Tuesday, August 13, 2002

Hello, Rocketmen:



I've been all busy and shit for like a week, which is why the blog has been orbiting in the Upper Lamisphere (pronounced "lame-a-sphere"). Sorry, rocketpeople.



I feel really happy and good and supergirlistic, because I got to hang out in San Francisco today and yesterday with the coolest rock girls I have ever met, ever! (Well, besides Hillary, of course.) The Donnas basically rule. They don't just rool the pool, they rule the world!



Their new record, which is coming out in Rocktober, has a huge, yummy, powerful sound.



Something has happened in the two years since they turned 21. I think that they got sprinkled with Magic Quality-Control Dust by the fickle fairy of Universal Rockitude. The superthick guitars, heroic cowbells, sexy-womanly vocals and group shouts are a dream come true for me. (I could use some more handclaps though.)



I told them their version of Motley Crue's "Too Fast For Love" is better than the original (which it totally is--much faster) and they started talking amongst themselves about that song, and how complex it is structurally---and how different from the rest of the album. I'd never really thought about it, but it's tr�e. It's also way better than the rest of the album. I wonder what the circumstance was of its composition? I always wonder that about complex songs--for instance, "O My Soul" by Big Star. I mean, how did that come together? Was it five failed song-fragments that got shoved together at rehearsal, somehow? Kind of like side two of Abbey Road?



I asked the Donnas if maybe if the oddball rhythmic changes on "Too Fast For Love" were some sort of Zeppelin influence, but nobody could say for sure. (These are the sorts of questions that would be covered, along with the whiskey-mainlining, if I produced "Behind the Music.")



Who knows? Zeppelin were the Beatles of metal--they influenced everybody at such a tectonic level, it's impossible to suss it all out.



One thing I appreciated about the chicks was their basic love of good songwriting/fun/outrageousness, regardless of genre, production, or commercial trappings: Among many others, they dig Boston, Eminem, Guns 'N Roses, ELO, Cinderella, and early Backstreet. (As well as a bunch of stuff I don't like, such as Bikini Kill and Babes In Toyland.) They also love the Chili Peppers. Now I want to somehow hook them up so that they can tour together. Haw haw. A lot of times bands don't even have control over their tourmates. The bookers do. It's strange.



They have an alter-ego as a G'N R cover band: They all switch instruments and just do "Appetite For Destruction" all the way through (but only in private).



It also turned out that they love one of my favorite all-time shows, Beverly Hills 90210. Also, the Nightmare on Elmstreet movies. I said that I'd never seen even one, because I'm too scared of scary movies. They said they're more funny than scary. And they also said, Watch them during the daytime. I said, maybe when I get my next boyfriend I will watch with him (because, as everyone knows, it is fabulous to watch scary movies with a cute boy). Then the drummer sighed deeply and said, I want a boyfriend.



Anyway, also I've been busy trying to write something for my new column. Thank you for writing me with name ideas. Fortunately the New Times guys worked it out and let me stick with Hot Child In the City. When I found out yesterday, I felt so grateful, I almost felt sick. It was a weird feeling.



Sometimes when you want something so bad, and then you get it, you get this queasy feeling. I am sure the French and the Tibetans have a name for this, but we Americans sure don't. I think "buyer's remorse" is the closest it gets.



How about "winner's ennui"?



I still kind of feel like puking. It could be all the coffee, too.





Love,

Kate



ps: I still can't read the article in Spin but I finally bought the new Chili Peppers' record. I was listening to it all night when I wrote my first column. It was a hot, Hollywood summer night--very Bob Seger--and the dry wind blew through the kitchen windows.



The record is so not my "style," yet I kept listening over and over. I had a sort of aural craving for it--I have had ever since I first heard it. What is this strange magic?



I don't even understand half the lyrics.



I think it may be the intense harmonies.



But, in a way, fuck that. I can't explain it, but some music has richer, warmer blood than others. Some music has a deeper well from which it is drawing. It's not communicated in the technique, or the lyrics, or in any single element. It's just the nature of it.



It's like the difference between good sex and great sex. It has nothing to do with technique or any specific thing. I mean, sex is pretty much sex. The difference is in how it feels. Chemistry. Mystery. You know. If you can reduce it, put a finger on it, it's not the thing.



And that's the deal with By the Way. There is such a depth of spirit behind it, it can't help but feel good, and expansive. People's art really is a reflection of their souls.



Here ends the sermon.



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