So, Wayne Shorter remembers how he’d step up to the mic and the rhythm section — that’s Herbie Hancock on piano, Ron Carter on bass, Tony Williams on drums — would mostly or even almost wholly drop out, leaving him hanging, as we say today. And that was partially provocation — “Can you do it?” And partly its opposite — “We trust you to do it. We wouldn’t leave you hanging, if we didn’t know you could swing.” And so the five men caper across the then-mid-Miles catalog, waving cursorily at head melodies, Williams’s bottomless all-of-six-piece set collapsing time into half time, afterburning half time into double time, roaring like a logic storm presented with the problem of a farmhouse.
The lights are low. The images on the walls, and a few laid across display tables, emerge from the sinister darkness. And “Exile On Main Street,” possibly the greatest album from the band being feted in these photos, plays on a loop. Oozy murk supporting distant, plaintive vocals recorded seemingly in a next-door snoozing abattoir, soul and country and gospel sung neck-deep in a factory-runoff river teeming with snapping turtles and cracked Jack Daniels glass, it remains some of the toughest and least-scrutable rock and roll ever made. This new exhibit at Experience Music Project, “The Rolling Stones 1972, Photographs by Jim Marshall,” gives us the most comprehensive visual record of the group at the time. The exhibit runs through Jan. 6, 2013.
Here are a few of my newer pieces on film, music, and more!
“Sexual awakening simply is, but the power of that ‘simply is,’ is its overwhelmingness. It feels dangerous because it is dangerous. Because each and every one of us has to absorb the animal power–the compulsion to rut–and emerge out the other side as a so-called rational, balanced human. Or skew(er) ourselves trying.”
“One particular exhibit, a smaller one, catches my eye. It’s a typical-looking 1950s flying saucer, with the donut shape and a bubble observation dome on top. It’s a little smaller than a dinner plate. It looks like a kid’s toy. And in fact, it was a kid’s toy in 1959, when a director named Ed Wood bought it, or sent someone out to buy it, from a five-and-ten store.”
” The men and women who risked their own lives for the sake of fishing did so for the thrill of rule-breaking. However, they also risked their lives for the tranquility that a few hours of casting a rod into a stream provides. They found a cause to live for amidst their tough life and the painful knowledge that their own government had turned against them.”
“I’m struck especially by Heath Fogg’s guitar, with its liquid twang in lower registers and snapped-off sharp pings further up, like he’s tinking a wrench against one of those old-style milk bottles.”