While doing some organizing and preparation for certain promotional/work-acquiring/general projects in the future, I came across the first four issues of my zine The Cimarron Weekend. This is what lead up to the three official issues published by Dave Dunlap and myself, obviously, and I note that because issues 1 thru 4 were free staple jobs I used to mail around the country, or leave sitting in magazine racks around town. Each “cover” page was a fake table of contents, and this existed as my only attention-getting gimmick. This is very embarrassing for me. Really. The first issue is not even remotely funny. I was 22.
Issue #2 is only slightly less-embarrassing:
Issue #3 is problematic yet shows the split-second flash of promise…..maybe:
…and I could be a little shit. You will read things that would never come out of my brain these days…I hope everyone realizes this….(the bottom half of issue #3):
And the final issue from phase one:
So there you have it…why am I typing that? “So there you have it” doesn’t mean anything in this context. What is my point? That I wasn’t funny? Noted. Do I want someone to read this and find it endearing and cute? Probably. No, that is most certainly the motive behind this post. That first issue is so awful. Just so you know, it took some grapes to put that out on the table. And I should say that Dave Dunlap contributed to issue #4 or “#00004″ as I would sequence them, thinking I was being clever and such…
One day, selected content (Issue #0001 was 3 pages, #0002 had 4, #0003 had 6, and #0004 clocked in at 8 pages…front and back in all cases, duh) will be available for some reason.
You say “Tomato”…I say “God’s Mistake”…AND Earles Builds The Perfect Record Collection…From The Ground Up (The “Play-Along-At-Home-Version”)
I’m afraid that, after several hours of thinking about it (among other things), a conclusion has been reached that the phrase in the title-line is simply too funny for me to continue any proprietary delusion…I’m just not that funny.
I am also afraid that I wasn’t able to go anywhere with that Record Store Day 2011 joke that had eight beginnings and no endings. Certainly my reader remembers that going down…about a month or so back? No? Oh well, something I can write with confidence is that the lonely RSD bin at your local store is worth dredging for the following, possibly unsold, items:
Superchunk / Coliseum split (Misfits covers) – Superchunk are the heaviest band of these two showings…and the sock fits. That’s the thing about socks, though…
Urge Overkill “Effigy” / “The Kids Are Insane” 7″ Most will turn not just their nose but entire bodies away from this 7″ and cross the street if it is spotted strolling towards their precious area of control, and that’s why most are wrong. “Effigy” is not a near-great rock song? That’s what you say? A portable record-player (with a working return function) will sit atop your grave and play this song forever! B-side is the opener to Supersonic Storybook, a record you should own. Ok, the new full length is called Rock and Roll Submarine and takes the (always bad) idea of literal cover art and crashes through the bottom to a new nether-region of suck, but I’ve heard bad albums, and this is not a bad album.
OK, LET’S SHIFT GEARS AND SEE IF I CAN ACTUALLY CARRY A BLOG IDEA TO FRUITION…
….the catch being that this idea is more-or-less impossible to carry to fruition, but I’m going to make like Shirley MacLaine (get it? no? I know one person who gets it…) and state that 5+ installments would be a major accomplishment, considering my recent track record.
My record collection has been in a ridiculous state of flux since mid-to-late 2008, which means I have forced it to make a mockery of stability quite unlike the 8 to 10 years leading up to the First Motherfucker of a Year, as I like to call ’08. All of this can be directly attributed to my own eggs staying scrambled-dry-and-slightly-burnt when it came to what exactly constituted an untouchable Keeper Section. At best, I managed a constantly shape-shifting version thereof.
But today…today, we turn a page and start a new chapter, to get all Tuesdays With Morrie on you (or to get all “Tuesday” on you…more like).
Today, we start building my perfect record collection from the ground up. Record by record. I write “my” and not “the” because I have golden taste and fascinating inclusion criteria re: the “not-so-classic” entries. So, it’s just like writing “the” – I just didn’t feel like using the space taken up by that extra letter. If you’re 21-years-old and can listen to whatever you are curious about, therefore adopting the wholly inaccurate and hilariously-idiotic “why would I listen to some bitter and jaded dude in his mid-30’s” position, then by all means, please stick around for this. You need it. Oh, and I will not start off with downloads because that’s just a case-by-case sitch. Probably not. I don’t want to contribute to your laziness. I will not spoon-feed another “music history in one afternoon!” that you can roll out the next time some hot strange is within listening distance. I had to work and make sacrifices for what I am about to unfold. Nor am I bitter or jaded. I beat that cancer. Let’s do this.
What better place to start than the first Mercury Rev LP? Probably Polvo’s Cor-Crane-Secret, actually, since that was the first LP purchased by “the disease” that really took hold around age 17 and 18. I cashed my paycheck (market-research phone-survey job) at a grocery store and sent $7 to Merge Records and $7 to SST (for Dinosaur Jr’s You’re Living All Over Me). I started with cassettes because of automobile convenience and lack of a decent component system in which to play LP’s, so I had the Dino Jr on factory tape but it was dying a watery-sounding death. More on that later.
Mercury Rev…after hearing “Car Wash Hair” (not on this version, coincidentally), either on Memphis’ WEVL (community radio station) or in Shangri-La Records (where I would shop, alone and intimidated), I was convinced of this band’s genius. I had no idea how balls-out and brutal the noise-factor could (and would) get over the first three LP’s, and still hold to a strong personal theory that Boces’ “Meth Of A Rockette’s Kick” (first song, second album) as a sort of beginning, middle, and end of rock/pop-based music.
This is not my original copy of Yerself Is Steam. Truthfully, this is more likely my third or fourth copy of this record. Fifth, if you want to include the CD that I purchased in 1992 (with “Car Wash Hair” as the 99th track….thanks!). This is, however, my final copy of this record, as I will not part with it for any reason. This record was more important to me than the Velvet Underground or any traditionally “historically seminal” title would ever be. One day I timidly parked my 1982 Honda Accord (another story that will MOST CERTAINLY BE TOLD) out of the way because some dudes were selling some records from the trunk of their car in the Shangri-La parking lot. I tunnel-visioned it past and inside, where I probably bought three LP’s that would fuck me and one that will be included in future installments. Later, I learned that those “dudes” were Jonathan Donahue and Grasshopper of Mercury Rev, selling this very record from their car, cross-country, because Rough Trade U.S. had just gone belly-up, a legendary industry hiccup that would come up in interviews and discussions for years to come. Grant Hart’s post-Husker combo, Nova Mob, was also a victim of this debacle. In Grant’s typically poignant manner…
“It just happened one day. I found myself asking, ‘Where is my label? And why is my new album a cut-out all of the sudden?”
Ok, Earles, stick to the band on the table here…I have a lot of interview content with Jonathan Donahue about this record and their days on Columbia, but as of this writing, I have yet to ask his permission re: usage. I have two interviews, one was partially used for a can-of-worms published by Vice Magazine in early 2009, and the latter, better, interview was to be used in a Spin feature that unfortunately morphed into something different during the time between conducting and deadline.
Yerself Is Steam was released a bunch of times, and I have no idea where this Mint Films pressing falls. No insert and no “Car Wash Hair” but 100% visionary and sublime and totally anomalous, but not so in the unsavory Mr. Bungle fashion. Beautiful shit, this one, and an essential brick in the ultimate framework for which I am now breaking the ground. In Jim Derogatis’ Flaming Lips bio, J. Donahue is kind of downplayed and depicted as a quasi-hanger-on during the Lips’ Ambulance days that immediately preceded the making of this album. I mean, it IS a Flaming Lips bio, so I dunno, and I really hate it when people write “I dunno” yet look what I just did. What I do know is that Yerself Is Steam annihilates ANY Flaming Lips album. That’s coming from someone who will be including at least two albums by said band in this project. Alright, let’s wrap this shit up…
I hereby declare Mercury Rev’s debut album, Yerself Is Steam (1990, 1991…Mint Films, Columbia Records, Rough Trade….maybe more), to be the first album in this ongoing (forever) series, Earles Builds A Perfect Record Collection From The Ground Up (not to be confused with “Earles Disguising His Inability To Responsibly Control Record Intake And Peddling Habits”).
I hope the universe packed a lunch.
But kudos for the self-awareness. Not only is this as fun and interesting as a lot of dry humping…it’s equally as frustrating.
I recently watched a bunch of aggressively-vapid “cool kids” gather around a computer and allow this video to flat-out control every movement made, every giggle giggled, and every word uttered (the lyrics).