After a month that was, weather-wise, like the Bataan Snow March, the sun appeared Saturday and hung around Sunday. Lo, the temperatures topped 50 degrees, and there was much melting of snow and joy in the land.
Today: Gray, raining, still warm, with temperatures falling throughout the day. Low tonight: 16. Goddamn Michigan.
Also, the cold that’s been stalking me for weeks now finally got up to speed on the forwarding address. Throat: Raw. Spirits: Mid-to-low. If it stops raining, I’ll take the dog for a walk, to bid goodbye to our brief glimpse of spring. Then I’ll go to the basement and unpack albums. That is, LPs. I started yesterday, and realized if I had done this before the move, I might have saved the movers a few muscle fibers. Is it safe to throw out my Holly and the Italians album? Yes, I think so. The only track I really liked was “Tell That Girl to Shut Up” (something I’ve heard a time or two in my life), and honestly, I don’t want to hear it again. It’s like having 1982 cast in amber somewhere. And what about these two David Bowies? Verdict: Keep “Aladdin Sane.” Pitch “Let’s Dance.”
Alan advised, “Keep everything.” Easy for him to say. The compromise may be: Save everything for a garage sale if and when the temperature rises above 16 degrees.
On to bloggage, then: Yesterday’s NYT had a long but wonderful read on “Chinese Democracy,” the Guns N’ Roses album that’s been in the works for 11 years, has cost $13 million (so far) and still is about as elusive as Chinese democracy. If you’re not a GN’R fan, be not daunted; the story’s still worth your time, if only for the priceless look it offers at life inside the music business. Every time my attention flagged, it was whipped back by yet another wonderful detail. Like, oh, this:
In 1997 Todd Sullivan, who was then a talent executive for the company, sent Mr. Rose a sampling of CD’s produced by different people, and encouraged him to choose one to work on “Chinese Democracy.” Mr. Sullivan says he received a call informing him that Mr. Rose had run over the albums with a car.
So the studio technicians burned as many as five CD’s per week with various mixes of different songs, which were driven to Malibu for Mr. Rose to study. The band’s archive of recorded material swelled to include more than 1,000 digital audio tapes and other media, according to people who were there at the time, all elaborately labeled to chart the progress of songs. “It was like the Library of Congress in there,” said one production expert who spent time on the album there.
Or this, about the famous Buckethead:
But Mr. Rose’s renewed energies were not being directed toward the finish line. He had the crew send him CD’s almost daily, sometimes with 16 or more takes of a musician performing his part of a single song. He accompanied Buckethead on a jaunt to Disneyland when the guitarist was drifting toward quitting, several people involved recalled; then Buckethead announced he would be more comfortable working inside a chicken coop, so one was built for him in the studio, from wood planks and chicken wire.
The band went on a successful tour, but in the hours after their triumphant Madison Square Garden appearance, Mr. Rose was reportedly refused entry to the Manhattan nightclub Spa because he was wearing fur, which the club does not allow. That killed the mood. He didn’t show up for the band’s next performance, and the promoter canceled the rest of the tour.
No wonder people want to be rock stars. It’s like kindergarten, only with drugs for snack time.
I finally caught a little of the Michael Jackson trial re-enactment on E! and found it to be more wonderful — in a wonderful/awful sense — than I’d been led to expect from the advance publicity. I encourage you to follow the link above, because it answers the question on everybody’s lips, i.e. “Did that guy put eyeliner on his nostrils?”
My favorite single character is the judge, who appears to have been dragged in from Skid Row and gives his lines — “overruled,” “sustained,” “I’ll allow it” — the sort of Method dedication you’d expect from someone who’d take a job in the Michael Jackson trial re-enactment.
You won’t be disappointed.