53. oh yeah

“I doubt I’ll ever find the words for how wonderfully, ecstatically, profoundly the so-called Krautrock combo known as Can have affected me since I first crossed paths with them sometime around my twenty-fourth birthday. I guess I could write a book, but somebody already has. And anyway who’s got the time? But assuming I did, I suspect I’d give at least a chapter to that lamest of all Lollapaloozas. 1994, I think, Cloverdale BC, traffic jams, shitty food, too much sun, not enough water, too much dope, too many big deal bands not really delivering, failing to send me anywhere I hadn’t been before … except for maybe Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds until some loogan tossed a shoe at the stage. And that was that, early exit. F*** you, somebody.

And then, a few long hours later, it’s getting on sunset and I just want to cut my losses, go home, except I’ve lost touch with my ride, so whatever, I’m just sitting there alone in the middle of a very crowded field, waiting for the Beastie Boys who are up next, but I just saw them last year in a smaller, cooler, better situation, so no, I’m not feeling much in the way of excitement or anticipation. But then their pre-show DJ does a genius thing, drops the needle on Can’s Oh Yeah, from Tago Mago, certainly their biggest album … and it’s perfect, seven or so minutes of pulsing groove and eerie drones and backwards vocals and jagged rips of sideways guitar that somehow merges with the crowd noise and dust and fading light and redeems the f***ing the day, pulls all of its fragmented pieces together, makes it whole, worth all the trouble. Yeah, I could have just listened to the same record at home, sitting on the patio with a beer and a joint, but that would be like taking a helicopter to the peak of some notable mountain. Sometimes the trouble is the point, as I try to remind myself whenever shit keeps going sideways, going anywhere but where and how I want it. Such is life, I guess. If it was supposed to easy, they would have called it something else. And a song like Oh Yeah – it just wouldn’t matter as much.” (Philip Random)

99. range life

“Because it’s true. If you want to accomplish anything of value in this thing called life, you really do have to pay your dues before you pay the rent, even if you’re deep into your thirties before you realize what this actually means. That We Have Higher Obligations To The Cosmos Than Mere Survival – any cockroach can pull off survival. And if you don’t grasp this, don’t go calling yourself an artist. At least, I think that’s what’s going on here. Because the Pavement crowd were definitely artists, seeing the middle 1990s for the colossal screw-up they were – the demise of so-called grunge, the co-option of pretty much everything that had felt so fresh and necessary barely three years previous, the crooked rain falling in prolonged deluge, smelling of sewage and other assorted poisons … and yet, beauty to be found in strangest, least likely of places. And truth … even if you’re a Smashing Pumpkins or Stone Temple Pilot fan. Damn, I love this song. Forget everything else I just wrote. It just feels like smoking strong marijuana and drinking good beer. In the rain. Who needs more?” (Philip Random)

569. silent kit

“I actually saw Pavement at their mid-90s peak, but for whatever reason, I wasn’t paying much attention. I guess I’d pretty much had it with so-called ROCK music at the time, for which I’d blame Grunge mostly, all that flannel and kerranging and ponderous sincerity. But jump ahead maybe five years to the end of the century and I guess I was finally ready for the beer-in-one-hand-joint-in-the-other shambolic genius of Stephen Malkmus and his crowd, everything crystallizing in the lead-off track from 1994’s Crooked Rain Crooked Rain – a full minute of sloppy mucking around, chasing first a groove, then a melody, before the song finally finds itself (and in fact, the melody’s a direct rip-off of an old Buddy Holly tune) but man does it click! But is it a Silent Kit or a Silent Kid? Or am I fool to even wonder?” (Philip Random)

Pavement-1994

721. paint it black

Eric Burdon took his whiteman-slumming-in-the-blackman’s-world thing all the way to the edge (and beyond) on his second (and last) album with the band known as War, with the epic take on one of the great Rolling Stones songs a definite (and definitive) highlight. It was released in 1970, but I didn’t hear until 1994.  A moment I remember all too well.  Kurt Cobain had just offed himself, everybody was fumbling around in shock at my friend Steven’s place. Suddenly some guy whose name I forget said something like, ‘F*** you, Cobain. There’s always something to live for. I bet you never even heard this.’ And then he slapped side one of Black Man’s Burdon on the turntable.” (Philip Random)

EricBurdonWAR-1970