Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Love is the Law

Summer bloody summer--fresh on the heels of Syd Barrett's untimely demise (one shudders to think this, but as a notorious recluse for years, one wonders if Syd had trouble bearing all the recent good a play as Tom Stoppard's "Rock 'n Roll" is--and it's pretty damn good--it does indeed recount Syd's tragic decline) comes news of Arthur Lee's passing--another 60's titan come to clay.

And there was a Floyd/Love connection you know, once upon a time...Syd's monumental "Interstellar Overdrive" riff was derived from Pink Floyd's then manager Peter Jenner humming the descending sinuous raga-scale of Burt Bacharach's "My Little Red Book" --as recorded by Arthur Lee and Love in 1966-- to Syd upon Jenner's returning from a trip to the US, humming it at Syd's request in order to give him a notion as to what the cool American underground bands of the time (ie, the competition) were up to:

There ain't no girl in my little red book
Who could ever replace your charms

And Syd being Syd, he filtered and upended this second-hand, hummed riff, slowed it down, and mutated it into the cold proto-metallic shards of "Interstellar Overdrive"--where it's done its time, served it well, as the basis for such disparate tunes as Deep Purple's "Space Truckin' "and Elvis Costello's "Pump It Up".

I pointed out this Syd Barrett/Love connection a few years ago at a tribute to Burt Bacharach at the Knitting Factory, where I shared a bill with Eugene Chadbourne and we did a mad acoustic duo strum-through of "My Little Red Book" which segued into "Interstellar Overdrive" ( the title of which Syd most likely copped from Sun Ra's "Interstellar Low-Ways", another tune I've covered, on my album "Evangeline"--also live with Church of the Blood, my trio with Lukas Ligeti and James Ilgenfritz). Syd's title was in turn copped by William Gibson for his "Mona Lisa Overdrive" book.

And so it goes...

Yesterday morning I woke to the sad news of the sudden, unexpected passing of my old friend David Walley well before his time, from cardiac arrest--David was a brilliant music writer and social critic, the author of the first book about Frank Zappa, "No Commercial Potential", and an Ernie Kovacs biography. And he was about to see publication of a manuscript he'd been working on for 5 years.

Blood in my love in the terrible summer
Blood in the streets its up to my ankles

-- Jim Morrison's lyric from The Doors' "Peace Frog", which is about as good a summation of how I'm feeling these days vis a vis the reciprocal death-dealing currently on display just over the horizon...

Anyway I'm off in a few hours to Romania for a rave with Cosmo, in Mamaia--

Praying for peace,

while playing like a mofo...




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