Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Use of Acid

This is a fairly plain song, dull production, good lyrics, unremarkable singing, and then Richard Thompson's guitar leaves bloody marks where your ears used to be. Thompson's still a Muslim and was at the time of the recording, so I don't imagine he was partaking at the time, but do you wind up playing like that without some hefty chemical inspiration in your past?

Play loud: the contrast between song and assault is fun.



Kitschier. These poor hippies do not know there is a lion on their stage ready to rip them all to shreds:



Still melting brains 40 years after Fairport:



Also he is a smartypants:

31 comments:

Jennifer said...

Hmmm, the second time this song has popped up on my screen today. I guess I'm supposed to listen.

Substance McGravitas said...

It's about ice-cream! How can you not?

zombie rotten mcdonald said...

I obviously need to spend some time with this Thompson fellow. My edumacation is obviously incomplete.

Lawnguylander said...

Oh, hey, what a coincidence. I just got a job spreading motorcycle pron around blogs and Richard Thompson was nice enough to provide music for the genre. It's one of those "is this really only one guy playing a guitar?" songs of his our host was talking about a while back.

ZRM, that one and a few other available here if you're interested. More here.

Substance McGravitas said...

Hard On Me is pretty devastating on that list.

Jennifer said...

ZRM- I have limited patience for Thompson... I love me some, but after awhile, I just want to throttle him... Or maybe I want to throttle his Vincent.

zombie rotten mcdonald said...

I have limited patience for Thompson... I love me some, but after awhile, I just want to throttle him

This actually describes many people's reactions to much of the music I listen to.

In fact, now that I read it again, it describes many people's reactions to ME....

Substance McGravitas said...

He has a fairly serious case of banditis, as which more production/instrumentation generally makes his work worse.

Substance McGravitas said...

As which and so farce.

Jennifer said...

In fact, now that I read it again, it describes many people's reactions to ME....

ZRM- my reaction to you was a smile and an exhale... :) I should be so lucky as to have you live next door... even if you're cranking Thompson 24/7.

M. Bouffant said...

Occam's Razor advises: Never attribute to drug research or its flashbacks what can as easily be ascribed to garden variety lunacy. Or to being deprived of one's pleasures by theo-fascists.

Thanks for reminding me why I despise harmonies, too.

NB: Will cheerfully abuse anyone's taste if it isn't musically correct.

Substance McGravitas said...

Occam's Razor applied to "Did the musician take drugs?" yields what?

M. Bouffant said...

Title: More "psychedelic folk?"

M. Bouffant said...

Yields he could just be nuts. Or picks like that 'cause he can't get high any more, & takes it out on poor Mr. Guitar.

Trying to give nature (or nurture) some credit, is what we're trying to type.

Substance McGravitas said...

Well sure, but I'd wager on artificial nuttiness before the genuine kind.

He would have been a talented guitarist anyway, but I swear on entirely anecdotal evidence that acid'll fuck up your playing style something fierce. And Thompson here is playing in that messed-up style. His current playing is even better in my opinion, but not quite as crazy.

zombie rotten mcdonald said...

M Bouffant, I give you as an example: Willie Nelson.

His guitar has A FRICKIN HOLE IN IT from strumming and picking, and he still gets high, from all accounts...

I believe I shall use Pandora to edumacate me as to Mr. Thompsons ouevre

zombie rotten mcdonald said...

How does his playing compare to someone like J Mascis?

Also, I've seen the Mountain Goats twice now, and THAT motherfucker breaks strings like NOBODY's business, even if he's just strumming for the most part....

mikey said...

I've read that in the famous video of Carlos Santana at woodstock, he was tripping so fiercely he thought the neck of his guitar was bending and he was just trying to keep up with it.

And I saw Willie Nelson in his "triumphant return" to Panther Hall in Fort Worth in '76, and I can assure you that anything you handed the band while they were onstage they would enthusiastically consume. As a sidenote, we had two cases of lone star longnecks and no opener. My friend, the lamented Charlie Cole opened every last one of 'em with his teeth.

Texas. It's a whole 'nother species.

Oh. And it needs to be mentioned, because of both it's scarcity and the resultant lack of real experience amongst the younger generation, but LSD is BY FAR the best mind altering substance ever conceived, and GOOD acid will bring a kind of appreciation for life that never slips away. It should be mandatory at some point. The government should issue it to you.

stronovo, comrade...

Substance McGravitas said...

How does his playing compare to someone like J Mascis?

I'm not sure what you mean. Technically Thompson's a zillion times better but Mascis has soul and high volume, the latter a definite plus with me. Thompson's a smarter and funnier songwriter but the musical settings often flatten out what should be peaks.

Substance McGravitas said...

LSD is BY FAR the best mind altering substance ever conceived, and GOOD acid will bring a kind of appreciation for life that never slips away. It should be mandatory at some point. The government should issue it to you.

A great book. I'm with you on the acid. I dunno when the last time I did it was - many years ago now - but extraordinarily useful in helping me figure out what's important.

Or it helped me go crazy. One of those.

zombie rotten mcdonald said...

well, that's exactly what I mean, Sub. I love on Green Mind how Mascis will blister those solos into an otherwise muted song, ear melting time. I saw him play solo, haven't seen him in a band setting, and the solo stuff was kind of ummm, dull... I daresay Thompson has probably learned better how to be a shredder in a folkie setting..

but extraordinarily useful in helping me figure out what's important.

Or it helped me go crazy. One of those.


I missed my opportunities to do acid. This sounds useful to me these days.

Substance McGravitas said...

I added a video that's pretty indicative of the best he can do on electric. That whups Mascis IMO, but things like this I really don't need, no matter how awesome a player he is. That said his acoustic stuff is often his best because his songs are so strong, smart and bleak.

About the acid: it can be a life-changer, approach it with respect. Find a great place to be, like a nice green park, good dependable people to hang with, start in the morning and have fun.

mikey said...

Or it helped me go crazy. One of those.

I submit that it may have helped you get outside your "sanity" and meet yourself coming back up the path.

There were many nights when I was broken, sobbing, terrified and angry, and the only thing that saved me was clinging to that bright silver ball of understanding and acceptance that I either discovered or built while tripping.

I should think for "easier" problems the effect might be even greater....

mikey

zombie rotten mcdonald said...

I'm listening to him on Pandora.

They are throwing a bunch of his folkier stuff into the mix, it seems.

However, they are throwing additional artist like Steve Earle, Warren Zevon, Nick Drake, and dire straits up there too, and it's not showing Thompson to great advantage...

re: the acid. that was always kind of the plan, just never happened when young and experimental. Now old and responsible; but as things get harder, getting outside my sanity sounds more attractive....

Substance McGravitas said...

Documentary's actually pretty interesting.

J Neo Marvin said...

I have limited patience for Thompson... I love me some, but after awhile, I just want to throttle him

So did Linda. I got to see one of the last shows they did together. Incredible gig, but the atmosphere between them was so thick you could cut it with a knife.

J Neo Marvin said...

LSD is a marvelous thing. I second the motion for government-distributed acid.

herr doktor bimler said...

Second the motion on great-book-ness of Storming Heaven.

Substance McGravitas said...

Incredible gig, but the atmosphere between them was so thick you could cut it with a knife.

Before I'd ever heard them I'd read press about that tour and about the Live On-Stage Hatred.

Matt said...

I'm almost positive Richard Thompson was a bit of a health nut even before he went Sufi, and thus, never did drugs. He's just fucking awesome. I've got a live version of "Hokey Pokey" released as an official bootleg that will rip you a new asshole. He's not crazy, at least not visibly crazy. I've seen him a couple times and seen a bunch of live footage, and he's this blinky, slightly jumpy, balding English guy who just happens to be a monster guitar player. He does all sorts of wacky folk pickings and weird tunings. And he's a bad motherfucker, that's all.

As for acid, I came along way too late for "the real deal", I'm told but I enjoyed acid until I did peyote for the first time. Then, all man-made drugs were like chewing tinfoil.

Substance McGravitas said...

Thompson is indeed a swell gentleman live, just a knockout creator of melodies on the fly.

Personally I just believe he took acid: Fairport were discovered at UFO after all. Mind you that might have been a lesson not to do drugs. I can't find anything about him acknowledging drug use for himself, but he's open to the idea of drugs being an inspiration for others (except for coke) and says this song or that might be about drugs.

Unhalfbricking is also suspiciously trippy.