Thursday, November 19, 2009

A List

We went to an awful dinner party a few years back. The hosts were acquaintances through my kid's soccer teams, and all of the adults had come with their children. The kids all went off to play video games while the adults drank and listened to music, the albums being chosen by one of the insane people in attendance, who pulled out our host's selection of 80's vinyl. As we were treated to Boston, Journey, Foreigner et al. , I began to drink heavily. Striking up a conversation with one of the guys, about our kids interest in sports (usually an easy neutral topic), he started to explain to me his philosophy of child raising. Pointing to a skinny 12 year old wearing a Harry Potter t-shirt and a buzz-cut he said:

"I tell my kid that you have to have priorities, you have to put things in order. I tell him your pirorities should be 1. School, 2. Sports, and 3. Pussy. Or  it can be 1. School, 2. Pussy and 3. Sports. Either way it's school first."

Monday, November 16, 2009

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Misty Mountain Hop

While living in London, my dad became friends with Ahmet Ertegun, president of Atlantic Records. Through this relationship he had designed the cover for Cream's Best Of Cream. Ertegun was a brilliant producer and impresario, making albums with Ray Charles, John Coltrane, Charles Mingus, Sonny & Cher, Aretha Franklin, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, MC5, Loudon Wainwright III, Wilson Pickett, Clarence Carter, Roberta Flack, etc. etc. 
In 1971 we were living in a farmhouse in Putney, Vermont. I was twelve years old. My dad had installed an etching press in the living room, and my parents were in their hippie phase. We were living on the vegetables my mom grew in our garden. Ahmet Ertegun sent my dad a box of LPs for Xmas. The box included Aretha Live at Fillmore West, King Curtis Live at Fillmore West, Sly and the Family Stone's There's a Riot Going On, Eddie Harris & Les McCann's Swiss Movement, and Led Zeppelin's IV, or ZOSO, or Sticks. I looked at the mysterious cover photo, searching for the album name, or indeed the band's name. My dad had already played the Aretha and Eddie Harris albums, but the Led Zep remained in the box with it's plastic wrapper intact. I opened the album, put it on the KLH turntable, and heard the echo of Jimmy Page's guitar reverbing the opening of Black Dog, one of the great album openers, before Robert Plant "Hey Hey Mama'ed", and I was hooked. The song that got me though, and stayed with me through punk, and hip-hop, and electronica, and alt-country, and indie rock, was Misty Mountain Hop. It's just the greatest rock riff of all time, and the stupid lyrics notwithstanding (aren't all Led Zep's lyrics stupid?), the song still stays in heavy rotation on my *generic mp3 player*.