Echo And The Bunnymen, "The Puppet"

>> Sunday, May 20, 2012

I find myself asking myself these days why I didn't listen to Echo And The Bunnymen in high school. I don't mean more, I mean at all; for whatever unknowable reason, they were a kind of black hole or blind spot. I had friends who listened to Echo And The Bunnymen, I was exposed, I heard the songs. And then I just ignored them. Which seems bizarre to me now: it's very obvious to me that EB were doing exactly the kinds of things I liked in a lot of the bands I was listening to; sometimes, they were doing things first that I was crediting other artists with, I realize now.

A coupla years ago, Urgh! A Music War got released on Warner Archive, Warner Bros.' burn-on-demand DVD release company. Warner Archive is typically stuff that there's some demand for, but Warner doesn't perceive enough of a demand to do a full-throated DVD/Blu-Ray reissue with all the bells and whistles; in the case of Urgh!, though, one suspects the demand would be there for a super deluxe edition (I don't like linking to Amazon anymore, but consider the new and used prices for the out-of-print soundtrack), only the rights are a clusterfuck nightmare; bands that have turned to smoke, bands that are still around but have gotten tight with their rights after surviving corporate screwings, bands that are sorta still around but there's one crazy ex-member who always does the exact opposite of what he thinks his former bandmates want to do, and then all the labels and former labels and successor labels that would be involved. Warner gets to float the bare-bones DVD with whatever their current licensing entails and doesn't deal with having to spend eight years seeing if so-and-so has a problem with this going in the bonus footage or who'll actually show up for a where-are-they-now documentary or comment track, whatever.

But I digress. The point was going to be: there's Echo And The Bunnymen and "The Puppet" (supra) and I'm watching this clip thinking this is one of those bands I don't like much but will put up with to get to Devo (or whomever), only to discover the song is really pretty kickass and I'm really loving the guitar and stuttering drums and the clipped vocals. Loving it and feeling stupid I don't already have a shelf full of Echo And The Bunnymen CDs. And then I start paying more attention when the GenX oldies satellite channel (sigh)--i.e. First Wave--plays 'em and I'm thinking, "Shit, this is really awesome stuff" and cranking it.

I imagine we all make mistakes like that, and end up discovering a band we already knew about years and years after. Probably wouldn't have made a difference in our lives after all of that, but, y'know, disconcerting somehow, sort of embarrassing in a weird way.


Nick from the O.C.,  Sunday, May 20, 2012 at 11:58:00 AM EDT  

I was all over The Pretenders and DEVO but missed Talking Heads until after their second album. The lyrics threw me off; but then I got into it and have stayed into T.Heads since then.

In related news, I could have seen Led Zepplin live on their last tour (1976?), but didn't want to hassle getting the tickets. Still kicking myself.

Eric Monday, May 21, 2012 at 10:58:00 AM EDT  

To be fair, I'm not sure 77 is Talking Heads' most accessible album, and retrospectively, it wouldn't be where I'd start someone getting into the band. (More Songs About Buildings And Food is much more approachable and has that great cover of Al Green's "Take Me To The River" that makes for a good handhold on the Heads' music.)

I think the first Heads' album I owned was probably Remain In Light. I remember getting 77 on vinyl, though, after Rolling Stone recommended it as one of the hundred best rock albums of all time, and listening to it a few times going, basically, "What... the... fuck?" "Psycho Killer" I knew from Stop Making Sense (I possibly had already copied the soundtrack of that from VHS to cassette) and I liked the snarkiness of "Don't Worry About The Government" and I think I liked "No Compassion" well enough, but it took me a while to get a grip on some of the other cuts, e.g. Byrne's hiccuppy delivery on "Who Is It" annoyed me for some reason I can't remember (it doesn't anymore).

In fact, when I think about it, as much as I do like 77 these days, it isn't the first Heads album I reach for when I'm in the mood (I think my fave at this point would be Speaking In Tongues, the most booty-shaking album in the Heads' catalogue; seriously, if your ass doesn't shake at least once during that album, get yourself to an ass doctor, 'cause somethin's broke). I like it, but there's still something tentative and remote about it, not just tightly-wound (so much of their music is tightly-wound), but also shy and a little off-putting.

Re: missing Zeppelin live on their last tour because tickets were a hassle--dude, I'm not even sure I'd admit to that in public. If I even admitted I had to miss the show, I'd probably lie and say it was because I'd been hospitalized for a social disease or something. "Yeah, I could have seen Led Zeppelin live on their last tour, but I had crabs and the crabs had the clap, so the health department had me in quarantine the day of the show or I totally would've been in the front row. Real bummer."

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