by Tom Hallett
He peered over his whiskey sour and raised one greying, bushy eyebrow. ďWell, I could give two fat fucks about gas prices or the ozone layer. Iíll drive until they pry my fingers off of the steering wheel, and I donít think thatís gonna happen.Ē I shrugged and grunted, turning back to my vodka OJ and stubbing out my twentieth Marlboro Light of the day. Iíd just quit another lousy day job, my head was pounding, and a few scattered but highly embarrassing memories of the night before were starting to skitter back through my consciousness. The mad ranting of a disaffected city bus driver with bad teeth and some kind of horrific skin condition ranked pretty low on my list of priorities.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK: “Beware the flag suckers. They will run you
down and eat your flesh but not your heart or brain, for they are unclean.”
— Dr. Hunter S. Thompson
SONG OF THE WEEK: “I’ll Be Damned” — Slobberbon
I signaled the bulbous, slow-moving bartender by shaking my nearly empty glass,
and the tinkling of the half-melted cubes rang out like tiny bells. From the
jukebox near the back of the room, Bob Seger moaned about not needing tomorrow,
a rail-thin crack whore danced grimly with an imaginary partner, and outside,
the early afternoon sun beat mercilessly down on the tired pavement. Day drinking.
It should be done alone, in private, and preferably in the nude. None of which
can accomplished in a dive bar called the Stop-And-Drop Inn near the southern
border of Illinois.
lot being what is was, however, the S&DI would have to do. After all, one
can’t achieve that particular brand of alcohol-induced depravity so necessary
to the creative process listening to the incessant screech of Skil saws, the
off-time pounding of Estwing hammers and the shouting of inbred, yellow-T-shirt
bedecked construction laborers. Not without eventually grabbing a nail gun and
tearing out of the house like some fever-ridden jungle warrior and tacking every
one of the motherfuckers to the side of the gazebo they’re building in
the yard next door. Sigh. Drunken bus drivers, lazy bartenders, Bob Seger and
lonely crack whores wouldn’t have been the first invitees to my Ultimate
Feel Sorry For Yourself And Drink Until The Skin Under Your Eyebrows Dries Up
And Peels Off Party, but hey, it was the best I could do on short notice.
The question was, could I maintain that delicate balance of prickly, inebriated
souse and objective music critic (What a fucking joke that term is, always reminds
me of Zappa’s quote, “Writing about music is like dancing about
architecture,” and I loved Zappa but that always leads to thoughts about
the horrendous irony of a man who made a career singing about assholes—both
kinds—dying of cancer of the asshole. Who says God doesn’t have
a sense of humor?) long enough to zip out an album review and lay down some
local music news? Or would the incessant rambling of the diesel-befouled, gape-mouthed,
movie monster of a bus driver send me over the edge? Would I eventually grab
the stack of quarters I’d squirreled aside to feed the jukebox, wrestle
him to the floor and, amid piles of putrid peanut shells, useless pull-tab tickets,
and empty plastic beer cups, begin methodically shoving them up his ass while
screaming, “CORRECT CHANGE ONLY, MOTHERFUCKER!! CORRECT CHANGE ONLY!!”?
I looked down at the disc I’d planned on reviewing that morning, before
the cacophony next door had begun. The new Dandy Warhols. Where would those
artists, if they had a say in it, prefer that I review their album? At home,
where the extras from “Deliverance” were busy building a sadistic
monument to their own twisted sense of suburban beautification? At the public
library, where I’d sit in uncomfortable silence and inevitably drift off
into dreams of narcotics, the girl at the next table over, vodka and cheap beer?
Or here, at the Stop-And-Drop Inn, where there was a good to great chance I’d
end up in some kind of bloody altercation with one of the fading, crusty minions
of Bacchus or passed out in a crappy, fake leather booth near the jukebox? Fuck
it, I thought. I’m here, I’m on my way to a decent buzz, and Seger
just died away. I took my stack of quarters and my fresh screwdriver and headed
toward the back of the room...
Odditorium Or Warlords Of Mars
On Odditorium ... their fifth album proper, Portland, Ore.’s Dandy
Warhols continue to live up to their well-deserved rep as sharp purveyors of
modern psychadelic pop/rock. Though the tracks veer wildly from the long, dark
and sexy (the nine-and-a-half minute opus “Love Is The New Feel Awful”)
to the short, sweet and twangy (the two-minute cowpoke romp “The New Country”)
and the just-right-for-baby-bear (the loopy, driving, four-minute shout-along
single “Smoke It”), there’s a certain overall cohesion to
this record that seemed to be missing from the band’s last couple releases.
Lead singer/guitarist/songwriter Courtney Taylor-Taylor (he added the extra
“Taylor” to his name after a reviewer accidentally did the same
thing awhile back), guitarist Peter Holmstrom, keyboardist Zia McCabe and drummer
Brent DeBoer create here the type of mind-fuck, uber-pop masterpiece that their
influences Lou Reed, David Bowie and The Cars were once so adept at crafting.
One caveat: This savvy, experimental, ROCKING collection of songs deserves to
be played louder than God on acid or at the very least, over a pair of ass-kicking
headphones. Do yourself a favor—crank it up, crank it wayyyyyyy up!! Street
LOCAL MUSIC TIDBITS:
to Twin Cities rockers THE RAKES, who are calling it quits after five-plus years
on the scene. Aaron Pruitt, Steve Dupuis, Jon Sawyer and Brian Mondl have announced
that their recent album, Automatic Volume, will very likely be their
last as a unit. Big ups to the boys for some highly memorable shows, great parties
and excellent bar-side bullshittin’ over the years. Here’s a short
quote from Aaron himself: “... thank you all for your support over the
last few years. The Rakes have all had a great time sharing in so many musical
and social moments with you. I’m sure most of you have a specific story
about us, and each of The Rakes has so many more great stories thanks to you.
We’ll see you at a show sometime, share a beer, and just enjoy the rock
and roll.” Best of luck, gang! Check out TheRakes.com
* Congratulations to singer/guitarist/songwriter Dan Israel of Cultivators
fame, and his wife Lisa, on the August 12 birth of their son, Isaac David Israel.
I can’t think of another local rocker who’ll make a better papa—good
on you, Danny boy!! On Monday, 8/29, and Tuesday, 8/30, The Cultivators will
play three shows daily at the Minnesota State Fair on the Teen Stage, beginning
at 12:30 p.m. Free with Fair admission. Check out their site TheCultivators.com
for more info.
as hell at work? Got a computer? For some online fun, check out my pal and fellow
scribe Bill Tuomala’s (he’s the deliciously twisted mastermind behind
my favorite local ‘zine, EXILED ON MAIN STREET) site ExiledRadio.com,
where you’ll find a couple of home-style radio shows put together and
hosted by the man himself. With music ranging from classic bar-belters (Jeff
Beck’s “I’ve Been Drinking Again”) to ‘80s hard
rock to prime-era country, plus Bill’s bibulous banter, these are some
of the most interesting radio moments I’ve experienced this side of the
ol’ Earwig in quite a spell. Great stuff!!
Time to wrap it up for another week, my swingin’ little city slickers.
Spin that dial right back here next week, same time, same page, for more of
the same. Until we cross paths again—make yer own damn news.
If you have local music news/gigs/CDs you’d like to see mentioned
in this column, or you’d just like to throw in your own lousy two cents,
send replies to: Tmygunn777@peoplepc.com. ||