Archive for category Existentialist Pop
… of our elaborate plans, the end
… of everything that stands, the end
I’ll never look into your eyes again
Can picture what will be – so limitless and free
(The End – The Doors)
Whether you choose to believe this is about Jim Morrison breaking up with girlfriend, dropping a ‘snake’ in a road-side bathroom (so big no-one could survive it – hence the end), acid-induced madness or just a sound-track to a movie, this is surely one of the most emotive songs every written. Camus would have been proud of him.
More Doors stuff : L.A. Woman + Riders on the Storm … and if you’re not a Doors fan, you may not know that they’re named after a book (The Doors of Perception) written by Aldous Huxley, whose death is covered in : A Double Date with Death.
(Venus in Furs – Velvet Underground)
For the full (English) text of the book
“Venus in Furs”
by Leopold von Sacher-Masoch
+ articles about the Velvet Underground +
reviews of their music + lyrics + one or two fairy stories + lots and lots of pictures, follow the links … starting here.
Sometimes the cards ain’t worth a dime If you don’t lay them down.
Sometimes the light’s all shining on me; other times I can barely see.
Lately it occurs to me what a long, strange trip it’s been.
(Truckin’ : Grateful Dead)
San Fran jam band the Grateful Dead are the Marmite of the pass the album cover set. Formed just after (some would say before) the dawn of time (actually 1965) they go on and on and on and on. On the face of it, their music (or at least their sound) would sensibly be placed at the other end of the spectrum to that of the Velvet Underground (as different as acid is from smack) but there are a couple of connexions.
One of those connexions would be the free-flowing avant-garde and improvised style; the other, of course, is none other than those east-coast Fairies we’ve been hearing so much about. Shortly after uncovering one group of Warlocks in New York and turning them into the hard edge of Sex, Drugs and Rock’n’Roll, a second flock of fairies were sent to investigate when fairy senses started to tingle with altogether softer vibrations coming from the bay area of San Francisco.
The city was not totally unfamiliar to Fairy eyes (having previously visited in 1849 and 1906) but what they found there was a welcome change from the mayhem of the New York World’s Fair (Peace through Understanding my fairy ass – smack bang in the middle of George Wallace lauding segregation and the assassination of Malcolm X, neither peace or understanding was visible in the US – even via the new satellite technology!)
However, notwithstanding the civil unrest which was still extant (and more to come) and although still three years away from the Summer of Love (this was 1964), there was definitely love in the air. San Fran’s north beach was awash with beatnicks, although the fairies preferred to stay in the (then) relatively underpopulated and cheap district of Haight-Ashbury. (This suited the fairies as their finances had been neglected of late – what they made in 1848 they lost in 1906) .
The fairies followed the progress of the Warlocks, throughout ’64 and early ’65, enjoying the fusion of country, blues, jazz, and bluegrass. After a gig in Magoo’s Pizza in suburban Menlo Park, California (May 5, 1965) a banjo-obsessed fairy came to Jerry Garcia at night and whispered in his ear all about Venus in Furs and an Austrian gentleman by the name of Leopold von Sacher-Masoch. When he woke up in the morning (as blues musicians are apt to do), Mr. Garcia decided he’d be better off dead, and thus the Warlocks metamorphosed into the Grateful Dead.
‘After Hours’ is the closing track from the Velvet Underground’s 3rd (eponymous) album, a sublime mixture of supreme gentleness; “anti-production” was the phrase used by Maureen Tucker. Produced in 1969 (the same year as the double live album), this was the first album to feature Doug Yule (vocal harmonies and bass guitar). John Cale and Lou Reed had had a falling out and Reed presented the rest of the band with a ‘him or me’ ultimatum.
I’ve been looking around for the release history of this album and it seems there must have been several releases. As well as the different mixes (Lou Reed’s so-called “closet” mix and the Val Valentin mix) the album was also released by both MGM and Verve. I bought my (original) copy in England and I seem to remember seeing the MGM logo (although Verve is/was a subsidiary company of MGM so …). The track listing was definitely different, in that it featured ‘Black Angel’s death song’ and (I think) ‘Venus in Furs’ both tracks that featured the electric viola of John Cale (or so I thought). Interestingly, these tracks are the obverse of the quieter all together less frantic style of this album (sans Cale) and I thought at the time that they seemed out-of-sync.
Maureen Tucker is quoted as saying that she hoped the new “calmness” would cause people to “smarten up and give us the recognition we deserve” – obviously she was referring to the commercial success that was still eluding them – sadly, it was never to be. It was also around this time that person or persons unknown stole all the bands equipment but I’m sure the quieter sound is more a reaction to almost ultimate mania of White Light / White Heat (although, unlike most speed come-downs, more romantic than depressing)
The US (Verve) version features the tracks ‘I’m Set Free’, ‘That’s the Story of My Life’ and ‘The Murder Mystery’; none of which I remember. If anyone knows exactly how many of versions of this album there are (they all seem to have had the same cover) I’d be pleased to know.
(Poker Face – Lady Gaga)
If you’re gonna play – play real! … more pics, lyrics etc.
(Ace of Spades – Motorhead)
Lemmy, a man who has witnessed most of the seminal events of the 20th century: Hendrix wigging out; Mick Farren writing DNA Cowboys and Stacia Strobo getting dressed.
Review of Silver Machine with pics, lyrics etc.
(Gunning for the Buddha – Shriekback)
There are many citations and opinions on the net as to what this song means. I prefer the zen koan, which goes something like: if you see a Buddha on the road shoot him because he’ll almost certainly be a false prophet (I guess a Buddhist would say you’re meeting your ‘inner longing’ or ‘desire’; personally I just like non-prophet organisations.).
If you’re interested, there’s a sweet little blog about this kind of thing : Shoot the Buddha