In The Future When All’s Well

Armed with wealth and with the, the best of health
In the future when alls well
I will lie down and then be counted
In the future when alls well

I thank you
I thank you with all of my heart
I thank you
I thank you with all of my heart

Lee, please stand up and defend me
In the future when alls well
Confront what you are afraid of
In the future when alls well

Every day I play a sad game called
‘In The Future When Alls Well’
Living longer than I had intended
Something must have gone right

I thank you
I thank you with all of my heart
I thank you
I thank you with all of my heart

Lee, please stand up and defend me
In the future when alls well
Confront what you are afraid of
In the future when alls well

Hold me closely if your will allows it
In the future when alls well
Paired off, pawed till I can barely stand it
The future is ended by a long, long sleep

The future is ended by a long, long sleep
The future is ended by a long sleep

In The Future When All’s Well by Morrissey.  It is on his excellent Ringleader of the Tormentors album.  I end some of my posts with the title of this song.  I am paying tribute to Morrissey, but I also like the dark humor involved.  In the future when all’s well is a place that will never happen.  It’s a romantic notion, that in some point in the future everything will be perfect.  Things can always get better, but life will never be perfect.  We have seen too many Hollywood movies, where everything is tied up neatly in the end.  That’s unrealistic and life is far better when you can cast such notions aside.  If you can learn to accept that hopefully you can live in the present and enjoy yourself more.  Trust me, I am by no means enlightened.  Far, far from it man!  I am a procrastinator that often puts things often until I absolutely can’t anymore.  I can be just as much a bastard as anyone in the moment.  I am wired to hot to ever be truly mellow patient.  But I think being a realist, and dealing with life somewhat on its own terms can help ever so slightly in pushing that boulder up the mountain.  Trust me, just like in the myth of Sisyphus, it’s going to roll back down many times.

Older and Shittier

Today I turn 36 years old.  I don’t say that to get attention.  If wishes came true I would be out in the woods with my dog jamming to the sound of silence, as recent weeks have exhausted me to the point of insanity.  However, I am playing San Antonio tonight and a gig is the next best thing.  Anyway, the only reason I even posted anything at all about my birthday is that I found this great quote by Morrissey today on aging:

“I’m aging, yes, the body has projects of its own and there’s nothing we can do about it. But the world is full of 19 year old people who are zombies with nothing to say…”

The New Greek Ideal

Don Juan
Picaresque
Wife beater vest
Cold hand
Ice man
Warring cave man
Well if this is what it takes to describe…
I’m not a man

Wheeler, dealer
Mover, shaker
Casanova
Beefaroni
A-ho but lonely
Well if this is what it takes to describe…
I’m not a man
I’m not a man
I’m something much bigger and better than
A man

Wise-ass
Smart-ass
Workaholic
Thick-skinned
Two-fisted hombre, olé
Well if these are terms you’d use to describe…

Oh, I’m shaking
Look at me I’m quaking
True grit
True blue
Kill crazy
So very manly of you
You are the soldier
Who won’t get much older
You are the slow Joe
Who signed up to go

Wolf down
Wolf down
T-bone steak
Wolf down
Cancer of the prostate

Ways to sit
And of course
Ways to stand
I’m not a man
I’m not a man
No big fat locker room
Hockey jock
Laughing
I’m not a man
I’d never kill or eat an animal
And I never would destroy this planet I’m on
Well, what do you think I am?
A man?

I’m Not a Man by Morrissey.  These lyrics are the best ones I have come across in a long time.  I listen to this song almost every day.  They allow you to look at the world through a new lens.  I called them the new Greek Ideal because they are idealistic, a place to strive for, but will not be reached by many.  But they are a path worth heading down, even if you fall short.  They outline the macho behavior that leads to war and the destruction of our planet.  Right now Morrissey is without a label and this record, World Peace is None of Your Business, is hard to find.  I wanted to wait till it was available again to post these, but they mean too much to me.  As soon as it is available get a copy.  Thank god he’s out there…

Misplaced Passion

Reading Henry Rollins’s Get In the Van in our tour van.  I feel like I am looking in one of those endless mirrors where you see a reflection of a reflection and so on.  Not that I am experiencing any of the insanity that was part of those times, but perhaps reading a book about touring in a van while touring in a van wasn’t the best move. 

I have been obsessed with Black Flag though lately.  Once I dive into something I want to know everything there is to know about it.  I can’t help myself.  I dive into a world until I exhaust it and then I move on for awhile.  That is why on this blog you will see a bunch of posts about a topic and then a week later I’ll move onto a new set of topics. 

This blog is sort of a catalog of my obsessions.  I only hope that there are enough people that share my obsessions and/or I can find an angle that makes them interesting to others for a few minutes. 

There is so much great art out there.  How could anyone be bored?  Jail or lines are the only places I have ever found boring.  If you give me my ipod and access to books the days just melt away for me.  I feel sorry for people that have no passions or have passion and no outlet for it. 

I think in the modern world there is a lot of misplaced passion.  We are told by the television to have passion for money or items or religion. 

Past the pub that wrecks your body
And the church – all they want is your money
The Queen is dead, boys
And it’s so lonely on a limb

Introducing Morrissey Released On DVD

Introducing Morrissey, in my opinion the best Morrissey live concert caught on film, has finally released on DVD.  This is a clip of the controversial National Front Disco.  I picked it because this is where many of the stage invasions start, which are an essential part of any Morrissey concert.  By the way, the National Front Disco is actually a real place unfortunately and comically.  It can be read about in Bill Buford’s Among the Thugs.

Introducing Morrissey is a great live document for any fans of Morrissey and a great place to start for the uninitiated.  His band and set list are excellent here.

The Problem With Pitchfork

pitchfork1.1

I read reviews at Pitchfork, even though I rarely agree with them.  Pitchfork at least takes reviewing albums somewhat seriously in an age where reviews seem more like tweets than actual criticism.  More and more magazines and sites seem to be mistaking a half a paragraph as enough information to base an informed purchasing decision on.  I’ll at least give Pitchfork their due in that they put out an awful lot of longer form criticism.  The problem, however, is that most of the opinions you encounter there are ones that you can pretty much guess in advance, especially when it comes to rock music.  Their writers seem to disparage anything where actual songwriting is involved.  The more an album is a collection of weird sounds, and the less it actually features well crafted songs, the better chance it has of being highly rated.

The thing is, really great songs are hard as fuck to write.  We actually need more artists that are actually saying something in a way that reaches people.  I love all kinds of music as long as I feel an artist is doing something that comes direct from their soul and they are not just following trends.

Their is a band called The Knife that I like.  Their last album, Shaking the Habitual, was a really interesting record.  It dealt in avant-garde soundscapes much more than it dealt in pop songs.  If it were a painting it would be more of a Jackson Pollock than a beautiful landscape.  But do you know how many times I actually listened to the entire record in one sitting?  I haven’t once.  It’s pushing the envelope and that’s important, but it’s not really enjoyable other than as an intellectual exercise.  As a musician I really appreciate that kind of thing, but it’s a hard thing to love.  Pitchfork gave it an 8.4 and called it the best new music.  If you read the artwork that comes with the album you know that The Knife have a political agenda, but you would be hard pressed to really get that agenda by actually listening to the music.

Meanwhile the new Morrissey record is really subversive politically and in a way that anyone listening could get.  It’s because he uses the form of the pop song as his platform.  There are intelligent lyrics that tackle everything from gender politics to animal cruelty, but they are all delivered with melodies that are undeniably catchy.  His new album World Peace is None of Your Business has some really interesting arrangements.  The album starts with tribal percussion and a didgeridoo.  I’m Not a Man, perhaps the most subversive pop song that I have heard in some time, with an incredible melody, even starts with a minute and a half of strange noises.  What I’m getting at is that this isn’t simple guitar, bass, drums stuff, although I love traditional rock n roll as much as anything.  But I can’t help but think that Morrissey was punished a couple points by Pitchfork because he actually dared write memorable melodies.  His album was awarded a 5.9.

The new U2 album got only 4.6 points.  I wouldn’t say that the new U2 album, Songs of Innocence, is one of their top three albums, but it’s really good.  Every song features really strong melodies and great playing from musicians that play as a true band.  I personally like it more than probably any record they have put out since Pop.  I think Bono as a lyricist was at his peak between The Joshua Tree and Pop.  However this new album has songs that deal with IRA car bombs and the death of his mother.  It’s not exactly bubblegum.  But out of the three albums it is the most traditional in terms of writing and arrangements.  This is a rock n roll band album by and large.  But anyone that has ever written songs with things like guitars and melodies will know that what they are doing on this record is not the kind of thing that is easy.  It would be much easier to get a bunch of weird instruments and make an atonal soundscape.

I want a world where I can hear both.  I like that I can flick on my iPod and shuffle between The Knife and U2.  Out of the three records I like the Morrissey one the best as I think it is the one that straddles the gap between the intellectual and emotional the best.  But out of the other two, I can tell you flat out I am going to listen to the U2 one way more.  It’s more emotionally resonant.  And also, even though it seems more traditional, creating great songs is actually the harder magic trick.

I feel lucky though that as a music fan I don’t have to choose.  There is different music for different occasions.  Everyone has slightly different tastes and opinions.  However, I can’t help but feel that Pitchfork tilts the scales too far in one direction.  I feel like our mainstream culture has been dumbed down too much. If you look at the music of the 60’s you will see that this wasn’t always the case.  There was a time when music could be popular and important.  Now Pitchfork alone isn’t responsible for this.  A great deal of it has to do with other aspects of our free market culture run amuck.  But sometimes I wish the writers over at Pitchfork would realize that intelligence and subversive thought don’t necessarily have to exist apart from accessibility.

That’s How People Grow Up

Last night I played a really great festival in Oklahoma.  The people were great and the festival was well run.  Yesterday I posted a poem that was poking some fun at Oklahoma.  There is almost nothing more rewarding than being pleasantly surprised by people. 

I think it is truly important in life to admit when we are wrong.  It does not diminish us to do this.  We, as human beings, can’t possibly know everything.  We are bound to make mistakes.  Suffering and mistakes are how we become better people.  As Morrissey croons, “That’s how people grow up.” 

In America we tend to view those who evolve as the flip flopper.  But it is only the prideful and the ignorant who never change their opinion.  Often the biggest mistakes, like invading a country that we have no business being in, are the ones that we as a people have the hardest time admitting to. 

But remember it is noble, good, and intelligent to say, “I don’t know that”, or, “I was wrong.”

All we can hope to do is to make the best judgments that we can based on the information we have at the time.  Until you are dead, you can always start over.  Each day begins anew. 

I was driving in my car
I crashed and broke my spine
Yes there are things worse in life
Than never being someone’s sweety
That’s how people grow up

- Morrissey