Galaxie 500 was born the day that Naomi volunteered to play bass guitar.
We had our first rehearsal on May 27, 1987.
So, come the end of May, Galaxie 500 will reach the grand old age of 30 which seems an appropriate cause for a fan celebration and I thought it would be nice if that celebration had some fan-focussed physical manifestation - and I guess the standard form for that would be a fanzine.
For that I need contributions, that could include:
Words (reviews, opinions, memories, poems, etc.)
Pictures (art, photography, etc.)
Offers of help with design/layout/distribution etc.
It's probably fairly clear that this idea can currently be filed in the "half-baked" category but I'd like to think there's enough of us, and enough love, to pull this off.
I have to admit, at this point, that the idea wasn't original and is ripping off this lovely Felt fanzine from a few years ago - that took a year and was very classy - we have less than three months so our ambition should probably be scaled appropriately.
Please get in touch if you can offer any of the above, or anything else to help make this happen.
Double Feature starts with Lee kicking the bass drum a little extra, it's a deep bass sound. Sean plays rhythm guitar, Dean leans down and increases the fuzz sound of his guitar. It sounds electrical. Sean takes over, playing an intense solo, then it goes back to Dean, “who you're gonna be, when you walk into my life?”. This is when the concert really starts. It's been on auto pilot before, or maybe it was just me, sometimes an extra kick is what you need to get things started.
Chinese crêpes are pretty much exactly what they sound like. Jiangbing in Chinese. I had it filled with pulled pork and cumin and cilantro. Ulrika with tuna and seaweed. In the area called Inner Sunset. What a nice name for a neighbourhood. Then we walked a short stroll on 9th Avenue and got into Golden Gate Park. The vegetation was deep green because of all the rain that had fallen the past weeks. And we reached the Japanese Tea Garden. We met Kelly and the three of us walked on the stone paths in the rain, across the ponds. Me and the girls.
The rain got more intense and we sat down and ordered Japanese tea, talked about trumpets and pedal steel guitars. We were surrounded by the leafs, the rain, the air so crisp and cold. Couldn't ask for much more at that time. But the girls where cold and I guess I was too. We went to de Young Museum close by and Ashley and Sean joined too. We studied the impressive paintings, American art from the 17th century to present. “Rainy Season in the Tropics” by Frederic Edwin Church from 1866 was pretty remarkable, most paintings were remarkable.
I would have loved to have played ping-pong against Dean. He had a table in his home as a kid. I had too. My father knew a World Champion and we got his used rubbers (not his condoms) after his training. My brother found out a way to get them even more sticky. You pour Cola Cola on it, let it dry. It's insane, so sticky the balls sticks to the racket. You can spin the ball and send your opponent to the wall. Dean and the ping-pong. Dean likes sex. That's kind of a quote. I like rice.
Rice boiled in stock is tasty and ping-pong is easier. Such a struggle to get there. You have to be manly, funny, charming, smart, clean, self confident, smell nice. Sometimes even have a beard, or at least a stylish moustache. Or tattoos all over the body, not just a small tattoo, that might make things worse. I like a lot of things though, and people too. Can't keep my eyes from them. I have two eyes, ears, a brain, might be a monkey brain but that's fine and I'm going to use it. You should use your brain too, so much to do with it, nothing to be ashamed of. Thank God for this monkey brain.
Rendezvous is my favourite Luna album. It's such a relaxed, cool, warm summer night record. It's not just any record. The sun is setting, the horizon is orange, deep red, the sky is dark but still blue, and you are in love with life and people around you, or ready to start again, live again, bend some spoons. I'm on an eleven hour plane ride back to Stockholm, I don't care about hours because I have been listening to Rendezvous live, alive, I have listened to Penthouse, and to Bewitched too, in San Francisco, California, with people I like so much I can't even put it in writing.
If you were thinking of throwing some money the way of the ACLU (and now seems like it might be the right time to do that), one way you can do that would be to buy this benefit compilation Is There Another Language? that feature's Dean & Britta's cover of Hey Paula.
The album has been released on Bandcamp - the VERY limited cassette version has sold out but you can buy the download which has stacks of other great music - the price is $7 but of course you can pay more.
Hey Paula was previosuly only available on the long sold out and saucy covered Great Pop Supplement 7" from last year.
What impressed me most, both before and after the shows, was how much all of the members of Luna were into this event, realizing how special it was, not so much to relive or recapture the past, but to move these albums into the present, with the wisdom and pleasure that only time and distance can bring to something, infusing the albums with a greater sense of purpose.
Anyone who's managed to see Luna live have already heard a Penthouse show, or at least heard most of the album, so the real treats were hearing Bewitched and Rendezvous, with nearly a third of the songs never having been played live before. Of course it's easy to fall into the construct that this is a Dean Wareham band, yet seeing Luna live, especially playing these albums, it's quite impossible not to realize what everyone brings to the table, and how lacking this material would be had it not been of each member and their visions for the songs.
Most evident when hearing Luna live is the ridiculously brilliant job Lee Wall does on drums, sitting there behind a small no-nonsense kit that fits him like a glove, carrying the band forward and holding them in check while enhancing their style when they stretch out … truly a under appreciated chair in most bands. Then there's Sean, whose fiery guitar along with his songs Broken Chair, and Still At Home [my personal atmospheric "Free Bird"] garnished astounding applause with his flawless playing and stage presentation.
At times Sean and Dean seemed to be delightfully dueling, feeding each other lines, and having those lines answered with a sense of complexity and passion. And then there was the ever present sonic perfectionist Britta Phillips who's bass laced and complemented each note the others played with a warm solid bottom, along with a fundamental rhythm; all while dancing on the tips of her toes. And of course there was Dean, with his vocals carrying more weight than he did years ago, yet this new voice weaves in and out of his lyrics with precision and grace, breathing life and a sense of importance into these tracks.
Of course there where three major surprises … the first being the trumpet playing of Kelly Kyle on the number Bewitched, creating a very haunting and unexpected bewitching atmosphere that added a smoky layer. Then there was the liquid light-show, the likes I've not seen since the heady nights of the psychedelic 60's, morphing into and around the music, immersing Luna into a pastel wash of colour and form that took everyone's breath away. And finally there were the multiple encores, especially the final song of the three nights, 23 Minutes In Brussels, where Luna pulled out all of the stops, playing like this was the last time they were ever gonna have a good set of strings on their guitars, and simply brought the house to its knees.
The Chapel is one of the finest venues you'll ever find when it comes to live intimate shows, holding a mere 500, which includes the floor and balcony, and boasting a super sound system that leaves nothing to be desired.
From Thursday to Saturday last week Luna played a three night residency as The Chapel in San Francisco, playing a different album each night… here's a quick round-up of those shows. Lots of friends of AHFoW were at the show so hopefully someone will give the site a first person insight (hint).
We woke up, heard some music from the room next door. And kind of recognized it. This is not bad we said to each other, and we kept listening. It's coming from the room next door. It's Luna. It's Mike playing his recording from the day before. We laughed and I texted him to turn it up.
Chinatown is not that expensive like many other areas on Manhattan. We stayed at the hotel that we always stay at nowadays when we are in New York. The rooms are really nice, not dirty or claustrophobic at all. A little noisy since Manhattan Bridge runs above the hotel, but we don't mind. Mike is scared of Chinatown and prefers to stay in other areas, he is not that into Chinese food either. But he decided to stay with us because it's more fun that way. And he keeps saying that if we are happy, he is happy. He can always get a burger, he says. But there are not many burgers even in Chinatown. Anyway, we stepped out on the busy streets and went for a walk and ended up having Mexican food in Lower East Side. Just like we always do when in town. Mike swapped his beans for rice. I didn't swap anything.