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The Bottle Rockets

How in the world have I survived this long without a steady supply of “The Bottle Rockets”, perhaps America’s greatest unknown band? The mind reels. Such genius is rare these days. Hilarious, biting, poignant songs filled with slashing guitars and enough balls to make Woody Guthrie proud. Veering from rockers that make the Clash seem tame, to country laments, to outrageous stomps like “The Bar’s on Fire, Somebody Save the Beer” that alone should secure their place in at least a broom closet of the rock and roll hall of fame. I am absolutely giddy over my discovery. I dare say I haven’t felt this smug since I stumbled upon “The Gourds” and first heard their song “Promenade”, which is every bit as good as “The Weight” by the Band….and I say that with a completely straight face.

Music is forever surprising. It takes the place of drugs for me. Well, mostly anyway.

Someday we’ll look back at all the pissing and moaning about rock and roll being “dead” these days and it will all seem funny, because it’s better than it ever was. A great song not played on the radio is still a great song, and a pile of mindless, soulless dreck played ever hour on every corporate-owned FM station in the country is still a mindless, soulless pile of dreck. I hate to break it to you, but it’s time to accept the facts and move on. Rock and Roll never went anywhere. It’s alive in garages and barrooms and dingy little clubs that make you feel the need to move your wallet from your back pocket to your front pocket almost instinctively. It’s loud and raw and might stumble around a bit like a drunken sailor with a 24 hour pass, but it gets asses moving and blows cones out of amps and turns musicians into roadies and roadies into musicians because they’re one in the same. That van in the alley at the back door of the club can fit 4 comfortably but there are 5 guys in the band, and the guy at the used car lot never took into consideration that a drum set, guitars, and a PA have to fit in there too…somehow. So there’s lots of sleeping in shifts and 3 guys sitting in the front talking turns driving to the next show, which is only 6 hours away in some town nobody has ever heard of because nobody who lives there really wants to admit such a shitty place exists. But enough will come out so that the bands just about breaks even…..as long as they don’t worry about things such as eating and laundry.

I wish Iwas young again. I wish my liver was in better shape. I wish I had the DNA that made me bored staying in one place for more than a few days. I wish I met some kindreds spirits years ago who were willing to toss normalcy out with the plastic dishes and empty beer cans and were allergic to becoming discouraged by the intrusion of reality.

I do wish.

But I can watch from here. And I can listen. And the Bottle Rockets can keep me company.

In a bit…

–tf

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