I had two terrible on-the-job accidents this past summer. First, a table saw grabbed ahold of some lumber I’d been cutting and lacerated one of my fingers, effectively ending a long-withering career of the troubadourical nature.* Second, and more seriously, an unsecured garage door landed on my iPod.
Well, I had to get that replaced. Be goddamned if I’m going to listen to shit-ass radio anymore.
Got the iPod with the old-school wheel, just like my old one, but with a ton more memory. And thus I was introduced to podcasts.
In the last week or two, I’ve gotten into the ‘Superego’ podcast, from which the above video comes. Shunt McGuppin SLAYS me.
Shunt McGuppin’s supposed to be the archetype ‘outlaw country singer of the 70s.’ A real self-absorbed asshole who can’t stop ‘fearlessly and honestly’ talking about his drug escapades, and can’t stop himself from sharing his awful, awful, latter-day music with you. On the off chance you’ll give him some effusive praise, which is the first step to a comeback. His speech is vacant, his memory has giant holes in it, and he’s used to lickspittles taking care of details for him. Oddly enough, and I’m SURE this CAN’T be intentional, he sounds like Chris Gaffney, the late lead singer of the Hacienda Brothers.
I LOVE the Hacienda Brothers. Never saw them live; never bought any of their albums.** But goddamn, that music can get to me. Don’t know anything about Chris Gaffney, other than that Dave Gonzalez thought very highly of him (which is good enough for me), and that he’s been dead a few years. I’m not a young person; I’ve never had to get sucked into a cult of personality to enjoy Chris Gaffney’s devastating singing on the Hacienda Brothers albums. Hey, you look up your outlaw country dorks on the facebook and the reverbnation and the what-have-you, you’re going to see a bunch of dudes in denim, glaring at the portrait camera in front of liquor stores, crack alleys, tattoo shops and parking lots, and it’s gonna be a hard fucking sell, my friend. And these guys will have stock quotes about God, the bible, Chevrolet, the flag, drugs, and ‘punk’ to sort of ‘gloss over’ the obvious fact that a lot of these guys couldn’t sing their way out of a paper bag. At which case it becomes a ‘you’re on my side, or you’re not country’ sort of horseshit argument, ‘it’s not important if I’m not traditionally listeneable, this music HARD CORE and that’s the TROOF!!!’
So, I don’t know shit about Chris Gaffney. He’s probably a little younger than the Shunt McGuppin character that, probably quite by accident, sounds like him. It amuses me to just transpose the Shunt McGuppin details onto Chris Gaffney. Shunt McGuppin’s a self-absorbed horse’s ass; so’s EVERY musician. You’re not going to cope well with the absolutely stunning amount of rejection a musician deals with just starting out if you’re not ABSOLUTELY CONVINCED that every half-baked idea you’ve got, hell, let’s include that belly full of garlicky wind, as well, is nothing less than genius. It amuses me that a comedy-type person just sort of stumbles upon a comic voice that inadvertently emulates the nicest surprise I’ve come across in music the last five years or so.
*Hey, it’s OK. After 16 years, I’d wound up EXACTLY where I started. And this time, I’m smart enough to say, ‘Hey….not for me. This does not end well. This eats up my time, and I wind up burning it on the worst sort of assholes imaginable.’
**C’mon. This is the file-sharing age. If you go to your mother-in-law’s house, go into the basement, find some ripoff record on a fly-by-night label, SOMEONE is such a drooling fan of that album that they’ve ripped it and posted a link to the rip on a filesource on a blog somewhere.