January 25, 2012

Not Knowing is Better

Matt Riggle of the band 41 Gorgeous Blocks writes about his mostly-imagined view of Lookout Records based on tiny bits of data gleaned from record jackets and the like:

A door tagged with the iconic “eyeballs” logo opens to reveal a guy named Patrick seated at a desk, drawing a cartoon and listening to the members of Green Day work out a set list; Pat’s friend, Erika, leans in to grab a handful of stickers, which she neatly arranges before stuffing into an addressed manila envelope; in the next room, recording guru Kevin Army tends to the daily ritual of coiling cables and setting mixer knobs back to unity, while Ben Weasel and Joe Queer, pens in hands, argue over a bitter love lyric; guys with names like Sluggo and Eggplant roam the halls making everyone laugh (occasionally on purpose); a teapot begins to whistle as Jesse Michaels and Jeff Ott ruminate about how, even though it is an essential subject to understand, politics is not the answer to our problems; Dr. Frank, meanwhile, sits in a beanbag, looking up from his book only when he senses one of the others can’t quite find the word they’re searching for; finally, at the helm of it all sits Larry Livermore, a quiet, behind-the-scenes, big-brother type of guy who, when he isn’t writing up contracts in his office, wanders the Berkeley streets from warehouse to garage, personally discovering and tending to new bands, ready to offer a few dollars and pats on the back at just the right moment.
Well, he got Dr. Frank right, at least.

I know what he's talking about. I did precisely the same thing as a kid, though the focus of my rock and roll fantasy was UK '77 rather than Berkeley '89. Like Matt, I started to think I really knew these people based on nothing more than lyrics and speculation, and the few whom I actually did meet later on usually surprised me by being a whole lot different, not to say worse, than their fantasy version. (Not TV Smith, though, bless him: I think I got him more or less exactly right.) Overall, I prefer the fantasy to truth I think.

Matt's the guy who did that "More than Toast" cover I linked to here, included at the end of his essay as well. In the email exchange where he asked if it was okay to post it (nb. it's nice when people ask) he said he always wondered about the "context of the toast reference" but then said I'd better not tell him as he prefers not knowing. I know what he means. Sometimes, and certainly here, not knowing is better.

Posted by Dr. Frank at January 25, 2012 05:11 PM | TrackBack

Kind of makes Lookout! sound like the house where the Monkees lived.
Joe Queer would have been a great Monkee.

Posted by: stig at January 26, 2012 06:35 PM

Definitely the fantasy of my favorite bands made them more appealing when I was young. I remember not knowing what my favorite bands looked like and that drove my eagerness to find out. Now its so much easier to find info (internet), which is nice but sure takes the mystery and excitement away.

Posted by: Paul at January 26, 2012 09:34 PM