Saturday, October 22, 2016

Ten Years Old

You know, the drummer was only 10 years old in that video. Not 10 years old like 10 years and 364 days, either. He was 10.

He's not 10 any more. He's gotten big for his age, so no one gets the extra frisson that they got when you could only see the top of his head behind the drums. He looks older than his 13 years now. He plays even better, but he's always been good.

I said it at the time, and upon reflection, I'll say it again: He was the best 10-year-old drummer in the world. I have no idea why the world wasn't particularly interested in him or his brother. They were rara avises, man. He was playing for folding money, for hours at a time, when he was 10. Hell, I think big brother was only 17 at the time. He was performing live with only a 10-year-old drummer to back him up. I ask again, why did the world not care about them much? I still don't get it. This video has 800 views. If they had stepped on a rake while recording it with their phone held vertically, it would have gotten 800,000. Ah well, that's the way of the world, and we must live in it.

You might not notice it, but he was exhausted when this song was filmed. It was fairly late at night. My kids were supposed to play in the afternoon, but the gig got postponed over and over because of monsoon rains. Biblical rain. We go to music jobs early, because I've taught my children to act professionally right from the get-go. We sat in our van, listening to drops like dinner plates hammer the roof, ate our bag lunches, and waited. The job kept getting put off. The nice people who hired us offered to pay us and send us home, but we said we'd signed up to do a job, and we'd do it. We waited some more, and then drove to a local fast-food restaurant, sat in the van, and ate that. Then we waited some more. The kids didn't play until 8 hours after we left our house.

The crowd was really enthusiastic and pleasant. They were sophisticates. They were art college students from New York City. They were pleasantly surprised that my older son had a repertoire of hipster-compliant songs like this one to play. Their enthusiasm turned into an extra hour of performance.

Watch the little man. His arms are like lead. He's been playing for two hours straight. He was waiting in a car for eight more before that. This was the latest he'd ever been awake, never mind playing. Watch his eyes at the one-minute-and-twenty-five-second mark.

That's my boy.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Let's Hear It For the Diminutive King of the Franks

I know they didn't intend it that way, but Steely Dan lyrics are like a torture device for Japanese singers. Forget melisma. They don't have dipthongs. Steely Dan is a dipthong factory. The song starts with while, for gosh sake. Sake, not sake, I meant.

Did Steely Dan ever dream they'd be a champion in their eyes? They said they did, obliquely, anyway. They testified under oath that angular banjos sounded good to them. But you always hurt the ones you love, don't you? Careful what you carry is borderline cruel, dudes.

The band is uber-Japanese. No, they're not in a cab. They apologize in the YouTube description of the video. So much face. So little time:
Sorry for a mistake in the interlude guitar solo. We will update the song soon.

It's just another thing that Steely Dan got exactly right for the Rising Sun market. I imagine that many a session guitarist looked at Becker and Fagen and said, "Sorry for the mistake in the interlude guitar solo," knowing full well it would be their last day on the job.

Still, here we are. Steely Dan is worshiped a bit in Japan. They're not THE God. But they're gods, surely.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Needs More Kantela

This is the greatest concert I've ever heard of. It makes Woodstock look like Monday night in a Chinese restaurant lounge in Milford, Mass. Don't ask me how I know what that's like.

This video gets pulled from YouTube faster than I can keep up with it. The video quality in this one is set on Etch-A-Sketch through a periscope, but you get the idea. The whole thing is sublime.

The main performers are a spoof. More to the point, they are a metaspoof. There's layers to it. They are pretending to be Russians who are pretending to be American. They're actually Finnish. If you know anything about Finland, you know how extraordinary this performance is. The concert in the video is from 1993. Think of that. Some Finns in a band called Sleepy Sleepers started mocking Mockba when the Soviet bear starting losing its fastball. Not long after, the Berlin wall came down and the world was a better place for everyone, especially Russians.

Finns and Russians fought some wars, I tell you what. What you're watching is the implacable becoming placable. That's a real Russian military band performing with Finns in downtown Helsinki. It's glorious, every which way. To return to my comparison to Woodstock, it's as if the National Guard from Kent State sang backup for Hendrix with Nixon conducting.

The band is the Leningrad Cowboys. I adore the description of the band in Wikipedia. Genre?
  • Comedy rock
  • Rock and roll
  • Hard rock
  • Heavy metal
  • Glam metal
  • Alternative metal
  • Industrial metal
  • Folk metal
That's a lot of attempts to avoid admitting you have no idea what to call it.

Rock music is stupid. Stop blustering. Admit it. C'mon. You know in your heart I'm right. You just don't want to admit it. Repeat after me: It's stoopid.

Why can't you just embrace it? It's dumb, but it can be dumb fun. There's no dumber fun than Happy Together by the Turtles. You can tell The Turtles were trying to stretch the limits of banality they could pawn off as a pop song. Me and you, and you and me... The Fluorescent Leech and Eddie knew rock was dumb, and they loved it, and they took it up a notch or three.

Finland's a big place without many people in it. Essentially, the entire country went to this show. No one was claiming they were going to save the world with three chords and some caterwauling. They simply noticed the world had already been saved, and had a party. And that party was a stone groove. 

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Disneyland 1956

Before my time, but not ancient to me. I remember Old Walt holding court on Sunday nights on TV when I was a kid. For some reason, I mostly remember his clothes. He seemed to be nothing more than a delivery system for exactly 1/2" of white cuff showing and a pocket square, pure white.

The park was always an abstraction to families like us. It was on the other end of the continent. That sort of vacation was foreign to us. It was something for really wealthy people, you know, like plumbers or car salesmen.

The kids in the video all grew up and completely rejected the culture that produced them, and that built that park. Their children all go to the park. I assume they go alone, because they don't seem to have any kids.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

It Touches My Foolish Heart

Rocky Gresset can play faster than anyone who can play better. He can play better than anyone who can play faster.

Rocky Gresset

Saturday, October 08, 2016

Torn From the Virtual Pages of the Maine Craigslist

The Maine Craigslist is a hoot. It mostly features stuff for sale that the owner would be hard pressed to give away. In general, the prices look slightly higher to my eye than if the article in question was new. More than a few things look like something you'd have to pay folding money to get hauled away, so the owner is selling them instead.

Maybe Craigslist is like that everywhere. How would I know? We mostly give away things when we don't use them anymore. It's not because we're wealthy. Just the opposite. Poor people, by definition, can't be cheapskates. There's nothing to part with, so there's nothing to part with grudgingly.

Of course I featured the Most Maineiest Maine Thing in the Maine Craigslist already. It was a tank.I don't need a tank, so I'm out of the running. Don't get me wrong; I want a tank. I just don't need a tank. But I bet someone did. There's a butt for every seat, as they say.

This is in Craigslist today:

That's a 1959 Rambler American. When I was little, my parents toted us around in a Rambler American station wagon, and I have a soft spot for it. I want that more than I want a tank.

There's lots of reasons I want it. It's only 5 grand. I don't have five large, but it's not IPO-type money or anything. The number hangs around in my mind in the future cardfile, not the hereafter microfiche.

I can fix that car. It doesn't need fixing right now, but if the ballast resistor blows, I know where to look for it. You can sit right in the engine compartment and work on the engine. In the winter you can leave it running while you bang on it. That's cozy.

It's blissfully free of encumbering devices like seat belts. Fine with me I don't want to linger. Most of all, I want it more than a tank because there's more steel in a '59 Rambler than in a tank, so it has higher scrap value in the long run.  

Friday, October 07, 2016