Monday, September 15, 2008

"There's more to the picture/Than meets the eye...."

To begin on an optimistic note, and specifically something I've (deliberately) kept mum in the event it came to nothing, I have joined another band in Bloomington. The guy who lived across from Daniel and me this summer - once again, his name is Eric; what is up with this? Dad, my brother, Condon, my brother's future father-in-law... - bumped into me and it turned out to be at just the right moment. We talked about music, I mentioned how my status as a musician was "single and looking."

He got in touch with me earlier this week, and as it would turn out I knew another guy in the band through Eric Condon. Small town.

Anyway, the music was good. Not really like anything I've ever played before, in that I'm a lot more subdued. I like it - and quite frankly it takes skill to be able to play in a tempered style without going apeshit all over the kit. More importantly, the songs themselves were carried musically by the entire band, not just the rhythm section (the band actually doesn't have a bassist right now), not just a hot-shit guitar solo in every single song, not just an eccentric lead singer. Not that I dig the music of the group The Band (in fact, I gave my copy of their greatest hits to Forrest), but I can certainly understand how a group that existed for the sake of music seemed like such a breath of fresh air to people like George Harrison and Eric Clapton. Especially since neither of them were in ideal situations in their bands at the time (Clapton was in Cream when The Band appeared on the scene.)

Speaking of The Beatles - and I'm not complaining here - but Shelley's iTunes on random play has shown favor toward Beatles tunes from 1969: "Don't Let Me Down" (underrated), "I Me Mine" (amazing), and "Old Brown Shoe" (an unsung favorite of mine) out of the past four songs. Maybe there really is a little man in their pushing buttons...

I spent most of Wednesday at the music library on this very laptop hijacking the music of Captain Beefheart and The Residents. So far, so awesome. I don't really know where to begin, both talking about them to you or listening (especially with a band as prolific as The Residents.) All I can say is expect an occasional rant about them.

And m@: "O Superman" by Laurie Anderson is on the listening list for the 70's and 80's class. Shelley thought it was great, I thought it was good. I was blown away by Brian Eno's music, as well as the precursor to Cheap Trick's albums 'Heaven Tonight' and 'Dream Police' that is the song "Fox On The Run" by Sweet (of "Ballroom Blitz" fame). Also, after much deliberation, I still can't abide most British art rock. I find it to be the definition of pretentious crap (besides Stan Brakhage's horseshit experiments in cinema). Each time I hear it, I think to myself, "No wonder punk rock swept in and took over so easily...and THANK GOD!" At which point the MP3 player in my head cues up "Anarchy In The U.K." by The Sex Pistols at top volume...



Man! Is that not a bucket of cold water in the middle of July? A shock at first, but in the long run just what you needed?

In other news: Sarah Palin. I hate her guts. Let's leave it at that.

As a follow-up to my last entry about how crucial it is that I bust ass out of here as soon as I can, I can only say the signs in real life are/have been stacking up. And before I enumerate them, I'll go ahead and say yes, I know sometimes I'm picking and choosing things and saying it applies to me and/or is a message. But it works for me, this is my blog, and if you don't like it then you can create your own and say so.

To begin, there's my living situation. I've actually sat down and talked with Kieth a few times this past week. He's a nice guy, very down-to-earth and has a big heart. What he went through with his parents doing all sorts of nutty shit in the name of Jesus I wouldn't wish on my worst enemies. More importantly, his is a completely different perspective on their relationship, told in confidence - which I shall respect - and not rehearsed and told and retold again and again. (Do you see what I'm hinting at?) I heard things that convinced me I wasn't being told the complete truth, not to mention that I gained a lot more sympathy for Kieth regarding both his past and his present.

What I can say is this: Graham's complaint that Kieth was cold and distant can actually be more easily said from Kieth about Graham. Graham had his facts straight, he just painted himself out to be the victim.

On the subject of my past statements and assumptions: the big one is I stand corrected in believing everything I hear. Though, in my own defense, I was convinced I was being told the truth.

I told both of them in April I was going to remain neutral in all conflicts, but unfortunately when they break up, one of them has to leave. And it won't be the one enrolled at IU Bloomington. So I'm already on a side by default. To be honest, I'm not sure it's the right side anymore. I know to take Kieth's word with a grain of salt, but I also know to take Graham's with a cup.

The second sign I have to get out of here is my job at Spencer's. No reflection on my coworkers, I enjoy working, joking, and making fun of people with them. It's a reflection on the people I see come into the store. I have heard this from Mom so many times already: there's idiots wherever I go. Fine. I just want to go to a more liberal environment, because once you get out of Bloomington's gorgeous downtown area you are in the land of meth-heads and in all honesty it's just as dreary as Seymour or Muncie. But dammit if there isn't that one-mile radius of people with Obama bumper stickers covering up their Hillary bumper stickers on the back of their Subaru station wagon...the rich, uppity white American "progressive" are actually higher on my enemy list than the neck-tattoo sporting trailer trash that come into the store. At least the trailer trash aren't shameless phonies.

On the other hand, this is coming from a soon-to-be card-carrying Socialist who has a big nose and, if you haven't noticed by now, is a dick.

(An extension of my second reason is published below in a separate entry.)

My third reason involves my hatred of the Bloomington music "scene." I use quotes because it's a clique. It's a clique that our kids will blow of as a "good old boys" mentality, where a guy on the activities board at the Union will book both (yes, BOTH) of the bands he's in for shows all across town. Man, this town is just diverse, isn't it?

Bloomington: just because you're a college town that has bars with stages and sound systems in them doesn't mean you have a "scene." It's more like the same group of rich kids from the north side of Indianapolis (who dress like it's 1983 or earlier - and live in squalor) hang out at different bars every night. I speak, naturally, of my dear friends, the "hipsters." Fuck them.

Reason number four relates to stuff on the IU campus and in Bloomington. There was a rape downtown this past weekend, and it happened apparently in fairly plain sight. Did any chivalrous gentlemen rush to the girl's defense? Did anyone kick the rapist until he started bleeding from his ears? Did anyone do anything besides maybe take pictures with their camera phone?

Last weekend a group of students suffered injuries when an unknown assailant ran by and slashed them with a knife.

"But Alex, murders happen daily in cities!"

I know, cities are sources of colossal violence. It's pretty simple: don't ever go out alone past dark, and don't ever go out in an unfamiliar part of town alone or with someone else past dark.

My problem with violence in such a concentrated area is twofold: in an urban location driving everywhere is practical. By contrast, I walk EVERYWHERE in Bloomington. I walk home from Shelley's on a weeknight. Alone. I would never walk anywhere alone at night in a city - that's just common sense. But the knifing happened in a well-lit part of campus...and I can honestly say I don't feel safe here. There are bad parts of town in Bloomington, but since the campus and region immediately surrounding it attract locals just as much as students, it's as if every single BLOCK is a different part of town.

Lastly, to foster some discussion, two versions of the same song:

"My My, Hey Hey (Out Of The Blue)" by Neil Young

My my, hey hey
Rock and roll is here to stay
It's better to burn out
Than to fade away
My my, hey hey.

Out of the blue
and into the black
They give you this,
but you pay for that
And once you're gone,
you can never come back
When you're out of the blue
and into the black.

The king is gone
but he's not forgotten
This is the story
of Johnny Rotten
It's better to burn out
than it is to rust
The king is gone
but he's not forgotten.

Hey hey, my my
Rock and roll can never die
There's more to the picture
Than meets the eye.
Hey hey, my my.

"Hey Hey, My My (Into The Black)" by Neil Young

Hey hey, my my
Rock and roll can never die
There's more to the picture
Than meets the eye.
Hey hey, my my.

Out of the blue
and into the black
You pay for this,
but they give you that
And once you're gone,
you can't come back
When you're out of the blue
and into the black.

The king is gone
but he's not forgotten
Is this the story of Johnny Rotten?
It's better to burn out
'Cause rust never sleeps
The king is gone
but he's not forgotten.

Hey hey, my my
Rock and roll can never die
There's more to the picture
Than meets the eye.

1.) Did you like the song?

2.) Which one do you like better?

3.) What does it say to you?

4.) Do you like what the song says?

Think. Comment. Discuss.

Alex

PS - I received a very strange message from Bowser, who is back in Indiana after a 12-day stint in Los Angeles. Aside from responding to and commenting on your responses and comments, that will most likely be my primary focus next time.

1 comment:

m@ said...

Yeah, Big Science was Anderson's critical hit. Personally I really enjoyed Mr. Heartbreak and am emotionally attached to Strange Angels.

Congrats on the new band. Got the roof on the jeep so now I can travel without becoming a Matt-cicle like I did the last time I saw you guys. No lie. I almost died.

Congrats also on being able to verbalize the reasons why this area doesn't appeal to you. Now, please realize that there are VERY few areas to which you could move that don't have their own share of white trash, tattoo-necks, or hipsters. Social stratification is a universal experience. Just have to find your niche and try to build patience for the others.

Congrats #3 on opening up to hearing and understanding sides of stories. It's a cool quality that will only serve you well in the future.

Now, sleep...perchance to dream?