Chris Conner again

Just because I never use the heart emoji doesn’t mean I hated your stupid post, tho’ it might.

Hope that helps.

Chris Conner would have loved this. Sometimes I’d post obnoxious stuff just for him. We grokked on that big guy obnoxious thing. We’d stand at the bar between sets just this side of sloppy and say insulting things about all the little people around us. Then he’d bitch because I’d copped another of his jokes without crediting him. Must be a Canadian thing. Whatever. So I’d go back and credit him.

Memories. Sigh….

Penultimate Sunday at Cafe NELA

So for I don’t know how many hours all these very creative types—some musicians, a writer, a couple artists, maybe some others—had settled in around a beat up table in an assortment of abandoned chairs at the very bottom of the Cafe NELA patio. Either gravity or our careers had left us there because you couldn’t get any lower than that table. We sat there drinking and smoking and laughing way too loud, the jokes were terrible and the insults mean and the stories were always old and sometimes true. Far nicer people than us gave us a wide circle, like plump eating fish warily eyeing a circle of sharks. Sometimes one would foolishly come too close and be devoured, chomp, in a swirl of cackles and humiliation. It was all rather merciless and totally enjoyable and we sat there for hours laughing and basking in our asshole exceptionalism. We knew we were it. We knew it did not get any lower than us. More dumb jokes, each more offensive than the last. Some bass players have no pride at all. Eventually three grown men were doing Jackie Mason impressions at the same time, though not quite in harmony. I’d never heard three bad Jackie Mason impressions at the same time. Probably never will again. Pipes went round. Holy vodka in a water bottle, Batman. Even friends were abandoning us by now. The Jackie Mason was getting weird, the sculptress was getting dangerously out there. We were starting to peak on our own delicious high. This is what I’m gonna miss, my painter buddy said, this. You can see music anywhere, he said, but this…. He gestured it in water colors, I saw it in words. This, he said, this is the life.

Eddie Money

Eddie Money was punk rock to me. Or was that Meat Loaf. Yeah, Meat Loaf. Eddie Money was Meat Loaf to me, but also punk rock. No, that was the Ramones. The Ramones were punk rock to me, Eddie Money was Meat Loaf to me, and Meat Loaf was, I dunno, maybe Pat Benatar. Anyway, RIP.

The Strange Love of Martha Ivers

“Look! I don’t like to get pushed around! I don’t like people I like to be pushed around! I don’t like anybody to get pushed around!”

That was Sam Masterson, played by Van Heflin at his peak, in the noir classic The Strange Love of Martha Ivers (1946).

It’s a startling, electrifying line for a film noir, it rings out amid the corruption and murder and adultery and beatings and strong armed cops like something out of the Grapes of Wrath. You can hear Henry Fonda’s Tom Joad saying it, explaining why he has to brain the goons. You can’t here Bogie’s Rick saying it in Casablanca, not at all, not even after he shoots the Nazi. But then Heflin’s character is no hard boiled anti-hero, he’s the real thing, and he exposes the rotten heart of capitalism in Iverstown and brings it crashing down, if only because he doesn’t like anybody to get pushed around.

Paint It Black you devil.

Somewhere there is a man about seventy who considers the perfectly placed Hot Damn! he shouted at 5:40 on the live Midnight Rambler to be his great contribution to rock’n’roll, and he’s right. I always marveled at that guy’s hog calling skills. And you don’t worry about his fate like you do about the chick out of her mind on something who screams her brains out contrapuntally throughout. He was probably just a kid from New Jersey. She might have joined the Manson Family.

Was it the guy dead center that yelled Hot Damn? The Buddy Holly looking dude? Really?

Oeuvre

(2016)

Dude, oeuvre:

“I was so enraptured by the whole Ramones’ oeuvre that I never even questioned their comical self-mythologising.”

“A favorite leitmotiv in the Ramones’ oeuvre.”

“A testament to the uplifting power of rock, and a welcome addition to the Ramones’ oeuvre.”

“All of which are the least necessary entries in the Ramones’ oeuvre.”

“Worthy additions to the Ramones oeuvre.”

“As well as a near-obsessive devotion to the Ramones oeuvre.”

“Deliberate dumbness pretty much sums up the Ramones oeuvre.”

“But the end result is a great bit of variety in the Ramones oeuvre.”

“One of the most amusing quirks in the Ramones’ recorded legacy is their penchant for songs with war movie themes: indeed, their oeuvre is stuffed to the gills with songs with titles like Blitzkreig Bop.”

“Made the Ramones so blessedly unique in the entire punk oeuvre.”

“The whole Ramones oeuvre was one long ode to the individual.”

“And, like much of Joey Ramones’s oeuvre, it reflects his mentality throughout life: don’t worry, be happy.”

“With almost mathematical totality the Ramones oeuvre turns away mourners, the self-obsessed, the wallflowers already retiring to life’s sidelines.”

“The Ramones were trailblazers unconcerned with imitating and who worked solely to develop their own distinct oeuvre.”

Oeuvre, dude.

James Chance discussing Robert Christgau's oeuvre. James Chance discussing Robert Christgau’s oeuvre.

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Long, Long Time

Linda Ronstadt’s Long, Long Time must have been a huge hit in LA in 1970 because you’d hear it regularly on the local FM stations for years. All the teenage boys would freeze and listen and sigh. I hadn’t heard it in a while, and maybe the effect is accentuated on this iPhone, but why did producer Elliott Mazer bury her in the strings? Not right away. It’s all Linda Ronstadt for a minute, almost like Kitty Wells, and you’re hooked. But from then on Mazer starts piling strings on by the regiment full, and Linda’s battling to be heard over the arrangements. They’re everywhere, these charts full of lush baroque things growing like triffids, filling every available space. At one point the harpsichord is louder than she is. It’s almost like a Phil Spector thing, Tina Turner batting Phil’s Wagnerian demons on River Deep, Mountain High. Linda finally wins in the end, though, even if the strings and that strutting harpsichordist get to do their dirge thing for a bit too long after her vocal fades, though I suppose the logic of the arrangement demanded it. These things require patience. At last they’re done. That’s a wrap, Mazer said, and maybe someone went to chuck a few too many cellos and violas into the Cumberland. Anyway, a lovely tune.

An appallingly bad cover photo. Somebody should have been fired.