December 08, 2004

Tony Pierce says rock isn't dead, but it's having a long, long smoke

He is qualified to say this 'cause he didn't see Eagles of Death Metal at CBGB's last Friday night.

I have the torn-up stomped-on setlist sitting on my dresser, awaiting taking its place as the Third Thing On My Wall, next to my Biggie "Ready To Die" poster and the Sufjan Stevens poster from his NYU show at Kimmel. And I am here to tell you that rock lives. It has put the cigarette in the frets and it will smoke it while it waits backstage between the last song and the encore.

I spent fifteen dollars I don't have to get into CBGB's, the club that birthed Blondie and The Ramones, and is next to a homeless shelter and now on the same block as a shiny new NYU dorm. Rumor says the president of NYU is trying to elbow CBGB's out, because NYU likes real estate like dude likes sandwiches (he is a rotund fellow, President John Sexton). On the one hand, it's an unsubstantiated rumor. On the other hand, they got their way closing The Bottom Line. If my tuition dollars went to help fund the shuttering of CBGB's, I don't know what I would do. Legitimately. Joey Ramone would visit me in my fever-dreams, shove a mic stand through my heart, then lean into it 'till I was rent in two. And I would deserve it. If there had been no CB's, there would be no Ramones. No Ramones, no Sex Pistols. No Sex Pistols, no Clash. No Clash, no food, water, sunlight, or joy. And no Ramones. Fuck that.

So anyway, think of my fifteen bucks as a tiny weight on the scales of rock justice.

And think of The Eagles of Death Metal as your saviors. Jesse, heir lead singer wears a world-beating moustache and a tight black-and-white-striped beatnik shirt. He flirts unabashedly and uncreatively with the girls in the front row, has us "give it up for the ladies" seventy times. After let's say the seventh song, he hands his sweat-towel to the girl in the front row, "here ya go." This isn't even their original lineup: the drummer is fillin' in, as is the guitarist. (Persistent googling has revealed the guitarist as Dave Catching, of Queens of The Stone Age. I know him as Fat Bald Guitar God Drinking Two Sea Breezes A Roadie Got Him.)

Jesse is scooting on his booted toes. Jesse is reminding me that my hair is for headbanging. Dave is reminding me why playing guitar is the one thing I really wish I could do that I can't. Jesse and Dave are having guitar duels. They are close enough to kiss. They are grinning. They love each other. We love them. Jesse loves those of us with vaginas. It's a pretty good arrangement.

Every time I read a review of this band it's irony, irony, irony. You douchebags are missing the point. The Eagles of Death Metal aren't dressed like that because they thought it would be cute. The Eagles of Death Metal are dressed like that because fuck you. Look past the clothes and the name and feel a guitar solo vibrate in your chest and you'll realize this band is worth more than a sack full of Interpols (We could fit five Interpols in a normal sized sack, douchey designer suits and all. Dudes are skinny). When I listen to the Eagles of Death Metal, I don't think about the impossibility of honest communication in the media-soaked twenty first century or the isolation of the urban experience. I think about fucking and cars.


Tony is right about a lot of things:

and in a way i blame radiohead. or more specifically all the pencilneck critics who hailed them as the best band in america.

whats a kid supposed to do when he reads rolling stone for the first time and finds out that its all about radiohead?

Radiohead, my sometime favorite band. For a couple years in high school. I was thinking about them tonight on the way home, and about by the time I die, how many more times I will have listened to The Black Album than OK Computer. The Black Album just came out this year, and it's already several spins ahead. I lost my copy of OK Computer and have been in absolutely no hurry to burn a new one from somebody and get it on the iPod.

If music's number one job is to be a conduit for emotion, and you believe joy is the most important emotion, then there's no way Radiohead can be your favorite band. Rock's job is not to be Important. Rock's job is to be fun. Ted Leo fun. Beulah fun. New Pornographers fun. All these acts are way ahead of Radiohead on the big list in my mind now.

You can't be happy all the time, so keep Radiohead around. They are fucking balls-out genius at what they do, but what they do is slump, and that's not a position I wanna stay in all day, y'know? Most of the time, I either want to be dancing stupidly to AC Newman or thumping my chest to Jay Z. One third I'd rather be in Tokyo, I'd rather listen to Thin Lizzie-o, one third Check out my hat, yo, peep the way I wear it!. One third Radioheads and Iron and Wines and Nick Drakes. Reduce portion of last third in a place where it doesn't rain as much.


Anyway, this is all irrelevant, because we can't imagine the awesomeness of music five years from now after filesharing and mp3 players and bittorrents have blasted away the bullshit.

Plus Mutt Lange is producing the new Darkness record.

And Rivers and Matt Sharp are writing together again.

And there exists such a concept as The Drive By Truckers.

There's cause to hope, and cause to leap from amplifiers into a pit of sweaty teenagers.

By the way, let's hear it for the ladies.

Posted by DC at December 8, 2004 03:02 AM
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