Friday, March 20, 2009

Group Past Life

We just got home from seeing Stan play Shirley.

Here's the highlight show...

On our way through the byzantine labyrinth of dinning commons that create the largest landlocked cruise liner in the history of fusty New England restaurants I intercepted a spotting of Stan sitting down to a pre-gig meal with his wife Pietra and side-kick Rick Lee.

I knew I had to go back there and put in a plug for Jerry's YouTube debut and to praise the trajectories of the Desert Dreams tour that thundered into the most improbable place and time. I needed no cooperation from a single adult to pencil us in at table 27 in the Bull Run ballroom.

I didn't need a signature and the request for Crow Hollow didn't ring hollow but could not be accommodated for a lack of rehearsal space in the rolling desert thunder dream van. Stan did talk at some length from the rear view about the reminiscences of band life from Talking Wall of Voodoo Blues Part 1. He said that he gets reportings of great sadness and not the kind of feedback he was expecting for a sardonic look at a madcap pack of misfits. I admitted a certain whistlefulness from the indelible stamp of ambition, self-absorption, and heady social statements underwritten by the fleeting tonic of stardom-struck youth.

Then he said something quite haunting and in vivid parallel to the private universe of my own college band days. He said that he had formed the unit and that no other bandmate even knew how they got there and where they were going. He said that the alignment was star-like. Like any constellation those bodies keep moving even after the choicest formation begins to lose its shape. I'm paraphrasing of course but I found it eery how closely the metaphor shadowed our own band leader's orchestrations of assemblage.

Composites and Withdrawals

Jimm Erickson conceived of the Answer in the deepest sandboxes of his fertile artsy mind as yet unshaped by his supple, gifted and unformed 18 year-old artist muscles. Jimm even based many of his elaborate rationales for alternative rock world domination on the planetary pulls and arcs found in the astrological positions of the early eighties. All were stoked by the obvious realization that sixties artists were going to spend their catalog wealth on upstarts like us.

I remember it as clearly as the night sky. Somehow our demo tape to the major labels and the path it would pave was interconnected to the celebrity assassinations and manned space flight schedules of the period. I can remember it as clearly as the canonicals of Firesign Theater we would huddle to after a sweaty gestalt-laden session in one of the soundproof Hampshire rehearsal spaces. Actually those oblique audio collages were anything but clear. We laughed our heads off anyway.

Leave it to Stan to bring it all back into focus. The new album is due out this summer and I for one will treat it as a cohesive warping of flesh and time as well as anticipated musical event for folks with a fond history of that sort of thing -- not a series of downloads.


JM Dobies said...

Winnie! Winnie!

Great stuff - I will link to it on the BLOG! (by JM Dobies)...

Marc Solomon said...

Nicely written. Astrophysics, plate tectonics are all good metaphors. I'm still reporting from sweaty rehearsal rooms btw...


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