Friday, July 21, 2006

Yeah, I like Tangled Up in Blue as much as the next guy, but beyond that...? Ok. Learn me something.

Let's talk about Bob Dylan.

See, about a month back, us four Birdmonsters were in a Carolina restaurant that served umpteen varieties of burnt pig and a few of us admitted our non-adoration of Mr. Robert Zimmerman. In fact, the suggestion that Tom Petty, Bruce Springsteen, Van Morrison, and Paul Simon are and were superior American songwriters was made. Peter was mortified. I didn't press the issue.

Now, I'm one of those people that like, well, I like liking things.* And regardless of how valley girl that sounded, I'd appreciate it if you stuck with me for a second here. You see, I want to like Bob Dylan. He has roughly three hundred thousand albums, writes phenomenal lyrics, and is basically considered a songwriter of messianic proportions by such an enormous portion of humanity that, not really enjoying him all that much, I'm almost certain I'm missing something. Plus, his band was The Band. That counts for something. So, I have asked Peter to teach me what is essentially Bob Dylan 101: give me a wide variety of this jackass & let me decide once and for all. Ambivalence be damned. Full speed ahead.

But I will taking my time; this is not something to be rushed. I spent my bus ride listening to "Desire," which has that Hurricane song and a shitload of fiddling and Emmylou Harris. Fiddling & Emmylou? Big points there. And like I said, I'm reserving judgment on this album until I've soaked it up like a sponge someone forgot to take out of the sink and so now, it smells like wet dog. Wisdom, as we all know, comes from absorbent mildewy things.**

Last night, we had one of those rare and wonderful practices where everyone is in sync (in stark contrast to the practices when we're all N'Sync, which you really don't want to see, hear, or even attempt to fathom the awesomeness of that proposition) and new songs rear their pretty little heads. Plus, I got to mess around with this pedal that makes my bass sound like a synthesizer. If we ever go through a Faint phase, I am fully, fully prepared. We'll get Pete one of those California Love robot voice things, replace Zach with a twenty dollar drum machine, and make Dave wear raver-goggle-sunglasses and red tank tops. High school girls who feign depression, be prepared.

Alright, friends: I'm done for now. Have fun this weekend. Go to shows. Sleep in. Get a tan. If possible, do all three at once.

*Of course, there are those people who like hating things. And yeah, we've all got a little of that in us. You know that gray haired guy who just won American Idol and went straight into whoring Ford during every other commercial break, wagging his finger in your face, generically demanding that you embrace the "pawsabilaaaateeeees"? I loooove hating that guy. I hope his anus prolapses.

**Well documented: Buddha smelled AWFUL.

17 comments:

snoflingor said...

Main Entry: petty
Pronunciation: 'pe-tE
Function: adjective
Etymology: Middle English pety small, minor, alteration of petit
1 : having secondary rank or importance : MINOR, SUBORDINATE
2 : having little or no importance or significance
3 : marked by or reflective of narrow interests and sympathies : SMALL-MINDED
- pet·ti·ly /'pe-t&-lE/ adverb
- pet·ti·ness /'pe-tE-n&s/ noun

Gasoline Hobo said...

i think that bob dylan is a bit of an acquired taste. that said, there are things that can be done to make the transition painless. that said, i have a plan for you. it may be different than your existing plan, but it is one that i recommend.

first, listen to "Talkin' Bear Mountain Picnic Massacree Blues". that's early, early Dylan, and it's hysterical. that was when he was starting to break out of his woody guthrie phase.

next, i HIGHLY recommend that you skip straight to Highway 61 Revisited AND Bringing It All Back Home (check out subterranean homesick blues and bob dylan's 115th dream in particular). then skip ahead a decade and hit Blood on the Tracks (i suspect you already have). skip ahead three decades and hit Time Out of Mind, and you'll have a pretty good representation of his career, and why he is awesome.

also, NEVER watch Renaldo and Clara. just don't.

birdmonster said...

Secondary Entry: Petty
Pronunciation: 'pe-tE
Function: Adjective
Etymology: From the proper noun Petty (first name Thomas, familiarly Tom)

1: Of or relating to a certain oft-overlooked American Rock Genius; envoking elements of said genius's style
2: Catchy, simple, lyrically insipid
3: Having the look of a wizened polar bear
4: Having the ability to survive a nuclear holocaust
5: Totally badass awesome radicalness personified

birdmonster said...

GH: We have a Teacher's Assistant spot that JUST opened up here at the Eastern San Francisco College of Perhaps Overrated but Perhaps Later Adored Musical Icons. You just applied.

And Renaldo and Clara looks HORRENDOUS. 4 hours? Experimental? I've seen Don't Look Back. Half-way through, I saw the backs of my eyelids. I can't imagine this. You'd have to do that Clockwork Orange thing to me for me to sit through it.

Sabrina said...

I say you make Dave wear raver-goggle-sunglasses and an 80's style short red tank top just for the hell of it! & Justin I see you as the tight leather pants type. It would go good with the hair.

love Bob Dylan, love,love Paul Simon, appreciate Van Morrison.

Not too keen on the Petty, I'm sure he's a great soung writer but the sound of his voice makes my head hurt. I think of Goats for some reason..

Bruce Springsteen, C'mon an unshaved, gyrating, middle aged man Born in the USA... NOOOOOO! He looks like he'd have a smelly ass and that's not good.

the Peterman said...

RENALDO AND CLARA...i thought i was the only one to see that...it's crazy and bizzare and may you never watch or let your children: the rolling thunder tour was the shit though...EAT THE DOCUMENT is alright...DONT LOOK BACK IS RADTASTIC.

...and springsteen rulz

dylan, bob said...

GH: skipping the first three albums is a massive oversight: freewheelin, times, another side...those are all classics.

birdmonster said...

Oh, Sabrina! You just threw down the gauntlet! But I love it anyhow.

1: I will never wear leather pants ever. See post on David Lee Roth for further discussion.

2: I used to hate Petty too. Then one day, in a pleasant mood, I heard American Girl. And that was that.

3: Do not speak ill of Springsteen to the Monster. We will be saddened. Try Nebraska. Or Born to Run. Or download Rosalita (just a song). He was young and awesome once. Actually, he's still awesome, just older and slightly less awesome.

4: Dave is wearing a red tank top RIGHT NOW.

Gasoline Hobo said...

bob: i agree about the first three - i'm just saying that if you're starting out, those albums will give a good overview of what he's capable of, and then you can go back and dig through the catalog. just my personal opinion of course.

not feelin' it on the springsteen. don't hate him, i'll just always switch him off if i have the opportunity. i get the impression that he's worried about his "legacy", whereas dylan doesn't seem to give a shit what people think about him. i like that.

always been a petty fan, though.

Caitlin said...

"Yes, to dance beneath the diamond sky with one hand waving free, silhouetted by the sea, with all memory and fate, driven deep beneath the waves. Let me forget about today until tomorrow."

enough said, JT.

Except that I will share with everyone here that although Justin will never be seen in leather pants, he has been and will again be seen in purple velvet pants.

birdmonster said...

Did I crap on Dylan's lyrics? No. Did I crap on Dylan's songwriting? Nay. Pretty words delivered in an aggitating warble is my current hang-up. They're great on paper. Like the Golden State Warriors. In practice, well, not my favorites.

And dare I do three years in a row? The definition of uncreative, that is. But, at the same time, you don't mess with perfection.

Sabrina said...

1.A man in leather can be watched but not respected (unless you're a young Dave Gahan), I'm glad that you will not be wearing them.
You will have to wear the said purple velvet pants when you play in Oakland at the Metro this is a must see!

2. I never said I hated Tom Petty just not a fan of the voice but for you my dear Justin, I will give it another whirl. American Girl here I come...make me a lover of gurgling noises.

3. I hate to disappoint the Monster! I may try some Bruce just to reconfirm my distaste. I think it's my dad's fault. He forced me to listen to Bruce Springsteen, Barbara Streisand & Michael Jackson not in that particular order but I had a blue Mohawk and loved early rock & punk. It was painful! It's like the taste left in your mouth after drinking too much Vodka and throwing up multiple times before laying there naked & heaving. It stays with you FOREVER!

4. Dave's wearing a red tank top but is it a 1/2 shirt? Now that's what I'm talkin about.

caitlin said...

Nope you didn't poop on the words, but the words are sufficient to raise him above all others. BUT there's no accountin for taste and if he's not to your taste, ok.
I am seeing Tom Petty at Austin City Limits and he claims this is his last year touring. You guys should be playing there too! Hook that up.
And yes, 3 years in a row is ok for genius.

birdmonster said...

Sabrina:
1. I couldn't have put it better myself. The velvet is for Halloween only, when I transform into Purple Rain era Prince.

2. Let me know.

3. Understandable. Anything with the stench of Streisand lingers forever. Shame on your parents. SHAME!

4. ::drops hedge clippers:: It is now.

And, Caitlin:
Let's agree to disagree. Or that I'm right. Either one. I'd love to do ACL, but, well, we just aren't that organized.

How about 4 years? Is that ok?

The Peterman said...

justin, stop be defensive...now it just sounds like you're defending you hatred instead of giving dylan a chance. dare i shed a tear.

derek said...

the thing with dylan is, he's been around for so long that of course he is going to have a bunch of subpar stuff that someone has to tell you to avoid or you unknowingly buy it and go "what the hell is the fuss about this crap." that's what happened to an even younger me. he has become a kind of musical course like biology where you have to have a teacher to show your the ropes. they are good ropes though, like licorice. springsteen is america mozart. petty is the shizz, go ask the strokes.

birdmonster said...

Peterman: I'm still listening. It's his voice that I'm not, well, the fondest of, so I must decry something, I decry that. There's some mean songs on Desire though. Joey lasted me six busrides alone.

Derek: The American Mozart? High praise. Take THAT John Tesh.