RandomKoolzip's Wonderful World of Shit
Skinner: "You know, before I answer any more questions there's something I wanted to say. Having received all your letters over the years, and I've spoken to many of you, and some of you have traveled... y'know... hundreds of miles to be here, I'd just like to say... GET A LIFE, will you people? I mean, for crying out loud, it's just a website! I mean, look at you, look at the way you're dressed! You've turned an enjoyable little job, that I did as a lark for a few years, into a COLOSSAL WASTE OF TIME!
< a crowd of shocked and dismayed DUers.... >
I mean, how old are you people? What have you done with yourselves?
< to "DUzy" > You, you must be almost 30... have you ever kissed a girl?
< "DUzy" hangs his head >
I didn't think so! There's a whole world out there! When I was your age, I didn't surf the net! I LIVED! So... move out of your parent's basements! And get your own apartments and GROW THE HELL UP! I mean, it's just a website dammit, IT'S JUST A website!
SockPuppet: Are- are you saying then that we should pay more attention to the primaries?
Skinner: NO!!! THAT'S NOT WHAT I'M SAYING AT ALL!!! HEY, YOU GUYS ARE... THE LAMEST BUNCH... I'VE NEVER SEEN... < walks away from podium > I can't believe these people... I mean, I really can't understand what's....
As Bette Davis once said, "Prepare yourselves."
OKAY! SO...some of these links might not work, and some of them you might have to hit "refresh" on before they'll play. But this is all (according to me) good stuff. I implore you: share with me my bountiful youtube harvest, won't you?
ANd of course, feel free to upload YOUR youtube library. Enjoy, my firends. Enjoy.
...he might have been a major force. It's true that he was hired during a rare fertile period (1990, first show in late summer) during a general upward swing in creativity (The period from October 1989 to December 1991 is regarded by many Heads as the Dead's final "golden age." It occurred, unfortunately, during a downward drift for the band: from 1987 onward, The Dead were a considerably weaker unit than before Garcia's coma in mid-86, which has led a lot of Heads to also OVERRATE somewhat this "golden age" in the Dead's tenure.
So Vince was given a key player position in an interesting time for the band: almost exactly in the middle of an upward arc. The whole group was on a real hot streak in 1990, and Vince's hiring, along with Bruce Hornsby's assistance, colored the whole enterprise - for better or worse; his choices of timbre on his tiny single synth could be REALLY out of place. I have a tape of them from 2-20-91, where the cheesy hair band sound of his synth absolutely DERAILS a decent "Scarlet>Fire." It's painful, and dates the music.
Once that "hot streak" was over (spring 92) and Hornsby departed, Vince was left standing, holding the band back with his insistance on cheese, and his original tunes, which frankly were inferior stuff. However, his musical instincts could be a glorious thing - he was a decent harmony singer, his sense of color could be downright awe-inspiring when he hit the right MIDI patch, and he added much to the Space segments of each show, often to mind-bending effect: 3-20-92, for instance, features a gorgeous piano-led space that sounds positively angelic, like the most beautiful, epiphanic part of a good trip. It's tapes like this that prove, to me anyways, that Vince could have been a major factor in the Dead's development had he joined them in the 70's, during their "peak" years, rather than at the tail end of a sad downhill spiral. Interviews with the band, however, tell a different story; apparently Vince could never tell what song the band was going to play during a second set, with the segueways and jamming, so the band conceded to the newbie and started crafting a setlist before shows, something they had never done before. One wonders if, had he been a stronger man in these fallow years, Garcia would have put a stop to this practice, which severely limited the Dead's improvisational power.
I think Vince gets lumps from Heads because he's associated with a general calcification of the whole group but Garcia in particular. 1992-95 was a period of disintegration for all parties, with the band refusing to accede to Garcia's demands for more time off, another Garcia rehab stay, and a general sense of malaise within the band and the community, as the ranks of fans swelled with rich dilletantes, fratboys, and rowdy partiers who gave nary a fuck about the band's transformative powers. Vince wasn't the catalyst for any of this, of course, but rather a symbol. This is unfair.
While not as much of a fan of Vince as I am of Pig or Keith or even Brent, I have to accept that Vince was a wonderful musician. That much cannot be in dispute when confronted with material as strong as 6-22-91 or 12-31-90, where Vinny holds his own against a randy Garcia, a playful Hornsby, AND a monstrously impressive Branford Marsalis. I suggest any Vince-hating head go directly to the Internet aArchive site and download the shows listed above for evidence of what I'm talking about.
RIP, Mr. Welnick....
This makes for five box sets in GbV's career, more than The Police or Nirvana ever got. Regardless....
"Suitcase 2: American Superdream Wow" is a sequel of sorts to GbV's previous "Suitcase: Failed Experiments and Trashed Aircraft" four-disc array from 2001, and yet in some basic ways it's startlingly different. Gone are the fawning (yet deserved) lauds from the New York Times, Byron Coley, et al. all over the accompanying booklet. It's not meant to be experienced as an overview, it's meant to be experienced as a new album in its own right. Let that sink in: GbV have just released a NEW FOUR-CD ALBUM. Previous anti-brevity statements from the likes of Half Japanese or Fushitsusha are now left masturbating in the dusty dregs of the kulturally kaput; GbV mastermind Bob Pollard has trumped the underground again.
The most amazing thing about "Suitcase 2" is that, like the last "Suitcase," each song is given a title AND a credit to a fake band name. Last time around saw some of Pollard's most bent offerings in this department ("Eric Pretty," "Styles We Paid For," "Ricked Wicky," etc.) But on "Suitcase 2", not only do the fake bands contribute each track, but Bob has drawn up and designed album/7" covers with original artwork (and sometimes liner notes and phony detailed histories) for the bands that exist only in his head. Truly, there is no precedent for this in American art, apart from some of the more obsessed outsider artists; Pollard is now Rock and Roll's very own Henry Darger, with all the skill, derangement, poignancy, and fumblebum-amateur craft that title brings with it. Anyone who's seen the "Watch Me Jumpstart" video knows he's been doing this in his free time since high school; now he's released a full box set for these bands who'll always be famous and legendary, if only to one man dreaming.
The music: erratic as usual. The first disc has the most clunkers, from patience-flogging instrumentals to failed arrangements for songs that would turn up on later albums in much superior form. There is, however, a staggeringly beautiful pop gem (from 1978!) called "Somewhere, Somehow" that points at a certain majesty Pollard COULD have carved out for himself had he not been blessed (cursed?) with his particular bedsit hermeticism and dissonant proclivities. The second disc is less erratic: in fact, it's downright unmemorable. There's too much dross on here to pick through, and the worst tracks seem to drag on for mini-eternities.
The third disc (credited to "The Fun Punk Five," of course) could stand as Pollard/GbV's best album since "Bee Thousand" (no joke!) had it been released seperately. Non-coincidentally, most of the material on disc 3 hails from Bob's magic late 80's years, around the time of "Self-Inflicted Areil Nostalgia." It was strange, picking through the leftovers on the first two discs, fast-forwarding more than I hoped, then popping in the third Cd and sitting gape-mouthed in awe of the lead-off track, "A Proud and Booming Industry." In fact, I had to listen to it four times in a row to make sure I had indeed just heard the best song to come out of Pollard in a moose's age. (I had.). Just to convince you that he's human, though, he sticks on a few melody-less throwaways from 2004-2005 that honestly suck like an infected dry socket; the underlying sad story here is that the most recent tracks do not hold up well. Everything from 2005 sounds like a careless tossoff, improvised, inspirationless, while the tunes leftover from his 80's albums shine like finely crafted diamonds. Bob.....please stop drinking.
The fourth CD is more of the same, offering a few nice melodies stuck like American flags in a pile of tuneless dog poop.
So, as always, the GbV muse is an inconsistent and haughty one: it insists that scratchy, garbled noise and drunken stumbling is as valid as bolt-from-the-blue beauty and mountaintopped rock majesty, and scoffs at any suggestion that some pruning or even some cutting back on the intoxicant intake might assist in the music making process (Pollard said it best when he named one of the fake bands on the first "Suitcase" "Too Proud to Practice.") Recommended for GbV diehards, of course. It's a shame that that third CD in the set isn't available individually, since it'd be more than likely to turn on non-fans as well.
In any case, R.I.P G.b.V. Say goodnight, Bob.
From the website:
"Let me hip you to something that Wildweeds fans already know. All of the Weeds could sing, but three of them-Al Anderson, Ray Zeiner, and Bobby Dudek-could WAIL. Anderson, the lead guitarist and chief songwriter, idolized Ray Charles and evolved a style mixing full-throated gospel shouting with a sometimes smoother approach, a la Percy Mayfield. Zeiner's vocals were rougher, tortured and more urgent-the perfect foil for his Hammond B-3; think Otis Redding on "These Arms Of Mine." Bassist Dudek, blinded at an early age, was a pop evangelist--always ON, always pleading, like Jackie Wilson at fever pitch. The group was completed by Martin "Skip" Yakaitis, the onstage MC/percussionist who lent wry humor to the proceedings, and drummer Andy Lepak, with a sweet. high voice.
Clearly, all this was miles away from Paul McCartney and Mick Jagger, the reigning "tastes" of the day, and even the Weeds couldn't ignore the prevailing pop sensibility entirely. They mixed masterfully-played Hendrix and Beatles covers into live sets that were often mind-bendingly eclectic. But in the studio, when the group joined forces with producer Doc Cavalier (after he inked them to Chicago's Chess label under its Cadet subsidiary), it was a different story, When "No Good To Cry", a searing mix of jazz-inverted guitar chords, thumping bass and swirling Hammond organ topped off by Anderson's white-hot vocal, hit the airwaves in 1967--the year of the Summer Of Love-it was clear that, like Memphians Alex Chilton and Chips Moman with "The Letter" and Detroit's Mitch Ryder with "Sock It To Me, Baby". The Wildweeds and Cavalier had conjured a performance so soulful it transcended genre and race, in the process giving the Eastern U.S. an AM radio smash for the ages."
The WIldweeds were Al Anderson's band before he joined NRBQ (a great, great fucking band worth about ten threads of their own!), but they were more than just a footnote in NRBQ's history. They had a style tand a presence that was so individual, so vital, so life-affirmingly on, that just about everyone I play their tunes for jumps up and goes, "WHO IS THIS?!?"
They played probably the most soulful music to ever come out of Connecticut. The Wildweeds' best songs, "No Good to Cry," and "Someday Morning," remind me of driving around in a beat-up old Volvo with my dad, who knew them personally, spouting off about how incredible they were....here was a band fronted by a white dude who looked like Fatty Arbuckle but sounded like Otis Redding, with a blind guy on bass (!!!) who could also sing his honky ass off. They were all in their teens, but already they sounded like they'd grown up playing juke joints in Memphis or New Orleans. Legendary stuff.
If Al Anderson had gotten a record deal at the right time and place, he would be mentioned in the same breath as Van Morrison: as possibly the finest white soul singer ever birthed.
Collectors of rare 60's rock have treasured the Wildweeds' singles for years, and finally there's a CD out of most of the important stuff (They put out a country-rock album on Vanguard in 69-I have it, it sucks, frankly). You owe it to yourself to hear what I'm all in a lather about....
Here's a video (!!!!!!) of them playing their "psychedelic" song, "I'm Dreaming," from 1968. Bob Dudek, the blind guy, sings lead. It's not all that representative of their best work (which was in more of a Box Tops vein; the Box Tops even covered "No Good to Cry"), but it's still an amazing piece of footage and a smokin' tune in its own right:
Interesting band out of Hamilton, Ontario...formed in 1972, broke up around the crest of Punk Rock (1977-1978). Used synths for odd, abrasive textures and white noise, almost exactly like Pere Ubu did a few years later (and the Grateful Dead did on their 1974 track "Unbroken Chain"), which they would apply to wiry, garagey, Velveteen rock action. Lyrics were are also prescient in that they tackled themes of alienation via technology and bad sex, just like many punkers.
They gots ONE CD, which compiles all the tracks they ever recorded (you can count them on three hands). It's called "Cyborgs Revisited." So put down that 70 dollar bill you were gonna use to buy the latest Destiny's Child, and ram this up your snoot-snout.
Canada's SIMPLY SAUCER, however, may be reckoned to be the single greatest 1970's band to have influenced absolutely no one. Now, it's quite possible that the rock world's eyes weren't exactly riveted on Hamilton, Ontario in 1974; it may be that the band themselves were less than ambitious in getting the word out via touring; maybe there truly was a vast conspiracy orchestrated by the Laurel Canyon cocaine cartels that drugged North America into temporary abeyance with a steady diet of Eagles, Poco and Fleetwood Mac. More plausible was the lack of any recorded representation of the original band until the late 1980's, which prevented some of the most jarring & transcendent rock and roll ever laid down from letting a hundred apocalyptic electro-rock bands bloom. Combining a dense, guitar-heavy surge with a bizarre dose of space-age electronics, Simply Saucer set up a uniquely futuristic sound marked with a lyrical vision of modernity gone very, very wrong. Author Grady Runyan once wrote that in dissecting the band, one must "imagine Hawkwind ditching their Sabbath/Deep Purple tendencies for "Sister Ray," or better yet the Count Five pounding out "Interstellar Overdrive" in the middle of "Psychotic Reaction"". The comparisons are apt, as the band hued well to classic rock structure while flailing wildly within its borders. It's not just the lyrics that call up images of robotic dominance and the dreaded black helicopters; the often Teutonic music does the job almost as well. Yet it would definitely be a misnomer to compare the band to the Germans who were busy creating an avant-garde rock wave of their own in 1973-75. This shit definitely kicks out the jams.
From Julian Cope's website:
The splatter-clatter drumming of Neil DeMerchant is at the amphetamine heart of Simply Saucer. He seems to have had a kit made up entirely of snare drums. His ride cymbal was a snare drum - his crash cymbal may have been a snare drum. He wore an "I play snare drum" t-shirt. Simply Saucer rhythms sound as though 30-piece teenage marching bands are here to terrorise your neighbourhood. DeMerchant squirms and swivels around the beat like Cheap Trick's Bun E. Carlos copping dollops of Buffin during his astounding "Walking with a Mountain"-period. With a stick up his ass.
And by "unlistenable," I mean "fucked-up, noisy, tension-producing, wacked-out, and obscure."
Area: Event '76
Area were an Italian progressive rock band of the mid-70's who extended some of the ideas of Henry Cow, Zappa, and King Crimson into free-jazz and experimental realms that the creators themselves could barely imagine. It was said that even John Cage was a fan.
Although the rest of their catalogue resembles music (as most sentient humans know it), this live (!!!!) record resembles no known genre, includes no forward motion, and is noisier than a dildo factory. Mechanical drones, a few sax bleats courtesy of Steve Lacy (!!!!!!!), some fast drum tattoos, but mainly a monolithic, static-y black cloud of dense noise. All in all, about as psychedelic as finding a severed toe in your Slurpee, which is odd, since this band's market was the mellow prog audience....imagine if Genesis suddenly turned into the Boredoms and you'll have the feel of "Event '76."
Blue Humans: Clear to Higher Time http://us.f3.yahoofs.com/shopping/146049/a...
Regarded by noise aficionados as their high=water mark, this is NYC guitar terrorist Rudolph Grey's art-jazz band. "Clear to Higher Time" is nothing more, nothing less, than a detuned guitar, a heavy pick, and Satan himself scraping his scaly cock against a drummer bashing his cymbals for forty minutes straight. One single crescendo....that never subsides. I use it after a hard day at work. Good stuff.
Incapacitants: No Progress
Possibly the most unpleasant record ever made. There is no sound on this album that resembles the output of a playable instrument. For a half an hour, a fifty-foot fingernail is scraped against a blackboard the size of a football field. It sounds like a dentist's drill, but in a good way.
Doug Snyder and Bob Thompson: Daily Dance
Long before there was a "noise scene," there were isolated eruptions in musky corners; socio-musical outcasts plying a trade no one had a use for. While the rest of the world was digging Yes, The Partridge Family, and Jim Croce, Doug Snyder and his drummer buddy Bob locked themselves in an Ohio living room for a day in 1973 while bashing the juicy fuck out of their guitar and drums (respectively). Untuned, unrestrained, unlistenable. It was released on a Candaian Jazz label and the world, surprisingly enough, ignored it, even though their aesthetic was a good ten years ahead of its time; no one would find a use for these sounds until the tail end of the No Wave era, when Sonic Youth picked up this particular torch.
Mahogany Brain: Smooth, Sick Lights http://us.f3.yahoofs.com/shopping/135317/a...
Is it possible that the French are the enemy, like the republicans say?
Sometimes the ideas that the English-speaking world takes for granted get translated by other cultures, coming out the other side resembling nothing the creators had intended. Using simple rock instruments, but having no earthly idea how to play them, Frenchies Mahogany Brain decided to record an album in 1972. What they ended up putting to disk anticipated the racket Half Japanese later pooted forth in the early 80's, but (and here's the clincher): Mahogany Brain fancied themselves something along the lines of Yes or Jimi Hendrix.
Guitars twang away, untuned, drums stumble all over themselves, puking. A singer oinks and whistles like a pig, alien to the concept of "key" and "form."
In 1978, the British avant-rock group Nurse With Wound put out their first album. In the liner notes was included this list.
The list is a catalog of all the artists who had influenced Nurse With Wound or had simply made daring, experimental music before 1978. In a way, the NWW list, which has gained almost mythic status in record collecting circles for the nigh-insane level of obscurity and rarity in its choices, gives lie to the theory that Punk Rock was a kind of musical ground zero; Punk wasn't created in a vacuum...in fact, here's three hundred or so artists who made challenging, likeminded music long before there was such a genre.
Check it out:
ALL-7-70 ALTERNATIVE TV ALVARO AME SON AMM MUSIC AMON DUUL AMON DUUL II ANIMA ANNEXUS QUAM ARBETE
OCH FRITID ARCANE V ARCHAIA ARCHIMEDES BADKAR AREA GILBERT ARTMAN ART BEARS ART ZOYD III ARZACHEL
ROBERT ASHLEY ASH RA TEMPEL ASSOCIATION PC IL BALLETTO DI BRONZO BANTEN FRANCO BATTIATO HAN
BENNINK JACQUES BERROCAL BIGLIETTO PER LINFERNO BIRGE GORGE SHIROC BLUE SUN RAYMOND BONI
DON BRADSHAW LEATHER BRAINSTORM BRAINTICKET BRAST BURN BRAVE NEW WORLD ANTON BRUHIN
BRUHWARM THEATRE FRANZ DE BYL JOHN CAGE CAN CAPSICUM RED CAPTAIN BEEFHEART CHAMBERPOT
CHECKPOINT CHARLIE CHENE NOIR CHILLUM CHROME COHELMEC ENSEMBLE JEAN COHEN SOLAL
COLLEGIUM MUSICUM ROBERTO COLOMBO COMPANYIA ELECTRICA DHARMA COMUS CORNUCOPIA
CREATIVE ROCK CRO MAGNON DAVID CUNNINGHAM DADAZUZU WOLFGANG DAUNER DEBRIS
DECAYES DEDALUS DHARMA QUINTET DIES IRAE DOODOOETTES PHILIPPE DORAY
JEAN DUBUFFET DZYAN EILIFF EMTIDI EROC ETRON FOU LE LOUBLAN EXMAGMA
PATRIZIO FARISELLI FAUST LUC FERRARI FILLE QUI MOUSSE FLOH DE CLOGNE FOOD BRAIN
WALTER FRANCO FRIENDSOUND FRED FRITH GASH RON GEESIN GILA GOD IN DISGUISE
GOMORRHA GONG JOHN GREAVES AND PETER BLEGVAD FERNANDO GRILLO GROBSCHNITT GROUP 1850
JEAN GUERIN FRIEDRICH GULDA GURU GURU HAIRY CHAPTER HAMPTON GREASE BAND HENRY
COW HERATIUS HERO HUGH HOPPER HORDE CATALYTQUE POUR LA FIN IBLISS LINFONIE
INTERNATIONAL HARVESTER ISKRA ISLAND JAN DUKES DE GREY KING CRIMSON BASIL
KIRCHIN KLUSTER FRANK KOLGES KOLLEKTIV ROTE RUBE KOMINTERN KRAFTWERK KROKODIL
STEVE LACY LARD FREE LE FORTE FOUR LILY LIMBUS 3 AND 4 BERNARD LUBAT ALVIN
LUCIER MAGMA COLETTE MAGNY MAHJUN MAHOGANY BRAIN MALFATTI AND WITTWER
MICHAEL MANTLER ALBERT MARCOEUR MASCHINE NO 9 MATE AND VALLANCIEN
COSTIN MIEREANU MIN BUL MODRY EFEKT ANTHONY MOORE MOTHERS OF
INVENTION MOVING GELATINE PLATES FRITZ MULLER THIERRY MULLER MUSICA
ELECTRONICA VIVA MUSIC IMPROVISATION COMPANY MYTHOS NAPOLI CENTRALE NEU
NICO NIGHT SUN NINE DAYS WONDER NOSFERATU NU CREATIVE METHODS OKTOBER
YOKO ONO OPERATION RHINO OPUS AVANTRA OUT OF FOCUS OVARY LODGE TONY
OXLEY PARKER AND LYTTON PATAPHONIE PAUVROS AND BIZIEN PERE UBU
PIERROT LUNAIRE PLASTIC ONO BAND PLASTIC PEOPLE OF THE UNIVERSE
POLE POP GROUP MICHEL PORTAL RED CRAYOLA RED NOISE REFORM ART UNIT
STEVE REICH ACHIM REICHEL RESIDENTS CATHERINE RIBEIRO AND ALPES
TERRY RILEY ROCKYS FILJ RON PATES DEBONAIRS ROTH RUHM AND WIENER RAY
RUSSELL TERJE RYPDAL MARTIN SAINT PIERRE SAMLA MAMMAS MANNA GUNTER SCHICKERT
SECOND HAND SECRET OYSTER SEESSELBERG SEMOOL SONNY SHARROCK SILBERBART SILOAH
SOFT MACHINE SPERM SPHINX TUSH KARLHEINZ STOCKHAUSEN STOOGES DEMETRIO STRATOS
SUPERSISTER TAMIA TANGERINE DREAM TECHNICAL SPACE COMPOSERS CREW MAMA BEA TEKIELSKI
THIRD EAR BAND THIRSTY MOON THIS HEAT JACQUES THOLLOT THRICE MICE THROBBING GRISTLE
PAOLO TOFANI TOMORROWS GIFT TON STEINE SCHERBEN TRANS MUSEQ ULI TREPTE TWENTY SIXTY SIX
AND THEN XXXX UNIVERS ZERO CHRISTIAN VANDER VELVET UNDERGROUND VERTO PATRICK VIAN MICHEL WAISVISZ
IGOR XXXXXX WAKHEVITCH TREVOR WISHART WOORDEN ROBERT WYATT XHOL CARAVAN XHOL LA MONTE YOUNG FRANK
ZAPPA. ZWEISTEIN ZNR AGITATION FREE PEKKA AIRAKSINEN AIRWAY ALBRECHT D ALCRATAZ ALGARNAS TRADGARD
The additional list...
ANAL MAGIC AND REVEREND DWIGHT FRIZZEL AQSAK MABOUL STEVE BERESFORD PHILIPPE BESOMBES XXX CABERET
VOLTAIRE HENRI CHOPIN CRASS COME DEEP FREEZE MICE DER PLAN DEUTSCH-AMERIKANISCHEN XXXXXXXX FREUND
SCHAFT DOME CUPOL ROGER DOYLE FAMILY FODDER FLYING LIZARDS FREE AGENTS XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX JEF GILSON
GLAXO BABIES GOOD MISSIONARIES GRAND MAGIC CIRCUS RAGNAR GRIPPE PIERRE HENRY XXXXXXX JUAN HIDALGO
HORRIFIC CHILD MARTIN DAVORIN JAGODIC OSAMU KITAJIMA LEMON KITTENS MAGICAL XXXXXX POWER MAKO MAMA
DADA 1919 MARS MNEMONISTS MOOLAH NEGATIVLAND NEW PHONIC ART NIHILIST XXXXXXXXXX SPASM BAND ORCHID
SPANGIAFORA POISON GIRLS PUBLIC IMAGE LTD BOMIS PRENDIN BOYD RICE XXXXXXXXX CLAUDIO ROCCHI SMEGMA
SALLY SMMIT SNATCH TAJ MAHAL TRAVELLERS GHEDALIA TAZARTES TOKYO KID XXX BROTHERS TOLERANCE L VOAG
LAWRENCE WEINER JAMES WHITE AND THE CONTORTIONS WHITEHOUSE WIRED XXXX IANNIS XENAKIS YA HO WHA 13
And a link with more info on the artists and further explanation of the theories behind the list:
Yes, it's the Grateful Dead I'm talking about. Care to make a snide comment, fool?
Fucking INsane. Just dug this old tape out for the first time in a few years to convert it to CD-R, and I'm absolutely BLOWN AWAY.
Phil Lesh is god.
They do a quick, upbeat Playin "head," then jam in D Minor for a few minutes; Jerry switches from a soft-toned mellow wah-wah effect to a harsher, treblier tone; he starts picking harmonics about seven minutes into the jam.
Then Lesh starts playing dissonant notes and Bobby hits a few choppy, atonal chords...pretty soon, the music gets scarier; Billy and Keith sound like The Mahavishnu Orchestra on speed, everyone is playing HARD. As the jam spirals upward and upward, into electric Miles Davis territory, Jerry releases flurries of trumpet-like notes, Lesh starts pounding out power chords, and then
Keith and Billy take control.
Pure dissonance...then Billy starts a fast funk beat, and immediately Keith picks up on it, pumping out electric piano chords in E major....Jerry and Bob join in, somehow instinctivelty KNOWING where the other players are going to land their hands/fingers. All are locked in to this sprightly funk exploration. After three minutes, SOMEHOW (ESP?) the whole Grateful Dead monster, all appendages, suddenly plops headfirst into a huge pile of Scarlet Begonias.
The tempo is faster than the more famous 1977 versions, faster even than most 1974 versions. There's a tape splice in the first verse (goddamnit!!), then the band races through the tune as the audience, presumably, stands, open mouthed and tripping their ovaries off....How did they get HERE?!
The "Heart of gold band" verse falls away, and the whole unit begins that awesome B-major carribean/African thematic jam we know as the "end of Scarlet." It's tight. Tiight as fuck.
Even this starts skidding off the road and over the side into weirdness, the music gets swirlier and Jerry switches back his wah...after a couple minutes, D-Minor-y notes start creeping into Lesh's playing, and before you know it, we're back into a Playin' jam, the tempo all over the place as if it's as confused as the audience musta been. Then, everythng gets quiet, and the Playin reprise begins, MOST triumphantly. Donna goes nuts. They end the song, and the feeling that we have just witnessed a minor apocalypse prevails.
And this was only the first set!
This is precisely the reason why I love this band; Non-Deadheads will never understand that feeling that I get when a big jam has ended and I feel like I've been transported...that I've had my molecules rearranged somehow. In no other band has the process of collective improvisation been so central to its aesthetic core. Not to mention the mind-popping array of timbre on display. There has never been a band, apart from the Grateful Dead, where the interplay of musicians has been so interesting, because of their constant reshaping of structure combined with an equally constant exploration of timbral colors. They were utterly unique.
If you don't have this tape, I COMMAND YOU TO FIND A COPY IMMEDIATELY!
Power Pop vs. Pop Punk
I'd say, howvwer, that pop-punk's roots don't go as deep as power-pop's. Before power-pop was codified, there were bands and artists about who were making the sounds that would coalesce circa 1978 as a legitimate genre.
I'd say that power pop's roots go all the way back to Buddy Holly. "Anyday" and "Well....Allright" sound, to my ears, like power pop without the volume. In any case, it's obvious that the stuff we've come to know as power-pop has roots in Lubbock, Texas and the C+W diaspora thereof. What we're talking about is melodic rock, played in a basic small-rock-band format, with a strong sense of song-structure and a overt tendency to push the vocal hooks forward (as opposed to the riffs, or the textures, or the instrumental abilities of the players, or the rythyms, as is the case with most rock/small band pop formats).
Power pop reaches adolescence with the British Invasion. The fuse on the bomb Buddy Holly and the Beach Boys lit exploded in the UK, and its aftershocks shifted the US's tectonic plates. The Beatles expressly defined and made flesh the small-band-format-as-ideal that the teen idols and individual artists of the 50's and early 60's occsionally hinted at (most small bands before the Beatles were surf instrumental combos or vocal groups). In their wake came a gurootxabajillion bands exploring the same territory; from this wave came a splitting of the road where either bands would crib notes from the Stones and play the (mutant) blues, or drive their lorry down a blind neck of Tin Pan Alley. The Hollies, the Zombies, Gerry and the Pacemakers, The Who, and The Small Faces were the purveyors of that strain (The Kinks initially straddled the fence, then took a ass-first tumble into the pop pasture that also would go a long way towards inventing power pop).
What we have in this development is, in terms of harmonic climate, structure, hooks, and instrumental approach, the skeleton of power pop. What was missing was the "power" that would make the creature walk. For this they would have to wait for Hendrix to come along and invent "guitar holocaust."
I would say that the very first power pop (as opposed to power pop influencing-) song was The Who's "Substitute." Bright, major key melody, sweet harmonies, gusts of guitar distortion, candy-colored hooks hiding serrated incisors and machine-gun drumming. Implicit was also the adherence to the three-minute pop single form (In concert, The Who would abandon such conceits and improvise....a lot.)
Then came the Kinks' "Village Green/Arthur" period (maturation), Badfinger, The Raspberries, Big Star (loss of virginity), the glam years (Slade, Mott ("Honaloochie Boogie!!!!!!" Man, what a fuckin' song!), Gary Glitter), a short fallow period, then adulthood: The Pistols, The Jam, The Chords, The Records (asthmaticeog: they're the dudes who did "Starry Eyes, i.e. "the greatest fucking song in the history of the universe") the 'zzcocks, etc. Out of this collection, the Buzzcocks probably did most to codify the gere qua genre. What punk did was speed up the tempos a bit, streamline the hooks and structure, beef up the guitars (and, possibly unintentionally, enfeeble the rythym section.....but that's another story and deserves a chapter of its own), and bring back the kind of harmonic climate that used to be apparent on the old British Invasion records (obvious separation of verse and chorus, more than three chords (but nothing over-complicated....it ain't prog), more use of major keys and harmonies).
There was also, in LA and elsewhere, a stateside counter-movement to punk that called itself "power pop." Most of the bands who operated in this particular zone were total shit: Earthquake, The Runaways, 20/20, etc. Occasionally a worthwhile tune would escape, but the empahasis here, unfortunately, was in defanging "punk" as they knew it and getting signed while a trend was cresting. It was in the wake of this wave that surf/garage-influenced bands like The Last were spat forth into the world, who in turn influenced the Descendents, who single-handedly invented pop-punk. Thus we see that pop-punk's roots can be traced back to about 1977 or so, while power pop's conception goes deeper, into the 50's (maybe) and the blues/country initial grudgefuck.
How I'd differentiate the two is this: the all-important use of traditional song structures and Tin Pan Alley-derived mellodic tropes in power pop, while in a "hard rock" context, gives the genre a straight foothold in pre-punk songwriting-as-art that came from the Brill Building and such entities, as well as in the blues and R+B borrowings of the Beatles and their ilk, whilst pop-punk self-conciously uses such moves as "moves," as irony or derision-disguised-as-tribute. Pop-punk is self-concious and uncomfortable power pop, emphasizing the cultural (Sociological? Political? Attitude-as-way-of-life?) baggage that punk brought to the table, unlike power pop, which tries to forge a world in which all emotion is displyed without poker faces. In pop-punk, all tongues are in quotes.
Which is not to say that pop-punk hasn't given us some great music. It's just that the tunes which are summoned forth don't have the retroactive resonances in deeper soil that power-pop has....witness the melodies in which Blink-182 or Good Charlotte traffic: they sound like playground taunts sung through a nose full of snot. There is no audible grounding in blues forms or country (I-IV-V progressions are nowhere to be seen, unlike power pop, although the major keys and emphasis on vocals obtain) nor is there any honest affinity with the pre-punk rock approach.
Sometimes the two genres overlap, and sometimes it's almost impossible to tell there is a difference.
I hope he dies at the hands of Lou Ferrigno, frankly. I'm tired of that pompous white man.
Really, though, this thread is just an excuse to use that title.
Yeah, like you've all been waiting for this, right? Anyways:
1. "Tonight," The Raspberries
2. "Starry Eyes," The Records
3. "Oh, Candy," Cheap Trick
4. "I've Been Waiting," Matthew Sweet
5. "I Wanna Destroy You," The Soft Boys
6. "Yesterday's Love," Any Trouble
7. "Until We Started," Tommy Keene
8. "Another Girl, Another Planet," The Only Ones
9. "Shake Some Action," The Flaming Groovies
10. "I Am the Cosmos," Chris Bell
11. "Cheer," The Descendents
12. "Glad Girls," Guided by Voices
13. "He's a Whore," Cheap Trick
14. "Everything Flows," Teenage Fanclub
15. "Brickfield Nights," The Boys
16. "Girlfriend," Matthew Sweet
17. "She's Got Everything," The Kinks
18. "The Good in Everyone," Sloan
19. "Academy Fight Song," Mission of Burma
20. "Rainbow Station," Jiffipop
21. "Day Job," The Mommyheads
22. "I Live," Jason Falkner
23. "Victoria," The Kinks
24 "Is She Really Going Out With Him?," Joe Jackson
25. "Hanging on the Telephone," Jack Lee
26. "September Gurls," Big Star
27. "(I Want to be an) Angelpoise Lamp," The Soft Boys
28. "Million Bucks," All
29. "Back of My Hand," The Jags
30. "Girl of My Dreams," Bram Tchaikovsky
31. "Teenage FBI," Guided by Voices
32. "Substitute," The Who
33. "Miracle Medicine," Jason Falkner
34. "Chester the Molester," Sloan
35. "Airwaves Dream," The Buzzcocks
36. "Pictures of Lily," The Who
37. "Sunday School," The Brown-Eyed Susans
38. "Hello There," Cheap Trick
39. "Elizabeth Montgomery's Face," The Embarrasment
40. "All is Forgiven," Jellyfish
41. "Baby Blue," Badfinger
42. "Overnight Sensation," The Raspberries
43. "StarStruck," The Kinks
44. "Everybody's Happy Nowadays," The Buzzcocks
45. "So It Goes," Nick Lowe
46. "She Don't Know Why I'm Here," The Last
47. "All in Good Time," The Three O'Clock
48. "Do Anything You Wanna Do," Eddie and the Hot Rods
49. "Gotta Get a Record Out," Green
50. "Kid Dynamite," Squirrel Bait
Y'alls is deceivers!
Thass right! All y'all! I know you thinkin', "Oh, he don't care!" But I does! And y'alls is deceivers!
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