Sunday, September 21, 2008

Coming to Terms with Tenacious D: Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and love Tenacious D and the Pick of Destiny...

I never was a big Tenacious D fan. Never was a big Ween fan either...or Frank Zappa. I recognize the genius of all involved, but for me, musical appreciation has always been more about a feeling. Sure I judge things through my own prism of experience/influence, but for some reason many of my favorite musicians and artists have appealed more to some receptor in my body where my mind seems to sort of shut down and my soul just goes into overdrive.

Which brings me to the completely unrelated Weeezer. I once enjoyed the 'pleasure' of seeing Weezer live with some friends. At this particular show, in Ft. Worth, TX circa 2003, Tenacious D. was the opening act. And they were greeted with lots of collegiate hoots and hollers, though I personally couldn't make out 10% of the lyrical content, let alone recognize any of the songs. I'd dug a few of the shorts on HBO, but maybe it was the looming specter of seeing the legendary Weezer in their natural thriving habitat -- the live setting -- that had me a bit apprehensive. Ya see, Weezer is a decent singles band. What superior bands like Cheap Trick and Kiss did for the the late 70s power pop/glam crowd, Weezer managed to do, along with the ever-important geek chic appeal, originally pioneered by any number of early 90s indie pop acts. It was a neat trick, and not entirely worthless. But live, this night, Weezer was entirely worthless. There was no Spike Jonez or Ric Ocasek on hand to dress up these mopey pseudo-emo/indie pop hits and ballads or conceal what was clearly little more than a calculated, and even quite cynical, indie pop cash-in, 10 years after the fact no less. The Pixies were rolling over in their graves, and they're all still kicking in the here/now. None of this stopped myriad late-teen-somethings, though, from trading off high 5s and declaring Weezer the greatest thing since Tivo multiple times in my vicinity.

Fast forward a good 5 years to right fuckin' now. I am watching Tenacious D and the Pick of Destiny, and I've seen it before. I know a lot of you whipper-snappers reading this blog are pretty high-fallutin' with your counter-cultural democratic-socialist leanings, and I dig that. You probably hate the mainstream, though it's nothing personal. You hate Hollywood too. The last piece of original music you purchased came in an edition of 12 micro-cassettes on a label run by an alienated genius who lives in the Gobi desert with a plastic fuck-doll named Dawnika, but goddamnit(!), metal kicks ass! Metal is cooler than hardcore, and I love hardcore, well deeply appreciate and covet thy copy of Negative Approach's Total Recall anyway, but if we as rockers and profound lovers of the metallic sword, must truly recognize the totality and cosmic importance of our most rewarding ride on this cosmic carousel, then we must recognize the totality and undeniable dominion of true metal -- the need for sonic revolt, the desire to rock hard with allegiance to none other than the ultimate ear-stabbing riff. I wouldn't turn my back on this pagan god's fury for anything on earth -- the love of well-endowed bar wench, the inevitable maturation that comes with age.

Which brings me to a stupid movie...

...about two stupid guys who worship the riff with unyielding devotion, while barely getting by in the fucked beyond belief "real world" of man we call life today. I'm a big fan of the buddy picture, the rock hero's journey picture, heavy metal, Ronnie James Dio/Satan, Dave Grohl and guitar picks -- all of which are present and accounted for in Tenacious D and the Pick of Destiny. If any of these things matter to you at all, and you ever once dared to sing along to Iron Maiden's "Number of the Beat" as broadcast on MTV circa 1983, please, dear God... PLEASE, Dark Lord, oh Pentecostal dispensationalist Deity of Grim Retribution and All That Is Sarah Palin...see this movie. See it stoned. See it with someone you love...and turn your mind off. I dare you.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Still kicking, ya'll. I owe you some updates and they're coming. Much love to all my friends, far and near...

...and that brings us to the sad side of the moon. I am listening to Piper at the Gates of Dawn as I type this. Lest we forget Richard Wright actually sung the lead vocal on "Astronomy Domine," and his keyboard playing was never anything short of pure ghost fire dancing through the aether on those early albums. Saucerful of Secrets, More, Ummagumma and bootlegs from the era, including the legendary Smoking Blues from 1970, all lend credence to this assertion. Sure some of the later stuff is a bit snore-inducing in that smooth jazz sort of way, but I have a feeling all reading this can agree that Darkside and Welcome to the Machine are some genuine beauties in the conceptual prog-syke multiverse. Sleep well among the stars, Mr. Wright.