Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Outliving A Thousand Rockers

Rock est mort! Vive le Rock!
Fuck that. There's too many guitars for Rock to die. I don't care if 99.9% of them are wasted,er, I mean languishing unused, not stumble-fuck wasted. That's for humans.

Do you remember the great L.A. punk band 'X'? From 1980?

My god. What a great band. Hard chords on the car radio-short songs that told long stories; squalid , sordid ,low-rent tales of decadance and despair. Addiction and nihilism! My kinda people! My kinda music!
(And Billy Zoom. Billy Zoom could play the mother-flickin' hell out of a guitar)

It's bands like X , the Clash, the Stranglers etc. that changed my frothy teenage head from a Grateful Dead noodle depository into an extremely angry and intense free-fire zone.

Wasting valuable petrol, this a.m. I went driving into the splendid Virginia autumn country-side. It was an odd juxtaposition of idyllic farmland and early '80's punk. It helped me think.

Listening to X's first LP, I started thinking about the Doors. Ray Manzarek, the Doors' keyboard player, produced that album. He plays on it. This is the guy that out-lived Jim Morrison. He produced one of punks' seminal bands. He recorded their first album in 1980. I bought it. Hooked.

That's 24 freakin' years ago. Damn, I'm old.

I'm taking turns too fast for a car that's duct-taped together. I'm beating the dashboard like a drum. I'm wailing away with Exene while she yells and tells about Nausea.

Outside, the air smells like freshly cut hay.

I listen to some Snakefinger. One of the best guitarists who has ever lived. He played at a dingy local club I used to play/work at. I grabbed two beers and walked to the front of the stage. And I watched. And listened. And learned. In awe.

Afterwards, I'm hanging in the dressing room with Snakefinger and his awesome band. (I used to be cool) I'm gushing about Snake being my fave guitarist and even got him to sign my Snakefinger LP's (I've always been a nerd). We got way high and giggled all stoopid and happy. He was genuine and straight-up; one of the nicest strangers who ever changed my life. He told me to 'never let go of my guitar'. He was going to Europe on tour, and I was going to Texas for the same reason.

Things didn't go well in Texas. I came home.

Snakefinger died in Austria. 1987. He was 38.

I don't know where people go after they die, but if Snake is there, it's a good place.

No comments: