Purple Mountains (RIP David Berman, August 2019)

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long interview from 2018:

https://believermag.com/an-interview-with-david-berman/

Jersey Al (Albert R. Broccoli), Friday, 31 January 2020 16:28 (eight months ago) link

That piece is a) brilliant and ii) costing me a bloody fortune (it's FULL of reading recommendations). Along with everything else about Berman, he was a nexus for so much interesting stuff. I wish someone could/would aggregate all of his recommendations.

Ngolo Cantwell (Chinaski), Sunday, 2 February 2020 17:39 (seven months ago) link

That interview sure doesn’t make the album (or any of its songs) sound like they were intended as a “suicide note.”

dad genes (morrisp), Sunday, 2 February 2020 18:21 (seven months ago) link

I read https://www.amazon.com/Fourth-Turning-American-Prophecy-Rendezvous/dp/0767900464 [The Fourth Turning: An American Prophecy—What the Cycles of History Tell Us about America’s Next Rendezvous with Destiny] in the nineties.

It really influenced my picture of what 2020 would look like, and 25 years later it looks to me like it’s still on course.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strauss%E2%80%93Howe_generational_theory

It makes a really incredible claim, that four generational

types go round and round every hundred years. That one of these types shows up every 80 years: glorious rev —-> American revolution —-> Civil War —-> Depression —-> WWII —-> today (these are all roughly 80 years apart). In conjunction with a major crisis/meltdown to rebuild society on new terms. So generation Z, in this case, grow up in chaos and develop the characteristics that the WWII generation had—the world conquering abilities. The children of the WWII generation—the silent generation, the baby boomers—grew up coddled in the new regime, and started to tear it down, initiating another meltdown. Any serious person would laugh at this book. Take a look.

nooooooooo david!

But guess what? Nobody gives a toot!😂 (Karl Malone), Sunday, 2 February 2020 20:45 (seven months ago) link

it's a great interview, btw (still reading). this just jumped out to me because nooooo

But guess what? Nobody gives a toot!😂 (Karl Malone), Sunday, 2 February 2020 20:45 (seven months ago) link

btw the vinyl is back in stock at Drag City for $22 so you don't have to go to scumbag eBay vultures, free shipping even!

Blues Guitar Solo Heatmap (Free Download) (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Sunday, 2 February 2020 21:18 (seven months ago) link

It's available again in the UK, too - a bunch of places have it. Norman Records have it's for £20.

Ngolo Cantwell (Chinaski), Sunday, 2 February 2020 21:52 (seven months ago) link

how well known would he have been without the pavement connection? i think he may have been virtually unknown

otm into winter (rip van wanko), Tuesday, 4 February 2020 17:52 (seven months ago) link

*look of consternation*

otm into winter (rip van wanko), Tuesday, 4 February 2020 18:04 (seven months ago) link

how well known would he have been without the pavement connection? i think he may have been virtually unknown

― otm into winter (rip van wanko), Tuesday, February 4, 2020 9:52 AM (twenty-six minutes ago)

This feels anachronistic to me. Around 1991, both bands had been operating in parallel. David, Steve & Bob were roommates in Jersey City goofing around as the Silver Jews while "Pavement" existed as a cross-country project with Steve's friend Scott in Stockton, basically recording when Steve would come home to visit on holidays/occasions. At the time, Pavement had a few obscure singles/EPs that had been primarily zine-worthy, maybe until SPIN hyped up Perfect Sound Forever is when the real buzz (or the Weddoes cover?).

The fact that David was roommates with 2 members of Pavement was simply circumstance as Bob, David & Steve had been playing music together at UVA a few years prior as Ectoslavia (with James McNew & Rob Chamberlain).

David is/was probably as famous as any other Drag City artist not named Pavement. So if you think Royal Trux, Will Oldham, Bill Callahan are "virtually unknown" then maybe you are on to something. But Pavement/Malkmus made the jump from Drag City to Matador at a particularly opportune time, which was a huge factor in the reason for their popularity.

Jersey Al (Albert R. Broccoli), Tuesday, 4 February 2020 18:38 (seven months ago) link

(I'm on a long boring call, apologies if that doesn't make a ton of sense)

Jersey Al (Albert R. Broccoli), Tuesday, 4 February 2020 18:39 (seven months ago) link

why does this matter again? not asking you, Jersey Al, just wondering.

he stopped being virtually unknown 20+ years ago, had a critically acclaimed career that attracted a non-negligible (and passionate) fan base and now he's dead.

it seems particularly silly to try to determine whether he *really* deserved it all or not.

alpine static, Tuesday, 4 February 2020 18:50 (seven months ago) link

xp

it does make sense, and was interesting to read. you should write the longform pavement story/bio that i'm not sure exists yet

i thought SJ/DB were more popular than bill callahan, but as i compare YT view counts (not exactly definitive, i know) I seem to be wrong

otm into winter (rip van wanko), Tuesday, 4 February 2020 18:56 (seven months ago) link

xp: Oh I agree, which is why I stated that the OP's sentiment came from an anachronistic POV.

Jersey Al (Albert R. Broccoli), Tuesday, 4 February 2020 18:57 (seven months ago) link

my question really has nothing to do with Berman's work or value at all

otm into winter (rip van wanko), Tuesday, 4 February 2020 18:58 (seven months ago) link

in a subjective sense

otm into winter (rip van wanko), Tuesday, 4 February 2020 18:59 (seven months ago) link

I haven't read it since it was published, but I'm sure Rob Jovanovic's Pavement bio goes into most of this Inside Baseball level backstory.

Jersey Al (Albert R. Broccoli), Tuesday, 4 February 2020 18:59 (seven months ago) link

Albert B otm xp

longtime caller, first time listener (man alive), Tuesday, 4 February 2020 19:00 (seven months ago) link

OTOH drag city itself probably owes something to the pavement connection, so you could say that lifted all boats

longtime caller, first time listener (man alive), Tuesday, 4 February 2020 19:03 (seven months ago) link

i thought SJ/DB were more popular than bill callahan, but as i compare YT view counts (not exactly definitive, i know) I seem to be wrong

I learned over the weekend that my mother, of all people, is apparently a big Callahan head ("Do you know him, and his band, Smog? He's so talented, he has an amazing voice... there's no one else like him!").

She's not an "indie" type at all. I was pretty surprised.

dad genes (morrisp), Tuesday, 4 February 2020 19:03 (seven months ago) link

Regardless though, once I got to know Silver Jews, I thought (and still think) them >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Pavement

longtime caller, first time listener (man alive), Tuesday, 4 February 2020 19:04 (seven months ago) link

(him)

longtime caller, first time listener (man alive), Tuesday, 4 February 2020 19:04 (seven months ago) link

There are hundreds of bands that were offshoots and side projects of better known indie bands whose albums currently languish in dollar bins worldwide. If SJ was ever considered a Pavement "side project," it transcended this, by my estimation, around the time of The Natural Bridge and became its own thing with its own distinct fanbase. To claim SJ might have been "virtually unknown" is incorrect. When I think of virtually unknown bands that feature members of relatively well-loved Drag City and Matador acts, I think of Pale Horse Riders, Drinks, Dan'l Boone, The Sundowners, New Bums, Nervous Cop, Preston School of Industry, etc.

fwiw idgaf about Pavement but I'm a longtime Silver Jews fan, and I can't imagine I'm the only person who fits this description

Paul Ponzi, Tuesday, 4 February 2020 19:13 (seven months ago) link

Hey Paul, totally off-topic – how did you like that Fiery Furnaces album you ordered on eBay?

dad genes (morrisp), Tuesday, 4 February 2020 19:17 (seven months ago) link

My "favorite" Silver Jews/Pavement related obscure band:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WId0rLAItJo

They played CBs a few times. Nobody remembers them. This video has 568 views in 9 years, probably a dozen from me.

vox/guitar is UVA roommate/best-friend of DCB who was also a former member of Ectoslavia... and Mark Ibold replaced him as bass player of Pavement after a few gigs. Also a Swans & Live Skull connection.

Jersey Al (Albert R. Broccoli), Tuesday, 4 February 2020 19:25 (seven months ago) link

(^this is the definition of virtually unknown imho)

Jersey Al (Albert R. Broccoli), Tuesday, 4 February 2020 19:28 (seven months ago) link

Hey Paul, totally off-topic – how did you like that Fiery Furnaces album you ordered on eBay?

― dad genes (morrisp), Tuesday, February 4, 2020 2:17 PM (seventeen minutes ago) bookmarkflaglink

I loved it, actually, and it made me want to go back to the others I neglected. Meant to thank you for the tip! "Drive to Dallas" and "Charmagne Champagne" are top shelf FF, and I laughed out loud every time the "Take Me Round Again" chorus repeated ("listen, Lester!"). Dunno why I ever stopped paying attention to this band when they were around, especially since I was crazy about their first few albums, and have also enjoyed all of Eleanor's solo stuff.

Sorry for the derail!

Paul Ponzi, Tuesday, 4 February 2020 19:39 (seven months ago) link

Great, glad to hear it! (and the derail is my fault, lol)

dad genes (morrisp), Tuesday, 4 February 2020 19:53 (seven months ago) link

If SJ was ever considered a Pavement "side project," it transcended this, by my estimation, around the time of The Natural Bridge and became its own thing with its own distinct fanbase.

Pavement was a Silver Jews side project

longtime caller, first time listener (man alive), Tuesday, 4 February 2020 20:26 (seven months ago) link

that's a false myth:

first pavement recording: jan 1989, released july 1989
first silver jews recordings: 1991, released may 1992

Jersey Al (Albert R. Broccoli), Tuesday, 4 February 2020 21:14 (seven months ago) link

i know nothing, but recording dates don't necessarily prove that one thing existed before the other. they just mean that one sloppy unheard band decided to record something before the other

But guess what? Nobody gives a toot!😂 (Karl Malone), Tuesday, 4 February 2020 21:17 (seven months ago) link

Wikipedia says they were formed at roughly the same time, fwiw, both in 1989

longtime caller, first time listener (man alive), Tuesday, 4 February 2020 21:52 (seven months ago) link

Pavement was not a side project of the Silver Jews. Like I said upthread, they were operating in parallel. One was some drunk roommates living room "recordings", and one was a cross-country project that would record on the occasional holiday break.

Jersey Al (Albert R. Broccoli), Tuesday, 4 February 2020 22:05 (seven months ago) link

Al -- thx for posting that Sugartime single. I love the riff... the vocals are SO in that '80s NYC zone, they sound like Das Damen or any number of other bands.

dad genes (morrisp), Tuesday, 4 February 2020 22:24 (seven months ago) link

As far as the Sliding Doors game, if Berman had stayed only a poet, he probably would be at the fame level of Matthew Zapruder or Dean Young.

... (Eazy), Tuesday, 4 February 2020 22:54 (seven months ago) link

Thx @morrisp,

Both David & Rob were huge Cure/Echo fans, you never heard it in David's voice but I hear a lot of goth/crossover in Rob's. I have a pic of them looking pretty gothy somewhere, it was sent to me around the time of David's passing.

Jersey Al (Albert R. Broccoli), Tuesday, 4 February 2020 23:15 (seven months ago) link

This is a good one (Rob & David):

https://www.instagram.com/p/B2srCfuDSFp/

Jersey Al (Albert R. Broccoli), Tuesday, 4 February 2020 23:23 (seven months ago) link

This IG account was their other roommate at the time, she has a bunch of old pics of Rob & David:

https://www.instagram.com/p/B2stEsKjxWl/

Jersey Al (Albert R. Broccoli), Tuesday, 4 February 2020 23:24 (seven months ago) link

Re: the 2nd pic (with the cig) -- looks like Malkmus borrowed that shirt at one point (or vice-versa).

dad genes (morrisp), Tuesday, 4 February 2020 23:31 (seven months ago) link

Good eye, the first pic was taken ~86, the Starlite Walker pix ~8 years later.

Jersey Al (Albert R. Broccoli), Tuesday, 4 February 2020 23:34 (seven months ago) link

i had that exact shirt around 9th grade lol. surprised i didn't make the connection before

otm into winter (rip van wanko), Wednesday, 5 February 2020 00:22 (seven months ago) link

https://i.imgur.com/PE32eVG.jpg

PaulTMA, Thursday, 13 February 2020 13:22 (seven months ago) link

two weeks pass...
three weeks pass...

https://youtu.be/nsjQ3Gblzys?t=177

enochroot, Thursday, 26 March 2020 19:50 (six months ago) link

Weeeiiiird. I've never been able to get into Avalanches, but I guess it's cool to see them pay tribute to David.

☮️ (peace, man), Thursday, 26 March 2020 20:03 (six months ago) link

i'm sure this is in this thread elsewhere, but

https://youtu.be/7XTrz0yvxe0

circa1916, Thursday, 26 March 2020 20:08 (six months ago) link

Oh, I didn't know they had worked together.

☮️ (peace, man), Thursday, 26 March 2020 20:14 (six months ago) link

i'm sure this is in this thread elsewhere, but

https://youtu.be/7XTrz0yvxe0🕸


if it was upthread i missed it. that’s really lovely.

Fizzles, Thursday, 26 March 2020 20:17 (six months ago) link


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