Friday, June 23, 2006

bleary eyed and on the wing

Good morning, fellow citizens.

The world looks different when you're forced to see it at six a.m. I don't want to incur the wrath of those of you out there who wake up at this unpleasant hour on a regular basis by saying how terribly unfair it was I had to wake up so early, but suffice to say it's not how I prefer to operate. And it's unfair.

Of course it was work's idea, but luckily I didn't have to go to my biege little desk surrounded by biege little walls and biege marled carpeting. Have you counted the number of shades of biege in the average office? It's fairly remarkable, like some experiment in color denial. It was promised a few months ago that our area would be spiffed up very soon and made into a less-hostile place to be, but, well, that seems to have been tabled for now. And really, short of ripping down five hundred flourescent light fixtures and punching about 36 holes in the wall to allow natural light onto our pink little faces, what could be done? A pig in a prom dress is, after all, still a pig.

But that's neither here nor there. The point is I rolled out of bed, rested my head on the kitchen table while my antique laptop booted up, and Got The Job Done. The world out there, oh it'll get its entertainment fix, you can bet that. You're welcome, world.

So ANYWAY, I've got a couple of hours now until I have to return to the hive and I've resolved to do something productive with it. (Hello, everyone.) But before going off to the gym or something completely ridiculous, I need to wake up. The bagel didn't do it. Taking out the trash didn't do it. And watching the dog consider releasing a bowel movement in the backyard, well, that wasn't much of a jolt to the senses either. So, yes, this is a song cue if I've ever heard one.

'Supernaut,' by Black Sabbath

Woe to you, oh cloudy thoughts and tired limbs. Flee, motivational difficulties and wee crunchy granola lingering in the corners of my eyes. Tremble under the weathered boot of BLACK (expletive) SABBATH.

I swear, I'm not some mullet-bearing metal-head (despite some of my prior posts). In the future, honest, I'll lay down some of the acoustic stuff that's made friends gently tease me about my age. The jazz stuff that's made other friends question my ears, or at times, my hygiene (the hippies, they love their jazz). But, yes, again it's time for the Big Rock Bang Bang.

Sabbath is stupid. We know that, it's part of their charm. A lot of great rock and roll is proudly, profoundly, perfectly stupid. The Ramones. AC/DC. The Beach Boys? Singing about surfing and sun? Not that bright, man. There's plenty of rock out there that reaches transcendence through wit and coherence (Destroyer, Radiohead, Wilco and the like). But, if you need to just wake up, just shake your head and $#@%! get on with it, you need something from the back row of the class, something that sets aside the dictionary and musical theory books for cricket bats and pipe bombs.

Sabbath does that, probably better than anyone else, especially this track from the weirdly less-heralded album "Vol 4." Released in the magical year of 1972, "Vol. 4" is for the most part 50-odd minutes of coke-fueled metal excess (witness the jaw-droppingly ridiculous messianic front man cover image), but for a few tracks--"Supernaut" in particular--Sabbath is every bit the leather-clad top fuel dragster your older brother always said them to be.

The gargantuan, driving riff that carries the song sounds like someone playing a Gibson SG with a Harley Davidson. The drums sound like street repair. And Ozzy, well, he's Ozzy. He's not a mumble-mouthed drip like we've seen on MTV. He's 45 feet of heavy metal godhead, screaming against all that unholy racket and rising directly above it.

I first heard this song prior to Primal Scream's set for their "XTRMTR" tour. They were still setting up and I was dealing with the odd sensation of really--no, REALLY--enjoying a song that could've only been from Black Sabbath. Black Sabbath? I mean, that voice. That continent-sized guitar. This was Sabbath, my brother's band of choice in the early '80s, and this was me, an indie free jazz shoegaze dance rock-loving twenty-something in L.A. in 2000. What the hell was going on? I had to find the song and buy it immediately.

Time to wake up.


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