Tuesday, April 18, 2006

The Ramones invented it

Saw Kid Rock last Thursday night at the Xcel (for free, thank gawd). Haven't been to a big rock show in a long-ass-time. It is such a different animal than the small club show. That goes without saying...um, very obvious. It's just that there is so much more disconnect between the concert-goer, in their arena seat and the performers who seem miles away. The same plastic seat that people get wasted and root for the Wild or whatever, and the performer who, for most attendees, is just a blip on the stage. Because *most* people are far away, *most* people experience the show by watching the JumboTron. So, they're just watching TV, I guess, huh?

At Kid Rock, it was beer, TV and strippers, actually. (After the show it was "whiskey and cocaine," apparently. That's what Kid "scratched" out as his answer on the turntables, anyway. Hey--mebee he just chills with a good book and a snifter. Heh. Sniff. Sniff.) Oh, and speaking of scratching out answers...regarding his attendance at Elton John's wedding the question was asked, "how do you explain that?" (!?!) he "replied," "I li-li-li-like-lik-lik-like PUSSY." A collective sigh rushed through the crowd as we all heaved in unison: "whew. he's not gay, now! thank the lord he still likes the pussy."

It's a bit painful to actually write much about the show. Overall, it was entertaining, totally worth going...the price was right...it was also really quite disturbing at times. The level of masturbatory references (actually seemed like propaganda/indoctrination) to himself ("what's my NAME!!?!?!" followed by the flashing of "KID ROCK" on the ol' Tron behind him) or to the city he's from...y'know, the same as Motown, somehow... There were so many (most of, actually) songs I had never heard before. They were all quite awful, too. Staggeringly so, sometimes. The songs I did know were largely covers. "Drift Away," had the JumboTron flash images of "fallen" heroes, musical ones. This was one of the most fascinating aspects of the show. Pictures of John Lennon, Bob Marley, Marvin Gaye, Tupac, Biggie, Johnny Cash loomed over the stage. In a way, it was sick--really exploitative. In another way, it was just silly set-padding. But, the feeling I left with, was that he just came off as this total Fan. He digs music, man. Which, you know Robert Plant does too (he still goes Camden-record hunting), Jeff Buckley was a musicfreak, too (claimed to be a human jukebox, loved crazy eclectic music) and there are plenty more...but, it's always been fascinating to me which musicians, particularly songwriters who are obsessive about listening to others' work. Y'know as opposed to those crazy-genius types who can only handle the music they hear in their heads--Brian Wilson and Bjork are the ones that first come to mind.

It feels like festival season......

Listening to Blink 18-fucking-2 for some reason. Actually, I know the reason. I was friends with this awesome chick in middle school–like, 7th, 8th grade, mainly and then later in high school. She was really fucking funny and smart and loved great music. The three main bands we were into together were: The Beastie Boys, Blink 182 and Goldfinger. I completely lost touch with her after high school, but ran into her a few years ago. She had just gotten *married* and was living within blocks from me, but it felt like we had moved to different planets. Recently, I found her again through MySpace (insert joke or complaint here. Actually, I will: saw a t-shirt for the first time today downtown, "MySpace ruined my life." This one's for you, E), and she "posted a comment" about finding an old mix tape I had made her, and mentioned Goldfinger.

Well, coincidentally, pop punk and punk happen to be some of my very favorite spring musical choices (perfect for when you think the rain just might start, feels right for festivals). So, I pulled out that Goldfinger record and the best Blink record--"Dude Ranch" and plugged 'em into my iPod this morning.

I've listened to a handful of songs from both records *all* day long.

I remember thinking there were some duds, some for-sure-skippers on "Dude Ranch," but now, somehow, at the age of 24, I realize that I dig every fucking song on there. I hate (not really) to repeat this yet again, yet I must: I am more like a 14-year-old boy now than I was when I was actually 14. What. The. Fuck.

Ha. It's kind of great, though. Re-discovering the mediocre music of your youth; realizing that maybe it wasn't as mediocre as you remembered it to be. Now, I have always thought of Blink 182 of one of my ultimate guilty pleasure bands. Always was pretty ashamed to like music that was that poppy and almost-emo. Also, the heightened level of immaturity was pretty disgraceful, too. (Shudder-worthy lyrics include: "She's so important/ I'm so retarded")

But, now, I say fuckit. It's great. They have a little bit of Metallica in 'em: those super-tight, fast, precise riffs; plenty of Ramones: really juvinille lyrics and the songs usually clock in around 2 minutes. Gawd, what was it about B O R E D O M that made kids wanna play their instruments so fucking fast!? I love it! I absolutely *love* that about punk. I love that the faster, the better. I love that disgust and frustration with the BORRRRRING things in life. Like, fuck school. Fuck sitting still. Fuck my suburban bedroom--I'm gonna sniff some fucking glue or pop some speed and play my guitar really fucking fast and loud. It's so honest, full of vigor and angst.

It is a total pleasure to listen to. Pop-filled, harmonies abound! Really makes me wanna be in high school again, hanging out with skateboarder boys and driving around on endless hot summer nights.

Specifically, it makes me remember sitting in the backseat of my friend Emily's car, with her kick-ass-cool-and-sexy-as-hell sister, Roxy sit
ting in front of me. We had to endure a six-hour epic journey to see Warped Tour in 1998. The coppers were stopping everyone, doling out minors and open bottle citations. So, that was pretty much everyone. So, that took about 5 hours longer than it should have. Well, we listened to to "Dude Ranch" roughly 5 million times. We all sang along to every word.That association will forever be seared in my brain.

Incidentally, that was the big highlight of the summer....We got backstage--thanks to the feminine wiles of Roxy---and got to meet a few of the bands. The magic moment for me was meeting Lars and Tim from Rancid. I still have the picture of me and Tim--me beaming my fucking face off--on my bedroom wall. Ah, youth.

I will leave you with this. Words of wisdom from those rascals in Blink:

"I'll open my eyes/ I've got something inside/ I'll just jack off in my room until then...."

(Can't get enough of this shit, people. I might need help...)

**ALSO: I still firmly believe that listening to "Different Class" by Pulp is like reading a brilliantly written novel. But it rocks.


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Phil said...

this is such a good post.
well done.

one thing I loved about the music of my youth was how groups like the Wu-Tang Clan (go ahead and laugh) rapped about this other urban world so much more interesting and exciting and so different from the lunds-starbucks-bmw world around me.

Cash Rules Everything Around Me/ C.R.E.A.M./ Get the money/ Dollah dollah bill y'all!

word up peace yo
incarcerated scarfaces

Anonymous said...

why would anyone laugh about the Wu Tang clan?