Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Chris Ethridge R.I.P.

Chris Ethridge was the last bassist in the International Submarine Band and the first bassist in the Flying Burrito Brothers. He played on Safe at Home and The Gilded Palace of Sin, and he spent a lot of time in Willie Nelson's band. He was a damn good bassist, and now he's dead from cancer, four days after fellow cosmic American musician Levon Helm's cancer death.


Thursday, April 19, 2012

Levon Helm R.I.P.

Levon Helm was an Arkansan in a band of Canadians who worshiped Southern music. He was a great drummer and a great singer and one of that small, impressive club who could do both at the same time. He wrote a lot of good songs and was a gifted, natural actor, particularly as Loretta Lynn's dad in Coal Miner's Daughter and a small but wonderful role in The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada. He's on at least four of the greatest rock records of all time: The Basement Tapes, On the Beach, Music from Big Pink, and The Band. That's a good life by any measure.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

A song for every year of my life #20: 1996

Boy, I've been away from this blog for awhile. You know why? I'm fuckin' tired, that's why. My new job is exhausting (in both good and bad ways), my wife and I are buying a house, and I've rekindled my love affair with falling asleep on the couch. Don't worry, chum-mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmps, this time I'm falling asleep on the couch on a regular basis because I'm actually sleepy, not because I'm praying for death. I spent the first part of 1996 praying for death and sitting aimlessly on the floor in my dorm room's walk-in closet and sleeping and watching 17 movies in one sitting and taking only three classes and barely getting by. That was a rough time. Then I reconnected with a friend from the previous year's unsuccessful dorm experiment and made a bunch of new friends and spent the second half of the year having the antics, mirth, hijinks, shenanigans, hoopla, fracases, melees, barnburners, and disco infernos that young people are supposed to have as sophomores in college. Long story short, box socials every night. I've been slacking on these posts in recent days because I'm kinda tired of the '90s. I'm not that tired of the next two jams in the series, though.
Silkworm is so goddamn underrated. That's what happens when you consistently make good music and present yourselves in the least sensational way possible. No one gives a shit except rabid weirdo shut-ins like yours truly. The surviving members of Silkworm are in another great band now, Bottomless Pit, that gets even less attention than Silkworm. Bigger crimes have been committed, but not much bigger.
Silkworm fun fact: I picked up an accidental hobby of collecting awkward conversations with members of seminal indie rock bands in bathroom lines. I sprung an effusive fanboy gush on Silkworm bassist Tim Midgett while he was waiting to use an outdoor facility at a SXSW several years ago. Others in this series include Mike Watt, Clawhammer's Bob Lee, Pavement's Steve West, and, most recently, Ted Leo. Collect them all in a limited-edition box set. Every 12th box contains a stick of unwrapped, pre-moistened gum.

Alternate choice: R.L. Burnside - "Goin Down South"
This song makes me want to fire a mini-cannon out of a full-sized cannon and then drive a tank through a couple of miniature golf courses while arm-wrestling a bear for a flask of gin. Fuck yeah it does.