“Praying for a Movement in the Light: On the Cultural Hutch on American Grassroots Music”

I was thinkin’ on a tune, but now I can’t remember it. Anyway, it’s verified by the Jesus and Mary Chain song where it’s like, “People die in empty rooms / But we do not need this god almighty gloom.” Maybe it was “Time,” where he’s like “Desperation is the English way.”
Anyway, “Spanish Bombs” by The Clash, “Sugar Spun Sister” by The Stone Roses, “In a Hole” by The Jesus and Mary Chain. Look at the guys who wrote these songs — they’re SCRAWNY, they’re DORKY! No great pop songs like this come from America, other than the west coast. Are we to believe, then, that these melodic strands simply don’t exist in Yankee young men? Hardly.
Take the sh**hole town I live in now. Everywhere you go it’s either cover bands or Irish music. Basically, there’s no pop zeitgeist in the U.S., and there maybe never has been. When Bob Dylan came along, that was folk, and then it turned to phallic butt rock real quick. The best pop band is The New Pornographers, and they’re Canadian, and then maybe The Decemberists but after that probably Wolf Parade, another Canadian act. Anyway, I give the west coast mad props, because Beirut and The Shins are also from out there, as well as Green Day, who mimic The Beatles but have enough fun doing it so as to put the haters to shame. Just listen to their last huge single “Oh, Love,” but don’t clench your cornhole too tight, you might strain something, because it takes a lot of effort to avoid enjoying this one.
Smashing Pumpkins. How many bitter, hoity-toity stiffs can hate one single band? Let’s pile them up. And the poignant thing is, as is documented in the Exile in Guyville DVD, it started locally, with people yelling “Rock star!”
Basically, if you want to be a successful pop act in the States, you have to be prepared to lose all your friends. Which Kurt Cobain did. Proceed at your own risk.
Incidentally, many British bands that become great start out with names that are mind-bogglingly corny; for instance Robert Plant and John Bonham were in the Band of Joy, and I wish I could remember it offhand, but both The Beatles and David Bowie sprung from very, um, un-homophobic names. Green Day, the west-coasters, started as the Sweet Children.
A few years ago I went to a Breeders show amidst perfect-looking, emotionless people, and got the feeling that the music, to them, was a custom, rather than a passion, whereas with these British bands, the uninhibited aspect of nomenclature definitely gives you the idea that, even at the start, it’s a passion. But maybe it’s just more needed over there. Anyway, do us all a favor, next time you’re poring over prospective band names, quipping that “There’s gonna be a lotta poon-tang flyin’ around,” or saying “It’s important not to suck” (I’ve actually witnessed all of these things firsthand), change your direction and take up video games, which are a science. Leave the music to the visionaries.

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