Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Scenes from We Fun

Posted By on Tue, Apr 29, 2008 at 1:46 PM

For this year’s music issue, directors Chris Dortch and Matthew Robison gave CL two exclusive video clips from their upcoming Atlanta rock documentary, We Fun: Atlanta, GA Inside Out.

The first clip features yours truly waxing nostalgic about my first encounter with the Black Lips. During the interview we talked a lot about the musical climate within the first few years of millennium change. It was a different town back then. Danger Mouse was just the DJ name for Brian Burton who was churning out primitive but brilliant trip-hop with his Pelican City moniker. Scott Heron’s Prefuse 73 and Savath+Savalas were on the upswing. Richard Devine was churning out great albums and playing shows, and Cat Power was well on her way to moving mountains in New York. As a result Atlanta held a strong art house / coffee shop intelligent music scene. But when the most talented and lauded artists around town moved on to the greener pastures of NYC, the local scene just petered out. Enter the Black Lips.

I first made the Black Lips guitarist Cole Alexander’s acquaintance in the spring of 2002. There was a knock on the door that was so faint that I almost didn’t hear it. The knock came from a young and doe-eyed guitarist, Cole Alexander, who timidly offered me a copy of the Black Lips “Ain’t Coming Back” 7-inch. The photocopied sleeve was too big for the plastic outer sleeve, yet he’d managed to cram it in, paying no attention to the bends and dog-ears he caused in the process.

The record was scratched all to hell, and the b-side was even scuffed with a dusty shoe print. The four songs on this poor piece of wax were a mishmash of noisy and far-away garage rock rhythms and hiss. He was grateful that I was willing to listen to the record.

While recalling this for Dortch and Robison, I was reminded of the famous story of when Joy Division vocalist Ian Curtis met British journalist and Factory Records owner Tony Wilson. Curtis promptly called him a bastard. I got off pretty easy with the Black Lips. Nevertheless, while telling the story Dortch and Robison’s faces lit up as though I had just given them something to turn into a legend.

The second clip is footage of Bobby and the Soft Spots performing live in the basement at Rob’s House Record HQ in East Atlanta.

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