Monday, December 28, 2009

Their Crazy Music Drives You Insane--This Way

Particularly given it's a lesson most never stumble upon, I'm damn glad I learned early weird is relative (no, not relatives--that's a very different post, and one not suitable for the generous-spirit of the holiday season)(I mean, I've been generous with the spirits, haven't you?). One of my greatest teachers in that, visually, musically, conceptually, was Roxy Music, and this clip captures that magic in all its early '70s glam-eliciousness, from the tip of Eno's shoulder feathers to the, uh, tip of Andy Mackay's codpiece (after all, sax players need to emphasize their horns). And then the music, one glorious rush of rhythm and words, a break for nifty soloing of all sorts--what is that sythesizer Eno plays?--this kind of thing defined rock and roll to me. So guess why today I don't listen to the radio.

As with so much, I didn't get this when it happened--playing a cut like this in East Hanover NJ in 1972 would have had me earmarked for scheduling with bullies from every nearby burb--but something I "saved" for college, as my freshman year was as much about discovering Roxy, the Velvets, Mott and reading my way from '60s classic to classic (Hunter S. to Tom Wolfe to Michael Herr--yeah Dispatches came out in the '70s, but it's Vietnam for me more than Apocalypse Now or godforbid Platoon) as Shakespeare or Intro Psych or even that Idea of History in American Lit seminar I took with mostly upperclassmen and then stayed up 68 of 72 hours to write the final paper (on Gatsby, natch, and perhaps the only thing I'm left with is a love for fine shirts, though no one's ever cried over mine), only to end that sleepless stretch mildly hallucinating at a Fred Frith concert, but that might just have been me Frith-ing at the mouth.

After all, there are editions of you, me, us, more than you can shake a tambourine at, all acting up, acting out, trying things on. Roxy Music granted permission to those willing to listen and look, eager to bend tune, blur gender, or merely willing to let others do and therefore otherness necessarily fades away. Acceptance is a sort of dance.



Blogger E-6 said...

The first 5 Roxy albums are nearly flawless. A great, great band.

4:52 PM  
Blogger ahab said...

I was a few years late to Roxy (among others) too, George. It always pleases me in retrospect that my formative years weren't quite the utter musical wasteland they seemed to me at the time to be.

Styx, anyone? No, I didn't think so.

Kids today!-- do you think they have any idea how good they have it?

5:03 PM  
Blogger ahab said...

Goddamn that E-6 is quick...

5:03 PM  

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