Thursday, March 29, 2007

fookin' wide-eyed, drunk and precious

(not) Sir Bono

Bono Becomes Knight of the British Empire

Coincidentally I *just* read the most fantastic interview with Bono, done up right by Chuck Klosterman (from 2004, just before "How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb" was...dropped...har har). Paul, I thank you again for lending my this utterly impressive collection of Klosterman interviews and essays (from his initial Big Time, Big City period) from his last book.

Of course, the whole thing is fucking great. Klosterman claims that he thinks it took him *under an hour* to write the whole piece because Bono provides so much material, because he "always behaves like he's being filmed for a documentary." (I mean, his lead is the Bono quote, "The job of art is to chase away ugliness.")

I must share this absoulutely magicial scene from the interview. (or is it full of shit? Is Bono "real or is he full of shit"? Klosterman continually wonders)

Klosterman is riding shot-gun in Bono's Maserati around Dublin. (yeah, I know. Klosterman! That lucky fucking fuck.) They come across four teenagers that are "hudled near some U2 graffiti"--two are Belgian, one is Austrian and one is Irish.

Here is Chuck's description of what happens next and it is golden:

They have been sitting there for seven hours, hoping to see anything that vaguely resembles a transcendent rock band. "I'm going to talk to these kids," Bono says as he stops the Maserati and jumps out. I can see him signing autographs in the rearview mirror. This strikes me as quaint, and I begin jotting down the event in my notebook. But then Bono opens the trunk and throws the teenagers' bags inside. Suddenly, there are four pale kids climbing into the backseat. I guess we're lucky this is a Quattroporte.

"We're gonna give these kids a ride," says Bono. I look over my right shoulder at the girl from Austria, and I witness someone's mind being blown out of her skull; I can almost see her brains and blood splattered across the rear window. The car takes off. Bono drives recklessly, accelerating and braking at random intervals. "Do you want to hear the new album?" he asks the glassy-eyed teenagers. This is more than a month before How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb will be released. They say, "Yes." Bono punches up track four, "Love and Peace or Else." He hits play, and it's loud; it sounds like someone dropping the throttle on a Harrier Jump Jet. Bono starts singing along, harmonizing with himself. He's playing air drums while he drives. The music changes, and he exclaims, "This is the Gary Glitter part!" The music changes again. "This is the Brian Wilson moment!" The teenagers aren't even talking. They're just kind of looking at each other, almost like they're afraid this is some Celtic version of Punk'd.

One of the kids asks to hear "Miracle Drug," which makes Bono nervous. An early version of the album was stolen in July, and he is worried that it may have been leaked to the Internet. But he plays the track anyway, still singing along, and he turns the volume even higher when we get to the lyrics, "Freedom has a scent / Like the top of a newborn baby's head." He calls these two lines the best on the album. This behavior is incredibly charming, a little embarrassing, and amazingly weird. We eventually get to the hotel, and Bono drives up on the sidewalk. He unloads the kids' bags, and they walk away like zombies. The two of us amble into the Clarence and shake hands in the lobby, and then Bono disappears into the restaurant to meet the elderly painter I've never heard of. And I find myself thinking, "Did this really just happen? Am I supposed to believe he does this kind of thing all the time, even when he doesn't have a reporter in the front seat of his car? And does that even matter? Was that car ride the greatest moment in those four kids' lives? Was this whole thing a specific performance, or is Bono's entire life a performance? And if your entire life is a performance, does that make everything you do inherently authentic? Is this guy for real, or is this guy full of shit?"

and you know what? Even though Klosterman seems to not know the answer to the question he poses, he convinced me that yes, Bono is for fucking real and because of Klosterman's dynamite job of telling such a magnificant interview...I really fell for Bono. Hard. I've always dug him, but wondered that "full of shit" question myself. But, no matter what, he's as intellectually complex and as big-hearted and as facinating as rock stars come. Also, anyone who air-drums while they are driving a car (J Mo, I'm looking at you) is automatically fucking righteous.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

my most favorite-ist (Sir Shakey)

Neil Young will always be *the* one artist that stands above any other for me. Yes, I am aware of certain, some might say...obsession with Bruce Springsteen. He's my fave when it comes to great narrative lyric writing and fun-good-time-rock/seriously perfect songs. He accomplishes a fuck ton through the medium of rock music--he's a crowd-pleaser. He pleases me...hehe. But to be make a *grand declaration*...My love for Mr. Young will never be surpassed. No other musician can do what he does. One-of-a-kind lyrics wise. Power-heavy-lost-in-a-trance-guitar-hero-wise. Music personality-wise: a child-like mischievousness (ususally in the form of a quiet lil' grin and look, when he's strangling and shaking that Deluxe) that can turn to zoned-out-rock-god to sorrowful songwriter, all in one show/album.

The song, "I'm The Ocean" gets me like no other song...of anyone...ever. (I never, ever, ever get sick of it. No matter how many times I listen to it.) Ever since I first heard it (way back in 1995, around the first time I got to see the man play with Crazy Horse) I was blown away by the sheer sound and pomposity of it. It has that driving guitar riff that carries it, and that haunting piano that flutters behind the big, heavy sound. And of course, most powerful of all, Neil's voice and those dream-like, abstract lyrics that tumble and sprawl. I just adore everything about it.

I found this weird little interview with Dave Marsh about the song. Here's a lil' snipet (the part in yellow is *so* Neil and *so* this song):

YOUNG:...I just uh, I just really kind of got caught up in this, in this thing where everything just kept happening, and, and all I could do was just write it down, but it wasn't going backwards, it was going forwards. So, you know, finally I just went, you know, I tried not to think about what I was writing, I just tried to keep going. And now, when I listen to it it's different every time, you know.

MARSH: Well, again, it's one of the, of the really, packed with imagery and a lot of things float by, and there is this wonderful comment about, about not being like other people your age, which ---

YOUNG: Yeah, I always see my, I always see my wife, there's one, there's one part where I always see my wife, every time I hear it, and I see my kids, and uh, and it's real pure, it's right there, you know, that's one of the things I remember about that.

I put on "Mirror Ball" again recently and it all floods back. Pearl Jam serves as a killer band to back this record/concept (I really dig Eddie Vedder's lines in "Peace & Love"). They do a kick-ass job... although I woulda loved to hear Crazy Horse do it up right for "Downtown," a tribute to the San Francisco/Bay Area rock scene of the '60s and '70s. (I fucking love that song, and still grin at the name drops of Led Zepp, Hendrix, et. al.) But it's "I'm the Ocean" that is truly mythic in its greatness for me. And that fucker--I've never seen him do it live! And I've seen him more than five times (I've actually lost track!?) He really shoulda done it for me, doncha think?

I love all the words to this song. So, I share now. (you really gotta *listen* to it, though)

"I'm The Ocean" by Neil Young
I'm an accident
I was driving way too fast
Couldn't stop though
So I let the moment last
I'm for rollin'
I'm for tossin' in my sleep
It's not guilt though
It's not the company I keep

People my age
They don't do the things I do
They go somehwere
While I run away with you
I got my friends
And I got my children too
I got her love
She's got my love too

I can't hear you
But I feel the things you say
I can't see you
But I see what's in my way
Now I'm floatin'
Cause I'm not tied to the ground
Words I've spoken
Seem to leave a hollow sound

On the long plain
See the rider in the night
See the chieftain
See the braves in cool moonlight
Who will love them
When they take another life
Who will hold them
When they tremble from the knife

Voicemail numbers
On an old computer screen
Rows of lovers
Parked forever in a dream
Screaming sirens
Echoing across the bay
To the old boats
From the city far away

Homeless heroes
Walk the streets of their hometown
Rows of zeros
On a field that's turning brown
They play baseball
They play football under lights
They play card games
And we watch them every night

Need distraction
Need romance and candlelight
Need random violence
Need entertainment tonight
Need the evidence
Want the testimony of
Expert witnesses
On the brutal crimes of love

I was too tired
To see the news when I got home
Pulled the curtain
Fell into bed alone
Started dreaming
Saw the rider once again
In the doorway
Where she stood and watched for him
Watched for him

I'm not present
I'm a drug that makes you dream
I'm an Aerostar
I'm a Cutlass Supreme
In the wrong lane
Trying to turn against the flow
I'm the ocean
I'm the giant undertow

I'm the ocean
I'm the ocean
I'm the giant undertow
I'm the ocean
I'm the giant undertow
I'm the ocean

Monday, March 26, 2007

his house still smells like...

None other than Brian Krakow (actor: Devon Gummersall) is now on 24!?!

It was strange enough to see the warden (Bob Gunton) from Shawshank Redemption sitting in the underground bunker with the Prez. I mean, I know *actors* can *do* other *things* and all, but...not when that's all I know 'em from. heh. 24 just teems with (usually great) actors from (usually great) other shows. It's still hard for me to see good ol' foot fetishist/Claire's fucked up boyfriend
Gabriel Dimas (Eric Balfour) from Six Feet Under parading around CTU like he's *not* a crack-smoking L.A. bad boy. It's a little disconcerting.

WTF! I can't take this guy seriously! He's involved with Gradenko...what's this about specs for the nuclear bombs...? (Oh, and his bro is a total RainMan-autistic-one -note-acting case...who....also looks maddeningly familiar, but I can't put my finger on it...
) Getting rid of those cherubic curls won't fool anyone, BRAIN. er--I mean Brian.

Anyhoo---I so dig 24. And American Idol. And...that's it! That's my TV intake these days. Nothing more and nothing less. It's a good diet that treats me right. I haven't even watched an early-evening Seinfeld or Simpsons in an age.

Also, something that treated me very right this afternoon: listening to Mary Lucia's brilliance in song choice as I lounged in sunny Loring Park, reading the Times and EW. It was downright blissful. Best bit: the dudes playing basketball were listening to Grandmaster Flash's "The Message" blasting from a boom box on this 81 degree MPLS day. DAMN. I fucking LOVE that song and after seeing 'em inducted into the Rock n Roll Hall of F(l)ame...kicking a as the first hip hop act to get was just killer timing.

"Don't push *me*...cuz I'm close to the *edge*...I'm try-ing not to *lose* my's like a jungle out makes me wonder how I keep from going under..."

her show sold out at the Varsity in MPLS!

mebee she'll brake some bones and hafta cancel the gig...then J Mo and I wouldn't feel so bad about missing the show.

Drunk Winehouse breaks tooth
(Monday March 26, 2007 05:55 PM)

Amy Winehouse has revealed the real reason behind the recent cancellation of two London live shows.

The UK star, who is famed for her debauched antics, pulled a pair of gigs at Shepherds Bush Empire earlier this month.

Last week, she also cancelled two shows in America, following a triumphant appearance at SXSW and the Top Ten breakthrough of new album "Back To Black" in the Billboard chart.

Winehouse has now admitted the concerts in the UK capital were pulled after she smashed her front tooth in a drunken fall.

"I broke my big tooth. I had a massive gap in the front of my mouth", she revealed, before explaining that dental surgery has fixed the unsightly injury.

The cancelled Shepherds Bush Empire shows will now take place on May 28 and 29.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

(to Jim) and all the other Idol haters...

this is why I watch: see what the Queen LaKisha has in store for viewers. (the video above--an astonishing 1:52 of bliss--is weeks old). Also, to hear and watch the glorious J Sparks blossom and do her thing (my ab fave) and check out a few others that have my attention. As Fitzy explained why it facsinated him on our first date(I used to be a hater): "it's a phenomenon."

No. Doubt.

Friday, March 16, 2007

I (*know* I) love Chris Rock

Hooray! Looks like all that work paid off, Chris Rock! For his latest big-screen offering, "I Think I Love My Wife," Rock got smarter than his usual smart self. We all know his movies are terribly disappointing ventures that never match his brilliant wit they way they ought to. To avoid another "Head of State," Rock not only wrote and directed this puppy, but he actually hired the best acting coaches around to help the cause.

My man, A.O. Scott doesn't think the acting coaches did much good, it seems, but he dug the flick and (as always) wrote a wonderfully written review here. (I certainly did not realize that this was a sorta remake of a New Wave French film! rad.) The yummy Kerry Washington (I loved her in Ray) is in it, as a multi-dimensional femme fatal...rarrr.

I wanna see it!

Thursday, March 15, 2007

yes, she really is a drunk (should she have gone to rehab??)

but, she's also really talented...when she's not trying to sing whist wasted...

this clip made me a bit sad, but it's like a drunken-train wreck...fascinating and alarming...and I just couldn't resist.

Since J Mo and my pops got me into Amy Winehouse, I have been listening to Back to Black frequently and marveling at her voice and use of Spector-like music (sometimes upbeat, sometimes slow and soulful) to create these downright melancholy songs. I've also been kinda surprised at how much press she's getting here. (she was in People magazine, fer chrissakes) The break-up songs and the other downer material on the record takes away from the brilliant *sound* of it, at times...that's kinda the only problem I have with it. Otherwise, her voice is just so magnificently powerful and strange, it's impossible to resist. To me, she can sound like she's evoking Shirley Bassey, Etta James or Lauren Hill (tot, Fitzy.) while *still* maintaining her own identity and sound. Full of pain and weariness, it blows me away that this fucking force of nature is only 23 years old...kind like how J Sparks on Idol is just 17...but, that's different. There's no pain there, just sparkles of beauty and sweetness and talent. *sigh* (she's my pick, btw)

Monday, March 12, 2007

lots o' Shane

How fun to read the New York Times interview with Shane MacGowan. I get a lil' kick outta seeing the band name the Nipple Erectors in print from the Old Grey Lady. And one can only imagine what "primitive neck jewelry" might be... I poke fun, (it does read a bit stiffly) but this is a really well written piece about one of my most favorite surviving definitions of the Glorious Irish Fuck-Up. Where else can you see something this brilliant?
"It might be said that Mr. MacGowan speaks in a Joycean stream of consciousness, but a conversation with him is closer to a pinwheeling ramble with a very well-seasoned regular at the corner pub."

He will always have a place in my will that wild sound of beautiful driving, passionate, sweet-mania of punk rock thrown together with traditional Irish folk music. It touches me like no other music can. Maybe it's the traces of Irish blood racing through my American body, but most likely it's the Irish fetishism (E Beth coined the term. We can't help but be fascinated with our families' Irish side: the drunks, the depression, the politics, the smarts, the creativity, the fucking drama) that makes the music affect me so deeply.

Happy St. Paddy's Day, people.

From the New York Times....

March 13, 2007

A Ramble Through the Mind of the Pogues’ Poet

BOSTON, March 10 — “He knew he was totally mediocre, he was a measly old poet, Wordsworth, and never made it at anything like Coleridge,” Shane MacGowan said, adding, “He had really bad teeth.” Mr. MacGowan, the principal singer of the Celtic rock band the Pogues and a man fabled for his thirst, affinity for illicit substances and terrible dentition, has sympathy for Wordsworth’s friend Coleridge, who alienated Wordsworth with his opium use. Like Coleridge, Mr. MacGowan has his appetites and he too is known for his way with a verse.

The Pogues are in the United States for their annual St. Patrick’s tour, hitting cities where their fan base and Irish enclaves are strong: Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia and New York. Next the group goes to the Roseland Ballroom in New York, with gigs on Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday, St. Patrick’s Day. (The band plays in Philadelphia on Friday too.)

A reporter had waited close to an hour in the bar at the Ritz-Carlton here before Mr. MacGowan — resplendent in an untucked black-and-white-printed tropical shirt, primitive neck jewelry and a gaudy red and black cowboy hat — shuffled in with Joey Cashman, his longtime assistant. Mr. MacGowan, 49, asked the waiter for Irish breakfast tea, and drank with a trembling hand.

It might be said that Mr. MacGowan speaks in a Joycean stream of consciousness, but a conversation with him is closer to a pinwheeling ramble with a very well-seasoned regular at the corner pub. He speaks in a flurry of digressions, uttered in a semi-slurred Irish-London accent that is tough to decipher at times. When, during one tangent, the term “British Isles” arose, Mr. Cashman was quick to correct it.

“Don’t use the phrase British Isles,” he said. “It’s England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland.” He added, “If you say it any other way, he’d probably throw his glass at you.”

Mr. MacGowan still possesses the morbid streak he has had since his days as a punk rocker in his first band, the Nipple Erectors. In another tangent, speaking about “The Butcher Boy,” Neil Jordan’s film version of Patrick McCabe’s darkly satirical novel about a boy’s murder spree in County Monaghan, he said with a rasping chortle, “It’s great if you don’t actually know everything that happens in every Irish town every day of the week.” He said he loved Mr. Jordan’s adaptation of Mr. McCabe’s “Breakfast on Pluto,” about a London drag queen in trouble with the I.R.A. in the 1970s. He said it brought “back nostalgia for mass killings and bombings, you know what I mean?”

Hours later the Pogues were onstage at the Avalon, playing to a sold-out house. Fans were carried aloft over the mosh pit, as the eight-man band pounded out frenzied jigs and reels with a controlled fury. Workouts like “Fiesta” and “Sally MacLennan” prompted stomping and fist pumping; “Dirty Old Town,” a tune by the folk singer Ewan MacColl and a longtime Pogues signature, became a deafening singalong. More than once Mr. MacGowan, staggering, knocked the microphone off its stand or knocked the stand over altogether, to good-natured laughter. But his voice was sure, and his bond with the audience unmistakable.

After the show the band retired to an anteroom upstairs. The Pogues’ accordionist, James Fearnley, sat next to Mr. MacGowan on a couch, protective of him, as is everyone in Mr. MacGowan’s orbit, it seems.

The group, whose first album, “Red Roses for Me,” appeared in 1984, is five years into a comeback after a 10-year separation during which Mr. MacGowan sang with another group, the Popes, and the other band members put out middling albums as the Pogues. Mr. MacGowan reunited with the group in 2001 for a few Christmas concerts in Britain. Since then the band has been playing live with increasing frequency in Europe and the United States.

Mortality has dealt harsh blows to the Pogues in recent years, specifically the deaths of Kirsty MacColl, a singer-songwriter and an occasional collaborator, and Joe Strummer, who produced their album “Hell’s Ditch.” A stabilizing force in Mr. MacGowan’s life is Victoria Mary Clarke, a writer and his longtime companion.

“We’ve been engaged for 20 years,” he said. Despite “two or three breakups,” he said, Ms. Clarke can be “very serene.” The couple have moved to Ireland after years in London.

Ms. Clarke’s book “A Drink With Shane MacGowan,” an as-told-to written with him, offers, if one-sidedly, clues to the breakup of the band, a topic Mr. MacGowan tactfully skirts in conversation. Mr. MacGowan said an album of new material was “almost certainly” going to be produced.

While age and old habits have taken their toll on Mr. MacGowan, his feistiness remains undiminished. Asked about the prospect of Irish reunification, he cited Ian Paisley, the Unionist leader in Northern Ireland and a staunch opponent of the republican cause: “Ian Paisley is one of the best agents the I.R.A. ever had. He’s done more for returning the six counties than anyone else.”

Thursday, March 08, 2007

I miss Michael Stipe

That is to say I miss the cry and passion in Michael Stipe's voice before R.E.M. got so fucking mediocre. Back when he was weirder, more self-conscious...more like an American Morrissey...back when him and Tori Amos used to prance around and be "kooky" and mildly pretentious... those were the fucking days. Then, it seems like, celebrity got to him in a really obnoxious way...Courtney Love didn't list "befriend Michael Stipe" as a step to climb (on her list of things to do in order to be famous) for nuthin'.

I'm listening to old R.E.M. and missing it.............missing the time it existed in, I guess.

R.E.M. was the first concert ("Monster" tour---late in their career! on the road to mediocrity!) I went to with a friend. Everything before that was with my pops. It kinda blew my mind. I mean, Sonic bloody Youth opened. I couldn't handle it! Wasn't even ready for Sonic Youth, yet. I was 13.

Music was so fresh to me. I was simply on the verge. On the verge of plunging into full-fledged music entrenchment and raging obsession. I was so innocent then...truly. (I mean, I really did think that Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds could *only* be about Julian's drawing.)

PS I think soy milk is addictive. Anyone with me on this?

PPS I am so fucking ready for Spring Fever to hit, it's maddening.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Now I must do it too...

First J-Mo, then me!

Four Things About Me --

A. Four jobs I have had in my life:
1. Sam fucking Goody at the Mall
2. CD Warehouse, Dinkytown, MPLS
3. (Paaaauul...same scene!) librarian, U of M J School Library
4. Server, restaurants in malls.

B. Four Movies I can watch over and over:
1. Goodfellas
2. Trainspotting
3. Spinal Tap
4. Wayne's World

C. Four Places I have lived:
1. Dude. I have ONLY lived in MN.

D. Four TV Shows I like to watch:
1. 24
2. Colbert Report
3. The Daily Show
4. Extras

E. Four places I have been on vacation:
1. London, UK
2. New York City
3. Dresden, Germany
4. Dublin, Ireland

F. Four of my favorite foods:
1. Falafel (preferably from Falafel King...where else?)
2. Reuben (preferably from Brothers' Deli in downtown MPLS)
3. Veggie sushi
4. Giant burritos from several locations

G. Four Places I would like to be right now:
1. Anywhere there's green grass and no snow
2. Lounging in a tent, in the shade, at a festival
3. Mexico (never been)
4. Lafayette, California... to see my grandma one more time before she dies. She was put in the hospital today and it's a
"DNR," "Do Not Resuscitate." I'd like to see my aunts and my cousin...because I know how much tougher it's gonna be on them. Sorry to bring it down, but that's where my head's at right now. I am thinking of you, Frances, you crazy old bird.