Monday, June 20, 2011

It's so good to be here, asleep on the lawn.
Some notes towards a Neil Young summer, or what will probably be a Neil Young / Descendents / Sun Ra / Motorhead / Bill Callahan / everything else summer. But really, I just want to mention On The Beach, because I've been listening to it all the time, and even when I'm not listening to it, I'm thinking about it, and I suspect I'm even thinking about it when I'm not thinking about it. Maybe it's that it reminds me of someone and that I can hear her Fargo/Rochester accent singing "I'm a vampire, babe" and "I went to the radio interview/ended up alone with the microphone", and that it's a killer sometimes. Or that the line "sooner or later it all gets real" flashes in my mind every single day, or that "Revolution Blues" is an ultimate driving with the windows down in the warm air and feeling there's no way you won't survive song (the word BADASS, all caps, comes to mind), or that the solo around the 3:15 mark of "Vampire Blues" is like an anti-solo or a middle finger to boring virtuosos (or just a miraculous fuck-up?), almost jokey but absolutely not a joke. Maybe it's the flowery wallpaper inside the album sleeve, or that some Neil Young records feel like EVENTS and Beach is one of those in-between LPs or something, not that it's a non-event, it's just off-the-cuff in a way, not labored over. Did he have a studio at his house overlooking the coast? Was everything done in one take? Did he ever kill anyone in Laurel Canyon? I want to dig for every little bit of Beach session minutiae, and then pick up Trans, Zuma, Everybody's Rockin', American Stars N' Bars, etc, just jump down the Neil rabbit hole and see where it takes me. Fuck, have you heard Le Noise? Beach is all sunsets and being at a distance and being exhausted but it's nice out so let's keep going kind of attitude, and that's what I need so that I'm not just spacing out and counting down to Fall. It's easy to get buried in the past, for real, but fuck that.

Neil Young - "Revolution Blues"
Neil Young - "Vampire Blues"
Neil Young - "On The Beach"
Neil Young - "Ambulance Blues"

Also: not trying to get into a Taste War, or what's that phrase, "class antagonism"? But I went to one of the Jazz Fest shows, The Budos Band down in a huge tent near Main and Gibbs. 20 bucks, and Leah and I only caught half of their second set of the night, and I only had enough money for a couple overpriced whatever beers. It was strange. Budos was good, if a little crisper and modern-er than their records. On vinyl they're a band straight out of the sweaty, well-dressed sixties, soul/funk rhythms, great horns and bass, scratchy guitars, lo-fi enough to sound old. They're an ideal summer band (I wrote about that first record a few years ago, see!). The full clear sound at the venue and the actual physical presence of the band itself erased my dream vision (in my mind they all looked like young Ornette Coleman with sunglasses and short-sleeve collared shirts and tailored slacks; this is not what they in fact look like), and then there was the audience. Again, not picking a fight, but it was a mix of jam band kids and normies and then all these middle-agers. People's parents, or maybe people who could afford a season-pass or whatever it's called. I shouldn't even care, the band was solid, people were dancing their asses off, but I felt out of place almost. It was so comfortable. I wanted it to be in a club where you couldn't breathe but couldn't stop moving. Why?? I love breathing. When I heard Budos for the first time, it was music that felt, maybe not revolutionary, but like it was needed. Necessary music, dance music that was also a time machine and had tons of real instruments. I was also big into Hypnotic Brass Ensemble at the time. I don't know, I get lost in my own music fantasies and when the reality doesn't match up, I get grumpy. There was a woman doing a light workout routine to the live Budos set and she seemed happy (I have video of it, I should post it). So what am I complaining about really? Am I complaining? I've listened to Forbes/Young/Walter's American Free a few times and this is what I want. I want to be pummeled and flattened I guess. I missed their show a few months back (maybe it was a year ago?) and I'm kicking myself way hard. Something raging and transformative in the tight quarters of a frightening punk show is almost always the way to go, and I realize it's not for everyone, and there can be the soothing and the vintage and I'll totally get into that and love it, but I also need to be taken outside myself and feel like I will never be balding and will always be horribly restless on the inside.

Forbes/Young/Walter - "Red"
Forbes/Young/Walter - "Yellow"

Have you checked out Jesse Michaels' thrash metal blog? Please do so now. I finished Bill Callahan's Letters To Emma Bowlcut the other day, and you should do that, too. I keep thinking of the part where the main guy says "I hope someone drops a burlap sack of cash on your doorstep. And that you will undo a button on your poncho". Girls should be melting. I've been singing his "America!" for days, I can't stop. Also, if you haven't picked up Ellen Willis' Out Of The Vinyl Deeps, you really should (cool trailer for the book here). Great, great, great stuff and important in the history of feminist rock writing. Also, she liked all the shit I like (Dylan, VU, Van Morrison, Dolls), except she said the first three Sabbath albums were terrible. And she was into CCR and Janis and I can't really hang with them. I can only listen to them from a radio that I'm not paying attention to. Dick Snare recording is nearing completion, too, even though Kaci's in Switzerland right now living the high life, if the high life includes working a job you don't necessarily like (ironing sweatpants?), but getting to nanny some cool kids and skip town for Paris to see live Dinosaur Jr and skateboard expos. A postcard she sent me included the phrase "cool peens". So there's that. Otherwise, if you need me I'll be drinking coffee and trying to write lyrics while the plumbing gets fixed. PEACE.