Friday, August 6th, 2004
Fables Of The Reconstruction
R.E.M are touring this Fall in support of their new record Around The Sun and will two nights at the Hummingbird Centre in Toronto on November 10 and 11. I’m curious who the openers will be – they’ve had a habit of bringing very good openers with them on tour, so good that it makes going to the show worthwhile. Not that R.E.M. on their own aren’t worthwhile, it’s just that their ticket prices will no doubt be fairly steep. More than the last time I saw them, anyway – their free show on Yonge St. in Toronto back in May 2001. 10,000 people in a canyon of glass, stone and steel, it was fantastic.
REM and I go back a long ways. I first started getting interested in music back in 1991, and when everyone else was singing the praises of Nevermind, I was wearing out copies of Out Of Time and Document (literally – I borrowed the Out Of Time CD from a friend at school for months on end, making more than a few cassette copies on better and better quality tapes. In hindsight, I shoulda just bought the damn thing). It should be telling that while most others were unleashing their suburban angst to “Smells Like Teen Spirit”, I was ruminating to “Country Feedback” and “Texarkana”. Yeah, even then I was a freak. They probably weren’t very cool thirteen years ago and almost certainly less so now, but REM were the first outfit that could unequivically lay claim to being my favourite band. I read every news article, bought every magazine, caught every television appearance. I stole a copy of Musician from the public library with Peter Buck and Neil Young on the cover and read it over and over again (two very very large guitar influences for me, it should be noted. And I still play “Driver 8” when I’m just messing around). It was my first experience with pure, unabashed fandom and while my tastes and scope of music listened-to have expanded exponentially since then, the band remains a watershed for the evolution of my musical tastes.
Through the 90s, my interest in them held for a while, but inevitably began to wane as my musical spectrum grew. Automatic For The People cemented my devotion to the band (and pegged me as a sucker for slow, sad songs) while Monster was and still is a disappointment (guys, you’re not a rawk band). My faith was renewed with New Adventures In Hi-Fi but that would but prove to be the last hurrah. Maybe it was to do with Bill Berry leaving the band but I just lost interest after that. Up and Reveal had a couple decent songs a piece but couldn’t compete for rotation time with the stuff I’d discovered more recently. The first time I got to see them live was in August of 1999 at the Molson Amphitheatre. It was a big fancy stage show in support of Up and while I’m sure I enjoyed the concert, I couldn’t really connect with the arena rock show laid before me. But the openers that night? Wilco. Call it a passing of the torch, perhaps. I’ll no doubt be picking up Around The Sun eventually, completist that I am (though I still don’t have Dead Letter Office on CD. Even if I don’t listen to them much anymore at all, they’ll always be an incredibly important band to me. And yeah, I’ve only talked about their Warner Bros output. Of course critically speaking the IRS stuff was much better, but I wasn’t there for that, I was there for this. But now I do want to go listen to Murmur again.
Oh, and have you noticed yet that when I get on extended tangents about things not topical at all, like bands I listened to religiously in 11th grade, it means that I can’t find any other content for the day? Think of it as one of those ‘clips’ episodes TV shows do to fill up episodes. Except it’s nostalgic to me and me only.
Everyone’s favourite musical soap opera The Libertines are going to try their damndest to be at the Opera House on October 15. I don’t really follow the band so I don’t know if that Pete fellow is technically in the band or not, but I wouldn’t put money on him being there, either way. It sounds like the boy has some issues.
Spent about four hours last night recording a 25-second passage for our slowly yet steadily forthcoming record. I’m not the most efficient player when the tape is rolling to begin with, but this time the excuse was that we tried three or four wholly distinct ideas before settling on something. And technically, it was 50-seconds of music – we double tracked. Either way, I’m just thankful we’re doing this digitally. It would have cost about $500,000 (give or take) in blown takes if we had done this to tape.
np – Bob Dylan / Bringing It All Back Home