Monday, April 19, 2010

I reckon (or, actually, didn't)

I don't regret much from my younger years. Truthfully, from time to time I even wonder if my best years are behind me. But, that's a subject for another day. One thing I totally regret, and am trying to make up for now is this: I never realized how amazing R.E.M. is. I mean, amazing. Sure, I have "Out of Time", I think there was a rule that all high school seniors had to have that CD. I gave it a good amount of play time, but there was always some other band stealing away my attentions. Either something new, or an old standby, R.E.M. never really stuck with me. Until recently. I can kinda remember when it happened, too. I was driving and I heard a song by Michael Stipe and Natalie Merchant. It was a song I've never heard before or since. It was beautiful. And it got me to thinking. I bought "Nightswimming" on iTunes. I dusted off "Out of Time". I revisited "Lifes Rich Pageant" What was I thinking?!?! Why wasn't I cool enough to know and appreciate this for what it was?!?! Why wasn't I paying attention? So now I'm on a mission. An R.E.M. super appreciation mission. I'm eating them up like candy. Every song I can, every lyric mentally broken down for meaning and movement. I may have been blind before, but now I'm all over this. I'm sorry, Michael Stipe, for not being smart enough to get it.

29 comments:

Jennifer said...

Didn't XRT do an REM day last week or so?

Make sure you delve heavily into pre-Out of Time music.

Here's something for you... you said every high school senior had to have Out of Time... I was a high school senior the year REM had their first album. :)

xoxo

Auntie Jennifer

zombie rotten mcdonald said...

When Murmur came out, I was attending cow-town land grant college, and the only source was a lonely rack of LPs (big black cds) in the supermarket, or driving to IOWA. Somehow, I managed to locate and procure the album, and was entranced. I played it for everybody.

By the time I moved to Milwaukee, Reckoning came out and the day I received my financial aid check, I bought a case of beer and that album.

Regrettably, I was out of town when they came to Summerfest that summer. I did, however, subsequently see them at the Oriental Theater (roughly 800 seats), Camper Van Beethoven opening, on the Life's Rich Pageant tour. Amazing.

Also saw them at Alpine Valley on the Green Tour. Also amazing, but way bigger.

I even like the recent stuff.

Long time big time fan, is all.

I recommend picking up "Live at The Olympia", specially if you can get it from eMusic, where it is a special bargain. it was recorded over five nights in a small club in Dublin as they were rehearsing their most recent material; they dust off A LOT of old stuff, and you can hear warts and all, they didn't overdub mistakes or additional instrumentation. Raw and real and the more recent stuff gets re-examined.

THIS IS NOT A SHOW.

True story.

zombie rotten mcdonald said...

Jennifer beat me to the old-person comment. Curses!

Also, do not hesitate in buying Automatic For The People. Almost everyone agrees it is their masterpiece.

I also have a soft spot or two for Monster (Thurston Moore contributes some very noisy guitar) and New Adventures In Hi-Fi (Patti Smith does some guest vox)

But maybe I'm not the best source for recommendations. I'm kind of a completist in this case, and I've gotten all the weird stuff and singles too.

There is a wonderful raw version of Toys In The Attic out there though, and a supremely drunken cover of Roger Miller's King Of The Road....

zombie rotten mcdonald said...

Unless I miss my guess, that Michael Stipe/ Natalie Merchant song is A Campfire Song, from In My Tribe.

When I saw 10,000 Maniacs on that tour, Merchant held the mike down to a guy in the first row to sing Stipe's parts, and he NAILED THEM, to the extent that it surprised even her.

True Story. again.

zombie rotten mcdonald said...

It's no History of Salt, but it'll do.

onepretentiousbastard.com said...

Since the last time we hung out, I've had Out of Time on constant rotation. My interest in R.E.M. has also picked up.

Von said...

Thanks for all of the great tips!! I really appreciate them!!
I think I'm going to be a completist too, I want ALL R.E.M. in my library, iPod, and brainz.
Def going to look into Live at the Olympia!

Von said...

J - YOu are so right!! XRT did do that, and I think that's when I started mulling over this post!!
YOu are so NOT Aunt J, more like cooler big sister J.

zombie rotten mcdonald said...

If you're gonna get all completist, Von, I would recommend you join eMusic, if you haven't already.

Way cheaper than iTunes, and they have the whole catalog now, plus bunches of other great stuff.

Plus, if you mention that I sent you there when you join, I get some free songos.

zombie rotten mcdonald said...

I am creeped out by the three latest posts all having 9 comments.

This should fix that.

Kathleen said...

good mission!

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

I also have a soft spot or two for Monster (Thurston Moore contributes some very noisy guitar) and New Adventures In Hi-Fi (Patti Smith does some guest vox)

Speaking of Smith and Stipe, Mr. Stipe has an unbelievable version of Patti and the Sonic Youth performing "Now I Wanna Be Your Dog" at her birthday party (New Years Eve).

I know this because a friend I went to college with (he has left this earth due to Hodgkin's disease) and I saw the show, and we saw Michael Stipe was taping it.

Michael should share this video, believe me.

P.S. Today the disease is almost uniformly curable. Sadly, almost.
~

zombie rotten mcdonald said...

WANT.

zombie rotten mcdonald said...

I'm sorry, Michael Stipe, for not being smart enough to get it.

OK, wrong. Has nothing to do with smart enough. It's about music that hits you at the right time in the right place. If the mix is wrong, or the time is wrong, or you have indigestion, it doesn't happen.

The second time I saw the Mekons, they were so bad, I almost never listened to them again. Turns out they had been dumped from their label mid-tour. I (barely) ventured out to see them a couple of years later, and they were AWESOME. It clicked.

Now, REM just clicked for you. I envy you the journey of discovery that you get to experience. I told you what it was like for me; it'll be different for you, of course, but much as I love the band, I can never again have that unbelievable thrill of hearing new vistas. Even new REM music is new permutations on a beloved palette for me; for you, it's like a new love affair. I am jealous.

Enjoy.

Jennifer said...

I envy you the journey of discovery that you get to experience.

This reminds me of when the Eldest Lamblet was reading To Kill a Mockingbird for the first time. I was jealous.

Von said...

J - Oooh, now I'm jealous!! I remember the first time I read that. And the second. Lucky Girl!!!
ZRM - thanks. I see your point. I am very excited about this new found R.E.M. thing I'm exploring. I think it's going to be very cool.

fish said...

I think the best REM takes a few years under your belt (and maybe a heartbreak or two) before you can really appreciate it.

Took me nearly 20 years of deprogramming after my stint in snooty prep school to get over my revulsion to the Grateful Dead.

zombie rotten mcdonald said...

Took me nearly 20 years of deprogramming after my stint in snooty prep school to get over my revulsion to the Grateful Dead.

Whoah. That paragraph is SO ripe for snarking; it's fortunate that I would not do such a thing to my Friend Fish.

fish said...

That paragraph is SO ripe for snarking; it's fortunate that I would not do such a thing to my Friend Fish.

It's like I don't even know you anymore.

Jennifer said...

Whoah. That paragraph is SO ripe for snarking; it's fortunate that I would not do such a thing to my Friend Fish.

Reminds me of a line from Sneakers where Cosmos is saying he could never kill his friend and then tells one of his toadies, "Kill my friend."

zombie rotten mcdonald said...

NO! I didn't mean it that way at all!!

Von said...

fish - I think that might be part of it. Older, wiser, and a couple of heartbreaks under my belt. I feel like now is the best time for me to jump right in to the REM thing.
ZRM - play nicely with fish.
kthxbye

zombie rotten mcdonald said...

von, I am wounded. Fish is MAH FREN. I am playing nicely with him.. All these OTHER PEOPLE always ripping on him, it's hurtful to see.

fish said...

LOL

I am hurt to the quick!

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

I arrived at collage as a 17 year old Led Zeppelin fan.

I was quickly brainwashed into loving the Grateful Dead (I think I saw them Live, ironically enough, over 50 times)².

Also, the Ramones, the Sex Pistols, and Iggy Pop (and such as, furthermore).

Still like Zep, too.

² Note teh name of this common tater, and youtube account.
~

Another Kiwi said...

A lot of "Automatic for the people" is burnt into my cortex. "What's the frequency, Kenneth" oh yeah.
"Losing my religion" is me losing my religion if you know what to listen for and "Try not to Breathe" is about "Bladerunner" I reckon.
REM are quite brilliant.

Big Bad Bald Bastard said...

For me, REM will always be the quintessential "college" band, even though I was in high school when I first heard Catapult (Catapult!). I also have to say that my "hairstyle trajectory" (blond afro to shavepate) has exactly matched that of Mr Stipe.

Also, Robyn Hitchcock's Venus 3 is composed of the non-Stipean members of REM.

zombie rotten mcdonald said...

Also, Robyn Hitchcock's Venus 3 is composed of the non-Stipean members of REM.

Pedantic quibble: Scott McCaughey is a member of the live band only.

Von said...

ZRM - Ok, fine fish is your friendz. Mine too.
We allll play nicely over here around these parts. Yes?
Thunda - Reason #348 why you are teh awesome.
AK - True, so true. I just wish I had been smarter younger to get the awesome. I need some time to catch it all up.
B4 - Do you have a blue band all around your head? that would be cooollll