Wednesday, October 15, 2008

nice work if you can get it

Here's something that's pretty goddamn cool: on Monday night, I'm going to interview Garth Hudson, of The Band, then moderate questions from a studio audience. The Band, people. We're gonna be talking about working with Bob Dylan, as part of the Viennale Film Festival's Tribute to Dylan.

This is also amusing on one level, because despite the efforts of my old friend Luke Torn, I've only ever been a semi-impressed Bob Dylan fan. However, I've been a fan of the Band since I was a teenage stoner. Maybe it's because I've always wanted to grow a beard. (I can't because of a tragic childhood barn-burning incident.) And in 1968, the Band had the baddest beards in the business.

See? This was way before Z.Z. Top.

The other night, after I'd had something to smoke, I put on "Across the Great Divide," the opening song from the Band's self-titled second album. Like many great novels, the song begins as our hero, who is a rascal and a wretch, finds himself on the wrong end of a gun. Held by his sweetheart, Molly. The Band wells up, with jaunty horns and pleading vocals, and evokes Motown, the Rocky Mountains, the great American traveling carnival, and a certain unmistakable masculine folly, all at once. Garth Hudson's organ playing is the carnival, and Robbie Robertson's guitar sounds like the helpless shrug of a three-time loser. As I listened to the song for the first time in years, I started grinning like an idiot.

It's really gonna be fun to talk to this guy.


Richard said...

Yes, I think you'll have a great time. Garth is an amazing musician and a very cool guy. I hope you'll have a chance to see and hear him play the piano while he's there. Noooobody plays like Garth Hudson.

pat said...

Hi, Richard. As it turns out, as I've just heard, he will be seated at a piano for the interview, because he wants to illustrate some of what he says by playing. Could be very cool!

Kat said...

Crikey! That's fantastic. Please quiz him in-depth about "See You Later Allen Ginsberg". Maybe ask him if they were ever NOT stoned during those Basement Tapes sessions. (a rhetorical question if ever)

It's cool to find your blog and read of your adventures, sir. You and the girls should have been here yesterday afternoon; I took Carter to the final estate sale at Biscuit's house. Bittersweet and lovely to see the kid choosing some plastic dinosaurs and superheroes from the stash!

love to all

pat said...

hello Kat--it's really nice to hear from you!

I gotta say, though this was meant to be the topic of our "discussion", steering Garth Hudson to the subject of the Basement Tapes was like throwing potato chips into a high wind. Afterwards he said, with a smile, "I think I successfully evaded most of your questions." It was an enjoyable ramble.

Jeez, what a piece of poignancy, to think of your child playing with toys from Biscuit. I should try to tell Adinah a story about him, so she'll "remember" Biscuit, too. That fabulous pink punk is still influencing us and our kids!

Dave said...

I love Garth Hudson!! He can play any instrument you give him. He's just amazing.!
Congrats on the interview,