So I got my copy of Surf Explosão by The Dead Rocks yesterday and removed the incredibly sturdy and functional cardboard packaging with quaking hands and heart. After clawing through what seemed like 16 layers of plastic/tape/corrugation I finally held the hallowed disk carefully by it's edges.
Nervously I scanned the song titles looking for it, the song, my song Surf Man. Most of the titles are in Spanish with the exception of Johnny Crack Corn and Fingerboard. And and.... where is it? The last song is called Sugar Man which is close sorta but no cigar. Close enough that i probably misread the dang thing on Discogs and so my hopes for Surf Man oblivion for the night have been, obliterated.
I don't even play the stupid thing. It lay on my dining room table like an abandoned carp carcuss- swollen with enough tainted meat to feed a family of 5 but no one brave enough to give it a try.
Sigh. Not my first disappointment, musically speaking.
I'm reminded of another fateful purchase, I think it was spring, 1974 when, swayed by the clever lines and cadence of a CREEM Magazine record review, probably by that wanker Robert Chistgau I purchased Stranded by Roxy Music.
Understand this; I live (lived) in rural Ohio. Cleveland is about one and a half hours to the north. Columbus is close to 2 hours to the south. I'm barely 17 years old, no car, no license and my pocket money comes from an after hours job at my high school cleaning toilets and pushing broom. The picture I'm trying to paint is one of little access to popular pop culture and limited means with which to puchase it. Every dime had to count.
So when I see in my local Value City Dept store a piece of vinyl actually reviewed favorbly in CREEM Magazine (my pipeline to the Rock World) with promises of 'heavy' guitars it's a no brainer.
I snapped that sumbitch up.
Racing home by what ever means was available that day- ride from a buddy being the most likely, I crack that cellophane and slap that puppy on the turntable. The vinyl is pristine as always but if the album is any good at all it will soon degrade into a jungle of popping noises and the occasional skip. That's just how I roll.
But this was not one of those albums. Where the hell's the guitars, heavy or not? Street Life- ok, not bad I guess. Not really used to this type of singing. Next song is lame. I start skipping em. Flip record. Shit. No better. How bout the album closer- that's always a big number. Mother of Pearl???? Are you kidding me? And these are the only lyrics: 'Mother of Pearl you are my only girl'. Meaning...what exactly??? Makes 'Hornswoop my bungo pony dogsled on ice' (BOC) almost comprehensible by comparison. And far more interesting. Was this sung during an actual raid of his mother's underwear drawer? Is he wearing articles from her collection of unmentionables? I paid almost $4 for this piece of crap. This is cruel, it is not kind, not even in the right fashion.
I won't get paid for another 2 weeks and I still have to have cigarette and gas money. Just cause I don't have a car doesn't mean I ride for free. I must right this wrong. But how?
I'll Abie Hoffman the shit out of this atrocity. How? Airplane glue. It's not just for sniffin. I squirt it all over one side of the album and let it dry overnight. Next day it's as hard as the record and I slip it back in it's sleeve. I have my buddy cart me back to the Value City and show the returns lady, "Look" I explained. She'd never seen anything like it and promptly refunded my $4 and change.
Back to the record aisle and I grab what I should have grabbed all along- Rampant, by Nazareth. Sigh of relief. This is the type of Noise you can depend on.
But you may be wondering about my Surf Explosão album. Well, it's like this.
I put it on the following morning while getting ready for work and it really is a great album. These are the kind of players that make every note seem effortless, like this is just the order in which you play them and yeah, we know how to play them exactly like that and BTW, we don't really sweat unless we feel like it. Chicks dig it. Plus they do covers. Something by Jim Messina and the Jesters. Dark Eyes which here is called Les Yeux Noir and a Paul Johnson (Belairs) classic Vamanos.
Side 2 seems even better- I haven't listened enough to give a note by note blow by blow recap but I usually hate that kind of thing anyways. Title track finishes and then, and then and then.....
OH MY GOD SUGAR MAN IS REALLY SURF MAN!!! The reverb! The noodling! The feedback from the elevator music on Mars! The melody that appears disappears and reappears like a mage from beyond where we be! It's so good. So excessive. I can smell the carp frying now! Gimmie gimmie that mudvane!
Now I die in peace. This is what will play at my funeral. I will give instructions to my son this weekend. I am saved knowing that here is my soundtrack of the end my friend.
Give it some thought. Should you ever find the perfect music for your funeral you need to lock that sumbich down. Cause once you're gone, they're liable to play Freebird, and I played that one one time too many.
dum-dum-dum dum-dum-dum-dum de-do----de-do----dum-de-dum.