Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Davy Jones R.I.P.

The excellent work The Monkees did as musicians and songwriters once they wrested control away from their handlers has thankfully provided some balance to their only partially deserved reputation as a pre-fab proto-boy-band manufactured product, though the earlier songs were pretty great, too, thanks to the top songwriters and session musicians who created them. Whether you prefer the pop-tart TV entertainers of the mid-1960s or the pop/psych/country experimentalists of the late '60s, you have to concede that either version of the band is pretty damn likable and it's sad to see one of them go. Here's Davy Jones' big moment from Bob Rafelson's highly recommended Head (1968):

Monday, February 20, 2012

Michael Davis R.I.P.

MC5 bassist Michael Davis died of liver failure on the 17th. I was lucky enough to see him play with the other surviving MC5 members seven or eight years ago. It was a great show, but I wish I could have seen them in their full pomp and glory between 1968 and 1972.

Sunday, February 05, 2012

A song for every year of my life #19: 1995

Remember all that jive I was laying down about the fancy new phones of the day destroying society, human interaction, and life as we know it? Boy, is my face red. When I was volunteering for a film festival back in October, the twentysomething manboys and womangirls made fun of my outdated cell phone, which I used only under protest in highly specific circumstances. They told me to get hip. I told them to fuck off. Nevertheless, when a pretty 20-year-old makes fun of your technology, you have two choices: 1) put on some suspenders, check into a nursing home, and watch sitcoms until you die of inertia or 2) get with the now and buy the items that today's metrosexuals, extreme sports stars, reality celebutantes, and screamo bands need to survive in the future of the now. Well, I got one of these Satanic new robot droid smart phones because I was tired of feeling like Andy Rooney, and I take back all the bad things I said about them. Since age 21, when I decided I liked things the way they were, I have violently resisted every technological advance. When it becomes more work to fight than to join, I reluctantly join. I'm always wrong. I need to be more like the Scorpions and embrace the winds of change. I get it now. I like this phone. It makes my life better. I can avoid all kinds of small talk by pointing my face at it in public. I can check the Internet and play games and shit. But you know all this already. You bought one two years ago.
Here's an epic 1995 dinosaur jam from yesteryear, Yo La Tengo's "Blue Line Swinger," loved by me, one of today's oldtimers.

Alternate choice: Pavement's "Half a Canyon," another classic oldie from the sock hop and cave stomp days of the mid-1990s, back when we were all swinging on the flippity flop and macking on lizard butts. I think I finished high school at some point in this song's six-plus minutes. Matt Pinfield is in the trunk of my car.