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Date: Sun 12 Jun, 2005 at 16:18
Headline: Missing The Beatles

Greetings & Salutations!

Trying to get back into the swing of things, writing-wise. I'll have a report on what's been happening this summer band-wise (and otherwise) shortly. In the meantime, I'd like to share some words from my guardo camino Rick Emerson, which I pulled from the production blog of his upcoming one-man show Bigger Than Jesus: The Diary Of A Rock'N'Roll Fan.

As is often the case when it comes to Rick's view of pop culture, I can indentify all too well.

As has been documented before, Joni DeRouchie and I have related, yet somewhat different, taste in most things.

A perfect example of this phenomenon is our respective takes on The Beatles. While she drifts toward later-era, experimental, arty Beatles, I've always bonded more strongly with their earlier recordings...both their definitive covers ("Twist and Shout"), and flawless originals ("She Loves You".)

There's nothing wrong with this dichotomy; in fact, it's a microcosm of what makes our particular thing work---she wants to make things that are pretty and structured and layered and, well...deep. I, on the other hand, just want to make loud, clattering, ranty speeches filled with profanity and cheap laughs. Merged together, there's a kind of synthesis that achieves what neither of us could on our own.

What the hell was my point? Oh...yeah.

The one thing we have in common, though (and I wonder how many people feel this same thing) is that we both miss The Beatles terribly. I don't mean that we wish for new Beatles recordings -we all know how those have turned out- but rather that we both feel a weird kind of empty ache when we watch old Beatles viewing home movies of a deceased loved one.

The retarded part, of course, is that neither of us witnessed The Beatles era firsthand, and I have only a vague memory of John Lennon being alive. And yet, unlike other bands whom I was born too late to witness (Zeppelin, Queen, Pink Floyd), The Beatles are bonded to me in some weird way that I can't ever fully explain.

I truly and absolutely believe that, in many ways, I was born in the wrong time. Most of my childhood/adolescent obsessions (Mad Magazine, Ken Kesey, Abbie Hoffman) have their roots in the sixties, and their discovery by the teenage me was accompanied by a strange sense of emotional echo...the oft-remarked-upon "shock of self-recognition". They contained an attitude and energy that mirrored what I was feeling, and it was like coming home, within myself.

So, given the above, it's no shock that I gravitated very strongly to much of The Beatles' catalog. What is odd, though, is how connected both Joni and I feel to them on a gut level, even now, 35-plus years after they broke up. There's no rational reason for it, and yet, whenever I watch the Beatles Anthology, and its opening sequence of vintage film footage set against "In My Life", it can't be denied. I'm desperately homesick for something I never had.

Why am I typing all of this gibberish at two in the morning, when any rational (and employed) person would be sleeping, or at least drinking?

Partly because Bigger than Jesus is quickly approaching, and these are the things that Bigger than Jesus springs from---love of a band, a song, or a time. The warm and sometimes melancholy feelings that accompany music, and the memories of the people who made it.

Mostly, though, it's because halfway through Imagine: John Lennon, I just found myself being so fucking sad that I had to turn it off for awhile.

I never knew John Lennon...or The Beatles. But I miss them just the same.

Douglas Adams once said that given his choice of being born in any time period, he would be tempted by several but in the end would still have chosen his own because he couldn't bear to have missed out on The Beatles as a cultural phenomenon. In a way, I feel the same about Star Wars, but given my own strong affinity for the decade & change which preceeds the year of my birth (1972, for those keeping track) I can't help but wonder if it might have been worth having that particular experience as a teenager instead.

bye for now,