Friday, August 8, 2008

I'm Certainly Not Stoned

Tomorrow marks the 13-year anniversary of when Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead died, and put an end to the aimless travel of stinky, tie-dye making hippies until they discovered Phish. Eh, maybe I’m just jealous. Right.

I haven’t seen it here yet, but I don’t really think many of the writers here are “jam band” fans. I dunno, maybe Kelsi is a moe. fan, but I doubt it.

I think you either love jam bands or hate them. Maybe you could like a jam band for their records but totally hate the noodling they do during a live show. I mean, I dig that song “Off the Record” by My Morning Jacket (did they totally rip off the riff from "Hawaii Five-O" on that, or what?), but if they went into a prolonged jam at the end of the song, sort of like they do on the studio recording, I’d be going to the bathroom or getting another beer.

Let’s face it folks, masturbation is an act preferably performed alone. It shouldn’t be done in front of a crowd of people, and that’s what “noodling” or jamming is.

“I got a recording of the Dead from their ’74 tour at the Fillmore East. Jerry did a 14-minute guitar solo in the middle of ‘Ripple’!” Whoo-wee! Sign me up for that suckfest!

I’m not alone in my feelings about the Dead. So let’s have a party with somewhat of a theme of celebrating Jerry Garcia’s life through my eyes with the understanding that the real reason we’re celebrating is to drink cold beverages and get shitty. Here's a muxtape to go along with the session.

The Coolies – “Talkin’ Bout Doug”

The first song of the album Doug that takes a satirical look at the 1970’s genre referred to as "the rock opera." I totally recommend this album for a couple of listens. It's never gonna be in your Top 5, but the concept is great, and the rip-off of the Who in "Cookbook" is fabulous. A very compelling, dark and hilarious story of Doug the street punk who steals a crack recipe from a cross-dresser and goes from rags to riches to rags again. Gem lyrics from the above song: Had the pledge of allegiance tattooed on his head, always talked about finding and killing the Grateful Dead.

NOFX – “August 8th”

You want a band that absolutely hates jam bands? Look no further than this ditty by punk rockers, NOFX. The song gets the date wrong, but the tune is straight up about the Day Jerry Died.

Not that it has anything to do with the song, other than the message, but I was in a band called Total Passover. Before we were Total Passover, the other three fellas in the band were called Sham Rock Shakes. Every year at Iowa State, around Earth Day, they would have bands play in the arboretum, this big open meadow that sloped up. Sham Rock Shakes played around 10:00 a.m. that day. Think about college, and 10:00 a.m. on a Saturday. I was just getting going around that time, if anything. So here are all these hungover (mostly) hippies listening to a 2-minute, 3-chord punk rock band. I think I woke up at 8:00 a.m. so I could shower, eat breakfast and witness the spectacle. The in-between song banter between Tom Meehan and Andy Levy was funny. "Tom, this next song is called 'Le Toi Se Moi' (okay, sue me, I don't know French. It means, I Am The State). What does that mean?" Meehan was being his surly self and said, "It means FUCK YOU!" Later Andy went into a rant about music and ended it by saying, "Jerry Garcia is dead and I killed him." Of course, this was 1989, so he wasn't dead, yet. Which brings us to the next song...

Olive Lawn – “Hate”

Not necessarily about Jerry Garcia, or about hippies, but just an overall heavy, negative vibe in this one that will get you going if you’re in the mood. Actually, this is not recommended for playing at parties. I’m thinking if this song comes over the stereo at a party, you’re either in Seattle circa 1992 or someone is about to get their skull cracked. Great sample in the beginning from the movie, “Gimme Shelter.”

Cracker – “Loser”

Let’s just set the record straight: I’m not saying that the Dead didn’t have some good songs. A friend let me borrow “American Beauty” years ago, and I listened to it once, and it was decent enough, but still, I don’t think I could name one song off it for certain. I could guess, but then that would just be the game show side of me coming out. The whole reason my friend let me borrow that CD was because we were discussing the cover of “Loser” on Cracker’s Medicine Hat CD. Cool lyrics, mellow vibe. I dig it.

The Modern Lovers – “I’m Straight”

Pretty much, just to sum this up, is this fine tune from Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers. Only, he wasn’t selling the band with his name in front of it at the time this piece o’ wax hit our consciousness.

I’ll admit that I’m a beer drinker, but that’s pretty much it. I do have an occasional home made margarita, because my wife makes a damn good one, but I do not partake of drugs. I’m not judgmental about it, either. I don’t give a damn if someone wants to smoke pot, or what have you. I tried it (um, a few times, in college - Hey! It was the 90s!), and that shit is not for me. So, I don’t know. I kind of think I’m “straight” when it comes to that whole drinking/drug thing, but I could be wrong since alcohol is a drug, too.

That’s Jonathan’s main message in this song:

Now I've watched you walk around here.
I've watched you meet theseboyfriends,
I know, and you tell me how they're deep.
Look but, if these guys, if they're really so great,
tell me, why can't they at least take this place
and take it straight?
Why always stoned,like hippie Johnny is?
I'm straight and I want to take his place.

I’m with Jonathan. I like him, too, I like hippie Johnny, but I’m straight.

So, anyway, there’s my “party list.” As you can see, it’s not easy for me to pile on too much grief, but I thought it was interesting enough to know that there’s a contention out there putting that feeling to music and lyrics.

I put a couple more Coolie songs on the muxtape for your listening pleasure. Those are my two faves of that album. Have a great weekend everybody!

This post best enjoyed with Rogue Dead Guy Ale.


Anonymous said...

you are faggot

Jez said...

All right! More comments like these! I was wondering when I would get my first grammatically-incorrect insult. It's like the "How many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie pop?" question.

Rock on, dude. Now I know that only straight people like The Dead.