I don’t have actual ADD, at least I’ve never been diagnosed — but, my attention span is still as short as the next man’s. In this age of iTunes where every eager listener can sift through the offerings of a given album like a crow through detritus on the side of the road, I admit I’m guilty of cherry picking a song here or there just like the rest of the herd. This is precisely why I plan on reviewing random, unrelated songs from my personal collection in this experimental format. The only common denominator here will be my interest and appreciation, which is to say I’m about to bismark you with my particular brand of eclectic.
The Brian Jonestown Massacre - ’Nevertheless’
People that know me know that I lust the Jonestown. In fact, so much so that dare I say in the throws of my fandom, my enthusiasm has turned off friends that would have really liked the band had I not insisted on playing the BJM over and over again. The BJM is something of a winged unicorn to me in that when I found out about them I was positive that I had missed the wave. An old girlfriend put me on to the docu-drama “Dig” which chronicles the love, but more often, hate relationship of the BJM and the Dandy Warhols. Whether you chose to subscribe to the historical accuracy of the film and characterization of mercurial lead singer and multi-instrumentalist Anton Newcombe, you got to admit the shit is fucking entertaining. Like the man said, the true doesn’t necessarily have to be the enemy of the good. The point being, this movie doesn’t end well. When the lead singer dumps his band while on tour and insists on playing the rest of the gigs solo in a mexican poncho and presumably on copious amounts of mind-altering substances to the point where he actually kicks a heckler square in the face while on stage, chances are good these cats are either dead or in jail.
However, hope sprang eternal when a good friend called three years ago and volunteered that the band was reunited and playing the Paradise in Cambridge of all places. We got tickets and my dream of seeing the band live in concert was realized. I’m not shy in a concert venue setting, so heavily lubricated, I scratched and clawed my way to the front of the stage. I know most if not all of the seminal tracks (I digress to note that the BJM went through a prolific period of creativity in the late 90s whereby they released three albums with virtually no budget within a years time: Their Satanic Majesties Second Request, Thank God for Mental Illness and Give it Back). Now the song which I’m writing about, ‘Nevertheless’ is actually off of Bravery, Repetition and Noise but the point is that the BJM played all of the songs I wanted them too, up to and including my favorite ‘Nevertheless’.
I knew it as soon as I heard the first note, that hauntingly deep and driving guitar melody taking me down into a dark place. Newcombe croons somewhat obliquely “three words you have spoken, don’t make me a fool, I suggest just a token, please play by the rules.” This song is dark and fascinating and somehow slightly romantic in the most tragic sort of way, with its seemingly fatalistic take on love. The BJM wears their influences on their sleeve and often times they conjure everyone from the Beatles to the Smiths to My Bloody Valentine while always remaining true to their own form. This is one of their darker tracks, but you can’t deny the genius guitar solo played by their former guitarist Jeff Davies midway through the song. I’m writing this and listening right now as it still gives me the chills every time I hear it. Give it a listen if you’re so inclined.
- Chucky Dirt.