music-related; previously focused on obscurity, lately altogether unfocused
A major influence, though a crucial piece of the resolution has been edited out here. I wish I had a more complete version.
The Turtles – “You Showed Me”
The Cure – “Lullaby”
I’ve just noticed, in light of Lana Del Ray’s “West Coast”, how the above tunes are suspiciously similar.
The Turtles’ “You Showed Me” was a hit when released as a single in 1969, but was written (and demoed) five years earlier by Gene Clark and Jim McGuinn.
In 1989, it was sampled by De La Soul for "Transmitting Live From Mars" on 3 Feet High And Rising. The Turtles successful sued De La Soul for using the sample without permission.
The Cure’s “Lullaby” just so happened to also show up in 1989, as the first single off Disintegration.
The Stooges: “1970” (Funhouse, 1970)
Scott Asheton died the other day. I’ve hardly written anything here this year, but I couldn’t let that pass without some sort of tribute. Asheton was the drummer for a lot of bands, but the one that really matters is the Stooges.
Formed in Ann Arbor in 1967, when the band hit the Detroit rock scene, it was truly something different for its time. Iggy Pop gets a lot of the credit for that. He was hte wild frontman, after all, and it’s pretty much impossible to spend much time around someone who’s been on the Detroit scene for more than 20 years without hearing some sort of weird story about him.
But Iggy getting shirtless and bloody and confusing the hell out of people is just a fraction of what made that band special. Asheton and his guitarist brother Rob each brought a sound to the band that hadn’t been heard before, and on record, where you can’t see any of the flailing, their presence is arguably greater and more important than Iggy’s to what the band left behind. (Dave Alexander was great too, but it’s honestly harder to carve out a space that’s totally your own as a bass player.)
I wanted to feature a track from their second album, because Don Gallucci’s production on Funhouse really puts Asheton’s drumming right in your lap, dry and unadorned. “1970” in particular is Asheton at his best, holding down a shuffling rock beat, but doing it in a way that simultaneously grounds and contributes to the sense of chaos and madness at the heart of the song. He rarely just pounded out a straight beat (ironically, the tightest conventional rock beat on the whole album is on “Loose”).
His drumming created the sense that everything could fly apart at any minute, but that we were going to keep surging forward as long as it held together. It was a little like the rivets on an airplane wing rattling out of place as the pilot barely avoided catastrophy by sticking a rough landing. If you wanted to be an effective rock drummer after Scott Asheton, you had to learn more tricks than just throwing in a fill here and there.
Asheton was great at what he did. He was influential—Mogwai even named an album after his “Rock Action” nickname—but he was also the kind of musician other musicians liked to work with, as evidenced by his extremely long CV. He’ll be missed.