MR. BROOKS!!! BUG!!!!
Good gravy, has it been four days? My 200 readers must be fuming. No concrete reason for me to be here, really, other than apologizing for poor content as of late, those impulsive attacks on the idiots and assholes that raise my ire and transform my writing into child’s play. I know better than that.
This weekend: Skipped town with Candace at the last minute. Hiking, fishing, and much work completed. More on this later – it will take a day or so for the pertinent post to surface (WORTH IT…..STICK AROUND!!!)
David Dunlap Jr. would like credit for introducing me to Grandma’s Boy, and he can have it. “I like a movie that knows what it is.”
Thursday night, I’ll be interviewing Jim Dandy Mangrum of Black Oak Arkansas re: the Rhino Handmade Reissue of 1973′s Raunch ‘N’ Roll, an album that was absorbed disc 1 to disc 2, point A to point Z, during the drive back to Memphis on the less-than-scenic HWY 51. Once completed and published, I will post a link to the interview (Memphis Flyer).
Until I return, here’s Jeffrey Jensen ghost-writing record reviews as RTX/Royal Trux’s Jennifer Herrema. Amazingly, these may have surfaced in a book. Brilliant stuff.
1. Glen Fry-Strange Weather MCA 1993 Throughout my career much has been made of my association and usage of illegal drugs. This largely exaggerated reputation has preceded and effected the critical reaction to every single step of my musical development. It used to really bother me but now I’ve just learned to live with it. One thing that practically no one knows is that years after my rehabilitation I encountered a drug that had a vastly more profound effect on my approach of music. PCP. In 1998 I was rummaging through a box of cassettes in the glove compartment of my stepfather’s Pontiac Fiero. I found the Glen Fry record Strange Weather on a factory cassette and thought I’d put it on for a lark. When I opened up the J-card (to read the lyrics) all of this white powder spilled out. I thought it was coke. It wasn’t coke. Right as the dust kicked in, the tune Part of Me, Part of You was reaching its climax. Previously, I’d thought all of that nonsense about being able to “find god through rock” was just empty promises from dried up hippies. I immediately had an amazing series of hallucinations all involving Danny Devito, Rhea Pearlman and this talking caterpillar (no shit). Words cannot describe, but this odyssey was PERFECTLY choreographed to these recordings. It was god!! I just sat there listening to this tape over and over again in the front seat of the Fiero until I finally came down. Say what you will about Disraeli Gears, but I consider this cassette the ultimate “Drug Record” and challenge anyone to prove me wrong.
2. Jerry Lewis-Just Sings Decca 1957 A lot of people consider Bob Dylan to be the absolute being and most important voice of American music. Other critics bow to different totems (see Robert Christgau’s essay about James Brown, Fela, and Billy Ocean as the essential African triumvirate) For me; the only man that I can put equal to god (musically speaking) is Jerry Lewis.
3. Jonny Lang- Brakin’ Me [Cassette Single] Interscope (2000) Blues is a weird genre for me. It’s so varied that I have a hard time figuring out what’s good. In the 90’s a lot of my contemporaries (Jon Spencer, Ian Sevonius etc…) were looking to older black men for inspiration in “finding the blues.” That route seemed so obvious to me. John Lee Hooker and Robert Johnson never spoke to me. It was all too old…too black. I looked elsewhere and found a strain of blues I consider far more soulful and pure: “NAMBLA Blues.” Picking between the giants of this genre (Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Jonny Lang, Chris Duarte, Ralph Macchio and J. Evan Bonifant-who portrayed Buster Blues in Blues Brothers 2000) is like picking between siblings. But I would nominate this blues cassette-single as a great place to start.
4. Joe Pesci- Vincent Laguardia Gambini Sings Just for You 1998 Sony Being an east-coast girl, it’s been very hard for me to relate to the “mellow vibes” of California. A lot of critics have pointed to Springsteen, Sinatra or Grandmaster Flash to musically convey the grit and intensity that is the east-coast urban experience. Whenever anyone asks me what it’s really like to live in a big cold city near the Atlantic, I invariably dub him or her a cassette copy of this record. It has ballads, rock anthems and even hip-hop. It’s perfect.
5. Iggy Pop-Brick by Brick 1990 Virgin Most of the readers of this book are probably more than familiar with (maybe even sick of) the work of Iggy Pop. Called by many the Godfather of Punk for good reason…he makes musical offers that you can’t refuse. 1996’s Naughty Little Doggie taught us that this 71-year old bad boy could still deliver the bare-knuckled hard rock that made him famous. The brilliant Avenue B from 1999 displayed a more introspective Croce-esque (though shirtless and clean shaven) singer-songwriter. All are classics, but I really prefer his older stuff. That’s why I always find myself reaching for my Brick by Brick cassette (one of his first and best), which contains the infectious track, “Butt Town.”
6. Ned’s Atomic Dustbin- One More No More (Live) Gig Records 2001 It’s well known that “The Trux” loved all of the rave bands that came out of Britain in the early 90’s. Ned’s was our favorite. This was a long-awaited live reunion album from 2001. They hand in serviceable renditions of “Stuck” and “Happy” as well as other classics. As an update, the album title proved to be false advertising — Ned’s Atomic Dustbin played many subsequent reunion shows after this one. I should know…I attended every one.
7. Ryan Adams-Heartbreaker Bloodshot 2000 In one review, a critic called one of my performances “postured,” “affected,” and “lacking any soul whatsoever.” I was so naïve I didn’t really know anything about those terms. I set out to find the true masters of these musical forms. That’s how I discovered Ryan Adams.
8. The Jewish- Fantasy Stalker (unreleased) 2006 This is by far the most important band of the new millennium. The Jewish, (whose recordings can only currently be heard on MySpace) are fronted by visionaries Jeffrey Jensen and Douglas Pressman AKA the Lennon and McCartney of my generation. I’m going to see that their first recordings are released on Drag City, even if I have to physically threaten Dan Koretsky (sic?).
9. Guadalcanal Diary, Let’s Active, Fetchin’ Bones, Drivin’ n’ Cryin’, Scruffy The Cat, The BoDeans, the Del Fuegos, Los Lobos I Love mediocre college rock from the mid-80’s! I’m not too cool to admit that I used to mousse my hair and wear bolo ties with my paisley shirts. If I ran across a time machine, this is the era I would travel back to. Any one of these bands will change your life.
10. The Velvet Underground- The Velvet Underground and Nico Verve 1967 What more can be said about this seminal cassette that hasn’t already been covered ad nauseam in the pages of every pretentious/expensive magazine, rock history book and unnecessary compendium of record reviews? I can’t say. I’ve honestly never heard it. Seriously. My stepsister taped over it with The Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Uplift Mofo Party Plan, which is a pretty cool tape.