Sunday, December 6, 2009

I don't wanna pick sides. I'm Switzerland.

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If there were three people you could meet … who would they be? Without any question, I would rattle off Bono, Jeff Tweedy and Thom Yorke. If you would ask my co-workers what gets me animated it would be stretched logos, LOST and Wilco. Wilco is not my favorite band. Wilco is my third favorite band. (By my “who would I like to meet” list, you can probably figure out who the two favorite bands would be).

[caption id="attachment_402" align="alignleft" width="200" caption="The Grandfathers of Alt Country Rock - Jay and Jeff"]The Grandfathers of Country Rock - Jay and Jeff[/caption]

I am not an expert in music. I try not to follow the rules. I still don’t know if Lady Gaga is a band or woman. But there was one rule bestowed upon me in 1996 – you have to choose sides, Wilco or Son Volt. I really didn’t want to choose and honestly, I wasn’t a big Uncle Tupelo fan. I believe my brother was but I thought they had a neat sound and who doesn’t like a banjo. But Uncle Tupelo are the pioneers of progressive sounds – the godfathers of alternative country rock. One time my dad was driving in the car with me and Uncle Tupelo was playing – “who is this? That’s an interesting sound.” Godfathers of Alt Country Rock dad. My dad likes Willie, Waylon and the boys. He liked Uncle Tupelo.

(Uncle Tupelo breaks up in 1994. Two bands are formed - Jay Farrar forms Son Volt. Jeff Tweedy and the rest of Uncle Tupelo form Wilco)

So back in 1996, I was working in television. My co-worker was playing Son Volt while we were waiting for the 10 p.m. news to get going. “Uncle Tupelo?” No, Son Volt. “What the?  Sounds like Uncle Tupelo.” No, it’s Son Volt. “Wow, Jay doesn’t diversify.” This opened a WHOLE can of worms. How you have to pick sides. You can’t like Jay and Jeff. It’s just wrong. You pick one.

[caption id="attachment_403" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Is that God shining down on Jeff Tweedy? No, just light from the hallway"]Is that God shining down on Jeff Tweedy? No, just light from the hallway[/caption]

I picked Jeff.

Years later, I was dating a guy who was really really into Wilco. (In fact, he looked like Jeff Tweedy. I believe he went as Jeff Tweedy, the pain killer years (aka Yankee Hotel Foxtrot) for Halloween once.  Ideally you would think that would be a perfect match but that was when Kid A and Amnesiac came out and well, I was really into Radiohead then. My music tastes go along the lines of who has a good album and who is a touring. Wilco is always touring. U2’s last album wasn’t very good and Radiohead is off building their next masterpiece. You can see why a gal like me is a little Wilco-centric. They are always playing a show. That’s why they’re the biggest touring band you’ll never hear on the radio. Their sound is unique. So unique, it will never make Top 40 radio. Where was I – I posed the Jeff/Jay question – and well, he totally agreed. You can’t like both. You pick sides.

Fast forward to about two weeks ago. My friend tells me Son Volt is coming to Bend. Now I’m the one saying you can’t like Son Volt and Wilco. It’s just wrong. You pick sides. Who have I become? This is the gal who doesn’t have music rules. Screw it. I like the new Son Volt songs but I just can’t bring myself to buy the album. I feel this allegiance to all things Wilco. I feel as if I’m betraying Jeff Tweedy. But in all honesty, would he even care? Really? If I meet him ever, the first question I will ask “are you ok that I listen to Son Volt?” He would probably say something brilliant that translates to “I really don’t care. Go forth and listen to Son Volt.”

So, I will just believe I have his blessing.

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Third row -- Edgefield. I was the girl yelling "BREEDLOVE""]Third row -- Edgefield. I was the girl yelling BREEDLOVE[/caption]

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Kathy Lein said...

I think it is so great that you know all that music history. I like listening to music but am a dud at remembering artists these days. For the record, my dad loved Willie and Waylon and the boys too! I know a lot of their songs.
I love reading your blog. Hope you are having fun tonight, and I'm sure you have Jeff's blessing!

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