Friday, April 04, 2003

aw, buckles!

i had such a fucked up dream last night. it was a sort of superficial, potentially satirical commentary on my life at this moment. first i'm talking to my mom about terrorism. she's telling me that L.A. is destined to be hit by bio-terror, something airborne, and I need to get out of the center of the city. she names several safer areas and i say, how about mount washington? and she says, mount washington would be great. (i secretly want to move to mount washington. it's a really beautiful and oddly rural area kind of near downtown. Exene and John Doe used to live there in the '80s. One time, i think I already told you this, me and my friend were 13 or something and we went to their house and peeked in the back room and snooped around the yard. about a year ago i met john doe and told him this story and he said "that's the creepiest thing anyone ever told me." huh?? he's john doe. surely he's got creepier stuff than that. sorry for namedropping.)

so in my dream i suddenly go to mount washington somehow; like all of a sudden i'm there. and i'm in this woodsy beautiful house where there's a party going on. i remember that it's michelle branch's house and i interviewed her there before. (not really. i did interview her like i told you before but it was over the phone. she told me she is into death metal and Slayer.) So I knock on her bedroom door and ask if i'm interrupting, and there's some people in there and they look at me like i'm covered in dead lizards. (i fucking hate walking into a small room/club/restaurant of fancy hollywood people who look at you. what's with the looking at you thing? why are people so uptight, man? i bet you cheech and chong wouldn't act like that.)

she's nice though, and some conversation ensues about how i have decided i absolutely have to move to Mount Washington. i say to the general group, "but i don't know if i could find anything i can afford here." And then i wonder if that's uncouth to say, but i kind of think, fuck, this is real life, i'm not rich and neither are most people, and rich people need to remember that.

Sometimes i'm proud of my lack of money. it makes me feel more rock. (it also makes me feel more smart, because i've figured out that being rich doesn't make you happy. living in hollywood and knowing this is like having a secret superpower.) and if the weird rich music people i'm talking to don't grasp the rockness of it, then i feel sad that rock culture has become so monetized. Some people get it. The smart people get it. And the ones who remember being poor and rock. Wealth really doesn't make rock stars happy, just FYI. It makes them sad. They feel they're losing the magic--and they are, usually. Wealth is rock's big enemy.

But right now rock culture and New York street fashion is about paying thousands of dollars to look like a Ramone. It's a careful simulation of the real thing. The Strokes are a careful and well-funded tribute to '70s New York rock culture, and that's about all I can say about them. Can't anyone else smell the money? Can't anyone else see what pale imitations they are, sitting at high fashion shows with their model girlfriends and their 500 dollar haircuts? Where's the danger? Where's the bravery and madness? Where's the erotic jesus?

Oh yeah. The bravery and madness, the blood and danger and sexual sacramentalism are in Detroit, wearing red pants.

This guy is really truly one fucked up cat, this Jack White. But he's also healthy, wise, intuitive, smart and organized enough to channel his fucked-upness and make art with it. But at the moment anyway, there's nothing easy about him, nothing easy about the ways he rips off other artists; it's all done so earnestly and with such conscience it's almost awkward. even when he's trying to sound like an old-fashioned delta sex god blues baller, it sounds kind of stressful, the effort.

That stress, that lack of ease, that subtle weight of "can't you see I'm a fraud? are all you people idiots? why do i want you?" -- gives the music a depth and conflict i really dig. plus there's just so much music-love in it. that's really what i get from it most. i just think jack white is the biggest, scariest music fan in the world, in the way that i like, and his music is an attempt to drown in history.

what a way to go!



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