, "So sad. She actually used to like a lot of *other* music, too."

I could die this way.

Jim says that revolution's in the air, on it's way. For the first time in my life, I believe that. When everything is so wrong in the world, the void must be filled... It's all happening.

OK, wotta morning freak-out...Mr. "M.W.; London 1999"...are you (or at least were you) an Australian doctor? If so, how. the. fuck. did. you. find. this. blog!?!? That is amazing.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

thanks, Jim

This, I knicked from Jim's blog. Holy hell. Humina.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Why I am as crazy as I am or You should bear that in mind tonight

(like you didn't expect this)

I can finally speak, write, with authority. All this time, without the fucking album... I have now heard it in its entirety (several times) and in the stroy-telling order Alex Tuner intended it to be heard. And, of course, it's as brilliant as it should be.

The things I hadn't heard yet: Turner sings about the girl waiting for a message in her inbox, but all you say is that "you drank a lot"; the band aren’t “aren’t very good,” but rather, they are “fucking wank.” He can sound angry—“all you people are VAMPIRES and all your stories are STALE,” he's an *almost* hopeful romantic (“Certain Romance,” even though, yes, he proclaims there ain’t no romance ‘round here, he’s right) He sounds wise beyond his years—hell, he sounds fucking wise beyond my years (I am only four years older than the guy). I feel like he sums up almost all young relationships (that I’ve known anyway) in ”Mardy Bum” (song about his grumpy ex).

What I love about Turner’s lyrics: he is articulate and he announciates; his words sound refreshingly natural and effortless, it’s young and shameless. He will sing about ringtones and inboxes and fake tans and getting loaded and getting laid (trying to, anyway)—but it’s in a way that’s clever and contemplative. And, what have I been going on and on about with the Clash, etc? The non-conventional, non-love songs. This is also Turner's m.o. There are no lovey songs on here, and I love him for it. ha.

“When The Sun Goes Down” is literate, brilliant observation-storytelling—it’s chilling realism about prostitution. I’ve never heard a song like it before. It starts all slow and sad and then builds to an angry fury of crunchy guitar. Turner sounds concerned, pissed and like he just recently opened his eyes to what’s going on the street scene.

“View From The Afternoon” has that killer opening, catchy as fuck-all: “Anticipation has a habit/ to set you OOP for disappointment.” Matt comes in with those thumping wallop of a drum sound--amazing. Later on in the song, just when you think it’s over they hit this crazy pause and then this almost dissonant guitar war that sounds like bursts of seizure. The first time I heard it, I didn’t really like it. I now love it.

I know you won’t believe me, but there are a couple songs I DON’T LOVE!! I know, I know!! “Riot Van” is too slow for my taste (Elizabeth, are you listening, Too Fast For Love Friend of mine”) and I don’t really dig "Red Light Indictaes.."

Oh, and the music. Music, music, music. (as NOEL would say…) What their music is to me: joyous, tight, heavy, punk, funk, energetic-pop, polished, genre-eclectic, beyond their years. [and as Jessica, gave the honor of saying: “more mathematic than I thought.” right on.] After the horrible, inaccurate, cynical, bitter City Pages review came out, a few of my friends let me know about it. I was pissed, then. I am more pissed now. I couldn’t contain my frustration as I listened to the record again… There was nary one word about the bloody music. So sad. Now that I’ve vented, I don’t care. I just feel sorry for people that are so embittered the feel like they need to be the ones to kick off a backlash (if there will be one, I really don’t know).

And hey, Rolling Stone hated Led Zeppelin when they arrived on the scene. And, the best example is the NME telling the Clash to “go back in the garage.” Joe Stummer wrote “Garageland” because of it. So, from the negativity...greatness can come.

Tuner, his voice, is spot on. it’s full of sexual aggression one moment and sweetness the next. and he has a heavy Northern accent. Which, everyone keeps pointing out to me (I agree with them), is exceedingly rare. Oasis, Kinks, Smiths, Pulp, Blur (even Lennon, sometimes), I argued, all have accented vocals. But none have the degree that Turner produces (“luuv,” “oooop,” “mardy bum”!?!?!) as well as a good dose of young, Northern slang. My take on it is that it’s purely natural, unaffected and I even think it’s just cuz he wouldn’t think of “changing” his voice or delivery from his speaking voice. But then again, it’s such a mystery, anyway—how and why singers from non-American countries end up singing in an American accent...

*I will gladly burn any of y'all a copy if you so wish*

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Grinning like a fool through the skyways

Target has "Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not." This is shocking to me. It shouldn't be.

I bought it on my lunch break, ripped the plastic off with my teeth and almost ran into people several times as I had my nose in the liner.

No lyrics in the liner, but loads of pictures--an image for each song. My fave: the pretty girl, standing on the bus, in the green uniform smock (complete with the plastic badge that says "trainee") for "I Bet That You Look Good On the Dancefloor." The daydream fantasy on the bus--a Kiss Me On The Bus for the Brits.

The best bit that had me grin like an idiot: the CD itself is an ashtray. It's perfectly covered with cig (fags, of course) butts. It's what it should be--after the kind of weekend that these songs promote, that's what it's going to look like in yer flat, mate.

Hell, these lads could even get *me,* Miss Anti-Smoker Nazi to dabble. I'm just sayin'....

PS I don't really mean that, and huge CONGRATS to Cynthia (cig-free for 1 year!) and Paul, getting there--big time. Right on.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

They tell me of a pie up in the sky, waiting for me when I die

Just watched "The Harder They Come" and "Rude Boy" in the same evening.

I can't believe it took me this long. (it was a great move to watch both films in the same night, though. All this talk of Ivan, and how Rudy can't fail, they got the weed, they got the taxis, et al.)

Parts of "Rude Boy" are pure pornography (when it comes to Paul Simonon). I couldn't believe my luck! Much of the footage from "Westway to the World" is from the 1980 film. I have never seen so much of Joe Strummer's fantastically horrible teeth, poor sod. I also had never seen him play "Let the Good Times Roll" on piano or go on about fame, communism and fascism. Incredible. There are amazing full performances of "White Man in Hammersmith Palais," "Garageland,""White Riot,""What's My Name," so much more. Again, seeing quality footage of Strummer's stage persona was really stunning. Writhing around on stage and crouching down low and staring straight into the eyes of the kids in front. Seeing him without a guitar strapped around him was strange! Paul is snarling his lips, pogoing and pointing his bass at the crowd like a tommy gun. It was absurd what a sex symbol he was. Topper is surprisingly lucid, funny and a machine behind that drum kit. Mick is kind of an asshole, but the rendition of "Stay Free" he does in the movie is really touching and his voice sounds tops.

"The Harder They Come"....was mindblowingly great. So much involved in the plot: country boy Cliff comes to Kingston, trys to make it as a singer, ends up an angry and violent criminal, but his single becomes the hottest track around (the lambasting of the church was pretty killer, too)It's all that with the brilliant Jimmy Cliff soundtrack behind it, the footage of Kingston, the shots in the studio are really powerful. (Plus, you get to hear the title tune like 10 times, which was totally fine with me). Also, Cliff happens to be a beautiful man and his impassioned, sweaty studio performance is unshakably memorable.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

WHO doesn't do these things anymore?

from the "Hedonism Handbook" that Jessica gave me:

"Ten Fun Things You Never Do Anymore"

1. Dance like an idiot
2. Play on the swings
3. Flash people
4. Swim directly after eating

5. Get high in your bedroom

6.Date nineteen-year-olds (I'm not making this up, people. Alex Turner, are you listening?)

7. Wear see-through tops
8. Make out with strangers
9.Go out with no underwear
10. Flirt shamelessly

This book was one of the greatest presents I have ever received. Ever.

*the picture above? me, pulling a Hunter S. Thompson--according to Cynthia. Do I scare you?

Monday, February 13, 2006


I am going to see the Arctic Monkeys perform live at the Metro in Chicago.

My palms are sweaty.

Jessica and Elizabeth will be making this historic pilgrimage with me. I love them for it.

My dad called me a hipster. I don't even care.

There are no more words.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Wait till you get a load of this

I am continually amazed.

If you can watch and listen to videos on your computer, please check this one for "When The Sun Goes Down" (The Lads have more up their sleeves then you might think)

And! more incredible...Morning Becomes Eclectic, the LA radio (KCRW) show has a fucking 38 minute live studio session (and interview) with the band. I finally heard all the songs off the album that I hadn't heard yet. A big find, that. (I dig how they wear polo-type shirts and the drummer's got a Jamaica jersey on. And their guitars all are shiny and new looking. And Alex wears his real high up on his chest like George Harrison. Yeah. I like that.) When Turner talks he mumbles in that Sheffield slur, shy-like. They all seem like these sweet, friendly, polite and modest young men that are the calm in the center of the storm that is swirling around them.

Oh, and while you're at it (if you're just loving this "technology thing" like me) find the video for Shakira's "La Tortura" and get back to me...

Um, and, yeah...I know. I know this is basically a fansite now. Like I said, I can't help it. But, to avoid totally alienation for those of you who just don't dig or just don't care...I promise I'll get over it...someday. And I will actually like other music. And I will write about other things.

Friday, February 10, 2006

I'm so excited. I just can't hide it.

Well, I decided to give up and stop apologizing. I am extremely into everything there is to be into about the Arctic Monkeys and I want to share it with people.

It’s in my nature, right.

On Tuesday night Elizabeth and I waited outside in the freezing cold to try and squeeze tickets out of a sold-out show—the BRMC. We did not succeed. It was incredibly depressing.

But Elizabeth and I made the most of it. We ate at Annie’s. And then I played her my Two Hot New Trax from The Lads. Extra fitting and special was “From the Ritz to the Rubble”—maybe the best song of theirs I’ve heard (so far). The guitar is chugging along and then it’ll break into a riff-blitz and it ends with this “Guns of Brixton”-like white-man reggae. It’s incredible.

Of course, it's the lyrics that always do me in. Especially after facing the dark, cynical hipster brigade (“To all the smirking faces and the boys in black/Why can't they be pleasant? Why can't they have a laugh?”) and not getting into the BRMC show… Rocking out to “From the Ritz to the Rubble” really eased the pain. (The “And you realize then that it's finally the time/ To walk back past ten thousand eyes in the line” is pretty perfect antidote to hear after you actually had to do such a walk of shame, which we did).

The thing about them as a band and this song in particular (and probably the whole album, I’m assuming) is its honest and brilliant portrayal of being young, wanting to go to rock shows and out on the weekends and living a rather dull life in the week. The trouble you get into in the weekend, the post-daydreaming you do on Sunday or Monday morning. “Last night what we talked about/ It made so much sense/ But now the haze has ascended/ It don't make no sense anymore.” Simple, honest observations from a thoughtful teenager that are totally applicable to anyone, right here in MPLS, even, who still lives that kind of life—waiting for and trying to catch that excitement. It’s about rollicking good times had and the disappointment that can sometimes come instead.

Although the vacuous, Ecstasy generation of Pulp’s “Sorted for E's and Wizz”-festival-culture comes to mind, it’s much more infused with intelligence and questioning. There is criticism of hipsters, the drinking and the drugging as well as the music they can’t help but love.

Hell, the album cover speaks for itself. Well, actually reading the backstory in NME was pretty fucking great. See, it’s a high school friend of the band and Alex wrote 5 songs on the album about/for him. They got him completely loaded for the shoot—to the point of puking “everywhere.” His eyes are barely open, and it still feels like a challenge when you look at it—feels like it’s Saturday night and you’re looking at your buddy who normally doesn’t smoke and he’s so trashed that he’s fiercely sucking on that cig.

Also, the title, “'Whatever People Say I Am That's What I'm Not” comes from the movie with Albert Finney called “Saturday Night And Sunday Morning”. The quote is, "Whatever people say I am, that's what I am not. Because they don't know a bloody thing about me. God knows what I am." Kind makes me think of Citizen Kane and the White Stripes knicking the all those lines, including, “What would I have been? Everything you hate.” The songs themselves sound like the most wild and exciting and action-packed-weekend with everything you dream about actually coming true.

Hell, it makes me feel 19 again. [snark, snark]

Last night these two bouncers
And one of em's alright
The other one's the scary one
His way or no way, totalitarian
He's got no time for you
Looking or breathing
How he dosen’t want you to
So step out the queue
He makes examples of you
And there's nowt you can say
Behind they go through to the bit where you pay
And you realize then that it's finally the time
To walk back past ten thousand eyes in the line
And you can swap jumpers and make another move
Instilled in your brain you've got something to prove
To all the smirking faces and the boys in black
Why can't they be pleasant?
Why can't they have a laugh?
He's got his hand in your chest
He wants to give you a duff
Well secretly I think they want it all to kick off
They want, arms flying everywhere and
Bottles as well it's just
Something to talk about
A story to tell you
Well I'm so glad they turned us all away we'll put it down to fate

I thought a thousand million things that I could never think this morning
Got too deep, but how deep is too deep?

This town's a different town today
This town's a different town to what it was last night
You couldn't have done that on a Sunday
That girl's a different girl today

That girl's a different girl to her you kissed last night
You couldn't have done that on a Sunday
Last night what we talked about

It made so much sense
But now the haze has ascended
It don't make no sense anymore

Thursday, February 09, 2006

flames and riots

I just don't know what to make of it all.

I just know that I strongly beleive in freedom of the fucking press. I guess you know that about me by now.

And I can't help but totally admire Fleming Rose, the culture editor of the Danish paper that started it all in Sept. 2005.

Adding Newsprint to the Fire
Craig S. Smith
Published: February 5, 2006

EUROPEANS hoisted the banner of press freedom last week in response to Muslim anger over a dozen Danish cartoons, some of them mocking the Prophet Muhammad. But something deeper and more complex was also at work: The fracas grew out of, and then fed, a war of polemics between Europe's anti-immigrant nationalists and the fundamentalist Muslims among its immigrants.
"One extreme triggers the other," said Jonas Gahr Store, Norway's foreign minister, arguing that both sides want to polarize the debate at the expense of the moderate majority. "These issues are dangerous because they give the extremes fertile ground."
How did it begin? Oddly, with a decision by a Danish newspaper to commission, and then print, cartoons portraying the Prophet Muhammad in whatever light cartoonists chose to put him.
The newspaper's culture editor, Fleming Rose, says he intended simply to test cartoonists to see if they were self-censoring their work, out of fear of violence from Islamic radicals. He cited a Danish comedian, who said in an interview that he had no problem urinating on the Bible but that he would not dare do the same to the Koran.
"Some Muslims try to impose their religious taboos in the public domain," said Mr. Rose. "In my book, that's not asking for my respect, it's asking for my submission."
Mr. Rose wrote to the Danish Cartoonist Society, inviting cartoonists to depict their interpretation of the Prophet — whose likeness many devout Muslims believe should never be depicted. Some refused on the grounds that the exercise was a provocation, but a dozen complied.
Mr. Rose said not all 12 drawings would offend Muslims: one depicted a Danish anti-immigration politician in a police lineup, and another lampooned Mr. Rose as an agent provocateur.
"It wasn't meant to insult or hurt anybody's feelings," Mr. Rose said, drawing a distinction between criticizing religious authority, "which goes all the way back to Voltaire and the tradition of the Enlightenment," and the "far greater offense of denigrating a specific ethnic group."
But this did not take place in a political vacuum. Hostile feelings have been growing between Denmark's immigrants and a government supported by the right-wing Danish People's Party, which has pushed anti-immigrant policies. And stereotyping in cartoons has a notorious history in Europe, where anti-Semitic caricatures fed the Holocaust, just as they feed anti-Israeli propaganda in the Middle East today.
In the current climate, some experts on mass communications suggest, the exercise was no more benign than commissioning caricatures of African-Americans would have been during the 1960's civil rights struggle. "You have to ask what was the intent of these cartoons, bearing in mind the recent history of tension in Denmark with the Muslim community," said David Welch, head of the Center for the Study of Propaganda and War at the University of Kent in Britain. Nicholas Lemann, dean of the Columbia Journalism School, put it this way: "He knew what he was doing."
The reaction, in any event, was clearly deliberate. A group of Denmark's fundamentalist Muslim clerics lobbied the embassies of 11 mostly Muslim countries to demand a meeting with Denmark's prime minister, Anders Fogh Rasmussen. When he refused, the clerics took their show on the road, shopping the offending images around the Middle East.
The clerics inflamed the response by including in their presentation far more offensive cartoons that never appeared in any newspaper, some depicting Muhammad as a pedophile, a pig or engaged in bestiality.
The result: Boycotts of Danish goods spread in the Middle East, while newspapers across Europe reprinted the offending cartoons as an act of solidarity with Mr. Rose's newspaper.
And there was agonizing over what it meant for both press freedom and tolerance. "The limit to freedom of expression is the point at which there is an intent to harm a person or a community," said William Bourdon, a French lawyer who has handled high-profile freedom of speech cases. "It's not because there was a reaction that there should be a presumption of intent."
But Mustafa Hussain, a Pakistani-born Danish sociologist, said the cartoons showed how far to the right Europe's debate has swung. "Switch on the television and you have the impression that Muslims are all fanatics, that Muslims don't understand Western liberal values," he said.
Mr. Rose offered a distinction between respecting other people's faith, which he favors, and obeying someone else's religious taboos, which he said society has no obligation to do.
But whether his exercise had achieved his stated goal — of forcing citizens to think about their submission to someone else's taboos — it was clear that it had helped extremists on both sides who would keep Europe and the Muslim world from understanding each other.

my man Jarvis

From the BBC, when the Monkeys' record became the fastest number one in British history....

Pulp singer Jarvis Cocker, who is also from Sheffield, told the BBC the Arctic Monkeys' success was a lesson for the music industry. Jarvis Cocker said Arctic Monkeys' success was 'real' "I think it's very important because they've done it without trying," he said. "The only reason people have got into it [the music] is because they've listened to it and they like it, so it's something real. "I guess all the music industry will probably think 'how can we emulate that or what can we do?' "I think there's nothing they can do about it because it's something that has happened naturally, there's no way to apply spin doctorism to it." Arctic Monkeys easily beat Richard Ashcroft's latest album Keys To The World which sold 75,000 copies - a total that would have normally guaranteed the top spot.

*Also, the Grammys were...awesome (for the most part) last night. Madonna and Gorillaz opening the show was a brilliant move. Alica Keys and Stevie Wonder's (seemingly) impromptu rendition of "Higher Ground" for victims of Katrina, for Coretta Scott King... was amazing and so needed. Sly fucking Stone came out of his hermit's shell for the first time in 13 years. He was bizarre (true, he had a kick ass mohawk) and he barely sang. But, shit, he's 61 years old and it was pretty killer (he is so funky and brilliant and is so the basis for Prince, man) to see him up there in such a celebratory atmosphere.

Oh, and um, how 'bout Bruuuuuce?! Singing the only anti-war song of the night and then actually saying, "Bring 'em home"? Thank you. And, pretty wonderful tribute to "Wicked Pickett" with the great finale, singing "In the Midnight Hour" with Sam Moore (of Sam and Dave fame). Way to show The Many Sides of Bruce, my man.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

how can you tell?

I can!

(not really, but I really dig Pollock!)
It happened to my when I was in New York for the first time. At MOMA. It happened again, when I went for the second time.

I want another time, too. I want to be blown away by art that I had ignorantly, prematurely dissmissed. I want to fall in love with New York again, too.

I'm going again. Did I tell you? End of March or April.

Doubts Cast on a Trove of Supposed Pollocks

Check it!

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

let's spend...some time together

The Stones still rule.

Read what Paul said. He's got it right, as usual.

Also, chekc out this shit from NME. It bothered me. Goddamn Janet Jackson. (not really, it's more like FUCK THE NEO-CONS. right.) Hmm, on that note, I have to say the Stones' latest album, "A Bigger Bang" is amazing, really. "Rough Justice" is one of the best, later-day Stones' rockers that just sounds so much like them 30 years ago and fresh somehow: really sexy feel/lyrics (Mick singing, "I know you still got that an-i-mal attraction to me," Raaaaaaaarrr), great, classic Keef riff and it... rocks.

And, check the lyrics for "Sweet Neo-Con":

You call yourself a Christian
I think that you're a hypocrite
You say you are a patriot I think that you're a crock of shit
And listen now, the gasoline I drink it every day
But it's getting very pricey
And who is going to pay
How come you're so wrong
My sweet neo con....
Yeah It's liberty for all
'Cause democracy's our style
Unless you are against us
Then it's prison without trial
But one thing that is certain
Life is good at Haliburton
If you're really so astute
You should invest at Brown & Root....
Yeah How come you're so wrong
My sweet neo con
If you turn out right
I'll eat my hat tonight
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.... It's getting very scary
Yes, I'm frightened out of my wits
There's bombers in my bedroom
Yeah and it's giving me the shits
We must have lots more bases
To protect us from our foes
Who needs these foolish friendships
We're going it alone
How come you're so wrong
My sweet neo con
Where's the money gone
In the Pentagon
Yeah ha ha ha ....

Friday, February 03, 2006

The Day The Music Died or Can Music Save Your Mortal Soul?

R.I.P. Buddy, Ritchie and J.P.
Your music (and your deaths) helped change the world of music and culture.

"American Pie" was one of the very first songs I ever learned all the words to (I was about 10 or 11 years old). I had it on cassete and I thought I was so fucking cool. Only later to find out at certain school dances that it was mocked as sappy-crap and no one my age even knew what the song was about. (Check the Straight Dope's take on the whole thing.)
Sad. Looking back on my adolescent years, clearly they were the losers and I am just so damn cool. (Note the tone. Please.)
During that same time I completely got into the movie "La Bamba" and cried whenever I saw it.

Then I started listening to the music of Buddy Holly. (After learning how the Beatles got their name, I had to check out the Man and His Crickets.)

It blew me away. That strange way of singing-stuttering phrases. That thick, solid rock guitar sound--and that piano! He sounded like the basis of every rock or pop song I had ever heard or loved before. And I couldn't get over the simple fact that his music, all of his music, had been written and recorded pre-1959. Almost all of his and the Crickets' songs are just two minutes long (some are under!) but in those couple of moments you have rebellious rock, strings-drenched love pleas, or simply the influence of everyone from the Stones to the Pixies.

Still makes me sad to think about their deaths. Holly was just so goddamn ahead of his time and look at what all three of them could have done if would they could have lived longer...

Valens (unbelievably only 17 at the time of the plane crash), was called the "first Chicano rock star"--he helped pave the way for Latinos (as well was other minorities) in the pop culture mainstream. And, when I hear "C'mon Let's Go," by him I still get goosebumps, and it sounds like perfect pop---it's almost timeless. And how about the Link Wray-worthy-opening guitar riff of "La Bamba" or the simple fact that the entire song was in Spanish and it was a massive North American hit?

As for the Big Bopper--a DJ turned rock star (how inspiring is that?), his: "Helloooooo Bay-bhay!!" is one of the most joyous phrases in rock for me. (My dad likes to use this when leaving me voice mail messages. I love it.)

From bbc.co.uk
1959: Buddy Holly killed in air crash

Three young rock 'n' roll stars have been killed in a plane crash in the United States.

Buddy Holly, 22, Jiles P Richardson - known as the Big Bopper - 28, and Ritchie Valens, 17, died in a crash shortly after take-off from Clear Lake, Iowa at 0100 local time.

The pilot of the single-engined Beechcraft Bonanza plane was also killed. Early reports from the scene suggest the aircraft spun out of control during a light snowstorm. Only the pilot's body was found inside the wreckage as the performers were thrown clear on impact. Holly hired the plane after heating problems developed on his tour bus.

All three were travelling to Fargo, North Dakota, the next venue in their Winter Dance Party Tour
Holly had set up the gruelling schedule of concerts - covering 24 cities in three weeks - to make money after the break-up of his band, The Crickets, last year.

Recorded life

Born Charles Hardin Holley - changed to Holly after a misspelling on a contract - he had several hit records, including a number one, in the US and UK with That'll be the Day in 1957.
A singer and guitarist, he was inspired by Elvis Presley after seeing him at an early concert in his home town of Lubbock, Texas.
With Presley serving in the Army, some critics expected Holly to take over his crown.
Richard Valenzuela was the first Mexican American to break into mainstream music, after being discovered by record producer Bob Keane, who changed his name to Ritchie Valens.
He had made three albums and achieved a number two chart position in the US with his composition Donna - about his girlfriend - in 1958.
His rock 'n' roll re-working of the traditional Mexican song La Bamba - on the B-side of Donna - has also received acclaim.
The Big Bopper had been a record-breaking radio DJ - with a 122-hour marathon stint - and reached number six in the American charts with his record Chantilly Lace.

check the stiff, but cool side bar:
In Context

Buddy Holly and, to a lesser extent, Ritchie Valens became musical legends.
Don McLean immortalised the tragedy with his 1972 hit American Pie.
Holly is often described as the most influential of the early rock 'n' roll musicians, and has been cited as such by John Lennon and Paul McCartney of the Beatles.
His producer Norman Petty released demo tracks Holly recorded before his death.
Various re-workings and compilation albums have appeared in the years since.
Holly was commemorated in the musical Buddy which opened in London in 1986.
Mexican American group Los Lobos achieved a hit with La Bamba when they collaborated on the 1987 film of the same name, a biography of Ritchie Valens.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

I keep having dreams that I am in Mexico

and I’ve never been there.

Disconcerting and disappointing:
I tried downloading Maureen Dowd’s column in podcast form from the New York Times’ website. I don’t know why, since I always make time to read it, la, la, la.

So, I downloaded yesterday’s column and first of all, it’s not her reading it which really cheesed me off. Should I have been surprised? I really was disappointed; I thought that was the main attraction... But I’m probably just naive. Instead it was this really boring, dry MPR sounding woman that made me so annoyed I had to cut it short. Also, I realized that it was sacrilegious to have a Maureen column "read to me"-- like a child. It shouldn’t be read aloud. It is completely meant to be read in your head. Maybe you imagine her voice, if you know it (a voice that I have grown to love) or maybe you just appreciate the written word and you like the way the ink looks. I do.

Also, a note about fucking maddening MPR talking heads or journalists or whatever (sacred cows, my ass). AUGH. Stop saying "DOUBLE YOUUU"it makes me and Jessica CRAZY. I actually have been weaning myself off of listening to it in the a.m. because I realized it was totally dragging me down and making me dreary. I had to cut that loose and listen to some Good Morning Music like: Oasis, The Dubliners and Le Tigre.

Things to look forward to in the near future:

the weekend
BRMC at the Varsity next week
Bruce, Madonna and Gorillaz on the Grammys
Spring* (!?)
New albums from Richard Ashcroft and that one British band with the 19-year-olds.

*I just keep wishing it was spring and it was rainy and warm and awesome outside. Or maybe just 1979 London and I was living with Paul Simonon and having his baby.

This song is mega in my head for several reasons. I dedicate my thoughts to my friends who have been Culture Shocked.

Safe European Home

Well I just got back an’ I wish I never leave now (where’d you go?)
Who dat Martian arrival at the airport yeah? (Where’d you go?)
How many local dollars for a local anaesthetic? (Where’d you go?)
The Johnny on the corner was very sympathetic (where’d you go?)
I went to the place where every white face is an invitation to robbery
An’ sitting here in my safe European home
I don’t wanna go back there again

Wasn’t I lucky and wouldn’t it be loverly? (Where’d you go?)
Send us all cards, and have a lay in on Sunday (where’d you go?)
I was there for two weeks, so how come I never tell (where’d you go?)
That natty dread drinks at the Sheraton Hotel yeah? (Where’d you go?)
I went to the place where every white face is an invitation to robbery
An’ sitting here in my safe European homeI don’t wanna go back there again

They got the sun and they got the palm tress (where’d you go?)
They got the weed, and they got the taxies (where’d you go?)
Whoa, the harder they come, n’ the home of ol’ Bluebeat (where’d you go?)
Yes I’d stay and be a tourist but can’t take the gun play (where’d you?)
I went to the place where every white face is an invitation to robbery
An’ sitting here in my safe European home
I don’t wanna go back there again
Rudie come from Jamaica Rudie can’t fail
Rudie come European home
Twenty Four Track European home
Yes he come and yes he go knows what Rudie knows