By LA Weekly
By Henry Rollins
By Weekly Photographers
By Shea Serrano
By Nate "Igor" Smith
By Dan Weiss
By Erica E. Phillips
By Kai Flanders
Sounds strange, perhaps, but related to this, what bugged me a bit about punk rock was its general tendency to imitate stupidity, so that everything ended one very long, stale joke, not to mention its quick collapse into style. Whereas I find that the music that has really stayed with me has been done in earnest, for the most part — with a genuine desire to use influences correctly, invariably with an innocence that would throw a spanner in the works. As if by magic, a new kind of sound seemed to reveal itself. Know what I mean? Maybe not. But promise me you’ll think about it.
When I was a kid, my first career ambition was to be a conductor. That’s because my mother and big brother Greg played the works of Beethoven, Bach, Grieg, Tchaikovsky, etc. very loud through our brand-new, 50-watts-per-channel stereo system (thought to be quite massive at the time, and it was sufficiently massive). There was one piece in particular by Grieg, called Wedding Day at Troldhaugen, conducted by Sir Charles Mackerras, that thrilled me to the point of drenching my jodhpurs. That piece ebbs and flows then rises and swells and explodes in a sort of orgy of blissful sentimentality, and I’d find myself waving my arms and strutting about, leading, cajoling and controlling these enormous surges of emotion. This was a sensation of incredible power, and it was very similar to the one I’d feel down the road later on when I’d play “Voodoo Chile” by Jimi Hendrix (the ultimate rock star playing the ultimate rock guitar solos) and mimic his heroics in front of the mirror in my bedroom (which, of course, I outgrew long ago, didn’t I?). In retrospect, I must have been drawing on the same impulse.
But it was when Mikey Casey, the white cholo across the street, blasted his Chuck Berry and Righteous Bros. records even louder that things got really interesting, because I could actually hear these two musical extremes at the same time, and together they blended to form the musical space I’m still seeking out today. Know what I mean?
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