Sunday, June 26, 2011

The Other King

Hello again. I feel like I'm getting worse at this, but I also know that this past year at work was beyond bonkers, so I'll just play that card and see what happens.

Earlier this week, we went to see Dick Dale, the King of Surf Guitar. If you don't know his music, you already do. It's that fast-moving, oddly twangy song that was used as the main theme for Pulp Fiction. It's called Miserlou. I learned a few things. Here you go...

1. Surf Guitar might just be one of the primary roots of thrash metal. Guitar Player called Dick Dale the "Father of Heavy Metal," but I think they had the wrong reasons. They were talking about how he used to blow up amplifier after amplifier, which is pretty metal. But, I think there are better reasons. The superhuman pick hand work. The pedal tones on the low strings. The weird scales. The god forsaken volume. The way the songs are a huge puzzle of individual riffs. Go and listen to the intro of Pantera's Cowboys from Hell. Or anything Metallica did before they went to pot. Or Marty Friedman's work with Megadeth. I'd bet dollars to doughnuts that a whole lot of that is because of surf guitar. Thrash came out of LA and the Bay Area. A pinch of surf guitar, a half cup of SoCal punk, two pounds of the NWOBHM, and you're on your way to thrash. Pretty awesome to hear live.

2. There is nothing more tragic than a hipster dropping an entire tallboy of PBR.

3. I am all for volume when it comes to rock n roll music. In fact, the more the better. Go see a Slayer show. It's very much a function of the volume at which the stuff is played. And they're definitely not alone. Ask Motorhead. Or Dick Dale. The guy rolled into the Hi-Tone with 4 12" speakers and an old Fender head and rattled my innards worse than a half dozen Marshall stacks. It was profound. And, to tell you the truth, it's mostly the reverb that does it. I felt parts of myself vibrating that I'm not sure I feel comfortable talking about. There was a point where I actually thought I might be disintegrating from within. Awesome.

4. Laramie Dean, the opener, is a bad bad man. He can play like hell and is exactly the kind of endearing gas station jacket-wearing, Brylcreemed, awkward with a microphone nostalgist that everyone should love. And, if that's not enough, he was gracious enough to shout out a local great when he saw him in the audience.

5. Shows at the Hi-Tone are fun, if only because everyone shows up. I saw 60 year old dudes in aloha shirts next to tatted-up rockabilly women next to a kid with a Misfit shirt. It was the same kind of crowd as at the Social D show I saw in Nashville a few weeks ago. The kind of crowd that reassures your faith in humanity to get along with itself. The kind of crowd that proves that good music is perhaps the most universal universal.

6. There is nothing more hilarious than a hipster falling off of a chair whilst trying to seduce a dude with a slew of poorly-balanced dance moves. Thankfully she wasn't hurt, and my wife was the one who saw the entire sequence, but it's hard to explain just how hilarious it was. Yell of hipster. Crash of chair. Thud of beer hitting the ground. Woosh of air as hundreds of heads turn to what just happened. Me laughing so hard I thought I was going to pee. I'm probably going to hell for laughing at other peoples' misfortunes, but this one was well worth it.

Happy trails. I'll try to get it together and be more productive.

PS: It's true. Ghost's Opus Eponymous is a really great album. If you like Priest and Sabbath, this will flip all of your switches.

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