Search This Blog

Thursday, November 25, 2010

252. "Pink Moon" by Nick Drake

Another Lightning Round tossoff.

It's a stereotype (meaning in this case "something that is totally true") about "hipsters" that they are much concerned with making sure everyone knows that they were into something long before it became cool. I'm generally not concerned with such things, but in this case, because it concerns not just the artist but the specific song, I would like it to be clear that I wasn't introduced to this song by a television commercial. Not only was I a Nick Drake fan before the VW ad, before Norah Jones, before that guy who plays the seven hour version of "River Man" on the piano, and before the requisite inclusion of a Drake tune in every elegiac indie film released for three years in a row, I'd actually learned this song-- which I still find terrifying and spellbinding-- for my very own reasons and based on my own personal obsession. I stumbled on my version of it while developing the piece of music, in drop D tuning, that became Skates & Rays' Kristin's Blues, which is a pretty old tune itself by now. For a while, S&R did an extended version of "Pink Moon" at rehearsals, an extremely electric stomper which sounded sort of like a cross between Catherine Wheel's "Black Metallic" and Neil & Crazy Horse's "Change Your Mind". Its inclusion here is a bit of an accident: in the course of messing around with "Kohoutek" as described yesterday, I went into drop D, and towards the end of the experiment this song just naturally emerged.

The added verse is definitely an oddity requiring a brief explanation. Around the time I learned this song, I was playing around with songs based on found phrases, scribbling down a lot of same in notebooks for future assembly. One night my friend Nona and I were leaving the now-defunct Virgin Megastore on Sunset (which certainly dates this story) when we saw, in the parking garage, a beat-up red sedan with white spraypainted graffiti on its side. On instance read "POWERED BY ENGINE" with an arrow pointing to the hood; the other was "ANGRY DYKES ARE THE BORG". This all seemed strange and stuck with me, but for some reason, instead of making it into its own song, it became fused with "Pink Moon"... probably because the Skates & Rays version could go on for 15 minutes or so and there's only one verse to the song so I needed something else to sing. I hasten to point out that I didn't take the graffiti as homophobic or anti-gay at all (it was on the side of a car in Hollywood) and nor do I sing it as such. In fact it brings back memories of the Borg costumes a couple of my friends wore for Halloween around that same time: neither of them broke character all night. Amazing. Anyway, as I sang it, I realized I hadn't really worked out how the line was meant to end, and my eyes lit on the tinfoil Thoth sent to me by the late, great Gnatalie Jane, and that was instantly incorporated as well.

I think this is the first time I've included a false start on a posted 39-40 track, in spite of all the opportunities I've had before now. Why? Dunno. This one sounded kind of cool to me.

No comments:

Post a Comment