Thursday, November 12, 2009

Memory Lane

When I was in my early twenties I lived in Hollywood and briefly dated the lead guitarist for an arty, alternative band. While trying to find a record deal, these guys played little local venues with names like Club Lingerie and Gaslight. Their work sounded kind of like The Smiths, Echo and the Bunnymen or Joy Division. The songs had mysterious lyrics that I found breathtakingly ingenious but that in retrospect may have just been nonsense. (I think I can pretty much say the same thing about most of my twenties: seemed like genius -- was really nonsense.)

One of the band's songs was called Green Car. It offered enough angst-filled lyrics to satisfy even the most serious of liberal arts majors, but was set to a rollicking, danceable beat. And not once -- not even in the crowd-pleasing extended version with drum solo -- did the singer ever utter the words "green car." In fact, the song never mentioned cars at all.

Deep, man.

33 comments:

Steffe said...

Ha, I wonder what happened to that band.

Yakpate said...

LA: what a great story! I love that nonsense era... and I love the spirit of twenty-something, when we try anything to learn what the world is really about.

Maybe, when complimented for the cool green color of this car, the owner might frown, blink and say, "Green? What do you mean, it's red."

Judy Williams said...

I believe that is a 70 or 71 Chevrolet Chevelle convertible.

So many songs have cars in the title too. Love your story. I think most people in their twenties have lots of nonsense. It's what gets them ready for their thirties! HA

Here are a few of my favorite car songs:

Chasing Cars - Snow Patrol
Drive My Car - the Beatles
Cars-Gary Numan
And one of my favs - FAST CAR

Mister Earl said...

What band? Is the guitar player still playing?

altadenahiker said...

Club Lingerie! Thank you, I was trying to come up with the name of that place just last week.

Maybe he came up with the song while riding in a green car.

dbdubya said...

Ah, the twenties, when we think we know everything and in fact we know very little.

I agree, Judy, that's about a '70 Chevelle. Interesting how colors make a comeback. I have a neighbor with a new Dodge Charger the same bright green color as this one.

Another song title - Fast Car by Tracey Chapman.

pasadenaadjacent.com said...

Galleria by the Water, 7th Grade at the Design Center, Cheap Racist Gallery, The Dresden, L.A.C.E. (when it was on Broadway).

I refer to it as grad school pretensions. Awhile back I went to a desert performance sponsored by the uber cool Andrea Zittel. Got a dose of "pretension" from one of the youthful profound-ees. I was appalled and humored at the same time. What is it they say? what comes around goes around?

TheChieftess said...

Hmmmm...Echo and the Bunnymen??? Geeeze...the Beatles, the Doors, Santanna, Chicago...how did we ever get through the 70's with such droll band names???

Cafe Pasadena said...

We never know so much, or reach the heights of our genius, as when we're young. Until we grow old of such childish things.

I'm a bit hopeless in that I'm still childish in a Smiths, Echo & Joyful way.

Mister Earl said...

Chieftess: Are you saying that Beatles, Doors, Santana, and Chicago were droll names (or I guess you meant boring names?

Let me know and I'll explain.

TheChieftess said...

Mr. Earl...my comment was directed as a comparison to the name of the aforementioned Echo and the Bunnymen...after all...that's much more imaginative!!! The Beatles, Doors, Santanna, Chicago, etc, obviously saved their creative talents for their music!!! Wouldn't you agree???

dbdubya said...

What about the "Strawberry Alarm Clock," Chieftess?

TheChieftess said...

Good point DB...but I have to say, they put a bit too much creative effort into their name too...I much preferred the Beatles, Doors, Santana and Chicago!!!

dbdubya said...

Are you saying you prefer the music or the names of the Beatles, etc over the Alarm Clock?

Virginia said...

OK, I'm not even in this virtual conversation. I can't keep up. All I can add is that the car does bring back memories. Unlike the rest of the gang, not music related. Ummm parking on a dark secluded street related. :)
V

TheChieftess said...

The music DB, I prefer the music!!!

Sorry for the digression LA...I feel like I'm 20 again...trying to figure out those mysterious lyrics, er nonsense....

Laurie said...

Oh, I love Echo and the Bunnymen, and THe Smiths and JOy Division. But also The Doors and THe Beatles, etc. I do love band names from my generation, though. Psychedelic Furs, REM, The Cure, Bauhaus, Souixee and the Banshees, The The ... love the music and love the names

And actually, although I posted this at the expense of some old friends, my twentysomething musicians in that band were incredibly talented. THe guitar player I mentioned ended up being in a fantastic Denver-based indie band that had a rabid following. He also did some film score stuff if I'm not mistaken.

But sometimes nonsense is more memorable in the long run. ANd I think we all had that in spades. Long live nonsense!

Laurie said...

BTW, isn't this a great green convertible?

dbdubya said...

Your followers seem to be getting way off base lately. I forgot what the original post was about. You're right, LA, another cool classic.

Mister Earl said...

These side conversations are part of the whole experience, don't you think?

Chieftess: Just a few words about the names of 60s bands. The Beatles was a play off of the Crickets (as in Buddy Holly and) with the spelling changed to Beat, because of the beat of the music. The Doors were named after Aldous Huxley's book about LSD called The Doors of Perception. OK Santana was just Carlos Santana's last name. Chicago was originally called the Chicago Transit Authority. But the 60s overall represented a breakthrough in band names to which the 80s and later owe a debt. In the 60s band names became clever, absurd, and wild, with hidden meanings and words that didn't appear to fit together. Jefferson Airplane, The Grateful Dead (based on the Tibetan Book of the Dead), the Strawberry Alarm Clock, the Velvet Underground, Buffalo Springfield (based on the name of a tractor company), Big Brother and the Holding Company, the Harbinger Complex, the Chocolate Watch Band, the Indian Head Band, Procol Harem (a Latin Phrase), The Left Banke, the Fugs (taken from William Burrough's euphemism for the f-word). The 60s was an explosion of creative names because the 60s was an explosion of creativity, and the Beatles were at the center of the explosion.

TheChieftess said...

Ohhhh, Mr. Earl...I think you made your point!!! Those darn 60's bands were awfully creative with their names!!! But the 70's had some pretty cool cars!!! Love the green LA!!!

Mister Earl said...

Thanks, Chieftess. Oh, I forgot The Syndicate of Sound, Tower of Power, Cold Blood (named because they were white folks playing soul music), and the comedy troupe Congress of Wonders. Not to mention the creative names of the light show companies. We could go on all night, but there's a conversation about breasts going on over at Altadena Hiker!

dbdubya said...

Grand Funk Railroad, Mad Dogs and Englishman, the Turtles, the Monkees, Three Dog Night, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Iron Butterfly - more classic 60's band names. Gotta disagree with you Chieftess, not only was the music better in the 60's, but so were the cars. 5 mph bumpers became law in '74 and cars have never looked the same.

dbdubya said...

Sorry Laurie, Mr. Earl's convinced me it's time to go to the Hiker's site.

Mister Earl said...

LOL DB! Put on another Arrowsmith album and go for it!

Mister Earl said...

Did someone say something about a green car?

Laurie said...

My friends and I used to sit around trying to come up with great band names. My favorite was Scream The Mantra, though I forget which one of us came up with it. No doubt we were listening to The Cure or Massive Attack or Flaming Lips...

Uh oh. I feel a 60s/70s vs. 80s/90s weird band name smackdown coming on!

You guys are awesome. Til tomorrow.

Mister Earl said...

During the 60s I had the idea that I could start a "consulting" business where bands would come to me and I would come up with names for them. Then I thought more about it...

TheChieftess said...

I love Scream the Mantra!!! very deep...very nonsensical...now all we need is a band!!!! Do you think we could all pass for twenty something???

Laurie said...

Earl, you should have hung out with my friends back in the day. We could have come up with a great business plan. Over many drinks. At the Formosa Cafe.

Chieftess, if we think we're passing for twentysomething, then our band's first album should be called
"Delusion."

:-)

But definitely thirtysomething. Right?

TheChieftess said...

Delusion...that's heavy LA...and dare I say it??? Right on!!! (Although I can proudly say that during the summer I was duly carded at the Chipotle's in Covina when I asked for a beer, in broad daylight...of course, the girl who carded me looked like she was 12 and shouldn't be serving any one...but I didn't care...I loved it!!!)

Natalie DeJohn said...

My mom used to have a green mustang just like that! I loved this post. Your story was hilarious. We all have to date an artsy musician at some point, right? :-)

Mister Earl said...

Great idea, Laurie. In Nashville I heard a guy who used the line in a country song, "Scholars on stools..." referring to just such a scene at the Formosa.