You know, it's almost scientific fact that you could play the Beatles as background music, at a party, in a car, or bring them up in a group of strangers, and not only will no one protest, they'll likely perk up in a peculiar and very particular way... It's as simple as this: if you're into music... you're into the Beatles. They're not "the start of it all..." in absolute terms as some incontrvertible Big Bang genesis of rock n roll or pop music... but at the same time, for many listeners, musicians, writers, DJs, singers, they are, still, actually, "the start of it all..."
Somehow, to find oneself in music, is to find the Beatles. Whether you're a songwriter, a guitar player, a singer, or someone who incessantly writes about (and listens) to music... the Beatles are your baby-steps into that world - your happy place or your playground - your own Oh-I-Get-It-Now-revelation...
Everyone has a personal investment in the Beatles - and, inevitably, many of us have a personal investment in the life and work of who may very well be, (garnering some lingering debate), the most influential-member (of what is already the most influential-band)... singer / writer / musician / father / activist / asshole / clown / hero / iconoclast: John Lennon
While Elvis just seemed like he was from another planet, and while Dylan wrought a more worldly anthem that poetically framed just-how-fucked-everything-was/and-is... Lennon laid it out for you: he was unsure of himself, he was a loud mouth, his parents didn't love him, he had a chip on his shoulder, he had flares of bellicosity and anger teased by confusion and rejection... If it was on his mind he said it: The Beatles were "more popular than Jesus now..." He said it.
Bring up the Beatles in a crowd of strangers and see what kind of reaction you get - compared to bringing up Jesus... Tell me which one ends up being unifying and which ends up being polarizing?
So then - May 2nd - @ Club Barts in Ferndale - Jen David will have her own night for her biggest hero, John Lennon, as she curates Lennon Tribute Night - featuring: Atacama / Darling Imperial / Chris Degnore / Josh Achatz / House Phone / Mick Bassett / Duende! / Max Daley / Pewter Cub / Tone & Niche / Eleanora / Deadbeat Beat / Matt Luke & the Pewter-Ono-Band / the Handgrenades / Jesse & the Yoko-Gnomos / Illy Mack
David still couldn't think of what to say, on the Beatles or on Lennon. "Those two Daniel Johnston songs sum it up better. Johnston had the same charm that Lennon had: the ability to make things simple. These sort of artists exist to help people say what's in their subconscious out into the real world. I feel like when people say they love the Beatles - they sincerely LOVE the Beatles."
"People say you should kill your heroes, but, I'm glad we hvae heroes like them--who were hard workers, cared about the world, were sensitive, were literary, didn't just talk about love, but every kind of love, love for yourself, love for your home, love for beauty, for the world. You wanted to be them so bad!"
"He definitely does fill you with a lot of hope. But it's a weird kind of hope; not a hope for a better future, but a hope that people still have feelings. Who the fuck makes you even feel anything, that makes music today?" (As she finishes this sentence, Adele comes on the jukebox nearby).
I bring up Lennon as the quintessential rock icon or quasi-deity... (but even beyond that, the magic that we're reacting to is that we relate to him...mingling and muddling our otherwise pious worship)... But wasn't all the fervor over Cobain tied to an inherent kick in our guts or our hearts that we might have some kind of new Lennon?
"Guys like that lived and died for us," David said. "Their insides are out! Lennon said, in his later career, that he just cared about himself and his family and not the public...but he lived and died for the world, same for Michael Jackson, to give htis beautiful gift to the world that really made people feel... ...to be able to say these things and make us weep and make us laugh and be our clown and be our...well, I sound like a psycho if I say 'Friend,' but...it's weird, you do feel that!"
David would add... it took sitting in on a rehearsal by James (Linck) and the Rainbros...listneing them cover "Yer Blues" to give her this revelation: "I gotta make a fucking band too! Because I wanna sing like this for people! I wanna do Beatles songs!"
5/2 - @ Barts - a parade of Lennon covers from local musicians -