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05/29/17

the Bambiverse

Welcome to the Bambiverse that's outside my back door.
05/21/17

I banged out a box for the studio.

box

It's 8' tall and a couple feet wide, and made of offcuts I scrounged at work.

I needed something to put junk in.

box

Hard to believe that I'm running out of floor space in here, but so it goes. I nabbed some Lon Floor offcuts for shelves- that material has a nice laminate on it- and I use 12d nails through holes in the sides to hold 'em up.

box

If you look closely, along the back edge of the box you can see evidence of the joinery I used. I'd call them fat-finger tenons, and they're about the simplest and quickest way to join big sheets like this. I guessed at the size (6" wide) and I guessed at the joint gap (0.000"), which prolly should not have worked, but I didn't want to use any glue, so I went for a touch of sanding and a dry fit (with wire brads driven in at an angle). It went together in a couple of hours.

I'll add a bit of a base to make it absolutely plumb. Once that happens, the weight of the junk on the shelves will keep everything together, and if I ever want to break it down to move it it might just come apart again!
05/09/17

Had me a Pixies appreciation day here last Saturday. I listened to a lot of their music for the first time. What can I say- always late.

But I did hear them when Here Comes Your Man hit MTV and became one of my favorite songs. After visiting songmeanings.com for some clues to the lyrics-

"Here Comes Your Man" as written by Charles Thompson.... Outside there's a box car waiting Outside the family stew Out by the fire breathing Outside we wait 'til face turns blue I know the nervous walking I know the dirty beard hangs Out by the box car waiting Take me away to nowhere plains There is a wait so long You'll never wait so long Here comes your man Here comes your man Here comes your man Big shake on the box car moving Big shake to the land that's falling down Is a wind makes a palm stop blowing A big, big stone fall and break my crown There is a wait so long You'll never wait so long Here comes your man Here comes your man Here comes your man Here comes your man There is a wait so long You'll never wait so long Here comes your man Here comes your man Here comes your man Here comes your man Here comes your man Here comes your man Here comes your man Here comes your man Here comes your man Here comes your man Here comes your man Here comes your man Here comes your man

-I was inspired to write my own interpretation, which follows...

Thanks to everyone for the information about hobos and earthquakes. Thanks to Mark107100 for his queer theory interpretation. You may be on something there, Mark!
I'm "coming" at this from a slightly different direction. Sure, some songs, like "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald" are meant as narratives. I don't think we should expect anything that literal from Charles Thompson, confessed R.E.M. fan.
Efforts to construct a "story" from this song seem futile. (of course, if it amuses you, go right ahead!) Instead of this, I prefer to examine it as emotional narrative.
We all know it "works" really well. It's one of my favorite rock songs, and you wouldn't be here if you didn't like it too. But what does it mean, "work"? What does it do to us, or for us, that makes it such a good song?
Two things strike me right away. First is that catchy guitar hook that seems so simple yet is unlike anything you've ever heard before (or since) (unless it was another guitar hook in another Pixies song). Second is that chorus- so bright, so happy, yet so ambiguous.
This type of song, this dream-like style of song, isn't about "making sense" of anything. It's about capturing an emotion, or a sequence of emotions. This is what rock songs are supposed to do, in my opinion. Charles has expanded the range of feelings that it's possible for rock songs to be about- expanded it and yet done that in a way that is absolutely simple, and follows the classic form. Let me tag a few emotions I feel as I listen to this song.
First there's that opening chord. It reminds us of the opening to "Hard Day's Night" but it isn't THAT chord. (I still haven't figured out what chord it is, but I'm sure there's a video out there somewhere where someone has it) What this does is set us up- we're about to hear something that's going to make us feel happy and optimistic, yet in a new way.
(of course, all these thoughts are being expressed in hindsight. While we listen to the song, we don't "think" about what it's doing or how it's doing it- we just react emotionally, sub-consciously)
The initial twang is followed by a riff that sounds like a 12 string electric guitar, but which I think was two guitars double-tracked. The 12-string guitar sound is also from that era of the Beatles, but to not literally use a 12 string electric guitar to do it adds to our interest, diverts us from the easy association that could make us less impressed.
As for the riff itself, it's certainly not a blues lick, and it's not some "prog-rock" thing or jass thing meant to impress us with it's technical force. It's basic, like surf-rock, but the way it crosses bars and refers back to itself (with that doubled note!) is very much more complex than something like "Rumble". It's a riff like the one in "Guitar Town", it breaks out of the confines of our expectations. This riff, like the opening chord, remind us of things without boring us. They make us curious, and they lead us to expect something fun.
Now we come to the verse. It's a beautiful melody- let's ignore the words for now. The melody is pure pop, Beatles, or Beach Boys pop. It's simple, and it gets repeated with a second verse, and this causes it to sink in. By the end of the second verse we've got it, we can hum along. We hear a minor chord under the melody at one point, which gives the thing a bit of tension. All is not sunshine and bliss at this point in the song- it's setting us up for the "B" section.
What I call the "B" section is that little part There is a wait so long... I'm tempted to call it a bridge, but because it reoccurs several times I don't think it is, really. What it does for us is what Monk described as the purpose of the bridge though- "It makes the rest of the song sound better". This "B" section really ratchets up the tension! In classic Pixies form, it's the quiet before the storm. Kim comes in with her ethereal response here, adding a feminine component of longing and frustration. Just the sound of her voice at this point in the song opens up a door.
Till now we've had Charles singing (not screaming!), singing sweetly and (because of the odd lyrics) without saying much of anything. He has given us a series of dream-images, snatches of word associations which at the first few listens we can easily ignore. But more of that later. Now, with the entrance of Kim's voice, whether we understand it or not, we've got a romance.
And this is, in an emotional (rock) narrative, about as powerful a thing as there is. Rock music is about sexual desire, dreams, and frustrations. The band has sprung this on us through the back door (Mark!), without ever actually telling us in the lyric that it's "All about the girl who came to stay" or any such thing. It's simple and direct, and it leads us straight into musical ecstasy!
The chorus resolves that tension that has been building since that first A minor chord under the verse. It gives Kim the thing she has seemingly been "waiting so long" for, and it isn't a literal drug. It's even better than that- it's the promise of sex.
And there it is- the driving force behind the song is the same driving force behind most everything. Not sex, per se, but the PROMISE of sex, which is, as we know, often better. The anticipation of it, the desire for it, the frustrations of being denied it, all these juicy rock and roll emotions, presented in a fresh way. Here comes your man. There's no need to read anything more into this phrase, but of course, we must!
Before we do that, let me add that the opening guitar riff has snaked its way back in here without being too obvious about it. The chorus resolves not only the dilemma of waiting, but also the dilemma of that riff. The odd phrasing of the riff locks in with the phrasing of "Here comes your man" in such a way that each seems to require the other in order to be complete- and isn't that just another theme of rock romance?
Now there's an interlude- a second guitar riff which serves mostly as a way to bring us down from the exhilaration of the chorus. This riff is a little rambling distraction that leads us to another verse. Again forgetting the words (and whatever they "mean"), notice that this time there's only one time through the verse. We want to get back to that chorus again as quickly as possible! But we have to build that tension up again before it can be released... think about it. It's a lot like the female orgasm, innit?
That being said, we don't have to wait as long for it this time around. And this time, the sense of longing expressed in the line about waiting includes the sense of hope, because now we know what we're waiting for. Wait for it- it's coming.
The second chorus is as nice as the first one, and it's familiar now. We can let loose with it a bit more.
This is followed by the guitar break, which is an almost wordless repeating of the verse- except for some joyous howling! At the end of this dynamic build, we get the "bridge" again, and we can anticipate having another "chorus". Only this time, we're near the end- it's the big one- we repeat the line 13 times!
Are we satisfied now? Well, the song begs to be played over and over again. It does its job well, maybe perfectly. It tells us a story that we don't have to literally understand to appreciate.
05/06/17

practice

The New Rotics have another gig in a couple months- I gotta practice, get this kit together. The Yamaha 4-10 amp sounds better than the Mesa I think.
I've got a couple of Pixies tunes I'm working on...
05/03/17

streetside

There's this sort of installation along the street right now in Lititz, the Coolest Small Town in America. They just can't help being artsy there.

It's also of interest that nearby Rohrer's Quarry will be holding an open house Saturday, May 13, from 9 til 3.

deepside

It's pretty deep, and I'm told it's an interesting experience. But you know, these quarrys eventually fill up with water. Maybe we should start planning ahead.

I bet this one could hold a battleship with no problem.

deepside

Now that would really make Lititz cool!