Archive for July, 2010

Authorship Meltdowns and House Music Mantra’s

July 21, 2010

So this online novella has really been burgeoning (cue Borat “not” joke)…quite predictable given who your author is ladies and gentlemen. I’ll have part two tomorrow and we’ll see what happens to Cass at the airport bar, this I promise. Sometimes the juices don’t flow, and you can only squeeze a lemon so long.

In the meantime I’ve been pissing through an American Work Week Wednesday in hopes of shoring up the economy and passing the capitalist dream onto my extensive brood. By that I mean neglecting my responsibilities and trying to find myself amidst a slew of pictures commemorating last weekend’s Pitchfork Festival. If you come across one containing a sun-strung-out looking shag bastard with a Cubs hat, you’ve won the prize. The weekend was spectacular as I spent 8 hours getting down with nature and all the main stage had to offer. I was lucky enough to grab some late-sale tickets on Thursday at the venue so Saturday I could catch Free Energy, Real Estate, Delorean, Wolf Parade, Panda Bear and LCD Soundsystem. The venue was extremely crowd friendly as they supplied plenty of water bottles and bags of ice between sets, and despite my theory that 90 degree heat positively induces rage, everyone in the crowd seemed to be mellow and brimming with contentedness. Righteous.

http://pitchfork.com/tv/#/episode/2750-lcd-soundsystem/1

In the meantime, here’s a poem that really isn’t metered out or doctored up but it’s based on some weird loopy refrain that appeared in a dream and stamped itself into my morning memory. An ex-girlfriend was in my face asking me what I would pay to sleep with her again. I can’t imagine I offered that much but nothing else sticks besides that conversation excerpt. This must be how Chemical Brothers compile melodic mantras for their acid house licks…

An Unconscious Demand for Sex #916, Yesterday- H.D. Wilde

What would you pay to have your sanity restored

Stop cooing at the postman like some stoned dove, stop eyeballing strangers always everywhere

Start shimmying like back in Boyleston on a silky emerald pitch when today’s good old days were soda-pop sticky yesterdays, still skunk in your mouth fresh

What would you pay to see Christ on his two feet

Flogged and strung across that tree while your tears get fat, brought down, buried, back to see you

Hearing the son of man sing son it’s gonna be alright, smiling, all the cacophony and warbles that mash man’s minds tender slip away to reveal melody

What would you pay to see your father drive down the way,

Stop drinking down grey Tuesday afternoons, stop questions and quizzes and do you know why’s

Start the wife and the kids and the house and pulverize the loneliness and self doubt pity and pithy loathing constricting the jugular of your soul

What would you pay to meet your match face to face, au natural, and win

Victorious and ravenous with adrenaline, hands hanging fists down bleeding over a broken face

That suckfish who pilfered your matchbox cars cackled about your clothes outran you on the track outdrank you at the bar and outfucked you in the bedroom

What would you pay to not kick down that door

Stop the silver snow on the drive over, stop the letters and newspapers littering the porch steps

Start her footsteps and her warm voice imploring you for just a moment when you two still had moments and first floor bathrooms didn’t smell of death

What would you pay to be the first for once

An outside-the-box-flash-of-bona fide-genius moment, steeped sexy with cleverness and timing

Offering that just right Goldilocks answer which impresses and undresses that just right lady, sipping success and grinning because it bubbles like a gin fizz

What would you pay to sleep on Stillweather Street again

Stop fabricating abstract furniture scrap heaps, stop swollen hands fumbling, picking a louse

Start over and under and in between high school and college before rock and roll almost ruined you and mom still said she would love you no matter what

Then the lights give way and you quietly curse them from the corner before a thought immerses you in bliss

You dance and remember why money kills, why

Boyleston never lost its grass stains and reckless hopes breed sleepless nights

And the concrete is warm so it is time to dream and search Stillweather street for pa’s car even though it has to be in the driveway.

It just has to.

Experimental Experiences- A novel in blog form

July 13, 2010

Decent and common sense has been like a needle in my eye for quite some time. Abandoning dreams of freaky Frisco bay and handbags of LSD geltabs has been like strapping a turnicate around each of my limbs. John College is finally out of college, and the itch is on. Calamine and hydrocortizone are for horseshit. I need trainhopping, gin-swilling, moon howling country nights chasing demons from of the consciousness of man. Maybe not that much irreverence is needed, but little in my northwest urban corner can get my blood churning, let alone boiling, anymore. 

It is good to have a project to start working on. One audio project I am starting is recording some fratty type (yet still humorous and transgressive) stories from my friends and then have either a kid’s or extremely old woman retell them behind some kind of astral loopy background fuzz, maybe just a lo-fi static. That’s gonna be a trip.

This other joint I’m fixing up is a running novella type deal I’m gonna post every other day here at fearandloathingatthe.wordpress.com. I just started with this character, so I have no other short stories or previous shit associated with this one, aka anything can happen. If anyone ever reads this, let me know if you want something to happen to our main man Cass or have any plot ideas. So from here on out, enjoy 1,000ish words every other day and we’ll see where it goes.

Mahalo

MESSAGE 1- Cass learns to love his fellow man. A barmaid dances with a barfly.

Cass sat with his hands folded over his eyes. He pulled at his long, blue-blackish hair for a moment before he realized any attempt at controlling it would only lend more frustration to the already decaying scene in front of him. His flight had been delayed for three hours and the eight dollar drafts had caused his wallet to drift up into the air like a snaketail of smoke from a cigarette. It was shaping to be one of those days that seems like two or three meshed and stuffed into one, especially after his fifth pint at one in the afternoon. It was a Friday.

He should have just gone back to quaint little Terminal  2 and meandered drunkenly through a crossword puzzle, or engaged in some harmless digital banter on his mobile, but something inside of him prevented such irksome undertakings. It was the same things that had gotten him kicked out of two college dormitories and damn near locked up for a year on burglary charges he couldn’t remember. To boot, the middle aged barmaid serving him comforting cold drafts had an impeccably constructed backside, and once again fortune’s foolishness became the only commodity worth investing in at the moment.

 He moved his hands from his face and took another look around. Many had shifted to and fro amongst the gummy plastic stools and grease laden miniature tables; the sports bar was really more of a cannery than anything else. A cannery with cable television and overpriced booze.  It was quite enlightening to watch the exchanges between anonymous passerbyers. Every qualia of man could be represented at an airport lounge at any time: the big city pimp, the excited Southern preacher, the transient sociopath, the overzealous and overdressed backside slut, the lonely old stranger with an old ball cap and unkempt silver beard, the quaking teenager latched onto an unwanted family.

 Cass challenged himself to figure out who was fucking who. This particular batch of capitalistic Mongols was positioned at the east end of the bar. Their Italian threads and Blackberry’s were nothing next to their predominantly prickly vibrations that Cass had come to identify with almost certain exactitude. A pair of fair brunette twenty-something’s kept flirting with various brands of scotch at the bar in some sort of contest with these assuredly senior sales representatives.

Traveling alone is never fun, and any corporate mogul needing to keep a money churning employee knows precisely the right time to toss the chum to the starboard hull. “Secretaries for note taking? Yes, yes put that one on the company card. We’ve got to see to it that Bill has a grand old time.” These old dogs were not pining over lost time with their wives. Methodically the mossbacks  inched closer and closer to the fawns, wanting some embrace while their cocktails sunk their inhibitions deeper and deeper like hermit crabs on an anchor. You can’t blame the geezers for that, Cass thought to himself, any wrinkled piece of lint equipped with a functional penis dreams of slamming their last Philly into the stable yard.

It was the two girls that pinched Cass’ nerves and tap danced all over the cornea of his mind’s eye. He loathed slapdash hookers like them, the happy middler’s who banked on the promises mommy and daddy had been whispering into their ears since they could bitch and moan about happy meals. He could tell the type almost by smell, and other sensory clues helped him profile the girls further. This duo of chuckling scorpions had draped themselves in all the ‘right’ social emblems of greed and me: matching Tiffany’s bracelet/necklace combinations,  beadazzled smart phones built for internet updates, low cut Polo skirts, bleach patterned waves of hair whipping around each shoulder. They knew their shit, that much was for sure. He eyed the scorpions as they continued to chat up the elder statesmen, and just before Cass overflowed with disdain and detestation and rudely bubbled over onto the Asian man hunkered next to him, he let out a small chuckle and turned his head from the low cut skirts for good.

 “Thank ye fucking Gods,” he muttered to himself. He thought about those same whispers he had heard years ago, long before his parents split up and even longer still before he found his brother face down, breathless  in his college apartment. Those promises were soul sucking vehicles of spiritual anhiliation, and Cass no longer had to watch his life force wrenched out of him via a facebook friend request. But who was he to judge them? Let them drink their scotches and perform with gusto in their ego-driven dramas. Laughter was the only proper response left at this point in his life, so Cass’ unholy rage turned to shamanic joy and he ordered another pint.

  “One more, please,” he said. He took his last sip, breathed in a helping of satisfaction, and reached down into his backpack. Just before he could retrieve the day’s black and white and red all over his motion was usurped and his eyes raised above the bar counter like a pair of submarine scopes.

“Where you headed,” the barmaid inquired as she cleaned out his glass and prepared another pour. Her movements were unconscious yet professional. The question appeared transitory and nonchalant, and despite Cass’ oncoming inebriation, he could instantly decipher that she had been summoning up the courage for such a conversation opener for at least his last two beers. She was older than the scorpions down the bar, but her face warmed Cass’ eyes the instant he saw her.

  “Well that’s a hell of a pickup line in an airport,” Cass laughed back as he finished gathering his newspaper. He said things to make himself laugh, which can lead to people mistaking you for being an impolite elitist. It wasn’t a question of elitism though. Organic human reactions were like dressing room at the J. Crew sex to Cass, so it was of no concern to him whether his comments were germane or not. She was either going to laugh or look at him with the “You’re a dick” eyes that only a mistreated woman can deliver properly. She gave him the former and he excitedly continued the conversation.

My Shadow: Six Months Since the Loss of Jay Reatard

July 10, 2010

 The death of an artist standing at the doorstep of reaching their musical potential has tainted generations since the trinity of drugs, sex, and rock n roll became almost necessarily dependant on each other. Elvis, Hendrix, Morrison, Cobaine, Joplin, Mercury… and that’s just the standard rock list not even taking into account the equally tragic rap game. I personally don’t remember Cobaine’s death, and though I remember the passing of John Cash and a couple of other older musicians, the emotional heaviness didn’t compare to that which swooned me after the news that Jimmy Lee Lindsey Jr. aka Jay Reatard had left the scene for good six months ago.

Jay had been playing music well before he dropped out of high school and whetting his insatiable appetite for do-it-yourself-don’t-give-a-fuck rocking. He shredded a white Gibson flying V, was known to come out of a tour without remembering a moment of the last month, and still holds an immense discography to his name.

Certain tight collared, fat pocketed pigs at the Grammy Awards neglected to mention his name the Sunday after he passed away during the memorial section of the ceremonies (if they should even be called such) without explanation. Their lack of comment was enough of one on its own: they knew Jay stood against everything they stood for and couldn’t pay homage to someone outside the industry.  In Jay, Indie music had found an energizer bunny with the work ethic of a fire ant, and he showed an incredible promise and drive to spread his sound without sacrificing the integrity of the process and the person behind it. But just as he began to grow with a new label capable of taking him to new heights musically (Matador), his life was suddenly vanquished in one night that probably started just like any other for Memphis madman.

Jay was the kind of artist who drew energy from the tension of subtle contradictions that life frustrates most peoples’ minds with. Jay was a white, nerdy looking kid who grew up in a racially polarized, all black section of Memphis. He put out more singles and EP’s and LP’s and vinyl delicacies from his stripped down home studio than most artists could milk out in a lifetime with Steve Lillywhite, but he is quoted saying, “Music isn’t supposed to be about compartmentalized little songs where people are supposed to feed your ego by clapping.” The world saw him as an aggressive, intoxicated liability; his friends saw an abundant source of positive energy who had just begun to fit into his person within the last couple of years.

Peers in the business said Jay was “honest and transgressive,” “talented and troubled,”  and that “there were few men who could do more with one minute of time.” Of course, all of these statements were procured posthumously and contained an undercurrent of grief and pain, not exultation.  Jay was found at 3:30 AM at his residence in Midtown, Memphis on January 13th 2010 at the age of twenty-nine. A memorial was held in his honor three days later where he was laid to rest near the grave of the late Isaac Hayes, and in February his cause of death was attributed to alcohol and cocaine toxicity.

His music is as indefinable, sporadic, and rocket fuel driven as he was. Some peg it as garage rock, others post-punk, noise, or just about any word you can daintily juxtapose with ‘pop.’ In any respect, no catch phrase can sum up the raw emotion and pistol firing ambition that came through in his sound. At live shows audience members could witness a man bleed a flying V dry and then finger pick an acoustic ballad so soft it hovered above the pot smoke and sweat. His bass player could barely read sheet music and all he cared about onstage was making sure he had paid the music its due. He might be piss bitter drunk and/or less than interested in your approval, but hell, it’s about the message not the messenger (at least that’s what I always heard at parochial school).

He recorded constantly because, as he bluntly put it, “You can’t make records when you’re dead, so I wanna make records.” This monolithic sense of urgency coupled with catchy, in your face, refreshingly conceived, thoughtful outbursts of guitar created the perfect environment for his “blood visions.” Jay wanted us to glare at our greedy, misguided, bullshit riddled tendencies and not take ourselves so seriously. No dream was passed down for Jay to buy into, and it became an important part of his music to explore what kind of society we have bought into and why. He was a man of action and wanted us to look NOW, to stop puttering and start living each day like it is our last, just as he did.

The scene, the terra noir in which Jay produced his art, is something to be examined after his passing. Diabolical questions like nature versus nurture and responsibility come to mind when examining a death like Jay’s, and since he sought his sound through such intense mechanisms and processes his early departure may have been an inevitable outcome of his work. Beer can spattered yards, running on fumes and no food for days, mirrors on the floor, freeloading dope heads looking to constantly party: it may have all been too much for any man. It is unfortunate to brandish the reputation of being one of those musicians who parties destructively, but Jay had acquired it through his years of heavy touring(“I’m more like the jack off of all trades” he quipped in an interview). Though he had been mellowing out the last few years and found melody in his music (which friends attribute to his rise at Matador), it is hard to give up every aspect of the nail-biting road-grinding lifestyle.

It is easy for the history books to forget about Jay Reatard. Misguided youth uses punk rock to backlash at his circumstances, fights on the fringes for years, makes a break after a great many a sacrifice, eventually is destroyed by the things that got his feet off the ground in the first place. Such an unfolding drama sells quick in our celebrity era where we have become addicted to watching other people fall. But that’s the point, we watch and do no action. Did Jay know he was on the fringe and had to be there because of who he was and the music he made, or did he desire those feelings of inclusion like any man does? Whatever it was or is, Jay’s success would end in yet another contradiction: the years of hard work that had finally paid off went uncollected, and the voice that needed just a little more exposure to reach the ears it was intended for would fall silenced forever. Our only recompense can be to continue to play Jay’s music, tell his story, and conjure up his energy and enthusiasm for being alive.

The coolest cat in the alley.