Days of Lore
Giving me Chills
My friend Normen and I were talking to the guy working the bar at the wedding reception. He said they’d stay open as long as people wanted … which was super awesome and a bit frightening at the same time.
“They’re paying heaps of money to the resort, and the resort is paying me to be here, so ….”
I wondered how old this kid was as he poured two more pints of Monteith’s, a damned tasty New Zealand ale that was a nice break from the Steinlager I had been sucking down all week.
He told us that he was saving up for a Telecaster, and that he loved Hendrix. He scoffed when I mentioned Neil Finn and Crowded House (“But he’s a brilliant songwriter!” I pleaded) and recommended that I listen to The Chills.
After a few pints, we called it a night. A few others stuck around. By some accounts, that kid was tending bar until 4:30 a.m. But I bet he’s strumming that beautiful new guitar as we speak.
Vegemite and Marmite
It would be simply asinine if I didn’t talk about all the music I encountered while I was in the Southern Hemisphere. As a matter of fact, I’m going to take you all on a global sonic expedition … sounds sexy, eh?
The Mint Chicks might be the best Auckland, NZ, band to have ever relocated to Portland, Ore., and played “spazzy, heavy pop” … ever! The aforementioned self-description is actually very apropos—just the right amount of splintered chaos and pop melodies. The Flying Nun Records trio has put out two full-lengths: 2004’s F**k the Golden Youth and 2007’s Crazy? Yes! Dumb? No!. Me likey … and now they’re only 491 miles away from Chico instead of 6,536!
Now, imagine that red line that tracked the airplane path on the little map in the Indiana Jones movies as we travel from Auckland to Portland all the way back to Sydney, Australia, where Between the Devil and the Deep resides. I met BTDATD guitarist Mat Herman at the wedding, and some people thought he was my long-lost brother (which I took to mean he was extremely easy on the eyes).
He’s a good man, and a hell of a guitar player. I hear a little Refused in BTDATD’s music, and any band that cites Split Enz as an influence is OK by me. Check out “Three Thirty Drive By” from their self-titled EP at: www.myspace.com/betweenthedevilandthedeep.
While we’re still in Australia we must listen to Sydney’s Guns Are for Kids … my gawd, these guys scare the bejesus outta me, and I want more of it. www.myspace.com/gunsareforkids.
Don’t pet your German Shepherd
Tired? We’re not … even … close. Take my hand cuz we’re flying to Berlin for “die beste band der werlt.” Die Ärzte (The Doctors) date back to 1982, and have become one of best-known unknown German punk bands.
In 1987 three of their songs were thrown on “The Index,” the list of media thought to be leading to the decay of civilization by the Federal Center for Media Harmful to Young Persons. You have your incest with “Sibling Love,” a little zoophilia in “Claudia Has a German Shepherd,” and “Lullaby,” the tale of a monster that eats you after you fall asleep.
Seems normal to me. I personally like the song “Männer Sind Schweine,” which means “men are swine” because … well, we are.
La música más loca
OK, the make-believe jet lag is starting to kick in. Even I’m getting sick to my stomach. On our last stop, we head to Mexico for some tacos and Los Dug Dug’s, the ’60s psychedelic garage band from Durango with the misplaced apostrophe dubbed the “giants of Mexican rock.” These guys played occasional gigs in the States and brought back stacks of Beatles records to Mexico, which would slightly influence their later sound.
Los Dug Dug’s’ 1971 self-titled debut is brilliant, and I picked it up at Amoeba Records for 10 bucks—or 109 pesos, $13 NZ, $11 Australian, or 6.8 euros. Worth every cent.