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.

Tuesday, June 1

J.J. Krupert Top 13 Countdown - May ’10 #6: “Working Man (screwed)” by Rush

There are two parts to this story - one of real friends from pre-internet days, and one of pretend friends from post-internet bombashment of reality. Let us start with the first part, from back in the day, for the reasons I learned to hate Rush.
There was a dude who lived down the road from me, a year older, and we both worked at the same appliance place in Farmville, Virginia, for our first job, me at 16, him at 17. They ended up hiring an older dude (about ten years older) to work in our area of the thing - basically hanging out in the warehouse and sweeping shit up whenever we weren't delivering things to people's houses and installing them. The older guy was a rock solid type of dude to come into an aspiring creative degenerate teenager's life, as he encouraged different directions of life exploration in me. I used to kick it at his house, get stoned and watched Reverend Gene Scott on TV, and at some point the guy, who was clearing out LPs for CDs, gave me a stack of a couple hundred records, with a lot of shit I got my first taste of. This dude, albeit a fringe element who smoked mad weed, was a music nerd, so a thick stack of Rush albums were in the mix of the hook-up, pretty much half their catalogue. The thing is, even when high, I really couldn't get into Rush. There's was always something missing for me, my DNA being fairly trashy and salted down with too much earth matter to really wrap my head around the odd time changes and whiny vocals written in iambic pentameter. (Even now, after I've become far more of a ridiculous nerd about stupid things, I do not understand them.) But the dude one year older than me who lived down the road, he loved Rush. So I gave him all the Rush albums, which he promptly dubbed onto tapes to listen to in his car. The problem with this was I rode with him to school a lot of days, and it wasn't a quick five minute drive from the cul-de-sac to the school. We lived 20 miles from the south end of the only sizeable town in our county, where the high school was located, so each morning in his car, Rush fucking blaring. Rush was the greatest thing ever to him, and he was 17, with his first car and a loud stereo. This all meant Rush played loud as fuck, mainlining into my brain for healthy half hour doses, young formative teenager mind being straight blasted with torture it didn't understand. So I came to go from not just not understanding Rush to outright hating it, to the point I developed this theory that Rush was only good music for brainiac nerds who got sort of high every now and then, or for the type of person who hangs out with outlaw stoner high school cliques but is sort of afraid to actually get high. My time in college did nothing to deter me from this belief, except I eventually expanded it once I realized in more densely populated areas, there could be whole cliques of Rush fans, and even within that strange sub-culture you'd have to have a wayward ultra-nerd stoner or ultra-stoner nerd who took it to the next level by hawking how awesome Yes was. But Rush and Yes are linked together, heavily. Nothing changed this at all.
Then I downloaded the Riding on Guilded Spinners mix of assorted screwed musics from the It's After the End of the World blog (which it seems I hype monthly), and there was this slowed down version of "Working Man" by Rush, which is absolutely fucking great. The stupid whiny vocals become draggish and like a terrible moan of lyrics, which become palatable enough to listen to and enjoy. The crazy Rush nerd rock basslines thicken and rattle when slowed, and the tender speedy guitar nonsense (the emotional opposite to thrash metal's brutal speediness) actually sound good, as opposed to something I need to take notes on for my thesis paper at the end of next semester.
Oddly enough, the guy who does that blog I got it from sent me an email, as we had been talking about obscure good gospel music, and what a hassle it is to try and find that type of shit in actual record bins, because even though the LPs are a buck each, you might blow $20 on gospel music and not find a goddamned song that's anything more than normal ass people who believe in normal ass god doing some normal ass singing. I think most music nerds who appreciated gospel music inside the internets are looking for sangin' not singing. Anyways, that After the End of the World blog guy asked me if I knew some guy he got music from online before. Turns out, it's this guy Ace who used to write for my old website and I actually hung with for a while, getting into a few lightweight Fear and Loathing adventures, including one time in Richmond where I was drunk as fuck and slouched over in his car, and he was drunk as fuck, and we hit a roadblock, and the cops gave him the field test, and he did okay enough I guess, and they said, "Your car reeks of alcohol," so Ace said, "Yeah, my friend is drunk as fuck, go look at him, I'm trying to get him home," and they come over and tap on the window with a flashlight at my slobbering, pathetic ass, and let us go without the breathalyzer because it certainly looks like he was telling the truth. Thing is, Ace kinda disappeared on me, and every now and then I'd hear from him. But also, he never went by Ace to anyone we bumped into in our travels, unless he didn't know them. He was Billy otherwise. That whole aspect kinda always bothered me, I guess because I'm naive as fuck. Whether online or in line at the grocery store, I am Raven. This is who I am. (Well, actually at work I go by my first name, but I revert to that less exciting name I share with my father and grandfather whenever I need to chain myself to uptight responsibility.) But apparently, that guy Billy or Ace or whoever, he was the one who originally hooked up the After the End of the World guy with this very slowed down Rush song. Where did Ace get it? Who knows? He might've done it himself. The one time I went to where he lived, which wasn't even his house, there were stacks of gospel records and strange 1970s recording equipment and the driveway was lined with rocks that when we came back drunk, I actually backed my Tercel up on top of somehow, and we had to use a tractor to pull it off, and I slobbered pathetically back home to Scottsville from wherever the fuck Keezletown is. In fact, to this day, I don't even know where the fuck that happened at. Plus, I never hear from that Ace guy anymore, except for occasional every third year blasts from nowhere. That's pretty much the essence of the internet. None of this really exists, and in two years, everything you are doing today like it's the greatest thing ever will be gone completely. No memories of riding to school or getting high watching Gene Scott. Just digital files that have been slid from machine to machine, allegedly still first generation even though it's the 49th time you've moved it around to somewhere else. And that's where I am at now, right inside of that giant digital land of nothingness, talking about a screwed song by Rush, like a giant faggot music nerd "LOOK AT ME! MY MUSICS IS THE BEST MUSICS!" guy. Oh well, like I said, this is me. At least you can actually hear this at my picnic table in the back yard as well, pumping from the speakers coming from the camper with an extension cord from the front porch powering it all. I actually just found out about a pair of ridiculous $600 speakers I'm going to inherit from someone, and just in time, because my back yard sitting on a milk crate 1970s speaker is almost entirely exploded from water damage, so I have to take the second one from inside the camper to put outside on the milk crate, and probably get a new tarp to cover it with to minimize future water damage, so I need new speakers for inside the camper. In real life, everything works out if you let it. Online, it's just clutter that disappears and is replaced with new clutter.
STEAL “Working Man (screwed)”
Let’s get ignorant!


Andrew TSKS said...

Re: Ace--it's not the internet, it's him. We went to high school together, as you may remember, and I'm the one who told him about your website in the first place. So... sorry about that. But anyway, I always knew him as Will or even William, so the "Billy" thing is even weirder to me, though really--not surprising. That guy always had a flaky streak, and it seems to get worse as he gets older. I met this girl a few years ago who dated him in the late 90s and he was apparently jobless and living off her for like a year while they dated. One of THOSE types of guys, whom I tend to have little or no respect for. It sure was disillusioning to hear all that. But then, I mean, I've got the same contact scenario as you where he's concerned--emails or random IMs on random internet contraptions like Soulseek, and it'll happen every couple of years, and he'll give me weird updates on what's going on with him that leave me with more questions than answers, and I'll always wonder if maybe this will be the time we actually get back to regular contact instead of just talking every couple years or so. But he never leaves me with a reliable way to contact him, and after a week or two he drops out of sight again and it's another several years before I hear from him. I haven't heard from him in over two years as of today. It's a bummer, man. I think that guy is running from a lot of insecurities and fears and past bad experiences and fuckups. He still hasn't figured out that bit about how you can't run far or fast enough to get away from yourself, I guess.

Anyway, bummer about that guy, but I swear it's not the internet. He'd be this way even if they'd never invented the internet.

Joel said...

I used to enjoy watching Gene Scott ogling his honeys while they were riding horses on his grand estate. That was like softcore porn on public access to a 14 year old, back when the internets was like prepaid cell phones and you paid by the minute.