Monday, August 17, 2009

Compulsive Chronicles #8: Sunday Morning and Beyond

Compulsive Chronicles is an ongoing column for SPOKE(a)N(e) Magazine. Each month, I post supplementary material relating to the column on this page. This month, in the course of talking about Sunday morning records, I reference the MOJO Magazine “All Back to My Place” interview questions.

Here are my answers to those questions (with no limits on length!):


What music are you currently grooving to?

I am growing quite preoccupied with The Noisettes’ “Never Forget You,” even though I don’t have the album (yet). Great band name, great song with a big over-the-top sound, and the singer has great hair. I’ve been reading about them in the UK music mags for a long time, and last year, DirecTV played an entire gig of theirs. I loved it, but never got around to buying anything from them. This song is more or less telling me to get off my ass and plunk down the $13 already.

As far as music that I actually own goes — Last month I bought The Cure’s Staring at the Sea singles collection, and it’s fantastic. Very briefly, I dated someone who was a massive Cure fan, but it’s only been in the last couple of years that I’ve come around. I’m on a bit of an alternative-80s kick in general, so this suits me fine. “Boys Don’t Cry” gets stuck in my head whether I want it there or not, but as far as picking a favorite, I’m going with “In-Between Days.”

What, if push comes to shove, is your all-time favourite album?

Easy: Definitely Maybe from (who else?) Oasis. It has my all-time favorite song (“Live Forever”), my all-time favorite love song (“Slide Away”), and if you don’t like the drums on “Bring It On Down,” there’s something wrong with you. The album is near-perfect, and I won’t hear otherwise.

If this question were “What album besides the obvious is your all-time favourite?” it would be a toss-up between Ryan Adams and The Cardinals’ Cold Roses and Bush’s Razorblade Suitcase. I can’t compare the two, other than to say both are probably the best albums from either band. I would gladly listen to either of them at any time.

I realize that those two choices are only slightly less obvious. Fine. I will also offer Fleetwood Mac’s self-titled for consideration, even though I’m really not a fan of the song “I’m So Afraid.” AFI’s Sing the Sorrow is near-perfect as well.

What was the first record you ever bought? And where did you buy it?

My dad used to buy me a lot of my music for things like good grades and, of course, birthdays and Christmases. However, the first I ever remember spending my own money on is Garbage’s self-titled album. For my thirteenth birthday, I received my first CD player and I needed more to play on it. To be honest, I didn’t listen to the band that much after I bought the album. Turns out that Garbage is really more of a singles band for me — whatever pops up on the radio is fine.

Shortly after I bought it, one of my dad’s friends was in town and he saw what few CDs I’d amassed. He said, “I don’t listen to anyone unless they’ve played the Ed Sullivan show.”

I thought for a moment, and then answered, “Well, they’ve played Letterman, which is in the Ed Sullivan theater.”

The first single I ever remember spending my money on was “Creep” by TLC — a cassette single, no less — for under $3. It had the song itself, and then the instrumental track. Really kind of a let-down. I received the full album as part of a report card reward not long later.

The first vinyl record I ever bought was the numbered “Machinehead” single by Bush, from Rudy’s II in Missoula, MT. #1442 out of (I think) 5000. It has an acoustic version of “Comedown” and the B-side “Solomon’s Bones.” I think I paid around $10 for it.

Which musician have you ever wanted to be?

Could I have Ryan Adams’ talent without the side of crazy? Hmm, the crazy probably informs the talent, so maybe not. If I ever had a band though, we’d probably be in his corner of the woods, soundwise.

Ani DiFranco is in a nice position professionally — She owns her label, makes a livable chunk of change and her rabid fanbase is ready to buy anything she does at the first whiff of a pre-sale. I’d love to be able to play guitar like her. I’m not all that political though — and I already feel short at 5'6". Would being her also include the 5'2" height?

So would it be weird to be someone I’d also make out with? I don’t think that highly of myself. However, every time Noel Gallagher makes fun of bands like Radiohead and Coldplay for treating their shows as lectures on everything that’s wrong in the world, I think yes. Every time he bemoans the death of the record shop, every time he talks about his dino-like ways, I get it. It takes me ages to send a two-sentence text message. Well, at least I do know how to use a computer, but he’s in a position where he doesn’t have to know. It is not essential to what he does. What I’m saying is, I’m already a bit like him. Only without the musical talent. Or the money.

Be music journalism’s go-to source for a quote, write some of the best songs ever and generally be able to record whatever I want and have it sell no matter what? Sign me up. I’ll take the current version though — off the drugs and with a hot longtime girlfriend, ha.

If I were him though, I’d be less dismissive of women in rock. It’s not that he has a poor attitude, exactly, but he could make a better effort.

What do you sing in the shower?

I don’t do much singing in the shower. Maybe whatever is stuck in my head at the time, or if I have the radio on, whatever strikes me. If I wanted to be funny, I could say, “Leather” by Tori Amos, only for the line “Look I’m standing naked before you...” or Rathergood’s “Soluble Song,” which begins with, “I’m glad that I’m not soluble/ that would be just bad...”

What is your favourite Saturday night record?

If by Saturday night, you mean getting ready for a night out... Most of the time, there’s not so much an album, but a handful of songs, stuff I like singing along with:

“She Bangs the Drums” by The Stone Roses
“D’yer Mak’er” by Led Zeppelin
“Crystal Days” by Echo & The Bunnymen
“Step Out” by Oasis
“Let It Ride” by The Cardinals
“Start!” by The Jam

As far as full albums go, The Ting Tings We Started Nothing is a lot of fun. Perfect preamble for a Saturday night, still good after having a few, and there are handclaps. Handclaps make everything better. Again, I won’t hear otherwise.

Also good? Junior Senior’s D-d-don’t Stop the Beat.

And your Sunday morning record?

In my column, I talk about listening to Beck’s Midnite Vultures, but quite often I will put on David Bowie, Live in Philadelphia. I only have it on vinyl, so I have to turn up my crappy record player almost to the point of excess in order to hear it in the kitchen. “All the Young Dudes” or “When You Rock n Roll with Me” are perfect on a Sunday morning. Or borderline afternoon, as the case may be.

When Grace was around three, she went through a stage where she wanted to listen to David Bowie all the time. I made her a CD with a bunch of different stuff she likes and made sure to include some songs from him. She would play “Suffragette City” no less than four times in a row some days. I asked her why she liked it so much, and she shrugged. “It’s a good song.”

And in the end, that’s all that should matter. Do you like a song? Does it make you want to sing along or pick up an instrument? Does it make you want to dance? Does it make all the right parts of your brain light up? Yes? Then it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks. No need to over-intellectualize, just put on what suits you.