The Explanation
(for those who require one)

And, of course, that is what all of this is -- all of this: the one song, ever changing, ever reincarnated, that speaks somehow from and to and for that which is ineffable within us and without us, that is both prayer and deliverance, folly and wisdom, that inspires us to dance or smile or simply to go on, senselessly, incomprehensibly, beatifically, in the face of mortality and the truth that our lives are more ill-writ, ill-rhymed and fleeting than any song, except perhaps those songs -- that song, endlesly reincarnated -- born of that truth, be it the moon and June of that truth, or the wordless blue moan, or the rotgut or the elegant poetry of it. That nameless black-hulled ship of Ulysses, that long black train, that Terraplane, that mystery train, that Rocket '88', that Buick 6 -- same journey, same miracle, same end and endlessness."
-- Nick Tosches, Where Dead Voices Gather

People Who Died #16


Robert Quine

2 comments :

swac said...

Weird...a couple of days ago I find out that a dear friend of mine is married to a good friend of Quine's, and now here's the guitarist himself. Coincidence? Probably not...

I didn't get to hear the Voidoids until later in life when their work surfaced on CD (the vinyl was painfully difficult to find), so I discovered Quine on The Blue Mask, where his howling, feedback-drenched playing resulted in a surprisingly fierce album for Lou Reed, one that two decades later has become a real favourite for me (in fact, I included the title track on a CD I made for a friend who was born the year it was released, and it still shocks me how tough it is).

I remember catching Matthew Sweet on tour for his seminal Girlfriend album, and was dismayed to see that Quine wasn't in his stage band. In fact, Sweet's guitarist-for-hire couldn't even manage a pale imitation of Quine's supple, jagged lines, and the concert was a bit of a letdown in that regard. I believe Quine rejoined Sweet on later tours, but hearing those songs with someone else on guitar (who was prone to irrelevant wanking) was also an eye opener of sorts to Quine's remarkable ability.

Think I'll dust off that Voidoids CD when I get home. After all, love comes in spurts.

Tom Sutpen said...

Stephen wrote:

Weird...a couple of days ago I find out that a dear friend of mine is married to a good friend of Quine's, and now here's the guitarist himself. Coincidence? Probably not...*****
You're right, Stephen, it isn't a coincidence. See, I bought this Do-It-Yourself Home Psychic Kit last week and I've been surreptitiously picking all my friends' brains for blog ideas.

Now it can be told.

I didn't get to hear the Voidoids until later in life when their work surfaced on CD (the vinyl was painfully difficult to find), so I discovered Quine on The Blue Mask, where his howling, feedback-drenched playing resulted in a surprisingly fierce album for Lou Reed, one that two decades later has become a real favourite for me (in fact, I included the title track on a CD I made for a friend who was born the year it was released, and it still shocks me how tough it is).*****
Oddly, I heard the Voidoids first, then "The Blue Mask". I had a friend in High School who'd bought just about every Punk/New Wave LP released in America from the late 70s on so I was immersed in the stuff (I think that's what got me through my teenage years. I mean, if I'd only marinated my brain in Cinema I think I'd have been in a lot worse shape when it all came crashing down at 19). He didn't have any Lou Reed, as far as I can remember, so that's probably why I didn't get to hear "The Blue Mask" until '85 or so. It's an album I didn't much like when I first heard it, but it's grown on me considerably since; and Quine's playing is amazing on it.

I remember catching Matthew Sweet on tour for his seminal Girlfriend album, and was dismayed to see that Quine wasn't in his stage band. In fact, Sweet's guitarist-for-hire couldn't even manage a pale imitation of Quine's supple, jagged lines, and the concert was a bit of a letdown in that regard. I believe Quine rejoined Sweet on later tours, but hearing those songs with someone else on guitar (who was prone to irrelevant wanking) was also an eye opener of sorts to Quine's remarkable ability.*****
My guess is the Quine manque was trying to copy his licks from "Girlfriend"? Or just variations thereof? I can't play the Guitar at all so I could be wrong about this, but it seems to me Quine was the sort of player who, if someone else tried to copy his style and didn't have the requisite chops, it would easily become a righteous wankfest. In other words, I'm not surprised.

By the way, I haven't seen Matthew Sweet live so I could be wrong about this as well: Isn't he really a creature of the studio? I mean, I've heard a number of tapes of his live stuff and I've never once been impressed (and I was a pretty big Matthew Sweet fan for a couple of years there). It all sounded perfunctory to me; as though he only came alive on those songs when he put together those recordings (of which Quine was a major contributing factor to their success musically, imo).

Think I'll dust off that Voidoids CD when I get home.*****
I can think of worse things to listen to, certainly (though right now, as I type this, I'm rocking out to Nilsson's "Aerial Ballet" and "Harry")

After all, love comes in spurts.

*****
Sure does.