BAND OF BANDS
No time for love, Docta Jones.
Here, chew on some bands with Band in their names:
THE BACKBEAT BAND:
"Long Tall Sally"
I could have sworn I'd written about the movie Backbeat before now, but I guess I was wrong. Backbeat tells the story of the pre-world famous Beatles as they were still in their infancy, playing as a pill-popping bar band in Germany's Cavern Club. More specifically, the movie's focus is on the somewhat tragic story of Stuart Sutcliffe, one of the several "fifth Beatles" debated about by fans across the world (other "fifths" include producer George Martin, keyboardist Billy Preston and drummer Pete Best). While the movie is pretty damn good, it's elevated by the soundtrack of 50s covers (the movie takes place before Lennon/McCartney would become a songwriting powerhouse) performed by The Backbeat Band, comprised of vocalists Greg Dulli (AFGHAN WHIGS) and Dave Pirner (SOUL ASYLUM), drummer Dave Grohl (NIRVANA, FOO FIGHTERS), guitarist Thurston Moore (SONIC YOUTH), bassist Mike Mills (R.E.M.), and guitarist Don Fleming (VELVET MONKEYS, GUMBALL).
THE BETA BAND:
"It's Not Too Beautiful"
The documentary 7 Days in September is easily one of the best films I've ever seen, and the film's use of The Beta Band's hypnotic, psychedelic "It's Not Too Beautiful" is just one of the many reasons for my high opinion of the movie. I'm not even going to describe the movie; if you haven't seen it, you're really doing yourself a disservice. If you've never heard The Beta Band, you aren't doing yourself any favors there, either. I promise, I was onto them before that famous scene in High Fidelity where John Cusack drops one of their songs into the store stereo to sell a few copies of the album. While the scene itself is kind of geeky, akin to the embarassing "The Shins will change your life" scene in Garden State, it's still a pretty truthful one to anyone who has ever worked in a decent record store. I once had a similar moment at a store I worked at in Omaha, selling two copies of an I AM KLOOT album within a period of 3 minutes based on a single song I was playing. It was pretty gratifying, and a nice "What's up now, bitch?" to the guy I was working with, who doubted that the tactic would work.
A BAND OF BEES:
"Left Foot Stepdown"
I already wrote, a few years back, about my absolute love of A Band of Bees' (in the UK, they are known simply as The Bees) sophomore album Free the Bees, where tonight's "The Start" first appeared. The band's most recent album, Octopus was released months ago, but was virtually impossible to find for a long time, even on iTunes. It's finally started to rear its awesome head, and is definitely worth checking out, based on tonight's groovy "Left Foot Stepdown."
Of course, there can be really only one band. . .
"It Makes No Difference" (live)
"The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down" (live)
I will never forget, as long as I live, a night spent bowling at The Lucky Strike in Chicago years ago with a group of great friends. I dropped about $5 in the jukebox and went to town, playing everything from Built to Spill to Otis Redding. At one point, my choice of The Band's "It Makes No Difference" from the soundtrack to The Last Waltz came on the sound system, and my friend Lesley scoffed at the song, asking incredulously "Did you pick this?" If Lesley had been a man, I probably would have punched her in her fucking face for this indiscretion. The hard part would not have been dealing with the aftermath of our broken friendship; it would have been the difficulty in deciding exactly which reason for punching her in the mouth would have been best. Would it have been in defending the honor of deceased bassist Rick Danko? Would it have been because this song is one of the highlights of that fantastic concert movie, and one of the scenes that brought me near tears when viewing it in a Philadelphia theater the year before? Would it have been because she was dissing THE fucking BAND, the band that backed Bob Dylan through some of the most incredible and creative parts of his career? All I know, it was definitely punch-in-the-mouth territory. If she'd made fun of drummer Levon Helm (who sings the shit out of "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down" from the same soundtrack), murder would have been da case that they gave me.