A new city and a new war..

Thursday, March 27, 2003 · 12:42pm

nyclive music

Right now I’m in New York City, looking for a place to live. If you haven’t heard/give a damn, my lease in Birmingham expires this June so I decided to move to New York to work on music and return to the work force as a freelance web developer.

I’m also here to help my friend Kyle with his new record, not that he needs much help. I been listening to demo recordings of his new songs all week and they’re fuckin great. I can’t wait for you to hear his new record, whoever you are. If you don’t have it already, go get his first record. Right now.

The other night I went to see Wesley Willis at the Knitting Factory. Man, what a strange phenomenon that is. I remember my friend Jonathan (Joe) Mangum playing a CD of his for me in his sports car as we drove through L.A. and I remember thinking, “How far can this go?” Wesley Willis is a large, developmentally disabled black man who sings simple songs of remarkably similar structure with a vaguely Caribbean slur over one-key chords and stock drum patterns piped out of an oversized consumer casio-type keyboard. Songs like “Fuck you, you fuckin jerk” and “Don’t drive like an asshole”. Each song is verse-chorus-verse-chorus, with verses usually consisting of a few mumbled sentences, and choruses being simply the title of the song repeated 6 times while he one-keys chords in a standard 1-4-5 blues pattern. Then he almost invariably says “Rock over London, Rock over New York City!” and then some corporate slogan, often two slogans mixed up: “Whirlpool, Quality is Job One”. Then he presses some magic button on the keyboard and the drums and music do some magic fadeout thing. Then he wipes his brow and introduces the next song and away we go again. Predictable and hilarious.

Even funnier, I went to the show with my old friends Kyle and Caithlin from Rainer Maria and my new friends Jason and Kori from Mates of State, after some really excellent vietnamese food. For their last tour, they had hired Tal to be their bus driver. Tal owns his own tour bus and also happens to be Wesley’s manager and bus driver as well. So somehow Wesley heard about Rainer Maria and Mates of State and of course wrote songs about them, although he had never met them. “Rainer Maria, Rainer Maria! Rainer Maria, Rainer Maria! Rainer Maria, Rainer Maria!” “Rock over London, rock over New York City! Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there.” And fadeout.

So yeah, there’s a war on. Like so many New Yorkers (around 250,000 of them last Saturday) I don’t like this war. It’s strange how many people in our government and in our country cite the attack on the World Trade Center as a justification (among others) for invading/attacking/liberating Iraq. I think many people here seem to think that this war will only result in more such attacks, not fewer.

Being here has helped my general outlook on the war, because I feel like I at least have plenty of company in my opposition. My entire family seems to have swallowed the hype about Saddam the evil tyrant and is busy regurgitating it in emails to myself and everyone else in their address books. I started to open that dialogue but after a few volleys I only succeeded in depressing myself rather than swaying their opinions.

Now I am just hoping that the war ends quickly. Of course if it does, that will only embolden the current administration in their not-so-covert desire to carry democracy and capitalism to other countries by any means necessary. Ah there is just too much to say about this and too much research to do in order to say it properly. Anyway, end the war and bring on the 2004 elections so we can get that cowboy out of office.

Next month I’m goin on tour with my buddies Ed, Todd, and Wendy. Yeehaw. That will be fun.

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