Thursday, March 6, 2014

Change Your Mind

Everyone thinks I'm one of those people that worships at the feet of Julian Casablancas, but I'm not. Sure, I loved Hard To Explain when I first heard the EP. I liked it a lot. I thought it was incredibly refreshing and sexy and punk and it made me want to dance around my bedroom in Tenafly, NJ in my undies (which i did).

My friend Daniel Davis sent it to me (btw, he's ALWAYS on top of his music game), and I was just so stoked that there was another band I could add to my list as proof of the already growing music scene in NYC that was in much need of attention. I didn't think they'd be the cultural phenomenon that brought eyes onto the Lower East Side - but they were.

To me, that should've been Interpol.

Everyone talked about how sexy The Strokes were live... and how Julian was just something not to be reckoned with. They were a great live band, constantly lacking flaws in their live sets and charming enough off stage, but they just didn't connect with me the way other bands of the scene did.

For me, the band I connected with was Interpol.

The Strokes had the catchy songs that the rest of their peers didn't. They had an accessible and marketable style that people (like myself) could emulate. Seeing them live meant that you'd run into all your friends back stage - and this one made out with that one, that one made out with this one. We'd pile into a cab and head down to the Slipper Room, or the Dark Room, or Lit and smoke some joints and get shit faced, eventually pouring beer all over each other while our caloric intakes rose and rose and rose until we'd become carb-faced versions of our former selves. Or that was just me.

They were the reason why people from all over the world cared about this blog or any other blog written by cute girls living in the city who either shared an apartment with me or slept on my couch for extended periods of time.

Really, that should've been Interpol.

Ok, Ok, I loved the Strokes. I did. I didn't worship at the feet of JC, but I did stare endlessly at photos of Nick Valensi and wonder how on Earth he got so damn good looking.

My brother and I invented a nickname for boys who'd bop around the lower east side donning curly locks: Fauxbrizio. But we also had a better name for stick thin boys with severe black haircuts and finely tailored suits: Bizarrlos. BIZARRLOS! I mean, COME ON. It was sooo good, but in the fate of the NYC music scene that was (in my mind, and my mind only) Interpol Vs. The Strokes, the Strokes won that one as well. Fauxbrizio was top notch.

Interpol wrote only one song that you could hear on the dance floors - and I believe that in the early days it was either called "punk song" or "Smiths song" ...  i remember seeing a setlist, but forget which one it was actually called and which one i called it myself - but you know of it as "Say Hello To the Angels." That song remains brilliant and timeless to me.

The Walkmen's dancefloor hit, "The Rat," was a stunning example of what happens when you give the reins to your fucking incredible drummer and let him show off with all his majestic skills. Matt Barrick, in my mind, is one of the most underrated drummers of the past 20 years.

Stellastarr* reigned supreme when it came to the hipster dance floors, their self-titled debut album had their song, "My Coco," that sounded like it was made specifically for TisWas. I actually think it was. I had the pleasure of managing them in 2001/2002 while I was managing My Chemical Romance, and if I had to place bets on who would become the next big thing, it was stellastarr*. Not that MCR didn't have the chops, but it was NYC and emo was hardly a glimmer.

The Strokes had an album full of songs that you could play on the dancefloor. I DJed at least every song from Is This It? at some point in 2001-2014. Not only were they undeniable songs, but kids were coming into downtown clubs and parties in droves to dance to that stuff. If you needed to fill a dance floor, you would go with that. It'd be followed by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, because Karen O taught us how to dance to their songs every time she performed them. There was never a moment of wonder where anyone thought "can I actually dance to 'Date With the Night?'" You can and you did because Karen O showed you that you could. And then you'd find yourself covered in beer again while Nick Zinner stood in the corner looking like Nick Cave and never aging. Ever.

For my morning hangovers, which were every day, I'd listen to Interpol. Gddamn, that shit is great hangover music. You put your headphones on and there isn't a single damn thing that sounds any better than that poetry that Paul Banks mumbles into your ears. There isn't a single better vision to imagine than Carlos D. playing his bass. But ugh, that poetry! That's what NYC should've been made of! We were so lucky to have them in our lifetime.

Anyway, the only reason i went on this tangent is because last week I saw SKATERS live at Bowery Ballroom and it reminded me (and probably 100% of the crowd, wheather they wanted to admit it or not) of seeing The Strokes for the first time. Obviously, they sound like the Strokes, that's a given (due to the comparison), but the energy and excitement and the chemistry the band had for each other and the audience was such a breath of fresh air in comparison to so many bands I've seen lately. They didn't feel awkward or uncomfortable. They performed as if their best friends were their biggest fans (or vice versa... and totally likely), and best of all, they covered the Smiths and Nirvana. It was like a buffet of awesome for my aging ears.

Their album, Manhattan, leaves nothing to be desired. It's perfectly crafted with songs that you want to dance to and drunkenly fall in love to with someone you shouldn't.

I submit for evidence: "Miss Teen Massachusetts":

After the above rant, I really don't know where to go from here. I guess that as an elder statesman now, i can say this to any youths reading this because they googled "SKATERS":

  1. Don't drink beer - switch to vodka soda. Don't even do vodka cranberry. Beer and cranberry juice has calories up the wazoo. You will regret this, trust me.
  2. Keep your toilet bowls - and everything surrounding your toilet bowls - clean. Like, ocd clean. You will be puking in it many times in your 20s and possibly into your 30s and you will be thankful I told you this. 
  3. You get drunker faster when you eat less, which can be a blessing and a curse.
  4. If you want to be friends with people in bands, always have some weed on you. White drugs might be more appreciated these days, but I think herb still does fine. Maybe even adderall.
  5. Be nice to every person you ever meet. Treat everyone like they're to be revered. You are forever, a nobody.
  6. Don't expect your party friends to be your long-term friends, but if that happens, you will be really stoked and often say to each other through the years: "remember when..."
  7. Become friends with whomever is the 2014 version of Moby. He will know about all the good parties. If you don't know what a person like Moby embodies it's as follows: someone recognizable who will always be invited to every party and invite your friend who will then invite you. 
  8. Become even better friends with the 2014 version of Thomas Onorato - the greatest door guy in the history of doorguys who would let me and my haphazard friends skip the lines of any and every single party, no matter how chic or VIP... AND WE'D GET COMPED!
  9. Are VJs still popular? Regardless, find your own Gideon Yago. Someone really good looking, super smart, with great taste in music, who will go with you to rock shows and DJ with you. It doesn't hurt if your mom is in love with him but complains that he lives in the Brooklyn equivalent of Gaza when she goes to drop you off in her car and then demands that he come down stairs to talk to her so she can beg him to move. Not that that happened to me... more than once.
  10. See every band you have the energy to see, dance as much as you can, and make out with as many people as you can get your lips onto.

That doesn't cover everything, but it covers most of it.

Until next time...


BradleyDJ said...

Love this post, even though The Strokes are superior to Interpol ;) The elder statesman list is legit.

Ultragrrrl said...

i feel like i should make the elder statesman thing it's own post.

Anonymous said...

Drop some knowledge!

s said...

this was an awesome summary of the nyc I lived in. I met you once at an interpol show courtesy of bitzer. I used to drag him to their shows because no one else would come with me.

Anonymous said...

this post made me depressed. that there actually was a time when the strokes,interpol and yea yea yeas mattered. these bands all sucked.

this writing is just so bad.

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