Monday, February 09, 2004

i'm laughing

00soul played a lotta jimi hendrix this weekend. weird stuff i didn't know, off of live albums and whatnot. an unexpected pleasure of hearing a familiar artist playing unfamiliar material. the music was so personal i found myself wondering what hendrix was like. all i really know about him is not much: he was 27 when he died; he was from seattle; he traveled all over the country and had to go to england before his destiny was fulfilled. and he apparently knew everything about playing electric guitar, except for the things he invented. yet as i pondered who he might've been, i realized it didn't matter. all you need to know about jimi hendrix is in the notes he left behind.

the agent said that when jimi died there were 600 hours of tape left at electric ladyland. along with poor dead tupac, i could not help but think of prince, who is alive, true, but also prolific. and then on sunday, we watched the grammys, and there, of course, was prince. looking super-fine in his purple suit with shiny gold shirt/tie and funky symbol-guitar. tiny, pretty man. dancing and singing and moving to the groove ... and then beyonce had to come out and ruin it all with her horrid fluffy pink dress and hoochie-mama singing/dancing. (what is up with these baby divas and their spastic performance styles? i swear, beyonce and xtina made celine dion look classy...and i hate that canadian bitch.)

but how delicious that prince would be performing on the very same grammys (apparently he is recording an album in l.a. and even trying to shop it to labels? rumor...) at which his heirs apparent get their due in the mainstream (the mainstream of the mainstream): ooh-yeah, i'm talking about outkast, baby! what was better: big boi's two-word acceptance speech after winning best rap album ("thank you!"), or andre 3000's absinthe hallucination of a leprechaun-teepee world in which scantily-clad pocahontas types shook it like a polaroid picture during the performance of "hey ya!"? (the latter complete with, natch, a number-closing burst of fireworks shooting out the top of the teepee.)

still, i have to depart from this train of thought for a minute to note that the white stripes were incendiary in a wholly different way. jack white looked like fuckin' wormtongue up there with his stringy black hair, making a mighty big and fuckin' excellent noise with his guitar and his otherworldly yelp. meg white looked hot (like an early '60s country star, all white skin and cascades of coiffed black hair ... except for the sparkly black tank top) and hammered hotter -- ooo, that girl can play the drums. the electric candy-colored set was practically on fire; at one point the lights behind jack appeared to immolate him and his surroundings: i was like, "omg, there was a fuckin' nuclear explosion b/c that was just too GODDAMNED COOL for the grammys!" or not.

anyway. but the white stripes could not stand up to the mighty funk tide, which prince got rolling right at the beginning, but which later manifested in a massive display of black sonic and sartorial freakiness presided over by sam jackson with equal parts authority and enthusiasm: earth wind and fire, outkast, robert randolph & the family band, and the whole george clinton & p-funk mob. like, seemingly hundreds of people on stage, all gettin' their freaks on at once. aliens were flying over the staples center right then, and they looked inside and said, "oh, nevermind! this planet's already been invaded." and off they went, leaving us at least momentarily in the benign grip of the mothership.

and preceding them somewhere out in the cosmos was an ever-more-ancient broadcast of "third stone from the sun," echoing and echoing and echoing away from us.

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