I Had a Truly Horrible Dream Last Night - The Misery of Genius: Hunter S. Thompson
(They laughed at Thomas Edison.)
It has been raining a lot recently. Quick thunderstorms and flash floods…lightning at night and fear in the afternoon. People are worried about electricity.
Nobody feels safe. Fires burst out on dry hillsides, raging out of control, while dope fiends dance in the rancid smoke and animals gnaw each other. Foreigners are everywhere, carrying pistols and bags of money. There are rumors about murder and treachery and women with no pulse. Crime is rampant and even children are losing their will to live.
The phones go dead and power lines collapse, whole families plunged into darkness with no warning at all. People who used to be in charge walk around wall-eyed, with their hair standing straight up on end looking like they work for Don King, and babbling distractedly about their hearts humming like stun guns and trying to leap out of their bodies like animals trapped in bags.
People get very conscious of electricity when it goes sideways and starts to act erratic…eerie blackouts, hissing, and strange shocks from the toilet bowl, terrifying power surges that make light bulbs explode and fry computer circuits that are not even plugged in…The air crackles around your head and you take a jolt every time you touch yourself. Your lawyer burns all the hair off his body when he picks up the cordless phone to dial 911.
Nobody can handle electricity run amok. It is too powerful…Ben Franklin was never able to lock a door again after the day lightning came down his kite string and fused that key to his thumb. They called it a great discovery and they called him a great scientist; but, in fact, he bawled like a baby for the rest of his life every time he smelled rain in the air.
I find myself jerking instinctively into the classic self-defense stance of a professional wire wizard every time I hear rain on the roof. That is an atavistic tic that I picked up many years ago in my all-night advanced intelligence electronics class at Scott AFB, on the outskirts of east St. Louis — where I also learned about pawnshops, oscillators, and full-bore lying as a natural way of life.
The stance was the first thing we learned, and we learned it again every day for a long, crazy year. It is as basic to working with serious electricity as holding your breath is to working underwater….
Lock one hand behind your back before you touch anything full of dissatisfied voltage — even a failed light bulb — because you will almost certainly die soon if you don’t.
Electricity is neutral. It doesn’t want to kill you, but it will if you give it a chance. Electricity wants to go home, and to find a quick way to get there — and it will.
Electricity is always homesick. It is lonely. But it is also lazy. It is like a hillbilly with a shotgun and a jug of whiskey gone mad for revenge on some enemy — a fatal attraction, for sure - but he won’t go much out of his way to chase the bugger down if ambush looks a lot easier.
Why prowl around and make a spectacle of yourself when you can lay in wait under some darkened bridge and swill whiskey like a troll full of hate until your victim appears — drunk and careless and right on schedule — so close that you almost feel embarrassed about pulling the trigger.
That is how electricity likes to work. It has no feelings except loneliness, laziness, and a hatred of anything that acts like resistance…like a wharf rat with its back to the wall — it won’t fight unless it has to, but then it will fight to the death.
Electricity is the same way: it will kill anything that gets in its way once it thinks it sees a way to get home quick….
Right straight up your finger and through your heart and your chest cavity and down the other side.
Anything that gives it an escape route. Anything — iron, wire, water, flesh, ganglia — that will take it where it must go, with the efficiency of gravity or the imperative of salmon swimming upriver…. And it wants the shortest route — which is not around a corner and through a muscle mass in the middle of your back, but it will go that way if it has to.
Some people had to have their loose hand strapped behind them in a hammerlock with rubber cords, just to keep their hearts from exploding and their neck nerves from being fried like long blond hairs in a meat fire when the voltage went through. But sooner or later they learned. We all did, one way or another.
One night — perhaps out of boredom or some restless angst about the fate of Caryl Chessman or maybe Christine Keeler — I connected a 50,000-volt RF transformer to one end of the thin aluminum strap on the Formica workbench that ran around three sides of the big classroom; and then I grounded the strap to a deep-set screw in a wall socket.
Severe shocks resulted when the generator jumped its limiter and began cranking out massive jolts and surges of RF voltage. A 50,000-volt shock ran through my stomach, just below my navel, burning a long, thin hole that I can still pull a string of dental floss through on wet nights.
It was horrible, and still is, but it was also a massive breakthrough; and I will never forget the warped joy I felt when the first surge of electricity went through them. They squawked at each other and flapped their arms like chickens….
My own pain was nothing compared to the elation of knowing that I had just made an unspeakably powerful new friend — an invisible weapon that could turn warriors and wizards into newts, and cause them to weep.
The story of man Makes me sick Inside, outside, I don’t know why Something so conditional And all talk Should hurt me so.
I am hurt I am scared I want to live I want to die I don’t know Where to turn In the Void And when To cut Out
For no Church told me No Guru holds me No advice Just stone Of New York And on the cafeteria We hear The saxophone O dead Ruby Died of Shot In Thirty Two, Sounding like old times And de bombed Empty decapitated Murder by the clock.
And I see Shadows Dancing into Doom In love, holding TIght the lovely asses Of the little girls In love with sex Showing themselves In white undergarments At elevated windows Hoping for the Worst.
I can’t take it Anymore If I can’t hold My little behind To me in my room
Then it’s goodbye Sangsara For me Besides Girls aren’t as good As they look And Samadhi Is better Than you think When it starts in Hitting your head In with Buzz Of glittergold Heaven’s Angels Wailing
We’ve been waiting for you Since Morning, Jack Why were you so long Dallying in the sooty room? This transcendental Brilliance Is the better part (of Nothingness I sing)
Fear of seeing a police car pull into the drive. Fear of falling asleep at night. Fear of not falling asleep. Fear of the past rising up. Fear of the present taking flight. Fear of the telephone that rings in the dead of night. Fear of electrical storms. Fear of the cleaning woman who has a spot on her cheek! Fear of dogs I’ve been told won’t bite. Fear of anxiety! Fear of having to identify the body of a dead friend. Fear of running out of money. Fear of having too much, though people will not believe this. Fear of psychological profiles. Fear of being late and fear of arriving before anyone else. Fear of my children’s handwriting on envelopes. Fear they’ll die before I do, and I’ll feel guilty. Fear of having to live with my mother in her old age, and mine. Fear of confusion. Fear this day will end on an unhappy note. Fear of waking up to find you gone. Fear of not loving and fear of not loving enough. Fear that what I love will prove lethal to those I love. Fear of death. Fear of living too long. Fear of death.
Mark Lanegan is able to translate in his rendition of this wistfully beautiful and hypnotic song all the melancholy and displaced hope the original tune evokes. It’s never an easy task to tackle with the classics, but this is indeed a great remake of a haunting gospel ballad .
“Hey, look man, some people don’t have a choice, they don’t even have a voice they can talk with to just call their own, so the first thing they see that allows them the right to be, they go ahead and follow it. What else do you want? You know what that’s called? Bad luck.”—
Johnny Marr picks 10 essential 7" singles and talks about how they influenced his music
When I first read this article on Mojo Magazine, I decided to hunt for all the tracks mentioned by Marr in the interview. My search, however, was mostly fruitless until I stumbled upon the great blog Plain Or Pan where to my surprise I found all songs compiled in one file and ready for download.
Don’t waste any time but hurry to get your dirty hands on this file before it vanishes in the great Black Holes of the Internet.
Heed my words.
1. Del Shannon - Keep Searchin’ (We’ll Follow The Sun) (Stateside B-side, 1964)
Johnny Marr: “The influence of [A-side] The Answer To Everything on me when writing Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want is well documented so I picked its sister record, this time. It was the sound of the house when I was little.”
2. The Rolling Stones - Get Off Of My Cloud (Decca single, 1965)
Johnny Marr: “The main thing I took from Keith Richards was his musical ideology; that there is a nobility in playing rhythm guitar and being the engine room and steering the ship, all these very valorous concepts which he threw in the face of guitar culture in the early ’70s.”
3. T.Rex - Metal Guru (T-Rex Wax Co. single, 1972)
Johnny Marr: “It’s so beautiful and commercial but slightly weird and I could not believe what I was hearing because it was so all-encompassing. It connected with something beyond my regular senses.”
4. The Isley Brothers - Behind A Painted Smile (Tamla Motown B-side, 1969)
Johnny Marr: “Motown provided a fantastic alternative to the rock music my mates were getting into. I ventured into this place called Rare Records on John Dalton Street in Manchester, I went into the basement and I remember to this day it was like a sea of future happiness.”
5. Iggy And The Stooges - Gimme Danger (Raw Power LP track, CBS 1973)
Johnny Marr: “I remember getting on the bus and just staring at the front cover in disbelief all the way home. I wasn’t disappointed when I played it because it sounded like I thought it would. It was mysterious, sexy, druggy, riffy and to-the-point.”
6. The Crystals - There’s No Other Like My Baby (Philles single, 1961)
Johnny Marr: “There is an unpretentiousness to it, and compared to what was passing itself off as weird in rockland with prog music at the time this just sounded weirder to me, and it seemed to come from an odder dimension.”
7. Blondie - Hanging On The Telephone (Chrysalis single, 1978)
Johnny Marr: “It reminds me of going to parties and really complaining that I didn’t want to hear Peaches by The Stranglers for the eleventh time and going through record collections with all that ELO shit in them and pulling out *Parallel Lines and going, ‘Alright then, let’s listen to this very, very loud!’”
8. Bob And Marcia - Young Gifted And Black (Harry J single, 1970)
Johnny Marr: “It was one of the records that both Morrissey and myself liked in the same way. It reminded us both of being youthful fanatics and being outside of the norm… Then, amazingly, when [New Order’s] Bernard Sumner and I started to get close we both discovered that we liked that record in the same way.”
9. The Equals - Black Skin Blue Eyed Boys (President single, 1970)
Johnny Marr: “Some records you wear down and you wear out but this one… I remember it from being out from when I was a kid but unlike some of the other tracks I play, I don’t listen to it for that reason, I like it because it reminds me of something shared between me and my mate.”
10. The Cribs - Hey Scenesters (Wichita single, 2005)
Johnny Marr: “A fantastic working class street rock’n’roll 45 that could only have come from a band in this country. It’s like, Move over, this is the new generation. The Jarmans are as hip as street musicians get from any generation.”
Paul Davidson – Midnight Rider (Tropical single, 1976)
Johnny Marr: “Aside from Keith Richards’ on Gimme Shelter, Midnight Rider contains my favourite ever guitar solo.”
Alternative TV – Action Time Vision (Deptford Fun City single, 1978 )
Built To Spill – In Your Mind (Ancient Melodies Of The Future LP track, WEA, 2001)
The Drifters – I Count The Tears (Atlantic, 1960)
Johnny Marr: “If you were to play this to the other members of The Smiths it would remind them of being in a band with me. I used to sing and play it on the guitar when we weren’t recording and forced everyone to sing along. They learned to love it!”
Hamilton Bohannon – Disco Stomp (Dakar/Brunswick, 1975)
No direct quote from Johnny, but he’s said before that Disco Stomp influenced the swampy rhythm of How Soon Is Now. That record, and undoubtedly a huge side order of Bo Diddley.
TV On The Radio – Wolf Like Me (4AD single, 2006) !!!
Extra Bonus Tracks!!!
Del Shannon – The Answer To Everything
Johnny Marr: “The influence of ‘The Answer to Everything’ on me when writing ‘Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want’ with The Smiths is well documented.” It is? ! ?
Rolling Stones – Gimme Shelter (Guitar track from recording session)
Johnny Marr: “Keith Richards was badass. His solo on ‘Gimme Shelter’ is my favourite ever guitar solo.“
The text and the picture above are reproduced from the original Mojo article. The songs in the zipped file were assembled by the author of the Plain or Pan blog, Anonymous West of Scotland. Credit where its due.
Mojo Magazine, “Johnny Marr’s MOJO Mix!.” Posted by Danny_Eccleston at 9:30 AM GMT 28/01/2009.
“The arts are not a way to make a living. They are a very human way of making life more bearable. Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven’s sake. Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories. Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem. Do it as well as you possibly can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something.”—Kurt Vonnegut
It is midnight and the sunglasses twirl my injuries a deaf plant warped in a Hollywood rockery of juice cans and hypodermic needles You’re so cool baby you don’t know what you need If the jaundice comes up get out of the traffic.
A girl with an ass that makes me hurt all over again I know that girl’s ass hurts glass and pebbles crunching under her shoes. The movie goes on and the men go inside hiding their bottles These men look confused like fish getting clubbed on the pier; what they see in there is better than me.
Pick a needle out from the burnt matches and test it blow through it make a little bubble There’s the whazoo of the strip put it in with the dust In the pocket the cigarettes the key the muffled bottom of the storm Pull down my eyelids with my fingernails in a window not made to look in or out of or to be used as a mirror though it works as a mirror There is a yellow line it is jaundice There is not a yellow line It is not jaundice No The ass that makes me hurt made to make me hurt turns showing breasts that make me hurt but a face like a butcher board eyes smeared on worn out red elastic mouth the mouth of a sock waiting to get used
hurts is a tender thing in the dark under the shorts leaky pelvis all over the sheets Yo baby gotta no-no? No no-no. Sick animal glare in skin of the pavement Oh I do wanna go down right here where they threw the mop head the paper towels and rubbers Gotta no-no whistle is all Can’t make music with that. Movie inside is big as the wall of a building and so bright it’d make you throw up
but they watch it the men and they eat and drink and eat and drink. Actually it is not just the two of us her and me There are the cops and me and her in the good for nothing windows and brown suits and grey suits and blue suits cars that stop and ones that go There are palm trees and people leaning on the palm trees scratching reading looking at the trash which is empty (believe me) from being looked at
And gargoyles of human beings hung on the ugly architecture of wobbling lurching bodies coming down fast like dying empires after the sun is already dead in their eyes
Rooms full of spooks drunk on dish soap spiked with whatever was left on the tables when the bar closed An animal over there with spotted pants dreams Google plex like the chopped up palm and the broken wall and is just lost, oh my god moving like a range of dusty mountains dead with nothing to hold it down moved by earthquake or rain that swallows the stars and moon
Get out of the way off the curb He pukes in the garden and slams sideways into the stucco What are the cops waiting for here lined up in their cars staring at their clipboards and microphones We got some people scratching themselves, a man looking at his eyeballs up under his shades and a woman with a poochy ass who keeps turning around and around Find the hurt place and don’t ever let it heal
Get that fucker hanging on the wall and tear him loose
The stars are coming out There is a tv set in a window it says "the stars are coming out" look up in the brassy sky and there they are like gloomy pocket change you bet on something you wish you had ten thousand to bet on something where the odds are good Betting all those stars you don’t win shit not even a dollar And there is a movie and another movie At least she is not ugly really And she shares you know Or if something wrong happens you know she will…
You are asking me now if this is the whole world and I am saying it is Check your own fucking eyes Doesn’t it hurt looking down the sidewalk at night If that mountain falls on me it’s gonna get you too and the cops squashed in their cars gurgling into their dead microphones an ocean of mud. I had a girlfriend and I never had a car new jeans that I wore and wore and I was not good with the plans because no one could’ve planned it like this But then the same you might say is true of whoever is responsible for history, and a wide black belt and all sorts of hats
The stars were much more valuable when I was a boy Now it is just what the no-no man wants that is valuable which is green and covered with fingers What the woman turning and twisting sees in the night of pockets on the floor while she hides only those parts of her nakedness too scarred to look at. Let’s pretend she is my girlfriend for now and she is doing that sidewalk dance just for me and there is no pain in her breasts and our bodies are not battle zones the stars are worth a fortune you don’t have to look at tv to know I got a little cigar and I can hear the music it’s playing right outa that door There’s a man and he’s smiling remembering
"Why don’t you kids go down to the beach where it’s dark”
and we get on the bus and there’s nobody else
And outside the palm trees the houses and lights Shit what world is that Don’t ask me to remember that I got a runny nose and the ticket taker looks from one to the other of us then to the black and whites bites a sandwich in hate
The bite that sets the universe in motion A dog A man covered with fortune telling signs Two in white coveralls Three clean women getting out of a car going into a door One of the cops looks at me and I shake my head “no”
Will you remember me why? - Overlooked Classic Albums: The Original Sin by Cowboys International
In the same class as any of the great post-punk bands - but not as lucky to become popular enough - The Cowboys International made a haunting pop-experimental sound worth recognition and praise. Their first album ‘The Original Sin’ is a sterling classic, inexcusably overlooked.
Fokken fok: Die Antwood, 'Are we awful or the best thing in the universe?'
I discovered Die Antwoord — a bat-shit crazy, rap-rave South African duo — just a couple of months ago and was instantly hooked. Of course their music is not my cup of tea, but their attitude is definitely in the right place. I just couldn’t overlook their blisteringly funny in-your-face lyrics, uncompromised antics, and surreal approach to art.
Oh, and it’s guaranteed they’ll get you laughing so hard you’ll shit yourself.
Song of the Day: ‘I Can’t Seem To Make You Mine’, The Seeds
Forerunners of trashy pop as well as the punk movement, Sky Saxon and The Seeds epitomized the garage rock ethos: biting and simple riffs, unpretentious lyrics and lots and lots of energy. If you’re looking for good, untainted yet not dim-witted music, they won’t fail you.
Has the world changed or have I changed? - Pop Music Heroes: The Smiths
I must admit I am a product of The Smiths’ ideas to a large extent. They were the only and most fascinating group in pop music to me and represented the fuel of imagination for my poor, miserable self during my teenage years. They were a model for how talented, creative and imaginative artists should stand against general mediocrity and the packs of insufferable posers nourished by the vicious and criminal media.
Want get to know their work? No problem. Just hit the below link for a small treat. Yes, go ahead; I promise you won’t be disappointed.
God is in the house - Pop Music Heroes: Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
Hear This!⇔ Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, “As I Sat Sadly By Her Side”
I knew Nick Cave was a music genius on the first time I heard his band many moons ago; I was so struck by the juxtaposition of beauty and darkness in his songs and the poignancy of his lyrics. To me, he masters the most difficult job of transposing the crucial elements inherent in traditional poetry fittingly fusing it with a post-modern pop aestheticism. I could choose a number of songs to exemplify his talent, but I am convinced that “As I Sat Sadly By Her Side” is the perfect case in point for my argument.