Friday, October 14, 2005

W, I (MN:12)

Weezer- Pinkerton

I’m getting close to the end of this project, and, as such, have been looking back a little bit. You know, charting my progress. I’m surprised that I never steered any reviews towards an argument of classic albums. It’s such infinitely arguable stuff, the kind of topic that can be rehashed over beer and idiocy for months on the back porch. Criminally neglected albums are like assholes.

From here, sitting at my desk, I can hear your bullshit detector going off, trust me. With an intro paragraph like that, the logical conclusion to make is that the body of this Weezer review is going to be about how “Pinkerton” is a criminally underrated classic album. I don’t know about that, but I do have a couple of observations about the record:

-This is one of those records that I didn’t think I knew all that well, but managed to absorb through osmosis. Seriously, I can at least hum everything on ‘Pinkerton’ even though I have actively listened to the record maybe five times.

-There is a growing delegation of ‘emo’ kids that cites Weezer as a major influence. By transitive property, Peter Frampton was emo, too, based on the guitar solo in that ‘Beverly Hills’ song on the new Weezer album. Is there a point where a band’s current output affects their past discography/legacy?

-I really like the stories about an anonymous, bearded Rivers Cuomo puttering around Harvard in the winter following the first album’s release/some kind of surgery. The sad, defrocked artist thing has a romantic tinge to it that I can get into.

v/a- What We Do For A Living

There was a period of time in the mid-nineties when lots of touring bands played the Elvis Room, the little coffeehouse club that was like ten miles away from my dorm at UNH. I was doing a fanzine and going to lots of shows, so I wound up meeting and subsequently housing a bunch of acts. The first group that stayed with me was a three piece from Richmond named Whirlybird. I played their three song demo tape until it wore out, fucking loved their show, and was never able to find either of their two seven inches (a plea: anyone out there wanna sell me one/burn me a CD copy/send links to an MP3 site? Anyone at all?).

The band told me about this place called Big Burrito. One of the guys from Doc Hopper worked there, they said, and made them these huge burritos. Whirlybird’s stories made me want to visit to see if the burritos were as big as rumored.

I remember the first time I had one- Stricken For Catherine was playing their first Boston show right around the way from the Burrito, in the basement of this food co-op. I was doubly stoked. Then, months later, I moved to Boston, and one of my first roommates got a job working there! I got to know a bunch of the people who worked at the place, to the point where about half the time I went in I didn’t have to pay to eat (and I wasn’t even in a band!) I felt like the king of Allston every time I got the hookup, which was often. While waiting for my food to be made, I’d stand on the side- show flyers hastily slapped up with packing tape on the wall next to the pipe where touring bands would put their stickers. The strata of adhesives were like an archeological dig of Allston punk history. Through it all, until the place was sold, Whirlybird’s sticker was visible, way up top, out of reach. I’d look at it every time I went in.

It wasn’t just punk bands that worked there- metal, hardcore, and even hippie jam were genres that were represented. I don’t think of hippies or metal, though, when I look at the sign on my back porch and think about the Big Burrito and how it played a small but vital role in my Boston history. I mostly think about shows at dingy bars that smelled like beer piss and old cigarettes, bad tattoos, worse piercings, and connections, however inconsequential they turned out to be, that made me feel like this city was home even as I bobbed around without an anchor or a clue.


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