Scary part is he remembers everything and wants to tell us all about it. In doing so he stumbles kinda badly, yet serviceably, on the poetic here, reminiscing about record stores, The Kinks and how music changes the entire direction of one's life - for the purist, rendering us, the hardcore believers (OK, the "purists" if you will, although I hate that simplistic word, just as I hate the "elixir" word, and "dollop" and I diverge...) unable to be anything other than what we are... folks forever outside the norm and condemned to hang, always, out there on the long tail of society. I know what you're telling us here, Bobby Dear. Been there. Done that. Still at it.
Bobby talks The Kinks and real love here:
You're driving down the boulevard. Maybe with the sunroof open. Maybe stuck in traffic.
And you hear a song that reminds you of her. Or him.
All the memories come flowing back. It's almost as if they're riding shotgun. But they're long gone. So why are the memories so VIVID?
"I took her back to my bachelor flat
While the stereo played for two
She unwrapped her gift
And played me a riff
And said, 'this old record was just made for you'"
You had to find a girlfriend who got it. Who understood the music.
If you didn't, you were lost.
She didn't need to know it when you got involved, it helped if she was an expert, but she had to agree to get infected, to become diseased. She had to like sitting on the couch in the waning light of the day as the sound poured out of the JBL L100's or Advents or KLH's along the living room wall.
"Then we danced to songs of passion and The singer's velvet tones On the gramophone While the record played She rocks me to the bone Knocks me to the bone"
The music was an elixir. Upon consumption it loosened not only lips but personalities. It lubricated interaction.
"In my back room there's an old 45
That we played all summer long
Shakin' the beams so loud it covered up the screams When lover's harmony went oh so wrong"
But that was yesterday.
And now she's gone.
But the music, and the memories. They still exist.
"And now I'm just a prisoner
In that stereo hi-fi jail
The needle pierced just like a nail
As she rocks me to the bone
Knocks me to the bone"
I used to think the music was enough.
But you need the woman in this song. You eventually have to cross over, to connect with a romantic partner.
Some people got married, sold their vinyl, play soft jazz while suburban neighbors come over to eat the latest Jamie Oliver concoction.
I never went that far.
I can't go that far.
Maybe Mick Jagger can dine with princes and captains of industry, but I don't think Ray Davies does.
Because Ray doesn't fit in.
He played to the back row for a minute there, but it didn't take, it didn't stick.
It takes a special kind of person to proclaim himself the leader of the greatest rock and roll band in the whole world.
I guess I never wanted the greatest. I just wanted the most meaningful. The one who touched my soul.
When I listen to these great Kinks tracks, I think they were made just for me. By someone who also doesn't fit in.
I guess that's how the world divides up. Into those who wear leisure suits and those too uncomfortable to follow fashion.
I'm not stuck in the past. It's just that I don't make a move on impulse, I don't need to be a member of the group. Music means too much to me to say something is good just because it sells, because it's popular. Because I remember when the music was more than popular, when it made the difference, when it was all that mattered.
(The miracle of YouTube allows one to hear "To The Bone". I advise listening, but not watching. "To The Bone" is the kind of song you should listen to alone, in the dark, as your life flashes through your mind's eye. Never forget that video not only killed careers, it helped kill rock and roll, by stripping it of its magic.)
The blog is here. I wish more people, hacks or otherwise, with these kinda vivid music memories would blog 'em.