Steve Shelley was in Vienna last night. He’s taking time off from Sonic Youth to play the drums for a band called Disappears . They’re good—a real straight-ahead railroad charge of spiky and spacy guitars—and it was great to see Steve bashing hell out of his kit in a hammerblow sort of way.
I’ve known Steve for about 25 years, so it was fun to visit with him and exchange sightings of some of our more loony rocker friends. He is also an unabashed Classic rock head, so I could (relatively) shamelessly confess to him that I’ve only recently “discovered” the Allman Brothers and well, James Brown. He gave me a few tips about both, then promised he’d send me some MP3s. Oh boy!
I haven’t been in a rock club watching a live band in about a million years, so that in itself was cause for rumination. Everything looked the same: the fanboys bumming cigarettes from each other in the front row, the blond bartendress built like a fireplug, the looks of surprise and pleasure on the guitarist’s faces. The sweat. It’s a great world. I wonder how much longer it will last.
I just don’t know how bands can tour anymore—gotta be so expensive, and to what actual financial or public relations gain? Matter of fact, even local bands must be going extinct. It’s always been a young person’s game, and always financially iffy, but right now? Sheesh, how long can one put off earning a living, just to bring the heavy riffage to a niteklub?
As I watched Steve wacking the toms with the same boyish half-grin he’s always grinned, I thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be great to show this world to my daughters?’ But I don’t know if the rock club will still exist by the time they become old enough to enter one.