Thursday, May 17, 2012

Soul Research in Pollenville Valley

I’m reading Exile on Main Street by Bill Janovitz in the 33 ⅓ series.  It’s not a record we have around the house, which is something I better do something about, as primary record procurement officer. I’ve heard it lots of times but my Stones fandom is more casual than with other bands.  When I was a teenager, I had kind of a “why bother” attitude about the sexuality and and druggy menace and posture of The Stones and Led Zeppelin.  It seemed pretty phony to me.  I was listening to “So Sad About Us” and later, "Nervous Breakdown" on the school bus.  (Somewhere down the line Tattoo You made an inroad, “Little T & A” being one of my favorite songs ever.)  

Later, The Replacements and The Silos introduced me to The Rolling Stones whether I knew it or not.  And after that, Wilco and  Nikki Sudden.  If you write songs and love rock and roll, folk music, and the blues, Rolling Stones school can’t be avoided. 

Anyway, it’s super fun to read the song-by-song breakdown of the record and track it on Spotify while I read the book.  I’ve also liked Buffalo Tom for a long time so it’s fun to read Janovitz’ take on this record.  (An early Eugene memory: buying Let Me Come Over at House of Records with probably my last seven bucks and appreciating how nice Raenie Kane was.  I was really out of it that summer.)  Also, having made a few records in a few different modes, it’s also really cool to imagine what it would be like to record while living with multiple families in a rundown French chateau.  We would probably substitute Netflix for the drugs.

I also saw Now William that first Eugene summer, at Max’s, on the prowl for Eugene’s version of Gabe’s in Iowa City.  I remember Charlie McClain hollering up there and it was totally intense the way he hammered that bass.  Now William made a serious run and toured alot and sold alot of records for an indie band.  Fast forward twenty years and Charlie and I are chowing on calamari at Meiji talking about Logic Pro and our jobs and life at home and whatnot.  Charlie has been writing and recording new stuff w/ Derek Trost via the interweb and it’s super cool.  I told him it reminded me of James Blood Ulmer.

Another local dude I have run into is Michael Billings.  We had a number of long conversations via Facebook comment threads before actually talking.  Michael has read every book possible and plays atonal guitar jazz, also with some similiarities to the edgier side of JBU.  His James Chance-esque band opened for The Replacements once and they were not cool to share a bill with, except for Bob Stinson, who apologized on behalf of his bandmates. I feel lucky to live in a town with so many talented, interesting people making music because they gotta.  I dig hearing stories about the punk rock scene and stuff too.  I hit Eugene and was pretty withdrawn from music for a long time. 

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