It was obvious the soundtrack of the week I was travelling to Dublin to attend Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers’ show, was to be focused on his discography, right? Truth is that I didn’t chose Full Moon Fever or Into the Great Wide Open, and got hooked to my favorite, and the forgotten one: Echo.
You know how this goes, these artists who put so much of their life experiences into their albums, many times through their music, they develop a kind of relief therapy, and once overcome, they’d wish it had never seen the public light.
Echo is my favorite album of Petty’s. For many years I thought it was The Last DJ, but not so long time ago I came to the conclusion it was its predecessor I liked the most.
Echo core of songs were written when Petty was going through his divorce, apparently quite dramatic, and in general the tone is quite low, and some songs imply some kind of painful stuff. Think of Won’t Last Long, Echo or Lonesome Sundown, for instance.
There’s an anthem for me, a song which gives me goose bumps, from its earliest chords and the harps, to the lyrics, the sort of lethargic way Petty sings, and the powerful chorus, is no doubt, Swingin’. The story of a girl, getting away from her private Hell, who prefers to endure pain and suffering, and rough times, rather than stick to her old life. Like I read once somewhere, it’s an ode to the fighters of the world, quite inspiring I have to say, and the song, damn! It’s a blast!
It’s a pity Mr Petty decided not to perform any of these wonderful 15 songs live on stage anymore, because they’re awesome, but as fans we are, guess we have to respect his will. A couple of years ago I learned to separate certain albums and songs from personal experiences and feelings, mostly related to someone I used to love, otherwise I wouldn’t be able to listen to much music I adore, but in the case of Petty, if you are involved in the writing and the developing of those songs, it must be tough to isolate those memories, I guess.
Still, it was not necessary for Petty to recover songs from Echo to make us enjoy one of the best times in our lives, so… this is forgiven, cowboy!
After the past weeks At The Drive-In overdose, and because The Mars Volta were about to perform at Azkena Rock Festival, I felt the need to dive into their stuff once and for all. What I had previously listened was ok, but don’t ask me what it was, because it wasn’t under my will nor command, but other’s, thus it happened as it was the usual way to happen, I had listened to perhaps 2 or even 3 albums of this band, but didn’t have a clue of which ones.
I had asked for a starting point reference to somebody very into their stuff, and he had advised me to start with De-Loused in the Comatorium, Octahedron and Frances the Mute. My mistake was to start with Amputechture as I had heard lots of it and the cover of the album was, or better said, is, inexplicably attractive to me. Sorry to say, this first approach was too Martian (ha! Sometimes I amuse myself with such witty remarks), so I followed the initial advice and went straight to De-Loused.
Again, I was standing in front of something devastating and overwhelming, not easy to assume at the very first listening. Too much sound excess, chaos, rhythms, changes, passages, epic moments, styles… For me, the concept of The Mars Volta is like The Tower of Babel, after suffering God’s rage, sowing the confusion of languages, this is, giving birth to cultural and multilingual chaos.
How can you define a band like this, which plays with jazz, rock, progressive, latin sounds, hardcore…? It’s simply impossible. The brains of the band, Omar Rodriguez-Lopez, and Cedric Bixler-Zavala, had already left a print in the history of contemporary music with At The Drive-In, but this time the guys from El Paso, wanted to turn the screw even further, developing a conceptual album based on the tale of Cerpin Taxt, also referring to a acquainted local artist, Julio Venegas, who had passed away after OD’n on morphine and rat poison (!!!). No need to say there’ve been many more turns of the screw I’m right now trying to experiment and assimilate. I don’t mention the word comprehend, because I think it will take me long time.
Having realized that I had already heard this album, I have to admit De-Loused in the Comatorium is one of the most shocking experiences I’ve lived later together with Spiderland. It’s fascinated me in a way close to the moment I discovered Tool’s Aenima in 1996, with Toi more experienced both in musical and life terms, yet sharing that open mouth gesture in amusement. I love such state of shock when it’s positive and enjoyable, and yes, after all, I reckon this album is a blast. I finally spent listening to it nonstop last week, getting acquainted to the strange sounds I was to listen from now onwards, as I’ve decided I will go on with my investigation on The Mars Volta.
While listening to the album I was wondering which is the song I like most, and I can’t tell, because all of them, are so extent and contain so many different parts, the more I listen, the more I enjoy different fragments of this crazy acid trip.
Let’s try with Drunkship of Lanterns
If you’ve dared to see the video I’ve posted I hope you don’t feel like killing me. Can you imagine the hours these guys have to rehearse for THAT? As an anecdote, 5-6 years ago I heard of a drummer who quit the band because the two afro Volta boys thought 8-hours rehearsal a day weren’t enough. Can you dig the level we’re talking about? These are the real 24/7 workaholic musicians we’ve ever been wondering of their existence. In-fuckin’-sane!