Sunday, August 18, 2002

Hi Rock Stars:

Two of the sweetest things in music are united this month: the White Stripes are on the cover of MOJO!

I can't tell you how right and true this is (and how much it reassures me that I am not crazy). I tried to convince Spin to put them on the cover a long time ago to no avail. It seemed self-evident to me that they are the best new band since Nirvana and must needs be given proper attention.

Now I guess I'm happy it didn't happen, because the Stripes get so freaked out by American media, it probably would have caused some kind of minor meltdown followed by a religious conversion and strange children's music.

How I wish America had its own MOJO.

Having said that, Spin has gotten about 450 percent better in the past six months. If you're like all my friends, you never read it. But I have to tell you, it's totally worth picking up these days. It's funny, it's historical as hell, it's got some big words, and it's got a heart. It seems to be regaining its sense of itself as the skeptical younger alternative to Rolling Stone.

The new metal issue (Axl on the cover) is really cute and does a funny, intuitive list of Led Zeppelin's influence on all things metal, proving that "Misty Mountain Hop" is the yin-yang twin to "Welcome To the Jungle," and they make up a new song using lyrics from both songs.

Generally, the package seems deeply MOJO-inspired, visually and content-wise. And you know that can't be bad.

The piece on the Strip hair-metal scene is actually not a drag, either. It's fun! Of course, the package was compiled by men, so it has ZERO consciousness of that scene from a girl's p.o.v. I could sure have used that, because as a teen in the '80s I couldn't fucking stand that scene, it was so gnarly and conservative. Has everyone forgotten that? I mean, its form of rebellion was not rebellious at all--it was just the same old-fashioned sexist, dorky, materialistic values dressed up in lipstick and Aqua Net.

But I will never forget the Guns 'N Roses riot at the L.A. Street Scene downtown, right at the height of the whole weird metal shebang--L.A. Guns played, and Guns 'N Roses, and Jane's Addiction---fuck. Sometimes I can't believe it happened. I couldn't even get into the G 'N R show but we were hanging out in the parking lot, and you could feel (and hear) the hugeness of what was going on inside--and then people started running out followed by cops on horseback, and then someone threw a bottle, and then we were all running as fast as we could to avoid being beaten and tear-gassed. The cops were so out-of-control back then under Darrell Gates. Actually, I think the cops started that riot on purpose because they hated the L.A. Street Scene and wanted to figure out a way to kill it forever. It worked, of course. That was the last year they ever did it.

I'm listening to Led Zeppelin !V right now. The slide on "When the Levee Breaks" is all right. Though Jack White's sick perverted slide is way radder. Yesterday, making another mix tape, I played the White Stripes' acoustic walking tune "We're Going to Be Friends." Fine. Then for no reason I thought, hmmm, Bob Dylan. So I played that sweet little thing off Blood On the Tracks, "You're Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go."


I always thought "We're Going to be Friends" was a Paul McCartney tribute, since Jack sounds exactly like White-Album or early-solo Paul.

Guess again--this is a heavy Bob Dylan situation, and it's a complete take-off on "You're Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go." The rhythm, the structure, even the chords on the bridge, and the way you get goosebumps when it slides back into the verse. It's as if he tried to rewrite it, or as if Paul was rewriting it.

Even the title.

Check that shit out.

It's magic!



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