Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Detroit, MI. Musician James Osterberg, better known as "Iggy Pop" has shocked the musical community by purchasing, and eventually wearing, an article of clothing known as a "t-shirt." Pop has gone shirtless since roughly 1968 when he began fronting the seminal punk rock band, the Stooges. Now entering his sixth decade of life, Pop decided it was time for a change, "I got kinda cold, so, y'know," a wary Pop told a cabal of reporters. Iggy, who was frequently spotted wearing just an old pair of jeans and, occasionally, high-top tennis shoes, had to be convinced that this image makeover would behoove a man of his advanced years. Personal trainer and stylist Nock Obdermann explains, "I just told Ig, a t shirt is a cotton tube with an opening at the bottom as well as a short cotton shim for each arm and a small hole for the neck which the head passes through. He was apprehensive at first but I think my going to the Detroit Ross with him really helped him out. Plus he liked the design." The silk screened print features a yellow van with blue bubble letters spelling the word: "Awesome." There was a short adjustment period where Iggy repeated pawed at his previously bare chest and was seen walking backwards in an attempt to escape the shirt. When it was explained that the shirt would eventually have to be removed for cleaning, Iggy tugged limply at the white cotton fabric and muttered, "Fuck it."
Friday, November 7, 2008
New Bethlehem, WA. An exhausted and visibly confused President-elect Barack Obama continues to campaign for his presidential bid despite the fact that he has won the election by a landslide on Tuesday. "This once-great nation needs to rise again," a fatigued Obama told a massive group of supporters at the campaign's third stop of the day, "We need to rise... and vote... we need to change votes when voters rise." Obama's stilted speech and erratic gestures conveyed an image of a man gone over the brink of exhaustion. "Three years I've been on this campaign trail," he continued, "What does it take to get you people to elect me?" The crowd, composed of the same Obama supporters who voted him into office earlier this week responded with ecstatic whoops, waving the "CHANGE" placards that were utilized when the election was still undecided. A noticeably irritated campaign manager Ari Schaeffer-Lux seemed unable to persuade Obama that the election was over and he had, indeed, won. "It's like talking to an automaton," Schaeffer-Lux admitted, continuing, "Of course the crowds don't help. They're out there cheering because they're celebrating but Barack just doesn't get it." Reeking of determination from three-plus years of campaigning, Obama refuses to concede that the election is over and he has won. John McCain's campaign has been eerily silent on the issue since disbanding four days ago but an Alaskan moose wounded by a shotgun blast from pregnant, Down Syndrome 8 year old Radar Palin raised his head from the melting, blood soaked snow to bellow, "Fuck it."
While most of the world knows the Scorpions as caged metal midgets rocking hairsprayed 80's women like a hurricane, there was a time when the Scorpions were truly on the musical vanguard. Like most bands, the Scorpions golden age started and ended with their debut album, 1972's Lonesome Crow. This brilliant slab of proto-jazz metal sounds like nothing so much as a German Santana with progressive aspirations. What could have been an unlistenable failure of epic proportions is instead a singular listening experience that has yet to be bettered in it's admittedly limited context.
Formed in Hanover in 1969, the initial Scorps lineup featured Klaus "Mini-Miene" Meine who's vocal chops that would remained utterly unchanged throughout his 30-plus year history with the band. Brothers Rudolph and Michael Schenker play guitars with the kind of sibling telekinesis that rivals the brothers Davies, Van Halen and Gallagher combined. Wolfgang Dziony and Lothar Heimberg, on drums and bass respectively, were lost to the sands of time after this album and one suspects that they were responsible for the jazzy flights of fancy as by the Scorps second LP, 1974's Fly To The Rainbow, Heimberg, Dziony and the space jazz has all been abandoned.
If not the greatest, certainly the most ironic aspect of Lonesome Crow is that it was originally commissioned as a soundtrack to an anti-drug film. The irony being that one would be hard pressed to find a better argument for the use of drugs than Lonesome Crow. Aggressive distorted guitars, jazzy yet driving rhythms, howled lyrics about women gone wrong and/or being stranded in the desert, all that's missing is a Nehru jacketed lothario dispensing psychedelics to naive, flaxen-haired waifs. But it is this campy diversity which is the album's strongest suit: lunar soundscapes, driving metal riffs and groaning incantations only add to the singular charm, best displayed on the track "Leave Me" which channels Black Sabbath's "Electric Funeral" through a Teutonic kaleidoscope. The centerpiece however, is the title track, a 13 minute epic which recalls either Spinal Tap's ill-fated jazz odyssey at the amusement park or Dave Brubeck on alot of acid. Either way, the listener is the winner in the end, having weathered a ride from progressive rock outer space through earthy, grunting jazz, to aquatic noisescapes before finally landing in heavy metal hell. The Scorpions themselves would stay here at the lower rungs of celestial music throughout an absurdly long and equally lucrative career but they would rarely reach such heavy, funky, bewildering plateaus again. Future guitar replacement Uli Jon Roth sat high atop a crystal throne intoning the words, "Fuck it."