I got some shit to say. And I'm lazy.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Go Ask The Gentlemen Who Pay

So I'm taking this TV acting class that totally rocks and luckily I know one of the other students, who is a former BAT, which is always helpful, because in high pressure situations like these I instantly start to doubt my ability, looks and general sanity. I always feel like the dummy in the room. I get tense. I sweat. I have to poop. Not really.
Anyhow, I'm sitting there, being a trifling fool when this dude walks in wearing a Twilight tee. I am floored. Being a audiohead, I love talking about music. My friends know this and in fact come to me often for recs. My mix CD's are faves among my co-workers. I still get compliments about an 80 minute joyride I made for people. In 2004. I'm not strutting, but I might be peacocking. BUT, whenever I recommend anything Greg Dulli has ever done, from The Afghan Whigs to his stint as John Lennon for The Backbeat soundtrack (totally underrated!) to his current incarnation, The Twilight Singers, people generally look at me like I am speaking HTML. They recognize the Whigs, as for the most part people I converse with who were part of ALTERNATIVE NATION at some point in the last fifteen years do, but they don't recognize the sound.

'The Afghan Whigs,' they say, 'were they like, political or something?'

Only in the sense that they knew the politics of getting your swerve on and taking some fine ass woman on the ride of her life.


I am instantly excitable and ask the dude if he knows what shirt he's wearing.

'Hell yes!,' he says, 'Twilight Singers fucking rock!'

There's a reason I took this class, bloggers.

We start to chat about the records, favorite tracks, Dulli's legendary drinking and smoking, the '98 fight in Austin (which I'm proud to say I was an audience member for), and his general regard as an A#1 prick.

I haven't had this much fun since Jessica left Nick.

I decide at that moment, o yee faithful Tdawgbloggers, to come home and tell you why exactly, Greg Dulli means the world to me.

In the fall of 1993, I was (and still am, I should totally do the la ketch thing and conduct an interview between my 16 year old self and my 28 year old self) a hyper sensitive asshole stuck in the wilds of urban San Antonio,TX. (and probably still am, emotionally anyhow.) My high school was super inner city; a guy I grew up playing CYO and AAU basketball with got shot in the parking lot my senior year. I flat out didn't belong and couldn't wait for college. One Sunday night in November (and in my mind it's always November, for some reason this month has a hold on me; probably cuz' that's when Texas actually gets cold, when elections are held, JFK got shot, my Maw-Maw celebrates her b-day, Bucci too, and when I fell head over heels in love with my own Blackberry Belle) I was up late flipping the box when I stopped in on 120 Minutes, the best show MTV ever had.

Dave Stewart, the erudite prick of a host, was talking about how we should all be "gentlemen" and I was like "What the fuck is this douche saying? Play me some Red Kross now!" when he introduces the hottest band out of CINCINATTI,OHIO and their first video from their new album, the aforementioned GENTLEMEN. The video was for the track DEBONAIR and the sexy ass muther fucker leading the get down was Mr. Greg Dulli. I had never heard music like this and really haven't since. It was rock, which I liked, but it was dark, which I felt. It was heavy, which required listening, but it grooved, which made me shimmy shimmy shake. The dude was wearing a suit and tie, as were the rest of the band, which back thirteen years ago was not all that common. He was talking about love, which I thought I understood; he was whining about sex, which I definitely didn't. He had a Camel Wide hanging out of his lips, and he was rocking the mike like fucking Dean Martin at a Friar's Club Roast.

To paraphrase Chris Rock: "Now I ain't gay, but I'm just sayin'."

This was the role model I had been looking for my whole life.

It's hard to remember a time before the internet, but back in the '90's you had to really LOOK for stuff. So the next day at school I asked everyone I knew if they had heard of this band. No,no and NO.

I found myself at Sam Goody a week later, searched frantically for the album, and convinced my best friend Mario to lend me the cabbage to buy the cassette.

The cover says it all.

I also remember that night three guys tried to jump us in the parking lot, which in hindsight may have only added to the mystique of this record (i had to fight off three vatos to get this in my tape deck!) but I'm not sure. In any event, up until that point in my short listening career all the music I had heard (even the so called alternative stuff) was from the point of view of having been wronged by love, not wronging it. I think this is very important to understanding Greg Dulli's music. Here was a guy, cigarette and drink in hand, willing to lascerate himself and ADMIT he had a dick for a brain and that it was his fault that everything went wrong. He also wouln't pull any punches when it came to being honest about his lover's faults, which most people won't do. Basically, this Barry White Mutha Fucka told us how it was to love. Wonderful, Painful, Life-Altering, Necessary, Complacent, Obsessive, Gobsmacking, Obliterating, Perfect, Awful, Destructive,Everything. Everything. Everything.

How the fuck did some guy from fucking OHIO know so much?

And what right does any white dude with a habit have covering Tyrone Davis?

The balls.

'Now I ain't gay, but I'm just sayin'.'

It would be three more years until The Whigs released another record (and for the record, The Afghan Whigs was the name of a Hell Angel's-like biker gang in the 1960's, not some comment on our current situation. Their first name was The Black Republicans; I can only imagine what Clarence Thomas would think), the much debated and highly maligned BLACK LOVE. The live show staple FADED holds this record together and to Whig heads, this record is considered their masterpiece. I diasgree. GENTLEMEN has so much hunger, so much longing, there's no way BLACK LOVE compares. The Whigs were on the verge of breaking through when they recorded this, maybe having a top 40 hit, what with the BACKBEAT soundtrack, the film BEAUTIFUL GIRLS (which they appear in), and Dulli's infrequent TV and Film gigs. The record failed because the band was bored with expectations; it was a beautful failure sure, but the tightness and anger of GENTLEMEN and their Sub Pop days was gone. (oh yea, they were the only non Seattle band ever signed to Sub Pop.) Their record company, Elektra, dumped them, and that was that.

This is as good a point as any to say that this post will be continued shortly.
I gotta get you to keep hitting my site now don't I?


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