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Monday, April 5, 2010

18. "How I (Learned My Lesson) (Live)" by X

I love X so much that I actually have a pet named after one of its members. Now, that may or may not have something to do with the fact that she's a white female cat and my daughter, about 3 at the time we got the cat, like to proclaim very loudly that she wanted a WHITE GIRL cat, but in the end, I have to take responsibility for naming the creature Exene. Which would become even more embarrassing a year or so later when I started dating a woman who knew all of the members of X pretty well, and had for a long time. She married me anyway and now gets really irritated when Exene pees on the couch, not giving the name a second thought.

This was... difficult. Some hairpin turns, sudden changes not where you'd think they are... actually a small universe of inventive musical decisions for a punk rock tune. It's X. Anyway, I wanted to play this on ukulele at first, but it was too hard to get the chord forms up the neck formed by my fingers, so it migrated back to guitar. I needed some kind of percussion to lock in those jerky changes so they didn't sound like mistakes... hence the tambourine. And then... the vocals. It took two of me to (start to) equal one Exene, and then there was Doe's part. I love X. But this was hard.

Rex Broome ~ Everything



Not much to add to this one, other than that the memory of how tough it was to get down really prevents me from having an opinion as to whether or not it's good. This was another one where I literally played along with the original song when recording the guitar part. At the time I think that it was necessary to do so given the complexity of the music. After doing this for a year, I think, but couldn't swear, that I could play this one unaided now. Not saying it would be easy or anything, just that I could do it. Maybe.


  1. One of the reasons I love X: if you're not really listening, the songs sound fairly straightforward...but try to play them, and suddenly they're just full of unexpected moments. Billy Zoom's really an underrated guitarist: because stylistically he stuck to some "old-fashioned" tics, people don't recognize the way he tweaked them, or how inventive his guitar parts really are. Speaking of "White Girl," that's one I remember trying to learn the guitar part to way back when...

  2. Yeah, that's spot on. All kinds of twists and turns made to sound natural by Zoom's effortlessness with the licks (and Bonebrake's unstopability). "We're Desperate" sounds like it's upside down on the verses compared to the choruses. Extra measures and beats abound. Maybe people don't notice because it's so fast? It's glorious.