When You Cry, You Bring The Sky Down. Jobriath’s Music And What It Means To Me

Jobriath

(originally appeared in Thrust Magazine: November 2010)

If we can set the facts aside long enough and try not to let the myth become larger than the man, then we will finally realize that in the end it’s the music that truly matters. In this case Jobraith stands alone. He was dubbed a Bowie rip-off. Whether or not that’s true is simply a matter of opinion. In 1969 Jobriath formed Pidgoen (credited as Jobriath Salisbury), a California quartet that mixed progressive rock with a gentle, mellow folk styling. On the track “Of The Time When I Was Young” Jobriath’s vocals and acoustic guitar accompaniment join together to create a wistful sadness that permeates throughout the track. If you can gain anything from his life story and have the opportunity to revisit this track, you’ll be able to see Jobriath is all his sadness as well as his greatness. The album as a whole is a far cry from what Jobriath brought us 5 years years later with his Elektra debut Jobraith, a title that perhaps speaks to us and cries “i’m here world, pay attention!”. It’s interesting to think such a thing could be true with the title track called “Take Me I’m Yours”.  Perhaps in doing so Jobriath has created a sub-conscience juxtapose?

 

Whatever the reasoning might have been, tracks like “Be Still” call out in a way that will make you sing along or cry, or both. An emotional connection like this is one of the marks of a truly great artist and Jobriath was just that. Soon after the release of Jobraith Elektra Records released Jobriath’s second, and final record titled Creatures Of The Street.  Sources claim that the music contained of Creatures are “scraps” from Jobriath. Like many of the facts that surround his life this may or may not be true. Again to revisit the unconscious side of Jobraith’s music, was it deliberate when he put himself next to Godliness on track two “Street Corner Love” by saying “I need more than religious affection”. Or in the song “Scumbag” when he sings “he used to be a famous actor, the pretty Broadway butterflies would flutter to his dressing room at night”. Is Jobriath obsessed with the fallen?, a foreshadowing perhaps for he too eventually became one among the ranks.

 

While touring the US in 1974 Jobraith recorded demos for his third untitled and currently unreleased album. What we hear in these muddled recordings is a man who will not give up. Songs like ‘Weightless” and “Actor Loves Himself Better” are sheer rockers. The demo quality in my opinion only adds to this, to the point where if I heard high quality recordings of these songs i’d be disappointed. These demos are not in any way foretelling of Jobriath’s ultimate demise, they instead sound like an artist breaking out and into a new period of his musical life.

Unfortunately in 1975 Jobraith announced his retirement from the music business, changed his name to Cole Berlin and began his career as a lounge singer in New York City. Before his death in 1983 of AIDS related illness he was working on a play. The theme song “Sunday Brunch” was, according to an interview with Jobriath “it’s about a tourist who comes to New York and he meets all these outrageous people. It’s semi-cannibalistic as he becomes eaten alive in the streets of New York”. The interview asks “is that your own experience?” to which Jobraith responds with “oh every day”.

 

In conclusion I chose to leave you with a quote  from a 1991 MTV interview with Krist Novoselic of the band Nirvana. In the interview he spoke of Nirvana’s fame and the huge success of their second album Nevermind.  Although he was speaking of Nevermind specifically, I believe it encompasses so much more. He says that “at the end of the day if you can put a record on and say “hey that’s a really great record”, then all this other junk is just irrelevant”.

An Outsider’s Musical Journey Through Three Decades Of Minimalism

(originally appeared in Thrust Magazine : December 2010)

In 2004, after 25 years as a recording artist Jandek played his first show. Since 1978 he has released over 60 albums. The clearest way that I can describe his music is to picture yourself surrounded by a perfect shell of depression, inside your worst nightmare. His guitar sound is as haunting as anything you can imagine, with a slow bluesy vocal delivery that will creep underneath your skin. Jandek’s musical output weaves a story that spans far greater than some of the most prolific artists in modern music today, all the while remaining a virtual unknown. In 1978 an album titled Ready For The House appeared out of nowhere by a band called The Units.

The album was put out on a label named Corwood Industries. The cover photograph looks to be taken in your average living room, since the colors and furniture are typical of the era; a few books rest on the table, an ashtray sits on the arm of a couch. A copy of The Complete Poems Of Christopher Marlowe sits neatly in the middle of the window sill. The back cover is black type on white— besides the titles of the nine songs contained on the album, no other information is given but the date of release, the record label, and a P.O. Box in Houston, TX. The songs on the album feature one voice, and one “out-of-tune” acoustic guitar, seemingly recorded in one sitting, edited into separate tracks. The latter is what some believe to be the result of his entire discography.

Jandek - Six And Six (1981)

Upon learning that another band existed called The Units, the artist changed his name to Jandek. As he puts it, from his only known interview in 1985 with John Trubee for Spin Magazine, “I just tried to find out some name that nobody would use. It was January, and I was speaking to someone on the phone named Dekker, so I just combined the two.”  Other than the origin of the name, some other interesting points surrounding Jandek are revealed during the interview, like the aforementioned style of guitar tuning. On his records, it sounds as if he simply picks up his guitar and sort of bangs away, with no rhythm or style. From Trubee‘s 1985 interview Jandek states, “The guitar is absolutely tuned. There’s not a time that I pick it up fresh from having left it for a while that I don’t tune it.” As far as Trubee choosing to write about Jandek, in the 2003 documentary film Jandek On Corwood, he describes his motivation behind it. “He’s underground, nobody knew about him. He was doing things on a shoe string. He wasn’t some plastic rock star put out by the major labels, which were things that I would avoid writing about because who needs to hear about them, and usually they don’t have very interesting stories.”

Things such as having a hit, making it, and chart positions were never a concern to Jandek. It is clearly the music that matters. It can be seen by looking at the covers or the information on the back cover. There are no liner notes, just music. In Jandek On Corwood, Ben Edmonds, station manager at WHPK, Univerisity Of Chicago says, “For me, the appeal of the stuff is in the way of the fact that it’s so unappealing. I don’t think people are coming to Jandek for a predictable music experience.”

Seth Tisue runs and operates the most comprehensive Internet sites on Jandek called Guide To Jandek (tisue.net/jandek/). In a 1999 Texas Monthly article by Katy Vine, Tisue had this to say about Jandek’s music. “You have to have a tolerance for really strange-sounding music. I mean, not just strange sounding but almost amateur sounding. His guitar is out of tune, and he can’t sing. People who like Jandek also appreciate the whole loner mystique.” One has to separate themselves from their own beliefs about music and art when listening to Jandek. People who listen to Jandek either love him or hate him, there really is no in-between. It takes a special person to appreciate what he’s trying to accomplish. Art and music are always subjects of debate. What one person considers a masterpiece, another may believe it to be dispensable. In the same Texas Monthly article, author Katy Vine claims to have tracked down and interviewed the man known as Jandek. “He seemed content that Jandek’s recordings were merely out there. Reviews don’t faze him, though he liked one critic’s description of the music as ‘pentatonic refractive dissonance.”

“That’s something you can use,” he said.

“Okay,” I replied. “So do you want people to get it’?”

“There’s nothing to get,” he said.

 

The Units (Jandek) - Ready For The House (1978)

I asked Angela Sawyer, owner of Weirdo Records in Cambridge, Massachusetts, who was interviewed as part of the Jandek On Corwood documentary that if there wasn’t as much of a myth behind Jandek, did she think his music would be overlooked.

“Jandek records obviously hold up beyond the novelty of personal mystery, for a couple of reasons,” she says. “For one thing, the twists and turns of the lyrics, variety of playing styles, and range of intensities in the performances over the Corwood catalog are as hair-raising as any roller coaster ride. Additionally, I would posit that when you listen to any music, you’ve begun a project to unravel an endless enigma. You certainly don’t need to read interviews, know where Jandek grew up, or how to spell his last name to figure out how to get yourself lost.”

In the 1985 John Trubree Spin Magazine telephone interview, Jandek had this to say, “I’m inordinately a private person. I have declined interviews and things like that because I just put out a product and that’s it, I don’t want to get too involved.”

To put Jandek’s career into terms that may be a bit easier to understand, look at the January 2003 Junkmedia.org interview by Ronald Andryshak with producer and director Chad Freidrichs of Jandek On Corwood. “The interest in Jandek lies somewhere in this improbable and indefinite gestalt…a situation created just as much by the fans as by Jandek himself. When you get down to it, Jandek On Corwood deals with nothing more or less than the divination of the forces that created that mystery”.

In conclusion, one thing I’d like to make perfectly clear is that this article is in no way an attempt to sum up the works by the artist known as Jandek. I feel that trying to put a career spanning 32 years into a few paragraphs is impossible to say the least. Each of his albums have something different to offer the listener. It’s up to them to gain his or her own perspective of the artist’s works.

 

 

 

 

 

 

On the brink of self-destruction: Defining Moments of The Doors, Metallica, and Brian Wilson

To describe a defining moment we must also look at it for its critical importance. Another way to look at it is, an artist on the edge. One false step and they plunge to their death or, they rise above whatever troubles may lay ahead and ultimately over come, divide, and conquer.

(1) The Doors – Isle Of Wight Festival. Isle Of Wight, England. August 29, 1970

Some may argue that the incident in Miami on March 1, 1969 wherein Jim Morrison allegedly showed his penis to the crowd supersedes their performance at the Isle Of Wight Festival on August 29, 1970. Although both are important in the way they shaped the things to come concerning the career of the band, we must look at which held more importance, while at the same time shed new light into the brilliance of what was The Doors and their music.

The Doors - Isle Of Wight August 29, 1970

The Doors - Isle Of Wight August 29, 1970

The Isle Of Wight Festival came at a time when The Doors we’re under some of the most personal and public scrutiny they’d faced in their entire career up to that point. The Miami incident occurred just five months prior to the August 1969 Woodstock Festival, and some believe to be the reason The Doors did not play. Other speculations as to why they didn’t play range from Morrison’s fear of being assassinated, the groups dislike towards outdoor concerts, Morrison’s own view of a such a “hippie gathering”, and the general feeling of the insignificance of an outdoor festival on a pig farm in Upstate, NY. We of course now know the overwhelming importance, as well as the ground breaking cultural significance of the Woodstock Festival.

The Doors performing at The Isle Of Wight Festival also occurred while Morrison’s case was still pending appeal. One only has to look at their performance of “When The Music’s Over” to gain a true understanding behind the fury of Morrison’s vocal delivery. It seems as if he was able to harness the anger assigned to him by the media, the public, left wing organisations, and fans. The tension during their their performance is palpable yet we can also see it in the eyes of the other members, it’s that of an un-conscious understanding that translates on stage during the show. In the end, perhaps music really is your only friend.

After the release of Morrison Hotel, Absolutely Live, and LA Woman, Morrison moved to Paris with his girlfriend. On July 3, 1971 he was found dead in his bathtub. Their performance at the Isle Of Wight Festival to me, is a defining moment. At no other point can we look at The Doors and see a closeness that resonates so heavily between four musicians then we can at that very moment. The Doors plow through just 10 songs, their tenacity and conviction can be felt not only by watching the performance, but it translates onto the audio recording as well. Forget about all the drugs and excess because this is truly a moment, captured in time that resonates louder than any conspiracy, or rumor concocted by the media throughout their career. What’s more critically important than that? (On a side note, Jim Morrison received a full pardon for the Miami incident on December 9, 2010, just under 40 years after Morrison’s death and 41 years after the initial incident. The three remaining members to this day deny ever seeing Morrison’s penis on stage that night.)

(2) Metallica – The recording of St. Anger. San Francisco, CA. January 2001- July 2001/December 2001 – April 2003.

Metallica - St. Anger

Metallica - St. Anger

Metallica is one of the most popular Metal bands of all time. Their records have sold a combined total of over 100 million copies worldwide. After the highly publicized departure of bassist Jason Newsted, (album producer Bob Rock filled in for the recording of St. Anger.) Metallica began recording their eighth studio album St. Anger in January of 2001 in San Francisco. The events that took place during the recording/therapy process are documented in the film Some Kind Of Monster. St. Anger was released on June 5, 2003 and reached number one in over 30 countries.

The album features not one trademark Kirk Hammet guitar solo. Raw, and heavier than recent (excluding Death Magnetic) Metallica albums to some, it’s their least favorite out of the bands discography. One can’t help but notice the atrocious snare drum sound and perhaps the forced sound of Hetfeild’s vocals and the albums collaborative lyrical content. At the same time of the albums recording, drummer Lars Ulrich was in the process of suing Napster which resulted in a backlash from even the most die-hard fans. One that we haven’t seen since John Lennon’s “we’re more popular than Jesus” comment resulting in public outcry and community album burning parties back in August of 1966.

The album itself received an array of mixes reviews. Some stated it’s sound as that of a messy demo, others said that the sound of four guys jamming in a garage was a welcomed departure. In writing this section of this piece I forced myself to listen to St. Anger in it’s entirety. At times I was quite shocked at how terrible it really is yet, at other moments in the record Metallica’s sound harkens back to …And Justice For All and earlier releases such as Master Of Puppets and Ride The Lightening. It’s defiantly not something I could ever put on and listen to in it’s entirety again. Some fans may disagree and that’s great. Opinions, critiques, judgements, and reviews aside. I think Metallica and the recording of St. Anger is a defining moment because the band was on the brink of breaking up during the entire recording process.Tensions were at an all time high and Hetfield’s departure during recording to attend rehab left Lars and Kirk in limbo, contemplating their futures.

In Some Kind Of Monster, Lars states that, “we’ve proven that you can make aggressive music without negative energy between the people creating it”. Hetfield adds that, “more than any other record, this is like a diary, here’s our memories on CD”. This comes at the very end of the documentary and I think it sums up a lot about the band and their ability to push through and climb that self-destructive mountain to come out on the other side, cleansed and free from burden. Five years later in 2008 Metallica released Death Magnetic which is by far their greatest album since Master Of Puppets. Death Magnetic debuted at number one and made many year end top album lists of 2008. To me, their success post St. Anger proves that the band could have very well faltered, crumbled, crashed and burned. This of course was not the case and 30 years on since their formation, Metallica is still out there, touring and recording today.

(3) Brian Wilson – Brian Wilson Presents Smile officially released on September 28, 2004

Brian Wilson Presents Smile

Brian Wilson Presents Smile

In 1966 The Beach Boys released one of the most influential and critically acclaimed albums of all time called Pet Sounds. Although at the time the other members we’re against the album as a whole, due to the fact the token “surf sound” that had been so successful in the past was completing missing from the album. Released on May 16, 1966 it reached #10. Pet Sounds has since gone on to Gold and Platinum status receiving accolades from the likes of Paul McCartney, Elton John, The Rolling Stones, and Eric Clapton. The “failed success” of the album weighed heavy especially on Brian Wilson who had stopped touring with The Beach Boys prior to the recording of Pet Sounds.

Unknown to Wilson and the band, Brian was suffering from undiagnosed schizophrenia and bi-polar disorder, which wasn’t properly diagnosed until the late eighties. Upon completion of Pet Sounds in April of 1966 Brian set out recording what was to be his opus, Smile. During the recording sessions Brian Wilson suffered a mental breakdown and the album was shelved. In order to “appease the masses” The Beach Boys hastily put together Smiley Smile which was released in September of 1967. The album was full of song scraps and odd themes and most fans stayed away. Of course, like any true masterpiece the album now receives high praise and is among the favourites of many Beach Boy fans.

From about 1968 to 1988, Brian Wilson underwent a serious of mood swings, stages of depression which ranged from staying in bed for months at a time, overeating, and massive drug intake both prescribed and un-prescribed. He also had little or no interest in The Beach Boys music or the other four members. Finally seeking therapy in 1975, the turn around in his musical and personal life began to change for the better. Wilson returned to music with the release of 1988’s Brian Wilson with little fanfare. After the release of his self-titled album, other albums came in a scattering over the next 16 years before Wilson finally released Smile on September 28, 2004.

So what makes Brian Wilson releasing Smile after shelving it 37 years earlier a defining moment?

Consider this, after almost four decades of decadence, depression, fatherhood, therapy, scrutiny from family, friends, and fans, Wilson returned with a project that had collected dust for 37 years. With the help of long time friend and collaborator Van Dyke Parks Smile was released to the public. To me, the pressure, and the hype surrounding the release of such an undertaking considering Wilson’s inability to comfortably handle criticism is an astounding accomplishment. Smile received a massive amount of critical praise as well as several Grammy nominations. Critics and fans alike applauded it’s release and Rolling Stone Magazine placed it on their list as one of the most important albums of the last decade.

When an artist takes a moment to create something that perhaps could be detrimental to their career, I think it’s commendable, whether planned or un-planned as in the case of The Doors at Isle Of Wight. I’m sure there are millions upon millions of cases of artists who had their own defining moment, as well as some that did not. They perhaps chose to let their success go to their heads and inevitably their moment is sometimes forgotten, especially when tragedy is involved. Such as Joe Meek, who gained success with a track called “Telstar” by The Tornados. Meeks inability to properly manage it’s success as well as growing paranoia that his phones were tapped by Decca in order to steal his ideas eventually led to the accidental murder of his landlady and Meek’s own suicide. It’s hard to say who remembers him for what. This holds true to the artists discussed here. Many will remember The Doors for their hit “Light My Fire” and nothing more. Metallica’s history is rife with tragedy, alcohol, and the bands highly documented squabbles. Others know them for much more, such as a band with a genre defying punk rock attitude whilst immersing themselves in the Metal scene.

The same holds true for Brian Wilson. To some, The Beach Boys were simply a fun, surf rock band with a sound sure to liven any beach party. Others can look at their post Pet Sounds-era output as pure and unadulterated genius. Albums such as Smiley Smile, Wild Honey, and 20/20 contain some of the most rockin’, and often times heartfelt songs of their career. It’s ultimately up to us what we choose to listen to and what we choose to avoid. It’s always in our best interest to dig deep, and look beyond the charts for purity in today’s music. I’m sure that if we do, there are many gems that have gone un-noticed due to our own close mindedness. It doesn’t matter that in 2011 you’re finally listening to an album that came out in 1969, the point is that at least you’re hearing it now, just be happy with that.

R.E.M. – Discover

With a career spanning over 30 years, R.E.M. are influential legends. Should it come as no surprise that their newest album titled Collapse Into Now released on March 7th is their best album since 1994’s Monster ?

To some, a band with over 15 albums (not including singles, compilation tracks and EP’s) under their belt, may find it difficult to imagine such a creative force having anything new to say. Track one is called “Discover” and I’m sure it’ll put all doubters to shame. Michael Stipe, Peter Buck, and Mike Mills are back with an explosive introductory track. Guest vocals from another influential legend by the name of Patti Smith send this song screaming into the chorus. Other well known musicians featured on the album include, Eddie Vedder, Lenny Kaye, and Peaches. Stipe sings of being laughably wrong, the educated wit that has been a staple in the R.E.M. cannon shines bright on “Discover”. “I don’t have to feel so wrong now, I wake up dreaming saffron, turmeric and brass”. With lines such as these, the band paints an imagery un-like any other group in modern music today.

“Discover” has in it the energy and drive that will make you want to get out and do just that, discover. “That just the slightest bit of finesse, might have made a little less mess. But it was what it was, let’s all get on with it now”. Although in the live video, Stipe, Mills, and Buck are much, much older and greyer, the fury and intensity is something they cannot shake. “Let’s all get on with it now”.

Parts & Labor – Constant Future

Parts & Labor - Constant Future

Parts & Labor are always coming out with something raw, emotional, and cathartic. If you go all the way back to 2006 with Stay Afraid, or 2003’s Groundswell, the same supercharged feeling encompasses’ every record. On March 8th they released Constant Future, their fourth full length with Jagjaguwar. Track one is called “Fake Names”. It open with a happiness like that of a snowy morning when everything seems right in your life. A slow building of tom fills by drummer Joe Wong pushes us along with the distant sound of whirling instrumentation that matches and elevates as the drums do the same.

As uplifting as even the most stripped down Arcade Fire song, we move to track two, “Outnumbered”. There is no slowing down as dreamy electronics start us out. Not a moment later the track picks up quickly with vocalist/guitarist Dan Friel calling out, “so outnumbered, beleaguered caught unaware”. A dense, low end brings the listener down to Dan’s level of being overcrowded. The track ends abruptly with a scream like no other from Mr. Friel as the songs literally grinds to a shocking halt. “Constant Future” is the title track from the album coming in at number three. So far the most danceable and the heaviest thus far, minus the intro to track one. “Constant Future” has a Gospel Choir quality to it is the chorus, with a truly space-aged feel behind the entire track. All too ironic is this outer space typed sound incorporated within’ a track that says goodbye to the future, only to seemingly welcome it with the backing track.

On track four, “A Thousand Roads” we’re met with some of the most uplifting sounds ever placed within a four minute span. Although uplifting, lyrically we’re not met with anything more than spite. “Bathe in overflowing drains as the dried up blades piss on your parade”. Friel follows with what can be nothing more than a tale of two people meeting on a sexual plane rather than an intellectual one. “Out torsos sweating more so than our minds. Has it always been the blind leading the blind or bleeding the blind”. Wow, a broken heart with the likelihood of someone’s inability to take ownership for their actions?

“Rest” is track five and it begins as anything but the feeling of relaxation. A cool, smooth vibe is there though with a crunch that makes your eyes squint. Another tale of a couple possibly biding their time while the “spinning clocks have come to rest and done their best to throw us, we’re still hanging on with both our hands”. A better outcome perhaps than with “A Thousand Roads”. So we see there may be a little bit of light at the end of the tunnel. This album just keeps moving even if track six is a little slower than what we’ve heard so far. With “Pure Annihilation” we’re met with the same irony as “Rest”. As far as Parts & Labor goes, the matching of the feel of the song with the title is something they ignore, and good for them. Lets get the rug pulled out from underneath our feet, it keeps the blood flowing, and makes this CD that much more interesting. The best way to understand the pairing of title and feel is to read the lyrics after you listen to the song. It’ll really shed a whole new light into the tracks. This holds true especially with “Pure Annihilation”.

Parts & Labor - three brilliant boys

“Skin And Bones” carries with it an almost Devo-esq, robotic feel throughout. Keeping things consistent is that ever present heaviness that draws you in. The latter being among the many things that make Parts & Labor as well as Constant Future as a whole so breathtakingly magnificent. What almost sounds like a distorted cello mixed with Wendy Carlos’ Switched On Bach LP we have track eight, “Echo Chamber”. The song relates very much to that of someone screaming inside of a hollow room, only to be met with their own voice reverberating back. An empty city, “people running, breaking our necks squinting skyward, beaten, borrowed, begged and bartered”. It’s as if the our homes have sucked us dry, and every sense we had of ourselves has been stolen or lost.

Like a heartbeat, pounding out our life’s blood “Without A Seed” is track nine. The second shortest shortest song on the album yet perhaps the most poignant. “Crawling through the garden, creeping through the greenery foraging forgotten flowers. Nothing grown without a seed”. Mid-way through the the song reaches a blazing crescendo that forces this message upon us, only to drop back down in the quietness of a whisper. We’re left with the last words to send us off, “nothing grows without a seed”. We’ve been told, now it’s up to us. A fade in bring us to track ten, “Bright White”. An overall poppy, Faint influenced cut from the record is all over this track. Near the end an explosive Eddie Van Halen style electronic, charging rhythm pounds at our eardrums.

Distortion, as well as a pulsing  hi-hat open “Hurricane”. With a slow, bouncy introduction vocalist Dan Friel brings us down once again with a bit of self-realisation. “I use to be a hurricane but now I’m just a breeze”. The track blows away any feelings of regret with a meaty guitar line that seems like it cam straight from the In Utero mixing board.  Rounding out this album is track twelve, “Neverchanger”.

By the time you reach the last song on the album you’re figuring there’s no way a band could come up with a perfectly sequenced album that is flawless. Well think again. Nothing short of a miracle we have twelve tracks that feature no filler. Each and every second  of this 39min opus is pure beauty, mixed with aggression, rage, loss, heartbreak, and regret. Some of the most relatable human emotions in the world. With Constant Future , Parts & Labor have given us a monumental record. One that you can play over and over again and it will never grow stale. That is a wonderful accomplishment in a time of such swill.

Kanye West – Lost In The World (fea. Bon Iver)

Alright, since no one else is going to do it I guess I have to. I feel an obligation of sorts to speak out against such a thing happening in this day and age. I’ve read the story and I know that Kanye and Justin Vernon (aka Bon Iver) are good friends. Vernon flew to Hawaii to record his part for “Lost In The World”. West and Vernon played basketball together, and you know sure, that sounds lovely and all but something awful was brewing underneath the whole time…a collaboration!

I understand that Kanye West is seen as some sort of new voice in the rap world and back in the day I did give him a proper listen. The College Dropout hit like a bomb back in 2004 and thrust Kanye into the spotlight and he has since then had a lucrative career. I myself had enough with one spin through the album. I just didn’t need to hear another African American rapper speak on how the white man was getting him down. I feel that although the subject of racism is unfortunately and regrettably still at the forefront of our everyday life, at the time I was looking for something fresh and original. A new voice if you will, speaking about something that hadn’t been touched on yet and I simple couldn’t find it in Mr. West. The only thing I could find myself latching onto for a brief moment was his 2008 album 808’s & Heartbreak.

Fast-forward to 2010’s My Dark And Twisted Fantasy. Track 12, “Lost In The World” is not the only collaboration with Bon Iver found on the album, I choose not to go there at this moment nor will I in the future, ever. The track starts with a sample of “Woods” off of Bon Iver’s 2009 EP titled Blood Bank. Woods has obviously been changed to World to suit the song. I don’t dis-credit Kanye for not having anything to say, for me to state such a thing would be ludicrous. What I’m saying is that, we can see Run DMC and Aerosmith working together on “Walk This Way” as an idea that makes sense. In the end it helped re-launch Aerosmith’s career so it can easily be seen as a good thing. Another prime example is “Bring The Noise” with Public Enemy and Anthrax. Those two examples are classic tales of rock and rap coming together for a common cause to release a song not necessarily to prove a point, but to say that music sees no color. Perhaps also in the same way it speaks to us, forcing us to step outside our own comfortable little box. In hopefully going so far as to realize that there are a lot of other different styles of music out there that we should be aware of, and listen to.

When I first heard about this collaboration between West and Vernon my first thought was, “why?”, followed by just about every question you could think of that one asks themselves upon hearing something so shocking, that it unwinds your very being in disbelief. “If we died in each others arms, still get laid in the afterlife”. If Kanye is trying to do what he says he is in “Lost In The World”, that is attempting to escape from being lost in a plastic life then perhaps he’d do better going back to 2004 and trying it again.

In the end, I hold every second of every Bon Iver song very, very close to my heart. His music has helped me through a lot of very difficult times in my life as music tends to do with many people. It’s difficult for me to understand the relation to these two artists in a clear light. But, the respect you have for one musician and lack for the other is in fact a matter of opinion. Others may see this collaboration as magic, eye opening, and beautiful. Others may see it as two artists coming together to serve no purpose other than to upset the listener. The latter is of course how I see it. My opinion and nothing more. Fans of Kanye are just that and will be for their own reasons and that’s great. Others describe Bon Iver as nails on a chalk board. And Kanye has been said to be bringing hip-hop back, whatever that means. I never knew it went away. The fact being that this is an example, although stealing a page from Run DMC et. al. of two artists coming together for a common purpose, music. I hope this track does speak to someone, then it will have served a purpose. Other than that I cannot go beyond that one, very small dream that at least one person will “get it”.

what makes an Icon, an Icon, and Michael McClure can suck it.

a classic tale of a classic albums as told by a bunch of classic douchebags

A Campell’s soup can or the first African American president?

I ask this question that is found in the title of this post after watching Classic Albums:The Doors. Never, well I cannot say never but for now I’ll use it. Never in my life have I laughed at the overwhelming absurdity contained in a 45 minute span than as I did watching said documentary.

To listen to Henry Rollins describe what a life changing album The Doors first record was is just un-bearable. No wait, I think listening to Perry Ferrell talk about giving his kid the first Doors album and telling his kid what a momentous album it is, was a shock. I side with Paul McCartney who stated that Pet Sounds would be given to his children.

There’s nothing more upsetting then listening to 3 scabby old men talk about the glory days of the 60’s and how Jim Morrison was this genius poet. Ray Manzerek goes through the part where Morrison sang “Moonlight Drive” to him on the beach. “oh those lyrics are great!..let’s start a rock and roll band man!”

It’s also interesting to hear all the members basically admitting to ripping off genre’s and artists. Everyone from James Brown to Salsa to Latin.

I do not believe that Jim Morrison shit gold or that his words we’re just oozing with poetic genius. The Doors were fucking good but when you start putting things such as this on a pedestal it may take away from any sort of enjoyment you might get from simply putting on that record. Michael McClure reading the opening lines to “Break On Through(To The Other Side)” was also jaw dropping in all it’s pretentious glory. “Break on through to the other side, break on through to the other side, break on through to the other side yeah. Oh that’s heavy right there”. Is it?

Maybe my problem is that I didn’t live in LA in 1966. I don’t understand that mentality. So when lyrics like that are presented to me, I scoff.

On the other hand, I love The Doors. It makes no sense I know but I do. I bought that DVD for a reason. Because when I was 12 years old I heard “Soul Kitchen” and that was the beginning for me. A Doors fan for life. I just never considered Jim Morrison a poet. I think his lyrics are good, and no, I couldn’t do any better. I just think, music is what matters. People put too much emphasis on the legend, the myth, the man/woman..always and forever.

I guess the point is that I never realized what a group of pretentious assholes the remaining members of The Doors are. They may be super nice guys, but the DVD does not portray them that way…at all.

All you really need is to sit and put on “Not To Touch The Earth”, fucking forget the memories fellas.