Thursday, October 14, 2004


Sick Week: Volume 2 and 3

Volume 2 Jonathan Richman and The Modern Lovers Hospital Have you recently looked at a photograph of Dee Snider circa 1985? Go ahead, take a look, I'll wait. Had enough? How about this one? (ok, just kidding) Do you see how MUCH lipstick the guy was wearing? I mean, how he looked like he was modeling for one of those John Wayne Gacy clown portraits? And yet, I remember when his black and hot-pink stretch pants and his 32-pound, Chiahead perm were the coolest thing going. It was the eighties, and it seemed right at the time. We've dealt with it and we've moved on, but every time I see an image of Dee and the boys, an era is reborn in my mind. An era where rugger pants, shiny Adidas bags and Kangaroos were rocked without irony. Heck, it was an era with significantly less irony altogether. I only mention this because, for me, Hospital represents the exact opposite time-warp phenomenon. Every time I hear it, I think: "This thing was first recorded in Nineteen-freakin'-Seventy One?" It's so unbelievably ahead of its time, it seems out of synch. Jonathan Richman moved home to Boston from New York in 1970, wanting to be in a band like the Velvet Underground. After several line up changes, the first full-length Modern Lovers record came out in 1977. It sounds more like some of the cool eighties stuff that would follow it (think The Cars and The Talking Heads - two bands that included ex-Lovers - and the whole New Wave thing) than anything out of Warhol's Factory. It's mind-boggling when you think about it, but the Modern Lovers sound skipped punk rock entirely and went straight from the Velvets to synth-pop and new wave. Dee may have the hair, (I mean, the hair) but Richman had the eighties sound, even in 1971. Buy The Modern Lovers. Jonathan Richman is playing Fat City November 11th. Get your tickets at ticketbastard. Volume 3 The Evaporators I Gotta Rash Universal health-care. It's soooooo Canadian. I'll let you in on a little secret though, PWI fans. Canadians have this little, semi-medical problem. It's called an inferiority complex. Rather than appreciate our home for what makes it amazing. Rather than being satisfied with our status as a small-population country, a moderately-influential-yet-immensely-comfortable place to live, we spend buckets of time and energy expressing our nationalism in sour ways. In fact, many Canadians feel the best way to express our pride is by talking about how great it is that we aren't American (y'know, stupid and ignorant about the world and violent n'stuff). Joe Canadian, I'm talking to you, and Rick Mercer and that fat-assed dinner theatre actress Sheila Copps. Nardwuar the Human Serviette and his band The Evaporators aren't about all that. They fly the maple leaf without even mentioning the ole US of A. They're Canadian, and they rock. Pointe. Finale. Nardwuar's been on UBC's CITR radio longer than I can remember. More recently, he's taken his butt-ugly hat choices, beyond-encyclopedic rock knowledge and broken-glass-in-a-blender interview style to MuchMusic. Those of you who haven't seen or heard a Nardwuar interview should really download one here. Those of you with dial-up connections should imagine a high-pitched Gilbert Godfreid voice, Kim Mitchell hair and a grasp of English syntax courtesy of Rain Man. With The Evaporators, Nardwuar's gets to play centre on a Vancouver indierock All-Star power play with members of The New Pornographers and The Smugglers on each wing. Their live show takes advantage of Canadiana props (CBC Mic. covers anyone?), fascinating costumes and Nardwuar's do-anything for a laugh stage presence. Evaporators, we stand on guard for thee! Unfortunately, you can’t buy it. I Gotta Rash appeared on now out of print split LP with Thee Goblins released on Vancouver’s Mint Records.
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