cd tip 13/08 – Jeffrey Lewis


B. vertelde me een hele tijd geleden over Jeffrey Lewis (april meer bepaald, zo lang al?). Over zijn verrassend concert in AB waar ik ook had moeten zijn. Hoezeer ik er zou van genoten hebben. Dat ik Jeffrey Lewis zeker moet leren kennen, Dat het echt iets voor mij is. Zijn cartoons, zijn vertelkunst, zijn cd met eigen versies van punknummers van Crass.

Gisteren gaat B. zoals gewoonlijk als hij komt door mijn cd en platencollectie. ‘Ah, nog steeds geen Jeffrey Lewis. Vond je het niet goed dan? Dat zou ik vreemd vinden.’ ‘Euh neen, niets nieuws sinds je hier laatst was, ik heb de cd aankopen met uitzondering van een Italiaans folietje tijdelijk afgeschaft maar eerlijk gezegd was ik je tip ook compleet vergeten.’ Mijn gedachten stonden in die periode ook echt niet naar nieuwe muziek.

Vandaag stonden die er wel naar. Ik heb Lewis opgezocht, beluisterd en er over gelezen. B. had gelijk. Jeffrey Lewis kan iets. Vertellen, tekenen, zingen, muziek maken. Ik heb me geamuseerd met zijn grappig rake teksten (o.a. over my all time favourite Will Oldham, hippies en het Chelsea hotel). En genoten van zijn muziek, alhoewel hij niet echt de beste zanger is maar hij wel het soort stem heeft waar ik bijzonder van hou. Meer nog, hij komt me naar voor als het soort mens dat me bijzonder aanspreekt en ik erg boeiend vind. Hij is gekeurd en goed bevonden.

Op 29 augustus a.s. treedt hij op in het Warandepark in Brussel. Ik wil wel gaan kijken. Maar mijn kaart van Catpower van afgelopen juni staat hier ook nog ongebruikt te blinken. Onderweg en de laatste afrit voor Brussel rechtsomkeer maken, zo gaat dat tegenwoordig met mijn zin om naar concerten te gaan. Gelukkig zal een kaart in voorverkoop in dit geval niet nodig zijn. En B. zal wel meegaan.

Today I went to Major Matt’s to remaster my old album

And on the L train in the morning, I was pretty sure I saw Will Oldham,

He was wearin’ the same sunglasses he had on stage at the Bowery Ballroom

Had he come to walk among the Williamsburgers of his kingdom

And like the burghers of Calais will a sacrifice be demanded?

To offer up our dreams and beg for mercy empty-handed?

And hapless in our hipness crowded 5 to an appartment

Relegate our dreams to hobbies and deny our disappointment

Cause The Stones in ’65 want total satisfaction, kid

But The Stones in ’69 see grace in just getting what you need

But if that’s a victory then I’d hate to see what I’d look like defeated

Cause I know there are those among us who seem to get their dreams unimpeded

Today I went to Major Matt’s to remaster my old album

And on the L train in the morning, i was really sure i saw Will Oldham,

He was wearin’ the same sunglasses he had on stage at the Bowery Ballroom

Had he come to walk among the Williamsburgers of his kingdom

And you might say now there’s a guy who seems to have their world laid out before him

Or you might say, he’s just a rich kid or a fascist or a charlatan

But either way you say it if you look at indie-rock culture you really can’t ignore him

And even if at first dismissive, after some listens you’ll enjoy him

I was thinking this on the L train, intend on bursting my own bubble

How long should an artist struggle before it isn’t worth the hassle?

And admit we aren’t fit to be the one inside the castle

This quest for greatness or, at least hipness, just a scam

And too much trouble but then what makes on human being worthy of an easy ride

Born to be a natural artist you love or hate but can’t deny

While us minions in our millions tumble into history’s chasm

We might have a couple of laughs but we’re still wastes of protoplasm

Today I was gonna waste some time and money to remaster some dumb old album

And on the L train in the morning, i was really sure I saw Will Oldham,

He was wearin’ the same big sunglasses he had on stage at the Bowery Ballroom

Had he come to see the strife here in the gutters of his kingdom?

Where us noble starving artists are striving to feed our ego

Our mothers like our music our our friends come to our shows

And if our friends become successful, we’ll consider them our foes

Go home to our 4 roomates after payin’ big bucks for rockstars shows

What a nightmare! what a horror! i don’t want no part of this

Get me off this crazy ride,

I’m gonna puke, I’m gonna piss! I’d rather kill myself,

I’d rather just relax or not exist

But you say you wanna do an e-mail interview? Oh what the heck, I can’t resist!

“Hey, ‘ma, guess what today, I did another magazine interview!

Honey, that’s great, you’re really famous!!” Yeah and I’m 27 too!

I kinda thought I was gonna grow up to do stuff that would benefit humanity

But it’s getting harder to tell if this artist’s life is even benefitting me

Cause I was gonna waste some time and money today to remaster some dumb old album

And on the L train in the morning, I was totally sure I saw Will Oldham,

He was wearin’ the same big sunglasses he had on stage at the bowery ballroom

And since I was feeling in need of answers I just went right up and asked him, I said,

Will Bonnie Prince, Palace or whatever “What do you think about it?

Is it worth being an artist or an indie-rock star, or are you better off without it?”

Cause I mean maybe the world would be better if we were all just uncreative drones,

No dead child, hood dreams to haunt us, a decent job, a decent home,

And if we have some extra time we could do real things to promote peace,

Become scientists or history teachers or un-corrupt police at least,

“Come on Will, you gotta tell me!!” I grabbed and shook him by the arm,

The L train was leaning Bedford with 10,000 white 20 somethings crowed on

He opened his mouth to speak but it was lost in the rumbling of the wheels

We were thrown together in a corner and I yelled “Tell me, man, for real!”

You’re living comfortably, I assume, even if you’re not quite a household name

You’ve reached a pretty high level of success & critical acclaim

The L train got to first avenue and a bunch of people piled out

I was starring into his sunglasses and I was really freakin’ out i was like,

Steamboat Willie Bonnie Prince of all this shit, you’re like the king of a certain genre

But even you must want to quit like if you hear a record by Bob Dylan or Neil Young or whatever

You must start thinkin’ “People like me, but i won’t be that good ever”

And I’m sure the thing is probably Dylan himself too stayed up some nights

Wishing he was as good as Ginsberg or Camus

And he was like “Dude, I’m such a faker, I’m just a clown who entertains

and these fools who pay for my crap, they just have pathetic punny brains

and Camus probably wished he was Milton too or whatever, you know what i’m sayin’?!”

So Will, will you be straight with me now that it’s just us 2 on this train?

Cause I was gonna spend some time and money today to remaster some dumb old album

And I saw you here on the L train

And I was like “Hey, is that Will Oldham?” he must at least , have some perspective

Cause it’s like, living in this town I get so confused & wound up & up tight

And I just don’t know up from down

And then we’d reached the last stop and the subway was deserted

There was a long moment of silence and I let go of his shirt

I started to think that maybe I’d made some kind of big mistake

I tried to walk out onto the platform but by then it was too late

His sunglasses seemed to grow darker and still he hadn’t even spoke

He just came right up behind me and put his hand around my throat

And threw me down onto the concrete and kicked my face in with his boot

And dragged me down onto the train tracks and tied my hands back with his coat

And I was slipping out of conciousness as he was slipping down my jeans

And he was punching me and humping me and I slipped off into a dream

So it might have just been a delusion

But I thought I heard him say something like “Artists are pussies”

Then he climbed back up and ran away

So I lay there in the darkness on the train tracks cold and broken

The hours passed and I thought,

Well… maybe I won’t remaster that old album

And then I started thinking maybe it really hadn’t been Will Oldham

Even though he did hold my arms and fucked me just like Will sings in “A sucker’s evening”

But whether it was him or not I couldn’t forget the words he’d spoken

“Artists are pussies”, like we’re wusses or we end up getting fucked

And other kinds of folks are dicks, tall, smart and strong

And born to fuck us up I know,

It sounds really sexist and stupid,

It’s a terrible analogy but at that moment on the train tracks,

It made a lot of sense to me maybe it’s just some kind of natural balance,

Like 2 types of mental gender that’s gone on in all societies,

In one form or another like some dicks were born to conquer,

I probably would if I could but if i’m just a pussy, that’s okay

CD TIP 12/08 – ELBOW


7 reacties

  1. Ik vind hem heel erg de moeite. De eerste x dat ik hem zag, was in het voorprogramma van Stephen Malkmus in de AB. Hij stond toen al even op mijn verlanglijstje, maar het was er nog niet van gekomen.

    Na welgeteld 2 nummers stuurde ik een sms’je naar de eindredactie: “Dit is geweldig. In augustus komt hij terug. Dan wil ik een interview met die man.”

    Ik vond hem zo eerlijk, zo cool, zo grappig, zo punk, zo naakt… Dat wordt genieten in het Warandepark!

  2. Doet me heel erg aan J denken. Helemaal zijn muziek, vind je niet?

  3. ik was niet meteen zot van zijn plaat, en zag hem nog niet live, maar toen hoorde ik hem eens in een interview op radio 1, tijdens exit (denk ik, of misschien was het stubru), en ik was wel meteen gecharmeerd door de man én de korte sessie die hij speelde in de studio. ik ga dus zeker ook eens proberen om hem live aan het werk te zien

  4. Ah… Ik heb hem plaatjesgewijs nog niet gehoord. De brave man had enkel twijfelachtige, in-drie-haasten-ineengeknutselde, zelf gekopieerde cd’tjes, met 20 nummers elk, op zijn promotafel liggen in de AB. En ik kon niet kiezen.

  5. Laat nu een echt goeie zanger iets doen met deze tekst en ik koop de cd meteen. Toch heeft dit wel iets aanstekelijk. Ik moest overigens ook direct aan J denken.

  6. Hij is grappig en koddig maar na één plaat had ik het wel gehad.


    Wie is J overigens?

  7. J is ons neefje Jelle die een levende Oor encyclopedie was. Onze muziekmeter. Bezeten van muziek. En van film. Vanalles eigenlijk.

    Onze buitenstaander.

    We hebben het graag over hem hoor, blij dat iemand dit vraagt.

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