Saturday, February 27, 2016

Blue Őyster Cult Sandy Pearlman Mixtape I: for the Byrds

The sound is dense, but not obviously and impressively complicated. That is, it is very coherent. It works because of its unity, not out of an accumulation of contrasting effects such as volume changes or syncopation. (48)
Crawdaddy I 10, July-August 1967, The Byrds p. 48-50

Consider these: The Byrds, The Velvet Underground, The Mothers of Invention, Love. Not a random choice among them. Because they are all groups with their own great world systems. I mean each group has its own comprehensive way of doing things, of looking at and organizing them. Often all we can recognize are the final results—this or that song—and in (21) so doing, we forget that this or that implicates some comprehensive view behind it. Not that everybody has a great world system. Not everybody is a philosopher. But for those who do, it can determine such diverse matters as album covers1, wardrobe2, haircuts3, half-time banter4, appearance of the instruments5, group athletics6, etc.


But all of these [examples] are really instances of the taste for order. Even the nihilistic stuff. That certain longing they reveal is a longing for order. Actually it gets harder and harder to imagine something nihilistic. I mean, what would it be like?8 If you do songs about perversion, drugs and popular ideas about disorder, then you are summing up an alternative, that which you happen to find tasty. And tastes change. And then what you have found tasty may even become generally palatable. And then what? Rock's great world systems are sets of alternative arrangements—or at least visions—of the world. Idealized arrangements, according to the tastes of whoever made them. They are sort of perfect—because they don't matter. Irrelevancy can always set you free and guarantee your privacy. Despite the fact that rock is big business, why should anybody care about what goes on? Unless you were really smart you would have to toil at making it as important as something else: politics say. That people do care is, then, very nice. Simple altruism probably. But most who care are still on the outside. And those on the inside, the ones who make the rock, don't care enough. That audience of theirs is so young, (23) so impressionable, and yet they'll say anything at all. Simple irresponsibility probably. Or maybe they're just self-consciously irrelevant.
Crawdaddy I 11, October 1967, Science Fiction p. 20-24

But suddenly that previously mentioned specter rears up. A really awesome monster, it comes on rushing like Diz-Busters7 with too much iron in its bloodstream and zero invisibility.
Crawdaddy I 12, January 1968, Doors and Kinks p. 21-25, 36-38

Now, about Marcel Duchamp we've gotta say this (at this time 'cause it also bears): his ready-made looms large in the potentiality of objects. It's well known that this person's self-conscious placement of an ordinary urinal in the midst of a pretty fancy 20th century art show simultaneously created an extraordinary art historical urinal and added the artist's intention to the dimensions within which objects could be manipulated. But his use of this ready-made was questionable. The art show wasn't its rightful spot. It was out of place / out of phase. So Marcel Duchamp wound up a very nasty comedian, i.e. both funny and disturbing. Setting a pattern. And, in fact, it's only been recently that the presence of a ready-made (anyone at all, anywhere at all) has become blatantly hackneyed enough to prove not always hilarious, not always scary, but sometimes just potentially comforting. R. Meltzer's term "academic beauty," encompassing such truck as Steve Noonan, Tim Buckley, Simon and Garfunkle (sic), The Bee-Gees and Pearls Before Swine, implicates this newer style for the ready-made: the formal one of modular component. Ready-mades can be taken from anywhere and plugged in anywhere. Their neutrality is violated only by the intention of their manipulators (and this intention, of course, controls where they wind up). Something becomes a ready-made when your manipulative intention takes it from one context to another. When it is intentionally recontextualized. And when these new and old contexts are equivalent, then the ready-made could seem comfortable and comforting. (In phase.) Back to the academically beautiful, and we note that the ideal for this stuff's words is most of the poetry we had to learn in the 7th through 12th grades. Perhaps that explains its high dullness potential. [...] I mean, I mean that the academically beautiful is obvious clichés. (41)
Crawdaddy I 13, February 1968, Van Dyke Parks p. 41-43

1. Album Covers

2. Wardrobe

3. Haircuts

4. Half-Time Banter

"I'd like to thank my friends here who gave me this little whip. It's really lovely, I'll keep it and cherish it forever."

5. Appearance of the Instruments

6. Group Athletics

7. Diz-Busters
This mysterious phrase graced a terrific song on the band's second album (and became the name of my first car, The Seventh Screaming Diz-Buster, a name I told at least one person [who promptly mocked the shit out of me]). There are a few extant theories about its meaning:
Albert has revealed that "diz" refers to the cleft of the penis, and that "duster's dust" refers to sperm. But the concept of diz-buster is left ambiguous. The definition of "something that can make one ejaculate" most plausibly applies to a reading that these seven diz-busters are evil, paranormal sex sirens, woman beings without a conscious [sic], the number seven bringing in a biblical element to the lyric as well. But this track could also be one of Sandy's biker songs, diz-buster referring to the result of a long, vibrating Harley ride (and then, mamas and old ladies often joke about the orgasmic qualities of a good ride). Indeed, many lines in the song could have one believe that the diz-buster is a bike (there is mention of cast iron, the mirror's face, rigid arms, routes, all suggesting this interpretation), especially in (Lucifer) light of the fact that females, female pronouns, or sexual ideas are never mentioned in the song.

Joe sheds more light on his approach to this track's lyric. "I had a tendency where I would take a Sandy Pearlman lyric and shape it. Those guys would use a Sandy Pearlman or Richard Meltzer lyric just the way they wrote it. But I always felt that structure was important in music, the structure of the lyric. So I ended up changing around the lines, not changing any of the words per se, but changing the order of the lines, which I also definitely did in Astronomy. And same with 7 Screaming Diz-Busters. Like I say, I wrote pretty much most of the music on our organ, which was in the living room of the house we rented. I would just get up in the morning and start banging on the organ, and came up with that, while Donald and Albert added in sort of the jam section." (47-48)
[from] Martin Popoff, Blue Őyster Cult: Secrets Revealed!

8. Longing for Order, Imagining Nihilism
Sandy Pearlman told me that at the last [Black Sabbath show] he attended, nobody in the audience could even stand up, barely managed to applaud, and bodies were sprawled everywhere. [...] A graphic tragic survey of the littered battlefield of the contemporary concert, with pitiful panoramas of passed-out pukes and other alliterative gimmicks. (237)
[from] Lester Bangs, Mainlines, Blood Feasts, and Bad Taste, "Bring Your Mother to the Gas Chamber", p. 222-242

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