Saturday, April 23, 2011

Thank You Drive-By Truckers

I recently bought an excellent album called Go - Go Boots by a great band called Drive-By Truckers.

Drive-By Truckers have garnered quite the reputation as being this dark, intelligent, and story driven band of the South. They're the front runners in the Southern Gothic genre for the musically inclined. I've always been a fan of their brooding darkness with glaring hints of light trying to peel through their black canvas saturated with booze, blood, and tears. They're a really great band to get you in the mood to write, long drives home, and lazy lonely evenings during sultry summer nights.

But, their newest album, Go-Go Boots, is surprisingly... optimistic. It's as if something snapped and Patterson Hood (the brain of the group) said, "Hey. Life ain't so bad after all, is it?" This is evident from the Beatles-esqu "Everybody Needs Love" to the uplifting final song "Mercy Buckets" about the power of friendship and unconditional love.

And I'm glad they did. They still maintain the tone of of someone who has been through something disastrous -- but they emit the emotion that they came out of that disaster better than they were.

It's as if the Phoenix has finally burned the nest.

There are two great things about every DBT album and those are the music (obviously) and the album art. The album art for every DBT album has always been original paintings by artists whom they personally met along the way. One of whom, Bryon Wilkes, has unfortunately passed away recently.

But, one thing that separates Go-Go Boots from all the others is the first page of their liner notes (yes, artists still make albums, with album art and inside these albums they still have liner notes that they pay attention to) Patterson Hood has shared a poem with us:

The Movie Version

It's The Movie Version
Names were changed, storylines simplified, characters unified and plotlines streamlined.
It might have happened. 
Might even be a true story, but we're not calling it that.

It's The Movie Version
Real life might be stranger than fiction.
It's certainly messier.
A fact is a fact (or so I heard).
That might have been a lie.

But the lighting is impeccable and the camera angles sublime
and the Set Director did a stunning job.
The parts were all well cast and the dialogue was snappy.
The Actors all won Oscars and the Director was a sadistic tyrant
but the DP's bloodshot eyes were unfailing
and the audience was stunned and amazed.

It's The Movie Version.
It's not better than "real life". 
But for a couple of hours, "real life" stops and we get to tell this story.
Not quite how it really happened.
But hopefully a little more entertaining.

As a person who grew up loving movies of all types it can be hard for me to, sometimes, discern between why I love certain parts of life. Do I love the way something looks because it would look great in a movie? Or is it because the way the sky and the architecture of the buildings, street, and urban design mix together? Are all my pleasures in life derived from film -- would this look good in a movie? this is so cinematic! -- or from a mix of pure sensory perceptions that haven't gone through a cinematic filter first?

People with photographic memories have been known to have issues in separating imagination from reality (if you were to remember and think that much, wouldn't you?). Film lovers and filmmakers have been known to issues separating life from the cinema. Do I like this moment in my life because it's similar to what would happen in one of my favorite movies or because of actual, real, sensory perceptions creating an influx of happy chemicals? This poem, I believe, helps me discern this difference.

The difference, it seems, isn't from discerning between the two but in recognizing how they blend. Understanding and consciously shifting how we think.

"I recognize my affinity for this situation in my mortally inexplicable life and wish to weave into whatever creations I may make (stories, paintings, films, etc...). "


"This would look cool in a movie. I like it."

We don't exist in films -- nor do we exist in songs, or paintings, or novels -- but are certainly welcome to take what we may from this realm of our own reality and share it with everyone else via film. In fact, it's encouraged, so long as we do it right.

It's in recognizing this difference between the two, and the cognitive practice of copying and pasting, that we can create great art. And it's this practice that the Drive-By Truckers have mastered.

1 comment:

Adamar Design AIA said...

LOVE THE TRUCKERS...saw both nights of this tour at the Fillmore!!!! I find your comment about GO-Go being optimistic, I find it a bit darker than most...Fire Place poker, Title track and even the depressing disillusions of used to be a cop...Patterson is the master of lyrics and I cant wait to see them again!!!!

THANKS for sharing the poem...Yet another reason iTunes sucks!!!