It makes me warm when I am cold
Gets me up and it makes me walk
It makes me question what I’m told
Jeremy Blake, Dope & Guns Party Candidates, 2007
* Pete Townshend on smashing his guitars on stage:
"Usually I'd be feeling like a loner, even in the middle of the band, but tonight, in June 1964, at The Who's first show at the Railway Hotel in Harrow, West London, I am invincible.
"We're playing R&B: 'Smokestack Lightning', 'I'm a Man', 'Road Runner' and other heavy classics. I scrape the howling Rickenbacker guitar up and down my microphone stand, then flip the special switch I recently fitted so the guitar sputters and sprays the front row with bullets of sound. I violently thrust my guitar into the air -- and feel a terrible shudder as the sound goes from a roar to a rattling growl; I look up to see my guitar's broken head as I pull it away from the hole I've punched in the low ceiling. It is at this moment that I make a split-second decision -- and in a mad frenzy I thrust the damaged guitar up into the ceiling over and over again. What had been a clean break becomes a splinter mess. I hold the guitar up to the crowd triumphantly. I haven't smashed it: I've sculpted it for them. I throw the shattered guitar carelessly to the ground, pick up my brand-new Rickenbacker twelve-string and continue the show....
"I had no idea what the first smashing of my guitar would lead to, but I had a good idea where it all came from. ... I was brought up in a period when war still cast shadows, though in my life the weather changed so rapidly it was impossible to know what was in store. War had been a real threat or a fact for three generations of my family. ...
"In 1964 I began playing guitar the way I was always meant to play it. The sound I had favoured until then borrowed liberally from American prodigy Steve Cropper's guitar solo on 'Green Onions' -- a cold, deeply menacing, sexual riff. This, I suppose, is how I imagined myself at eighteen. Now, at the flick of a switch the central pickup, which I had set close enough to the strings to almost touch them on my modified Rickenbacker 345S guitar, cut in to boost the signal 100 per cent. The guitar, with a semi-acoustic body I had 'tuned' by damping the sound holes with newspaper, began to resonate. ...
"I wasn't trying to play beautiful music, I was confronting my audience with the awful, visceral sound of what we all knew was the single absolute of our frail existence -- one day an aeroplane would carry the bomb that would destroy us all in a flash. It could happen at any time. The Cuban Crisis less than two years before had proved that. On stage I stood on the tips of my toes, arms outstretched, swooping like a plane. As I raised the stuttering guitar above my head, I felt I was holding up the bloodied standard of endless centuries of mindless war. Explosions. Trenches. Bodies. The eerie screaming of the wind."
* The Caribbean will be performing at U Street Music Hall (1115a U St. NW) on Friday night, November 2 and it's an early show. Doors open at 6! Harness Flux, a solo project of the mighty John Masters (Metropolitan, Cheniers), will start the proceedings off at around 7, then one of our favorite bands (and group of people) More Humans takes the stage at around 8. The Caribbean'll hit it at about 9. In keeping with the club's founding purpose, DJ Matt Perrone of Alma Tropicalia will spin pre-show and between sets. Admit is $12US. If you like, tix are available at Ticketfly.
U STREET MUSIC HALL
1115a U Street NW
Friday, November 2
The next night (Saturday, November 3), the group travels for a quicky down to Raleigh, NC to perform at King's (14 West Martin St.) with TOW3RS, Alpha Cop, and Zack Mexico.
Showtime is 930 and admit is $6US.
14 West Martin Street
Saturday, November 3
* “I don’t really listen to what people tell me. I forget things I don’t like.” —Édouard Levé