RAVEN MACK is a mystic poet-philosopher-artist of the Greater Appalachian unorthodox tradition. He does have an amazing PATREON, but also *normal* ARTIST WEBSITE too.

Monday, April 21

100 VINYLZ: #99 - Santo Swings! 2x7-inch by Southern Culture on the Skids

(1996, Estrus Records)
Having grown up in Shitsville, Southern America, afflicted with the genetic shortcomings of those disdainfully referred to as "white trash" (shortcomings include but not are limited to: embracing poverty as nobility, affinity for cars more than homes, a love for alcohols either held in aluminum or cooked up in copper, fried foods especially assorted parts of the chicken, and a hatred of urban things), I have a giant amount of prejudice towards people who seem to have that campy kitschy pseudo-redneck thing going on. And it gets more and more prominent. The spread of Pabst Blue Ribbon beer, as well as the growth of roller derby teams are just two examples of this. I automatically hate both, not that I'm above drinking cheap ass beer or finding some tattooed thick-legged slut hot, but having lived in Richmond, Virginia, in a college environment long enough to see how many people swear off their successful suburban upbringings to slum it up as pseudo-rednecks, I can't trust these things when I see them.
First off, when slumming it up, people either don't give a fuck about what they are pretending to be (which means they don't give a fuck about how I grew up, so I should fight them) or they have chosen, at least in terms of personal image, something less affluent than what they were born into (which is retarded to me, because I have spent a good part of my life trying to escape the retarded lines of thinking I was seemingly poisoned with upon birth).
Of course, this is a cancerous way to think, because just by having a stupid blog, anyone who reads this who feels themself white trash will assume I'm a fake ass because I put words together inside the internets like someone's supposed to give a shit what I think. I can say that I've been to multiple funerals inside junkyards, multiple funerals with confederate flags on the coffin (including one where a good third of the people in attendance were black, and not shocked at all), where "Freebird" was played unironically. Shit, I just had a moment like this the other night, as last week I had two family funerals come up. One was my aunt's boyfriend, who was a truck driver, and his funeral was beautiful. Standing room only in the church I'm sure he only went to twice a year, but the preacher did a good sermon, and we all went graveside, and as is the norm, they opened it up for people to speak on his behalf. That's my favorite local tradition at funerals, because you get to hear the non-preachy shit about how someone was a good ass dude. Anyways, one lady said they always sung some song at the end of the night when they were all drinking and doing karaoke at this bar, a gospel song, but she couldn't sing it. But this old school looking country dude in one of those dress jackets with the leather part at the top like an old bluegrass musician would wear to court with two ladies said, "How about 'I'll Fly Away', will that one work?" And the other lady across the funeral said, "That'll be nice." And the fancy country dude and the two women with him busted it out. And I ain't gonna lie, I cried. Of course, being raised in Shitsville, Southern America, I didn't make a sound and I, in macho mode, wiped my eyes one at a time in a strong sweeping motion, almost like a punch, to show I was in control of my uncontrolled emotions. Well, we (meaning my family and me) were at a cookout the other night, and most of our friends aren't that wild or wacky, but this couple is. But most of the people we know are uptight ass white people, which is why I stay to myself a lot of times, and a couple of them, while bluegrass music was playing on the radio, busted into an oversung rendition of "I'll Fly Away", their little Whole Foods fed lungs working as hard as they could in between sips of $8 a 6-pack beer. (Haha, it's funny how many of the stupid things I said above I was trying to get better about I've still done in this paragraph.) They had no idea how real that song was to me, fresh in my head from seeing old country suave dude sing it at a truck driver's funeral in bumfuck Charlotte County, Virginia. Oh well. Fuck it.
Anyways, Southern Culture on the Skids is popular with the college town fake-ass redneck set, which would automatically seem they would be that way too. And with the overdone hillbilly stereotypes and songs about Little Debbie snack cakes and them throwing fried chicken into the crowd, it's hard to argue there's not a ton of posturing going on. But you know what? I have been able to overlook this because Southern Culture on the Skids has always been this way, for a long ass time now, and it's not like they've gotten rich off it. Maybe their trust fund kids all of them, and instead of having some retarded green building carpentry crew, this is their post-rich family hustle. But I am able to enjoy them.
When my wife (then not my wife) first got pregnant, we hadn't even found a house to live in together yet, and the first thing we did was tag along with my mom to the beach (northern Southerners go to the Outer Banks in North Carolina), and we saw Southern Culture on the Skids play at whatever that gaudy ass club is in Nags Head. It was my wife's first time going to a show sober, and having just quit smoking since she was knocked up, it was interesting. I don't think I even drank to be honest, but that's kind of hard for me to imagine being true. But it was a good show. And then again a few years back, she took me the night before my actual birthday to see them at Starr Hill (R.I.P.) in Charlottesville, and that was a great ass show. When they called for a volunteer to sing along with "Viva Del Santo" my wife tried to push me into the role, being it was natural for me, what with my retarded affection for Mexican wrestling, and actually owning the single, but some fratboy chump did it instead. Which was fine, because he was afraid after the second time he said it, hiding behind his Faggotland Lacrosse baseball hat which he most likely wore in the shower for a week to get that perfect curve to the bill.
Anyways, this double 7-inch is one I keep in good shape, and most likely if I ever get my never-fixed jukebox actually fixed, both singles will go into the mix, being Estrus Records was nice enough to have them be actual 45s with actual big holes. (It is worth noting here that when it comes to good shitty rock-n-roll in cheap vinyl format, Estrus Records was the standard at one point in my life. A lot of punk-ish labels are pretentious beyond their archaic format, but Estrus was always heavily steeped in drunkenness.) They came on colored vinyl as well (one red and one green), and as I've grown and minimized the collections, and been annoyed by others who like Southern Culture on the Skids, this double 7-inch has become my lone survivor of their music. I mean, you get the basic wacky song with old blues/funk chicken picking guitar solo idea they always do, and this one has that all covered in spades.
It's funny, as I try to pretend I'm some well-grown non-piece of shit, I looked up to take the last sip of this bottle of Yuengling, and realized that although I'm typing on a fancy assed new-fangled (but cheapest model available) laptop, I'm playing shitty records in a shitty camper (that some gypsy lady left on my property and may come back to retrieve at any point, which is going to be a tough day since I've trashed it, again due to genetics) looking at a picture of El Santo (which is really just a picture of his son, El Hijo Del Santo, behind a piece of glass, taped together with green tape that barely bends around the front to create a "frame"). So as much as I hate people faking the redneck funk, I'm as fucked as ever. I don't have a working satellite anymore, so I can't watch the Mexican wrestling anymore, but the non-working dish (a small new school one, not one of those old West Virginia state flower ones) is still mounted to my house, holding an empty bird feeder. And it's moments like this where I look around and realize no matter how many steps I've taken to improve my lot in life, I am seemingly as fucked as I was the day my 17-year-old parents popped me out into this world.

1 comment:

kami said...

you know what is even weirder? Aussie bands playing southern swamp ass rock! they're all bayou and swamp moss but really they're suburban kids doin' university! they dont even like country music cos they're city kids (except for johnny cash cos he's now hip) but they'll pretend to be some southern swamp howler - fuck i hate that shit