E. Pluribus Gergely

Jun 142007
 


Maudlin,

How’s it goin’, man? I apologize for not getting back to you about the whole “Good Day Sunshine” and “Got to Get You Back into My Life” thing, but I’ve been pretty busy lately: cleaning rust off beer cans, removing name stickers from record labels, experimenting with other foods for the brats to eat besides kielbasa and hot dogs…that kinda stuff. Anyway, no defense of those songs is necessary. If a listener can’t zero in on the magic of those numbers, something’s just not right. For some reason or another, reflecting on the majesty of those songs got me thinking about the whole New York Punk scene. And how much the actual music from the scene sucked. My exhaustive research shows that most of the scene’s music came from very pretentious brains with limited playing skills. And when those same pretentious brains gained chops, the music got even worse.

From what I can gather, the only good thing about the New York Punk Scene is that it influenced a whole slew of Brits who churned out loads of dynamite, well=balanced records. By well balanced, I mean well written, well performed, and well produced. A simple system of checks and balances miraculously kept even the most pretentious of songs on an even keel. Take the entire Gang of Four Entertainment lp, for example. God only knows what the lead singer is going on about (ranting in that manner is common when one has nothing worthwhile to say and is still expected to gain an audience’s attention). He is saved by the construction of the songs, the chops of the band, and the producer’s ability to make all the noise sound like a truck blasting its way through the listener’s speakers. I hear none of this in even the most acclaimed New York productions. There’s a thinness there that permeates nearly all of the recordings, save a few. No surprise there. What else should one expect from records which are, for the most part, written, performed, and produced by pinheads.

That said, I’m glad to say I am able to list 6 and a half winners from the New York Punk scene. There are always exceptions to the rule. The following titles still hold up after repeated listenings:

1) “The Tide Is High”
2) “Sunday Girl”
3) “Hanging on the Telephone”
4) “Dreaming”
5) “The Hardest Part”
6) “Heart of Glass”

Honorable Mention: “See No Evil” (regardless of the fact that it sounds like it was recorded with wooferless equipment courtesy of the Soundesign Corporation)

Speaking of well-balanced things, I think I’ve presented a more than fair argument for my dislike of anyone making a noise in or anywhere near CBGBs during the mid- to late-70s.

Maudlin, my only fear at this point is that I might lose your support. Maybe you can come up with 10 gems from the scene. I gave it my best shot, but I couldn’t do it. There just wasn’t anything from the scene even close to a track with the overall quality of “Good Day Sunshine” or “Got to Get You into My Life.” There wasn’t even anything on the level of a second-tier ’60s title like “Let’s Live for Today”. And for that matter, I couldn’t find a single title that gave even something like “Elusive Butterfly” a run for it’s money.

If you see it differently, more power to ya. If you’ve got the 10, give ’em to me.

Sincerely,
E. Pluribus

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May 192007
 


Don’t know about you, but I need a good rock read. It’s been a long time since I’ve picked up anything I could really sink my teeth into. The last tome that really flipped my wig was Revolution in the Head, which came out about 10 years ago. I think we can help out here. I consider it our duty to let the pop intelligensia know what issues are worthy of exhaustive research. My hope is that one of those nuts will find this desperate group on google and dig away at one our proposed projects.

Mine are as follows:

1) King Records, or a biography of Syd Nathan. I don’t get it. There’s a Sun book, a Chess book, hell, there’s even a Trumpet, and Duke/Peacock book. Still, nothing on King! The guy that ran the show, the aforementioned Nathan was a legendary prick, but still had the smarts to sign up James Brown, Billy Ward and the Dominoes, Hank Ballard, Charlie Feathers (WAY overrated in my book, but nonetheless considered one of those biggies by the Nu-Nile crowd), Wynonnie Harris. . . .We’re talking about artists that influenced just about anyone who ever tried to form a band. Peter Guralnick, where are you? In college, I actually dropped out of a class to have more time to read Albert Goldman’s Elvis book (yeah, I know that’s frightening, but it was good and gossipy). Know that I would collect unemployment checks for 6 months to eat up whatever you found worthy enough to flop on the plate.

2) Brian Jones – His actual contributions to Stones recordings. Mark Lewisohn (or whatever the fuck his name is, the guy that wrote the Beatles Recording Sessions). I want you to revisit all those tapes with Mick, Keith, Charlie, and Bill to find out what contributions Brian actually made to each song. I have a feeling the results will be very surprising to those Jones die hards who swear is input is what made the Stones the greatest rock and roll band ever.

3) Curtis Mayfield – An exhaustive biography nothing short of the Stax accounting that came out about 6 years ago. I want it all. Every nook and cranny of info about his stuff as well as all his contributions to those incredible Vee Jay, Okeh, Windy C, and Mayfield singles. And here’s something neat -I’ve got an old fart buddy named Dennis Brennan, who used to be in a Magnificent Men kinda thing called the Intentions who recorded for Philips, a Mercury subsidiary, in the ’60s. He told me that he actually went to a mid-60s recording session where Mayfield was actually the drummer! If it so turns out that Mayfield is indeed the drummer on those Okeh records, the finding will be nothing short of the discovery of the dead sea scrolls. Stax guy, again whatever your name is, this one’s for you!

Well, that’s a start! I’d try to help out with the research myself, but there are too many roadblocks ahead: work, the raising of insufferable fearless brats, and daily visits with my rehab counselor.

Post those ideas!
E. Pluribus

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May 082007
 


What’s the shittiest piece of musical equipment you’ve ever owned? We’re talkin’ so shitty that that you swear at it everytime you try to play around with whatever it is.

Up for consideration is any piece manufactured by the Peavey Organization. Now there’s a pack of charlatans for ya! I once had a Peavey Classic guitar amp. Man was it a stinker. The pots began to crackle less than two weeks after I bought the turd. Practices would be interrupted frequently due to the fact that I’d have to adjust the volume just so in order to find that little nitch between crackles and sputters where continuous sound was actually granted. For some reason or another, my brother-in-law was always facinated with the Classic, which was fine by me because he eventually gave me 50 bucks for the thing. Good riddance to bad rubbish. To this day, he’s still pissed off at himself for pissing away the 50 bucks.

What about you? What piece of garbage has had you so frustrated with its performance that you swear at it, give it a good punch, or bad mouth it behind its back?

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