Life and How To Live It by R.E.M. was inspired by the story of Brev Mekis, a schizophrenic who divided his house into 2 different dwellings. Each side had completely different furniture, clothes and even pets. This is the house in Athens that Brev lived in.
From this story here, it turns out that Vic Chestnutt lived there later on.
Michael Stipe’s live intro to the song went something like this:
He took his house and he built a wall right in the middle of the house. He had an apartment on one side with clothes, furniture, food, books, a radio. He had an apartment on the other side. Different clothes, different books, different furniture, different food. TV set.
He’d live on this side for a while, until he got tired of it. He’d put his book down, take his clothes off, walk over to this side and he’d live over here for a while until he got tired of it. And he’d flip-flop to this side and live over here for a while until he got tired of it, and he did this back and forth until he died.
After he died, they went in to clean out the house so they could rent it out to college students. These people went back to the closet in the very back of this apartment, and they opened the door and the whole closet was filled up with these books.
And each book was exactly the same, and this man had written these books, and had them all published, and all stacked his closet. He’d never sold one, or given one away. And the name of the book was Life and How to Live It.
Los Angeles. Taken September 2011.
This is the house where the band LOVE lived, and they wrote a song about it. If you don’t know Love… well, they were the band that Jim Morrison aspired to be as big as.
When the Velvet Underground came to Los Angeles, this is where they stayed. The first acetates of The Velvet Underground and Nico were played in this house, and it’s allegedly where Nico began an affair with Jim Morrison.
Pink Floyd Pig
Snake mound sculpture from Howard Finster’s Paradise Gardens, August 2012.
I’ll be waiting for you, on…
You can hear the song the site above describes here.
EVER WONDER WHERE YOUR FAVORITE LP COVER PHOTOS WERE TAKEN IN NYC?
You need to go read "Where Could It Be? Tracking Vintage Album Art In NYC" right now then. Go there: you won’t regret it.
THE RECORDS posted this on their Facebook page; it’s the site of the inspiration for their song, “Girl In Golden Disc.” A classic tale of (nearly) unrequited love for the girl who works in the local record shop. If you like power pop music, check ‘em out.
You can hear that tune here.
Famous album covers as seen on Google Street View! Could be useful if you’re scouting fun shooting locations.
Until our most recent trip to Los Angeles, I hadn’t known that Carmelita was a street there. It’s a song written by Warren Zevon that was also covered by Linda Ronstadt (and much later, Adam Duritz). You can hear it below - click through if you’re reading in the tumblr dashboard.
“All the salty margaritas in Los Angeles…I’m gonna drink ‘em up…”
—Warren Zevon, Desperados Under The Eaves
Photo at El Coyote Cafe, Los Angeles
I pass by this building every day on the Red Line Metro, not realizing what it was - let alone its place in rock history. The DCist blog recently had an article on the former Washington Coliseum, aka Uline Arena. That led me to this gorgeous photoset on Flickr, taken in 2008. The Maysles brothers did a documentary on that show, riding with them on the train to New York City. The Fab Four played that concert less than 48 hours after their earth-shaking Ed Sullivan Show appearance.
An interesting further bit of rock trivia: the cover photo for Bob Dylan’s Greatest Hits was taken at a show at the Washington Coliseum.
Please check out that Flickr set of photos; I cannot link to them directly to show you one, but you can see what the building looked like in February 2008. They are well done and gorgeous. It will fascinate you.
This one’s for my Pittsburghers - both present and ex-Burghers who remember like I do. Right across the street from the Allegheny County Soldiers and Sailors War Memorial (which incidentally is where the “bird cage” scenes were filmed for The Silence of the Lambs) there used to be a mighty fine music venue called the Syria Mosque. Decorated in a pseudo-Middle East fashion, at least on the outside, the interior was a fine theater with columns and balconies that hosted many a prime concert in its day.
Some bits of Syria Mosque music history:
Am pretty sure I fell asleep during The Song Remains The Same. It meanders more than a bit. Sadly, this most peculiar venue was knocked down to make a way for a parking lot. It wasn’t paradise, but it was pretty unusual architecturally speaking.
Syria Mosque, Pittsburgh (via)
On This Day in Pittsburgh History: March 9, 1933
At a rally of 2000 persons in Syria Mosque, plans were made to send a delegation to Harrisburg to fight for city-manager form of government for Pittsburgh. [Historic Pittsburgh]
MP3 audio of “Drive That Fast” by Kitchens of Distinction
Sometimes you just stumble onto an amazing coincidence. Such is the case today. Back around… oh, 1990-‘91, my good friend Neal introduced me to a British band called Kitchens of Distinction. Their 1990 album Strange Free World is a great disc, full of what I tend to refer to as guitar wash: waves of cascading guitar noise. It’s similar to shoegaze music in a way, though that particular word to me tends to mean a bit more blissful and slow in tempo, which not all of KoD’s songs fit into. Bands like Swervedriver, Catherine Wheel, and maybe Silversun Pickups are bands that I’d label with that “guitar wash” tag.
The above song, “Drive That Fast,” is towards the end of Strange Free World, and it is a terrific song to drive to. Last weekend we were on our way home from Neckgear’s sister’s house, and I spied this sign on the side of the road in Clarksburg, Maryland. Had to take a photo of it:
Kitchens of Distinction as a band never made much inroads into the US, but am glad to see the name lives on in other respects. The same could likely be said for my late, lamented favorite band out of Pittsburgh, The Affordable Floors, who would’ve been a great second act to have on a bill with KoD.
If you’d like to hear more KoD, Strange Free World I recommend without hesitation. It’s fairly easily found used, as it came out on A&M records in the US. Also of note is the compilation Capsule: the best of which is also available in a 2CD version that comes with a disc of b-sides.