RAVEN MACK is a mystic poet-philosopher-artist of the Greater Appalachian unorthodox tradition who publishes zines & physical books & electronic books & music & photography & digital art & just generally whatever feels necessary to survive this deluded earth thru Rojonekku Word Fighting Arts survival systems (Version 69, establish 14 Feb 1973). Comments encouraged.

Thursday, December 28

JJ Krupert Dec 2017 number seven "louisiana stripes"

Making good authentic degenerate drug music is difficult, because one has to be immersed in drug-fueled degeneracy in order to do such a thing. And it’s never as easy as just being all fucked up and making music, because music history is full of fools and idiots who thought they were making music when they were just junkies. Or people who thought they’d fallen over the edge when they hadn’t even gotten close to it, and they made safe sterile music that people thought was brilliant but was co-opted for corporate product sales later on (aka the U2 Rule for Creative Non-Degeneracy), and it made even more sense in that form than in the original form.
Anyways, country music is not really warm to good drug-fueled degeneracy. There’s a long history of drug addicts and alcoholics barely holding their shit together enough to maintain their position as a country musician, but the outlaw status of that was always still marketable. Willie and Waylon and crew did this best. But modern country is really defined by the Garth Brooks 1990s takeover and homogenization which ultimately bleached the fuck out of it beyond belief. That has left us with two forms of rebellious country music…
AUTHENTIC COUNTRY MUSIC REBELLION FORM A: The artist in recovery who because of his recovery from horrible addictions just doesn’t give a fuck to completely kowtow to Nashville’s politics, and he makes “real” music. For me, I enjoy Jamey Johnson from this vein, but that Chris Stapleton guy appears to be this as well, and it’s the type of music that gets the really boring white dude from a job you had in the past to make a bold Facebook post about how THIS IS REAL COUNTRY MUSIC LIKE MY DADDY USED TO PLAY, NOT THAT SHIT ON THE RADIO NOW. I enjoy Jamey Johnson a lot, but every time I hear him it makes me think of my dead father, because my dad would’ve loved Jamey Johnson, but hard living and drug-fueled degeneracy helped my dad die before he could hear recovery Jamey Johnson’s $12 CDs about reality. So there’s a hypocrisy there I think.
AUTHENTIC COUNTRY MUSIC REBELLION FORM B: The Americana alternative whatever the fuck internet-friendly artist who is TOO GODDAMN REAL for corporate country music, and whose songs are regarded (by internet fuckers usually) as more a short story than a song. I guess Jason Isbell and DBT are this (ugh) but the past couple pop culture media cycles has really driven home Sturgill Simpson as perfect example of this. I’ve read all types of shit about how real and authentic Sturgill Simpson is, and perhaps people are confused by his real name, but lemme tell you as a guy who has lived long spells in trailers and trailer parks and did crank with his own father and also did crank at his father’s funeral day bonfire party (where I had to swear a lifelong grudge against a guy I legit do not remember because he accidentally stole a Little Feat CD from me – fuck that guy forever, whoever he might be) – Sturgill Simpson is dentist’s office music, at best. But authenticity has been gentrified by assholes, so a bunch of brunch eating fuckfaces who think they’re country because they support a CSA (the new kind of CSA, not the old one) will tell you how great Sturgill Simpson is. Lololol FUCK OFF YOU FAKE MOTHERFUCKERS.

Anyways, I say all this as prelude to what a fucking classic Hank Williams III’s Straight to Hell is, because it was in his spiral of motivation and drugs and accomplishment that he hit his peak here. And those peaks never hold – you always sink too far into drugs or not far enough into motivation, and it’s really a tricky fucking matrix to navigate. (Ask William Burroughs.) But he hit it here. And not only did he hit it here, but he double CD’ed it here, with the second CD being where he had found that first CD peak, working at home studio on analog four-track, and said, “You know what? Fuck it, let’s go all out on this shit.” and just blended it all together like a good drug-fueled degeneracy would do. “Louisiana Stripes” is the only track separated listing on Disc 2, before a 42 minute barrage of this and that’s smash together like a 4-day weekend snorting crank in the backroom of the outbuilding at the far end of a rambling compound, deepest into the woods, with top sheets and flags nailed up as curtains. It is the most classic of drug-fueled degeneracy modern country music that exists, and fuck you if you disagree.
I still wrestle with class consciousness pretty badly, and the things I’ve experienced in life and how that makes me both better and worse off. I guess I shouldn’t expect comfortable people to understand how uncomfortable true degenerate rural living can be, nor how beautifully special it is in some strange underlying way. Like I would not have it any other way, to be honest. I still feel most comfortable on a warm spring day in my shitty little camper trailer blasting drug music from various genres, even while stone cold (steve austin) sober, camper door wide open to the wild world outside, peepers or whippoorwills or dogs or muffler-less Silverados or whatever the fuck rumbling outside. But Straight to Hell speaks to me on very deep cellular level, and I guess I believe that’s what makes it feel authentic. I could be full of shit, in fact probably am, because I’m writing all this on the internet, which is kinda like being a Sturgill Simpson anyways.

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