is a word coined by Angus MacLise, original drummer
of the Velvet Underground and quite possibly the
coolest hippie of all time. (cf. track four of his
posthumous CD release The Invasion of Thunderbolt
Pagoda, released by Siltbreeze/Quakebasket.
for immediate cf'ing.)
click on Angus)
obviously Blastitude isn't monthly, or even really
bi-monthly anymore. I apologize for the delay.
All I can say is that this really is "our
biggest issue yet," and that things have
been crazy around here. Shows, weddings, drunkfests,
houseguests...hell, just yesterday I had a barbecue
at Blastitude HQ for Harvey Sid Fisher and Cheer-Accident.
Other illustrious guests this month have included
the lovely human beings in Monotract and Born
in East L.A, who swung through Nebraska on a recent
three-week tour. Not to mention Trigge Naked,
old Lincoln board-stomper and current bassist
for arising NYC aggro-funksters Liars, who stayed
at my house for three nights, if you call passing
out from 8AM-11:30AM each morning "staying"
at someone's house. I guess you do. Ted Stevens
from Lullaby for the Working Class stayed here
for something like 8 straight nights while he
was recording an upcoming solo album here in Lincoln.
Further complicating things, wife and I are moving
to Chicago in about a week-and-a-half. Almost
all of my record collection is in boxes right
Anyway, the point is, at some point doing an irreverent
underground music type zine gets lower and lower
on the priority scale, especially when it's not
how you're getting paid. I wanted to jump in and
see if I could meet a monthly deadline, and I
did it for 7 proud issues, but I just can't do
it anymore. I get the feeling this won't really
bother anyone. Who knows, maybe the writing will
be a little less half-baked if I actually put
a couple months' care into it. (I'm hoping for
writing that's at least 3/4 baked.)
Alright, so onwards and upwards. This is our "reviews
extravaganza" issue. The next issue probably
won't be out until September 1st. Just being realistic.
I'm hoping it will be a little more focused on
"interviews" than reviews, but we'll
see, as that's kind of new territory for Blastitude.
Alright then, below find our letters page and
key to moving on through this issue. Thanks for
Larry "Fuzz-O" Dolman
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
I agree with your
estimate of "Vixens" - it wasn't really meant for
anyone (save Joel, of course, and the odd follower of
things Spite-ful); strictly odds and sods, errors and
sublimations to cruel (or indifferent) fate. Each of its
selections evokes a particularly sapid moment... For me,
at least! I enjoy bootleg live recordings, especially
those within the B- to D+ parameter. Thus, my insistence
on using less sophisticated gear. In the studio, of course,
it's a rather different story. Contrasts...
Attached please find a photo (snapped today) of the offending
producer/moaning frontman and his stereo cassette recorder
(both solid, but rather long in tooth).
better get on soon or my lamb will poop on your SSSSSSSSSHHHHHHHHOOOOEEEEEEE-LLLLLAAAAAACCCCCCCCCCCCEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
That would not be good or would it? Well if your a peach
then when u finish reading this your eyes will be kineenness
so u had better stop reading! Well not yet 1st u must eat
a leaf boom boom! eat a leaf boom boom wooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooom!
Then u must turn into a wolf and eat cheeses with a sock
on your head and red pens in your noses. hehehehehe! Then
you must bounce well except carolyn cuz she can't! hahahaha!
Then u will turn into coolus! And finally( I don't care
if that isn't spelled right) you peaches will turn into
frogs! HAhahahah HEhehehe!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! As you might
be able 2 tell I'm the Horrible Caloolaleilayeha! And in
case you peaches don't know who the Horrible Caloolaleilayeha
I won't tell you anything about me except everything! I
send at least 103 emails saying i need mail! Now do u know
who I am Sean? Of coarse you do, I am Graceface12( actually
all u peaches know that from the top when it says From Graceface12
but oh well) and you should all be getting a few emails
tonight! heheheheh! Bye-bye now!
dismissing 8 Eyed Spy out of hand, I'd really REALLY recommend
getting hold of a copy (a dub from me, for instance) of
the 8 Eyed Spy _Live_ cassette on ROIR. The stuff on Hysterie
isn't really appropriate to pass judgements on. I've had
that 2LP for years also, and haven't listened to the non-Teenage
Jesus stuff more than a handful of times. _Live_, on the
other hand, is one hell of a beast. Lydia Lunch fan or not
(and while I'm not really a huge fan of most of her music/spoken
word, I have an enormous crush on her. I'm sure she'd rip
me to shreds, both physically and emotionally, but alas...),
this is one motherfucker of an album. The live versions
of "Diddy Wah Diddy," "Run Through the Jungle" (yep, that
one), "Love Split With Blood," "Motor Oil Shanty" and "Sorry
For Behaving So Badly"are very crucial.
I just ordered all six of those Vibracathedral Orchestra
CD-Rs from Eddie Flowers. In the words of the Gram Parsons
song, "Oh Lord, what have I done..." Also ordered the new
batch (and some old ones) from the Slippy
Town CD-R catalog, with intent to profile them for a
future issue. Hotcha! Later, Chris
I just became aware of Blastitude a little while ago,
but would nevertheless like to offer a tardy response
to your "Big Shit
About Meltzer" article. First off, I could, of course,
not help but wonder why you felt that your adjunct comment
pointing out that my letter to you was not written in
a Meltzerian style was necessary. My assumption (and please
correct me if I am wrong) was that you found my criticisms
of Meltzer to be no fun. I believe in those criticisms,
however. I see two main issues that I have with Meltzer's
more recent writings. The first is that his general focus
is often just to complain about shit. There are some good
moments in that "Of Peep Shows and Piano Bars" piece,
but I'll tell you, living in San Diego, there were better
pieces of that sort in The San Diego Reader (my
favorite being "Too Carlsbad for Words," which I guess
wasn't about music so that's why it wasn't in the book).
A piece like that seemed like a nice development of the
Gulcher context, documenting the process of Meltzer
going somewhere and doing some random thing. Let's keep
in mind, though, the original "post-rock cultural pluralism"
context of Gulcher. Those writings were done in
a high-spirited, "total awareness freak" context wherein
Meltzer was inspired, indeed in a sort of state of blissful
awe, at the notion of going out and doing anything at
all. By the time of the "F**k My Childhood" piece that's
in the new book, notice how this context has become something
that he now complains about. The randomness of his exploration
of Classical music documented in that piece and others
from that time is no longer fun. It makes him feel like
an "old geezer," a stamp collector (ironic, really, given
that the piece about bottlecap collecting is perhaps my
favorite in Gulcher). He compares it to an extra-credit
school assignment. By saying that Meltzer is repeating
himself, I meant primarily that this writing context has
persisted now for thirty years and has outlived his inspiration.
The guy is no longer an inspired total awareness freak.
I also do not agree with some of the comments you make
about The Aesthetics of Rock. You say that in his
old rock writings "the end result doesn't end up making
much sense but that's Meltzer's point all along, because
how rock works is indescribable." I must ask why one writes
about music if it is indescribable. If a thing is indescribable,
it would seemingly follow that the thing must have some
metaphysical properties. I would argue, however, that
music is indeed a thing of the real world (sound waves)
that functions semiotically in what I believe to be a
number of different ways. You would have to point out
to me what it is exactly about music that cannot be described.
Meltzer's partial decision to turn the Aesthetics of
Rock project into what you accurately describe as
concrete poetry was, in one sense, a merely convenient
way out of the real task.
S. I have a website for MRM now at http://home.earthlink.net/
Good to hear from you, although I have gone back and read
the Meltzer piece and, while my comments were in no small
part meant to give you a hello and conspiratorial wink,
I do regret what seems to be a strange snideness in my
tone. Your writing in MRM has always made me think of
Meltzer, hence I said that you write "a hell of a lot
like Meltzer," which is certainly not giving the whole
story on your talents. The oblique comment about your
letter not being written "like Meltzer" unfortunately
included you in a criticism that I was (supposed to be)
directing at myself: why are some writings I do more indebted
to Meltzer than others? In other words, I was a bit interested
in the fact that we both can be caught "doing a Meltzer."
It was weird for me to refer to it like I did, but then
Iím a weird guy and I intend to create a weird zine so
it goes with the territory. As for the snideness, I find
that to be a side-effect from my pseudo-punk heritage,
which is steadily becoming more unwanted and outdated
as I strive to age a little more gracefully. In the course
of giving my piece some much-needed revision, I feel like
I should remove my aside about your letter-writing style,
as Iíve always enjoyed your zine and your correspondence.
I think youíre right, my oblique comment was a response
to your criticisms; I didnít think they were fun, because
I didnít agree with them. Now, just eight months later,
Iím more inclined to, due to continued reading of and
reflecting on Whore Just Like The Rest, and to
the reinstatement of your opinion. However initially justified
Meltzerís crankiness may be, it eventually (especially
in "Vinyl Reckoning") reaches a level that could almost
be described as pathological. Did you see Christgauís
rebuttal in the Village Voice? I read that, and then Meltzerís
response somewhere on the web, and it was the first (and
still only) time in my life I found myself leaning towards
Christgauís take on things. (Even though I still find
90% -- the part where he's not ranting about Christgau
and Marcus -- of "Vinyl Reckoning" to be intensely
Either way, I do not feel that "Big Shit About Meltzer,"
an experiment in describing Meltzer by appropriating his
style (including, alas, some of its crankiness), was an
entirely successful piece Ė hell, maybe only about 30%
successful Ė and your criticisms of it are accurate and
appreciated. Good point about sound waves being a thing
that exists on the real world and therefore describable
Ė however, not being a semiotician, I still think thereís
something ineffable, and maybe even metaphysical, about
the way certain sound waves add up to music and subsequently
effect their various settings. For me, itís the way the
same song or piece (or certain group of lyrics and/or
sounds within a song or piece) can pass by me unnoticed
in one setting, and then change my life in another. Yes,
the basic ingredients and context of the piece can always
be described, but the feeling created in the mind/soul/spirit
of the listener is what I find potentially indescribable.
I think that Meltzer ran into the "concrete poetry" dead
end because, however valiantly, he tried to describe the
FEELING the music causes rather than the music itself.
Being a "total awareness freak" (good use of his phrase;
it sums up his approach better than my whole essay), he
had some success, but (other than Gulcher, which
again was barely about music) not in any real sustained
book-length way; after all, heís somewhat of a failed
semiotician himself (he didnít finish grad school, anyway).
Even as a failed project, Aesthetics of Rock is
fun and inspiring, but youíre right, music can be described
better. Thanks again for reminding us of "the real task."
I actually took a class on semiotics this year. It was
more brutally painful than anything, but it at least got
me thinking about how music does function semiotically.
My basic sense of it is that, at least in western cultures,
it generally functions as a symbol of something. I was
arguing in the seminar that music often functions as a
symbol of space. In other words, it is perceived as a
type of space, and when you listen to it, you are in that
space. The emotion that you feel, then, is relative to
how you conceive of that space. There are a lot of different
factors that go into this, but that's the basic premise.
I would offer to email you my term paper from that class,
but I think it needs some revision. Part of it is on the
semiotic functioning of sad music. I argue that it functions
symbolically in a different way, representing appearance,
disappearance, and (consequently) loss.
I wonder how much of The Aesthetics of Rock is
about feelings provoked by music and how much is about
the music itself. I think it's actually more of the latter,
welcome to include any correspondence in Blastitude.
will be published bimonthly from now
Letters, recommendations, complaints,
for consideration should be mailed to Blastitude
c/o Tiffany Kowalksi at 3210 West Beach Avenue, Chicago,
designer, collater, curator, writer: Larry "Fuzz-O"
"Inklings and Musings" by BradSonder
"Only Seat in the House" by Christopher Dean
"Koko" by Jack Jackson
Portrait of Brad Sonder by Michael French
BLASTITUDE #8 © 2001
Published by Tiny Press