Purple Mountains (RIP David Berman, August 2019)

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Yeah thanks peace, man -- hadn't ever seen that before. And it just occurred to me there's a good chance I learned Fmaj7 from playing Trains Across the Sea when I was first learning guitar.

Looking forward to a time when I can listen to the Purple Mountains album again without feeling completely gutted. I did tell my therapist to check out Storyline Fever today though.

Vaguely Threatening CAPTCHAs, Wednesday, 14 August 2019 19:36 (one year ago) link

A last interview and remembrances from Will Oldham and a few others:

https://www.leoweekly.com/2019/08/remembering-david-berman-leader-silver-jews-purple-mountains

... (Eazy), Thursday, 15 August 2019 00:44 (one year ago) link

From Oldham's tribute:

It was in recent weeks, David proposed that he, Bill Callahan and I tour together as the ‘Monsieurs of Drag City,’ with all three of us on stage trading off songs.

... (Eazy), Thursday, 15 August 2019 00:46 (one year ago) link

From Oldham's tribute:

/It was in recent weeks, David proposed that he, Bill Callahan and I tour together as the ‘Monsieurs of Drag City,’ with all three of us on stage trading off songs./


That trio basically defined my college years. Despite the fact that they’re all friends, can’t imagine that ever would’ve happened.

circa1916, Thursday, 15 August 2019 03:11 (one year ago) link

that would have been amazing

Karl Malone, Thursday, 15 August 2019 05:47 (one year ago) link

it is tough to get me out of the house sometimes. i would logroll down valleys for that show

Karl Malone, Thursday, 15 August 2019 05:47 (one year ago) link

yeah i woulda driven cross-country for that, basically my dream show

Clay, Thursday, 15 August 2019 06:11 (one year ago) link

In That's Just the Way That I Feel, is he pronouncing 'gin' with a hard G? It sure sounds like it to me and kinda reminds me of 'gime' from Send in the Clouds. Does he have other purposeful mispronunciations in his work?

☮ (peace, man), Thursday, 15 August 2019 12:48 (one year ago) link

https://youtu.be/MdNeRgPKfOI

33:00 in

Bob Nastanovich tells a pretty funny story about how he and Berman heckled Nirvana at NYC before they blew up.

circa1916, Thursday, 15 August 2019 15:52 (one year ago) link

*At a NYC show

circa1916, Thursday, 15 August 2019 15:53 (one year ago) link

He was a notorious heckler in his Nashville years.

Jersey Al (Albert R. Broccoli), Thursday, 15 August 2019 16:09 (one year ago) link

haha, "Sub Pop destruction!" I'd heard tell of the night David yelled upstage to Krist "you look like a dork up there!" but I didn't know it escalated like that. Dollar budweisers at the grocery store afterwards, so perfect. That's almost as good as Bob's recollection that Kim and Thurston's phone number was 212-219-2658.

by the way, that story reminds me of David getting the cops called on him for throwing a CD at Frank Black's head in 1994:

"I remember years ago I got into a fight with Frank Black backstage at a concert. It was right after 'Starlite Walker' had come out... It was after his second album came out and I liked that. I had gone backstage to ask him to produce something of mine and he'd been this total bitch, you know I hate people who treat you with contempt who're like 'who the fuck do you think you are coming backstage into my dressing room?' and such and so what I'd done was I'd taken the CD and had brought it to give it to him to listen to and I like just went phssssss..." David takes a Josh Rouse CD off the table and imitates throwing it. "Right at his head like a Chinese throwing star and it went tchhhh and kinda glanced off the top of his forehead and his manager just freaked out and called the police and was like 'I want this man arrested for attempted assault on Frank Black, and I was 'oh god, bullshit man!' I was like, 'you're such a pussy, Frank Black, you're gonna have this guy arrest me for that? Come on.' So they handcuffed me and took me out to the police car. All the bouncers in the club and the police were like, 'god this guy's been...' they probably were basically saying behind my back, 'this guy's a fucking complaining New York Jew' you know, bitching da da da and they finally came back and said they'd decided not to press charges."

del griffith, Thursday, 15 August 2019 17:55 (one year ago) link

Here's his obituary in The Tennessean, published yesterday.

O to be a fly on the wall at that tangle of nicotine swans to be held in Nashville at a later date.

del griffith, Thursday, 15 August 2019 18:02 (one year ago) link

Omigosh, that frank black story is awesome. Also love the Josh Rouse reference...

regarding the nicotine swans, i felt like i should have gone to the thing in new york at the former whitney site last wk but like a, i felt horrible last wk and didn't feel much like "going out" and b, it's always weird or even vaguely horrifying to go to things like that and see these ppl who are other versions of yourself? i.e. i'm sure that most of the middle-aged white guys who were in attendance are lovely ppl but i'm not enlightened enough yet to look into that sort of mirror.

dell (del), Thursday, 15 August 2019 18:43 (one year ago) link

That’s a very good obituary that captures him well.

Mazzy Tsar (PBKR), Thursday, 15 August 2019 19:21 (one year ago) link

https://youtu.be/MdNeRgPKfOI

33:00 in

Bob Nastanovich tells a pretty funny story about how he and Berman heckled Nirvana at NYC before they blew up.

― circa1916, Thursday, August 15, 2019 11:52 AM (four hours ago)

I just listened to Bob's interview and I think this is that show: https://youtu.be/YGsVdq0a12E

You can hear the dork/jock exchange after Krist whines about his bass becoming unplugged at 12:50.

city worker, Thursday, 15 August 2019 20:35 (one year ago) link

Bob mentions Tanya Small in the interview, but (more obscure band member trivia) she was actually in The Silver Jews under the pseudonym Spill Fantauzza on additional percussion.

Jersey Al (Albert R. Broccoli), Thursday, 15 August 2019 20:40 (one year ago) link

You can hear the dork/jock exchange after Krist whines about his bass becoming unplugged at 12:50.

― city worker, Thursday, August 15, 2019 4:35 PM (eight minutes ago) bookmarkflaglink

omg thank you for finding this, incredible. I love that you can hear SM echoing "dork!" there as well.

(Side note, never been a nirvana fan so honestly wondering - is krist joking/goofing with that whole whiny routine? "You said you were gonna tape my cord to the wall and you DIDNT, you said you were gonna DO it, and it came unPLUGGED! You should hire an electrician to put in new receptacles!" Even a nun would be tempted to heckle a dork like that.)

“Hakuna Matata,” a nihilist philosophy (One Eye Open), Thursday, 15 August 2019 20:53 (one year ago) link

xp: Hold on, that doesn't appear to be correct. "Spill" is Jill Fantauzza. According to Bob, Tanya Small plays on either Dime Map or Arizona Record.. but does not show up on the credits. He says "my roommate Tanya plays on the first singes" in an audio interview, but in print he says his roommate "Jill" plays on Dime Map.

Jersey Al (Albert R. Broccoli), Thursday, 15 August 2019 21:01 (one year ago) link

Nice Slacks interview from '92, I bolded some relevant passages:

The following was conducted during a soundcheck at the Khyber Pass Pub in Philadelphia on July 30, (1992).

NS= Nice Slacks
SS= Spiral Stairs
BN= Bob Nastanovich
MI= Mark Ibold
GY= Gary Young

NS: Mic's over here, it looks like this thing is working...Alright, how much beer do you generally drink before a show?

BN: Four to eight

SS: It depends on the alcohol content of the beer. Here, beers are like, 3.2 percent, so probably on average, six. Other places...

BN: six to twelve.

SS: ...they're heavier.

BN: We prefer watery domestics to the bitter ales.

SS: It depends on the alcohol content of the beer. Here, beers are like, 3.2 percent, so probably on average, six. Other places...

BN: six to twelve.

SS: ...they're heavier.

BN: We prefer watery domestics to the bitter ales.

SS: I like a few stuff cocktails before the show, too. It gets me going a little better.

BN: See, I don't drink hard liquor. Scott does. He's smoother. He likes small, sour drinks.

NS: And Gary, of course, likes anything.

BN: Gary drinks whatever you put in front of him, it doesn't have to be alcohol, he's just always thirsty.

NS: You think you'll ever be in _Sassy_ magazine?

BN: I hope so! I don't know. That would be great! I've only read one.

SS: We're only gonna be in _Sassy_ magazine if we can pose with Rebecca Odes, of Love Child. NS: And what's the deal with this "Beverly Hills 90210" fiasco? [According to the __East_Coast_Rocker_, Scott and Bob beat up Jason "Brandon" Priestly]

SS: Well, you'd have to ask Bob that question.

BN: Absolutely true. NS: Then that really happened?

BN: It's been blown way out of proportion, it wasn't really that big of a deal.

NS: Give us the real story. Fuck the _East_Coast_Rocker_ version!!

BN: It was actually like a tryout in Los Angeles to be on the program. They didn't tell us exactly what we were gonna do if we made it onto the show, but it was a tryout. Hypnolovewheel was there, and a couple other bands sort of on the same fame level as us. And we went in there and we were a little nervous 'cause we were playing in this...kind of a fancy production studio type of place. We had to come in there and set up all our equipment and we were all by ourselves. It was sort of an intimidating atmosphere and we got drunk, just beer drunk...

NS: That's a really new thing for you guys.

BN: (chuckling)...And this...Luke Perry and Jason Priestly were just hanging out, figuring this is a way for them to check out the fresh, new indie sounds in this country. We didn't really try to talk to 'em or anything like that, we just...we were hoping they wouldn't come off as like, snotty or pretentious, and they didn't really, we didn't really give 'em a chance. I thought the way they treated Scott was a little bit unneccessarily unfriendly and I was just in a tense mood...

NS: What'd they do to Scott?

BN: I sort of, I shook the guy's [J. Priestly's] hand...They were just treating him like he was...they were treating him without respect, just kinda like, "Who is this slimeball, rock guy from Northern California," or something like that. So I just took a friendly swing at the guy and I wasn't intending to hit him-- I was just like, "Man, wouldn't it be fuckin' cool..." I went up to Scott and said, "Wouldn't it be outrageous, or how much would you give me if I punched the guy in the mouth?" (laughter)...And Scott said, "Twenty Bucks," so I went over there and...I mean I would hit you as hard on the arm as I hit his mouth and you might go, "Ow," but it wasn't as hard as I could hit him, it was a sucker punch. And I cut my knuckle a tiny bit on his tooth...

NS: Yeah, you showed me the scar last night.

BN: It's actually almost gone. It's just a little dot now, but that's the cool part, as I did scratch my knuckle on his tooth and it did bleed, but he laughed it off a like he new I wasn't trying to hit it hard. It wasn't an ugly situation at all.

NS: Oh, so you didn't physically assault him, as the magazine said.

BN: No, no. Well, technically, yes. I could have gotten in big trouble...

NS: But screw technicalities!

BN: Right! Well, see, the thing is when yr dealing with somebody on that fame level, then you don't wanna fuck around with that at all, but the fact that I got away with it...I just basically blew it off as not a big deal and then it just bacame a big rumor. You know, it was funny, the way it's been blown out of proportion. I mean, I've been congratulated more for that than anything else in my life! And I have nothing against the guy...I've seen his program two or three times. I don't enjoy it--to me it's just kind of vague. I don't understand the world that's portrayed on the program. That's basically the story. (laughs) Sorry to disappoint you! I know you were expecting something like "It was a good, hard hit!"

NS: You could have at least knowcked his teeth out!

SS: [returning from talking with the soundman] Oh, you guys are still talking about "Beverly HIlls 90210!"

NS: Scott, how did you meet steve?

SS: I met Steve at this...Well, when we were kids I took disco lessons (laughter) and I met Steve...this girl I was taking disco lessons from, it was his neighbor, so we hooked up that way.

NS: How old were you?

SS: I think I was about 10 or 12.

NS: What made you decide to form a band?

SS: Well, the very first time I saw, um...what band was it? I can't remember their name, but they played at the Stockton Civic Auditorium and...Oh, it was the Doobie Brothers! [I stare at him in shock] You know, have you ever heard of the Doobie Brothers?

NS: [amazed] Uh, yeah.

SS: Yeah, the Doobie Brothers. (laughs) I'm just joking with you!

NS: Thank God! For a second there, uh...

SS: No, the reason we started a band was-- See, Bob was out here on the East Coast and we were on the West Coast and Steve and Bob have this ongoing rivalry. And Bob and Steve have been in bands before, like when they went to school together...

BN: [chanting in the background] Ectoslavia! Ectoslavia! Ectoslavia! Ectoslavia!

SS: What was the other band?

BN: The Hammer Twins

SS: Hammer Twins. Anyway, it started as a rivalry...'cause Bob kicked Steve out of Ectoslavia...

BN: Cause he was too good of a guitar player.

NS: Alright, Gary, this question's for you: Is Treble Kicker still an active record label?

GY: That's Scott's label, ask him.

NS: Scott?

SS: Yes, it is. We have five or six projects on the shelf right now, but that's about it. (laughs) I don't know if they'll ever come out.

NS: Who writes Pavement's lyrics?

SS: Steve writes the majority of them. Gary writes, uhhhh, maybe, uhhhh, Gary writes none of the lyrics.

GY: Three words I wrote!

NS: What were they?

GY: I don't know.

SS: Well, that tells you right there.

NS: What the hell inspires you guys?

SS: What inspires us?

NS: Yeah, to write the sort of lyrics that you do.

SS: Well, we just recorded a new EP.

NS: Yeah, is this the one with the A-side from the album?

SS: No, that was the "Trigger Cut" single. BN: It's the _Watery,_Domestic_EP.

SS: The new EP is gonna be called Watery, Domestic.

BN: It's about watery, American lager.

SS: A lot of the lyrics on that have to do with...

NS: Beer!?

SS: No, with Stockton.

BN: It's our first thematic work.

NS: Are we ever gonna see the Pavement equivalent of "Jesus Christ Superstar?"

SS: That's kinda what it is.

NS: The thematic box set?

SS: IT's a cross between the Stranglers and um, what was that one? Screech? This one band Screech, have you heard of them?

NS: No.

SS: It's this band from northern California.

NS: So it's a cross between the Stranglers and Screech?

SS: Naw, Steve's lyrics are just inspired by, just anything that comes to his mind. I mean, there's a lot of stuff, you know. Pick a song and he'll...

NS: Are there any songs that you feel stand out as having a particular meaning to them?

SS: Sure, all of 'em do!

NS: Well, one of my favorites from _Slanted_and_Enchanted_ is "Perfume V."

NS: Yeah that's a great song. SS: The lyrics to that are just amazing.

NS: What are they about?

SS: Well, actually it is about Steve's old cat, if you wanna get down to it! (laughs) Actually, Steve's girlfriend's cat. And he had this dream one-- or not drea-- but he was kinda pissed at her so he envisioned throwing this cat in...We live really close to a nuclear power plant. And so, he envisioned taking this cat and throwing it into the nuclear power plant.

NS: The Pavement world of mutation!

SS: (laughs) Yeah!

NS: How and when did Gary join the band?

SS: How? Well, we've done a lot of recording at Gary's studio, Louder Than You Think, and he kinda evolved into being our drummer because we wanted more of a live sound on the records. Why is he our drummer? Well...(laughs) We don't have an answer for that!

NS: Anyone who sees you [play live] can figure that out! How did Pavement hook up with Dan Koretzkey and Drag City?

SS: I met Dan at this...I was in Chicago and I was at this really bad rave party, you know?

NS: Acid House!?

SS: yeah, and this guy, there was this one guy who was like, um, he had this Drag City t-shirt on. O.K. Drag City wasn't a label at the time. He had this DC t-shirt on, and then he was wearing...these Speedos and he was dancin' around. And this guy, he was supposedly one of the biggest, like, ravers in Chicago.

NS: And it was Dan?

SS: It was Dan, yeah. And anyway, for some weird reason they played our first single at this place and he knew about it. Steve and I were just kinda like, "Yeah, this is great, this is us!" and he overheard us and he decided, you know, he wanted us to be on his label. He's like a big, kind of a...Have you ever met Dan?

NS: Not personally...

SS: He's a big, like, cult figure in Chicago. An underground cult figure.

NS: What made Steve move to New York?

SS: Let's see...I'd probably have to say the smell of New York. Yeah! (laughter)

NS: Why did you add Bob and Mark?

SS: ...fill in for Gary. But also, more importantly, that's really not the reason. Bob's always been a part of this band from the start in spirit. We couldn't get by without Bob. Mark joined because we knew he was an amazing bass player.

NS: From the Dustdevils [at the time]?

SS: Well, I didn't know he was in the Dustdevils. I heard he was in this band called Heavy Load...I heard a couple of their records and someone told me Mark was their bass player and I was just like, "Yeah, great!"

NS: [to Mr. Ibold who is on stage tuning] Hey Mark! How did you hook up with Pavement?

MI: Well...I'd been living in New York, and Bob and Steve were living in New York. I guess I originally met these guys when after a Dustdevils show, when a friend of Bob's said, "What the hell are you doing in the Dustdevils, you're wasting your time. You should be playing in our band from Virginia." I forgot the name of the band...Bob! S'cuse me! [ducks down from the stage to talk to Bob] Bob, what was the name of the band that Dave Berman asked me to join after one of the Dustdevils' shos?

BN: Oh, man! That would be Ectoslavia!

NS: The infamous Ectoslavia!

MI: he said, "Man, you shouldn't be playing with the Dustdevils, you should be playing with Ectoslavia." I was like, "Man, what a dick!" How could he say that after one of our shows? And then I kept running into those guys at other shows and stuff. I just ended up joining the band last summer.

NS: Are the Dustdevils still a working unit?

MI: Yeah, on hiatus right now.

NS: [to Bob] So, who are these mysterious Silver Jews characters?

BN: That would be David Berman and...it's his band, he writes most of the songs. He's currently in Virginia. And I just play, whatever. We record in my living room.

NS: So the other two guys are fake, in other words?

BN: No, I'm in the band, I'm a full-time member of the band.

NS: No, the "ashtray" credit man. [On the Jews' Dime Map of the Reef EP Spill Fantauzza is credited for "armrest, ashtray."]

BN: Oh, that's a woman, Jill Fantauzza! Yeah, she's my roommate, and she's in the band.

NS: And the other guitarists?

BN: the other guitarist is Hazel Figurine.

NS: [horrified] They're real people!

BN: yeah.

NS: Is that her real name?

BN: No, Hazel's a boy, a young boy. He's 17. he's...for a 17-year old he's pretty sexually deranged. He sleeps with Jill. That's the reason he's in the band.

NS: Strange...Any more plans to release stuff under that name [Silver Jews]?

BN: We're going to South Carolina to make a record: August 15th through 18th at a beach house.

NS: Cool.

BN: It'll be great. And we're gonna add...Hunter Kennedy is gonna be in the band, who's a South Carolinian. He's a great writer.

NS: Any sessions from the same tape that the EP was drawn from gonna be released?

BN: Yeah, there's like 35 songs that we've already finished. It's gonna be on Drag City, it's gonna be a full-length album.

NS: [Will it have the] same basement, lo-fi, home recorded[ sound as the EP]?

BN: I imagine so, we might go with a four-track for some of it. We have a keyboard-- a really, really old organ.

NS: Do you distort it like Pavement do?

BN: No, not at all. We try to make it sound as clear and polished as possible. Usually we record into one of these [points to my tape recorder]. That single was recorded into one of these.

NS: By the way, who does play Pavement's keyboards?

SS: Steve and I.

NS: What do you use, old analogs? They sound very gritty.

SS: No, we don't. We have...they're very modern keyboards.

NS: You play them through a distortion pedal?

SS: Some of the stuff, yeah.

NS: Who played bass before Mark? I mean, on the records.

SS: There's no bass on the records. There's ony two songs that have bass on the records.

NS: What about Slanted and Enchanted?

SS: One song has bass.

NS: "Box Elder" would be the other?

SS: Yes.

NS: What's the other song?

SS: "In the Mouth a Desert" has bass.

NS: Gary, exactly how old are you?

GY: What? What date is today?

BN: The 29th? [actually the 30th].

GY: [loking at his watch] Thirty-nine and a half.

NS: What was the significance of all those vegetables you gave everyone last night?

GY: I tried to feed to crowd.

NS: That was very nice of you.

GY: Tonight is the end of an era.

NS: What's that supposed to mean?

BN: Did people actually eat the vegetables?

NS: I had a carrot and it was delicious. Was it poison laced?

BN: [to gary] He ate some! Really, no, it's not poisoned. It was fresh produce!

GY: [to Bob] Was it you that told me that great story the other day?

BN: [ignoring Gary] I gave away a sandwich last night.

NS: Yeah, and you kept my Wingtip Sloat record fresh in your little box.

BN: That's right, in my corner!

NS: In your cooler.

GY: Was it you that told me you had a friend that ran around on Halloween Night...?

BN: Yeah, man, with the apples and the razor blades!

NS: How long ago was _Slanted_and_Enchanted recorded?

GY: Huh? '90, uh, January '91, right?

BN: Yeah.

NS: Why the fuck did Matador take so long to put it out?

GY: 'Cause they don't have enough money.

BN: What it is is that they put out bands, and have an extremely busy schedule.

NS: They're still working on _Hippy_Porn_[a NY indie film from 1991] sountrack back from October.

BN: They're still working on so many things that, like...those people are trying their best. Just like Big Cat, you know...It's not like they sit around and like, hang out and get drunk every day in the office. I mean those people work. They've got four or five people in their office now, in fact they've just hired a new guy. They all work 40 or 50 hours a week. We don't complain about Matador.

GY: It's a very difficult thing.

NS: The next Pavement release is gonna be that EP.

BN: October. Watery, Domestic EP.

NS: And it's gonna be on Matador?

BN: It's gonna be on Matador and Big Cat. It's four songs and it's got some really interesting keyboard interludes between a couple of the songs. It's like four mid-tempo pop songs. There isn't as much variety on it as Slanted and Enchanted.

NS: What's the Drag City compilation gonna be called?

BN: I thought it was gonna be called HEY Drag City [Actually Westing(By Musket and Sextant)]. I think that's what it might be called, but I'm not sure.

NS: So you really don't know exactly when it's coming out?

BN: I don't know when that's coming out.. I think they're talking about December or something like that. I think they're talking about having a special Christmas gift price.

NS: So you guys, you and Mark, play on any Pavement records?

BN: We do a tiny bit on the upcoming EP. Mark does some keyboards on the upcoming EP. Mark does some keyboards, actually on "Sue Me Jack" [on the "trigger Cut" single] I do a really quiet spoken-word part. On one song that's actually on the Drag City compilation I play a rain stick.

NS: So neither of you play your actual instruments [in the studio]

BN: No, it's not necessary, really, to have two drum sets in the studio. Maybe down the road we will. For me it doesn't matter.

NS: Are you actually going to move to Kentucky?

BN: yeah, definitely. [He did]

NS: And you're joining Britt Walford's band.

BN: No, I'm going to...I'm moving there, Britt's my best friend there and that's one of the reasons why I wanna move there, but being in a band with somebody like Britt...he's a real musician, you know, he's an accomplished musician...I mean, I couldn't play with those guys, man, they're too good!

NS: So if you move to Kentucky are you still gonna be in Pavement?

BN: Sure, if I wanna be, I think.

NS: That's cool.

BN: Yeah. Alright, thank you, Jordan. [Bob splits for the stage to do a sound check.]

NS: Has there been any major label interest in Pavement?

SS: I mean, we hear about it through the grapevine. But the only person they talk to is Gary because he's the biggest sucker in the band. He just went down to CBS yesterday and acted like he was, you know...he passed out in Sony's office, this guy's office.

NS: [sarcastically] So you won't be putting out that split EP with Poi Dog Pondering?

SS: Oh, god, I wish, man!!!

NS: Have you all quit your day jobs yet?

SS: We had to. This is what we're doing full-time.

NS: What did you guys do [for a living]? I know Mark was a waiter, Bob drove a bus...

SS: Gary runs a recording studio, Steve, uh, loafed, and I worked in this hardware store. (laughs)

NS: How do you guys keep Gary under control?

SS: Well, lets see...that's a hard question to answer. [to Bob] How do we keep Gary under control?

BN: No way! It's impossible!!

Jersey Al (Albert R. Broccoli), Thursday, 15 August 2019 21:11 (one year ago) link

Terrific interview, thanks for posting. I love that it was the day after the infamous "Bob demands a million dollars at a major label" / "Quick, put in him in a cab to Hoboken!" incident.

Stub yr toe on the yacht rock (morrisp), Thursday, 15 August 2019 21:25 (one year ago) link

(Gary, not Bob - obv.)

Stub yr toe on the yacht rock (morrisp), Thursday, 15 August 2019 21:25 (one year ago) link

I found this quote from the Leo Weekly interview linked above interesting:

When I was younger, and people bought records, I could live on the royalties. Times have changed in those respects.

in case anyone is still clinging to the whole 'streaming is good for independent artists' thing

Paul Ponzi, Thursday, 15 August 2019 22:51 (one year ago) link

Of course, as discussed itt, Silver Jews and Purple Mountains stuff is sold out everywhere, including Discogs. Where were all these customers when DCB was alive? Oh right, they were streaming his music and listening to it for free on Youtube

Paul Ponzi, Thursday, 15 August 2019 22:53 (one year ago) link

Maybe, but I assume at least some people buying DCB's records in the past few weeks were not previously familiar with him, and interest was spurred by these tributes/articles/etc.

Stub yr toe on the yacht rock (morrisp), Thursday, 15 August 2019 23:17 (one year ago) link

and Drag City wasn't on streaming until recently

triple-washed (Sufjan Grafton), Thursday, 15 August 2019 23:22 (one year ago) link

ponzi scheme is just being trenchant again

bookmarkflaglink (jim in vancouver), Thursday, 15 August 2019 23:24 (one year ago) link

there's an interview upthread ... or ... somewhere, I don't know ... that i read recently where Berman was expressing pleasant surprise at how much he was making monthly in royalties off the old SJ records. obviously, that was a relatively old interview.

alpine static, Thursday, 15 August 2019 23:29 (one year ago) link

I feel a bit sad that he had the thought that no one loved the band (SJ). It makes me think of Guadalcanal Diary when they broke up saying (I am pretty sure, I really don't want to have to factcheck this) one of the reasons they stopped was because they were no one's favorite band.

Yerac, Thursday, 15 August 2019 23:41 (one year ago) link

The old records sold pretty well for Drag City.

Just over 30K for Starlite...just under 30K for Natural...almost up to 50K (that's a lot!) for American Water...back down to 23K for Bright... then, up to 25K for Tanglewood... and around 16K for Lookout.

mr.raffles, Friday, 16 August 2019 02:09 (one year ago) link

From Oldham's tribute:

/It was in recent weeks, David proposed that he, Bill Callahan and I tour together as the ‘Monsieurs of Drag City,’ with all three of us on stage trading off songs./


my god

gbx, Friday, 16 August 2019 02:32 (one year ago) link

xp: "hey boys, supper's on me/our record just went aluminum!"

☮ (peace, man), Friday, 16 August 2019 11:22 (one year ago) link

Wouldn't have anticipated quite so substantial a contraction for Bright Flight. Oh well. (Some days that feels like my favourite.)

Nag! Nag! Nag!, Friday, 16 August 2019 12:37 (one year ago) link

I wonder how many Domino sold, I would assume significantly less? (did they cover Europe or just the UK) I find the sales of cult artists endlessly fascinating, particularly the relationship between such modest sounding figures and the number of times you spot them second hand. That said, i have hardly ever seen Silver Jews records resold. The last two lps have aged wonderfully, esp. lookout mountain.

cw, Friday, 16 August 2019 13:28 (one year ago) link

In one of the interviews linked above (i think from 2002?) he bemoans that hes one of the biggest selling Drag City artists but sells very little on Domino

“Hakuna Matata,” a nihilist philosophy (One Eye Open), Friday, 16 August 2019 13:58 (one year ago) link

Wouldn't have anticipated quite so substantial a contraction for /Bright Flight/. Oh well. (Some days that feels like my favourite.)


This record is always brushed over for some reason. Definitely has some of my favorite SJ tracks.

circa1916, Friday, 16 August 2019 13:58 (one year ago) link

Starlite Walker - The Natural Bridge - American Water - Bright Flight is such an amazing run. I think each one is better than the one before it. Should poll the instrumentals, closing ballads, etc. I guess he thought the tambourine was mixed too loud on Transylvania Blues, and it ruined the song. It never really bothered me until I read that, but I can't unhear it now.

triple-washed (Sufjan Grafton), Friday, 16 August 2019 17:02 (one year ago) link

Tanglewood is the sleeper of the catalog imo. But I legitimately love them all. Weirdly, maybe, Starlite is my least favorite. It's the most uneven, I think.

I remember reading that DCB thought he "let up" on side 2 of Bright Flight or something to that effect, which was why it wasn't more popular, according to him. I wish I could remember where I read that. He's mostly right - that album is very front-loaded. Then again, how many songwriters would give their right arm to write something as amazing as "Death To an Heir or Sorrows?" I also have always had a soft spot for "Tennessee," even though it's pretty dumb (in the sweetest and most self-aware kind of way, of course).

Paul Ponzi, Friday, 16 August 2019 17:07 (one year ago) link

Bright Flight is often the one I return to most these days

Thus Spoke Darraghustra (Oor Neechy), Friday, 16 August 2019 18:06 (one year ago) link

Jeremiah Cymerman retweeted this email from DB to a friend going to hospital for detox.

Seven years ago I was about to go into the hospital for detox after a really rough few years. I was scared and isolated. I sent an email to David in the dark.
His response truly helped me and I will always carry it with me.
thank you dcb#dragcity #DavidBerman pic.twitter.com/VsXjJDMl2S

— Timrw58 (@Timothy17695396) August 8, 2019

EvR, Friday, 16 August 2019 20:50 (one year ago) link

I would agree the first half of Bright Flight is better than the second half, but I love Let's Not and Say We Did and Tennessee. The former has such weird nonsense lyrics describing a surreal winter wonderland. The latter is the Silver Jews' version of Jackson.

Mazzy Tsar (PBKR), Friday, 16 August 2019 21:08 (one year ago) link

Tanglewood is the sleeper of the catalog imo. But I legitimately love them all. Weirdly, maybe, Starlite is my least favorite. It's the most uneven, I think.

(...)

― Paul Ponzi, Friday, 16 August 2019

Fully agree. For me Starlite is his weakest album.

Duke, Friday, 16 August 2019 21:30 (one year ago) link

It does seem a little filler-y, but Trains Across the Sea, Advice to the Graduate, and New Orleans are all time.

circa1916, Friday, 16 August 2019 21:33 (one year ago) link

LET'S DO THIS

Natural Bridge>>>Purple Mountains>>>Bright Flight>>>American Water>>>Arizona Record>>>Tanglewood Numbers>>>Starlite Walker>>> Lookout etc

They all have great songs though

Lactose Shaolin Wanker (Raymond Cummings), Friday, 16 August 2019 21:40 (one year ago) link

agree Natural Bridge da best

husserl gang (rip van wanko), Friday, 16 August 2019 21:42 (one year ago) link

"Nights That Won't Happen" is beautiful:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dPtqrXx0sJs

djh, Friday, 16 August 2019 22:24 (one year ago) link

Natural Bridge > American Water > Tanglewood Numbers > Purple Mountains = Bright Flight = Lookout Mountain > Starlite Walker > Arizona

Paul Ponzi, Saturday, 17 August 2019 00:11 (one year ago) link

whatever works for ya

braunld (Lowell N. Behold'n), Saturday, 17 August 2019 02:31 (one year ago) link

Honestly don’t know how to rank these outside of Natural Bridge at #1 with Tanglewood >> Lookout at the end.

circa1916, Saturday, 17 August 2019 06:25 (one year ago) link


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