Outsideleft wakes up to a world without Merv Griffin, Lee Hazelwood, Tony Wilson and Ingmar Bergman. And chat about it...
8:48:58 PM LamontPaul: Okay, so the rocknroll death rattle has claimed a number of victims since we last spoke and not all perhaps limited to the world of music...
8:48:25 PM Alex V. Cook: true, this week was particularly dire for the innovators... Merv Griffin, Tony Wilson, Ingmar Bergman and one other...
8:48:25 PM LP: Lee Greenwood - he had his moments, they were many, they were great ones and they were long ago...
8:48:35 PM AVC: You mean, Lee hazelwood
8:48:55 PM LP: Yes, Yes, that's the Lee. I'll fix that in the mix...
8:49:05 PM AVC: Lee Greenwood is the "proud to be an American" guy - he'll never die
8:49:31 PM LP: I know, he serenaded me into my first hour as an American citizen. A gut wrenching moment in an otherwise exceptionally nice day
8:49:56 PM AVC: really! I think that makes you technically more american than I am
8:50:11 PM LP: erm, even though it was L.A. it was only video
8:50:16 PM LP: Lee Hazelwood. Married in a Fever, Hotter than a Pepper Sprout? I think nancy and lee are perhaps even bigger for their kitsch value in the UK than they are here and of course nancy is morrissey's 'friend' after all...
8:51:16 PM AVC: he wrote "goin to "Jackson" the song you referenced?
8:51:49 PM LP: and I think he produced nancy's boots, didn't he? He wrote it and of course the truly great 'Sugar Town'. From W. ... his songs have been covered by Lydia Lunch, Primal Scream, Einst?ºrzende Neubauten, Nick Cave, Hooverphonic, Anita Lane, Megadeth, and Boyd Rice.
8:55:04 PM AVC: oh yeah, i remember the Neubauten one, in the liner notes Blixa said "Morning Dew" was the most Neubauten song every written. Lee's last album, in 2006 was called Cake or Death
8:55:38 PM LP: Lee Hazlewoodism Its Cause and Cure... Now that is a funny album title, like "Everyone Wants to Shag the Teardrop Explodes..." Both are really saying something.
8:56:10 PM AVC: good ones
8:56:35 PM LP: yeah but still, surprising he made it into this century, so not so bad for him
8:56:53 PM AVC: Tony Wilson surprised me, mostly by the fact that he was still alive
8:57:38 PM LP: How so... He was a pretty young man, as portrayed by Steve Coogan in '24 Hour Party People'
8:57:46 PM AVC: its difficult to fathom how different music would be without his enthusiasms. That guy was an TV anchorman?
8:59:15 PM LP: A rocknroll Hal Fishman. The enthusiasm, devotion, from the fans of his bands back at the dawn of the 80s, was damn near cult-like. He brought Joy Division and A Certain Ratio to the attention of the world by releasing their records... That's one thing. My friends who were their fans back then, well, none have been so devoted ever to bands ever since. So devoted to anything, I am sure. In hindsight maybe, they were right... but it was like mixing it up with a Raiders fan...
9:00:20 PM AVC: or a desperate republican
9:00:46 PM LP: right. But don't the Editors and Interpol owe their careers to Tony Wilson too?
9:01:50 PM AVC: the debt has to be paid by someone
9:04:35 PM AVC: so what had Wilson been up to since the Happy Mondays tanked 15-20 years ago?
9:05:18 PM LP: Weren't there recent factory releases, like Crispy Ambulance, that might only have been 14 years ago... I guess he kept it going as a broadcaster,he was a manchester united fan and I think he did some work for them
9:07:45 PM AVC: and Ingmar bergman - according to IMDB, he's been doing TV since Fanny and Alexander in 1982. Maybe that's where we all go when our best work is behind us. Bergman's autobiography "The Magic lantern" is a must read though, he talks about when he was an exchange student in the 30s, that he went to germany as a student when Hitler came to power, and describes vividly the excitement that HItler stirred in the people. He said for years after the evidence was clear, he still had a hard time believing ths horrors of the nazi regime were true.
9:11:44 PM LP: Well at least he was ancient when he went. Which is worth something. Half of the people acting surprised at his passing had been polishing the bon mots for years.
9:12:17 PM AVC: true. I bet Woody Allen had his euology on ice for years
9:14:31 PM LP: Of couse, I don't actually recall seeing any of 'the masters'' films... I was sort of waiting until they colorized them, or Woody Allen actually did remake them.
9:16:23 PM AVC: I saw a number of them during my film snob days in college - wild strawberries strikes me as good, but I can't remember a thing about it... "After living a life marked by coldness, an aging professor is forced to confront the emptiness of his existence." ahh yess its coming back to me now....
9:20:16 PM LP: Michelangelo Antonioni quickly knocked Bergman off the front pages 'round here
9:20:41 PM AVC: merv griffin, he ended with a pretty noble legacy though, the beverly hilton, wheel of fortune, half of vegas
9:22:11 PM LP: Okay... So why do I even know Merv Griffin's name. To me, it's like saying Jimmy Saville? Howz About That Then. It was his catch phrase... Merv invented Wheel of Fortune?
9:22:52 PM AVC: and jeopardy
9:22:55 PM LP: Wow!
9:23:29 PM AVC: oh yeah, merv is the heavy hitter among the week's dead
9:26:36 PM AVC: he created the daytime talk show. I think the first airing of the Merv griffin show was shadow puppets in a cave
9:26:50 PM LP: He has a posthumous show coming out this Fall... Crosswords, actually Merv Griffin's Crosswords
9:27:23 PM AVC: sounds a little heady for the Deal or No Deal crowd
9:31:31 PM LP: Merv had a hit record with 'I've got a lovely bunch of coconuts...'? Wow! Was there anything he didn't do. Talk about a Great American Life
9:32:19 PM AVC: honorary pallbearer at Reagan's funeral. yeah merv had it all. I was shocked to find he was still alive ... I remember a babysitter in grade school who was a big merv fan. she lamented when a young mustacioed Geraldo came along and fucked everything up
9:35:22 PM LP: You know how well Merv rhymes with 'the Perv'... Like.... is there nothing there, no showbiz hi-jinks a la Fatty Arbuckle allegations...
9:36:00 PM AVC: Merv had that stuff snuffed out immediately
9:36:19 PM LP: Oh, right. He was ubiqitous, he was everywhere but in his assistants' pants then
9:36:46 PM AVC: the very hint of a scandal, he'd snap his fingers, the Merv Griffin music would play, and ninjas would descend from ceiling panels and garotte you and dissappear like stardust
9:37:38 PM LP: It all sounds so magical. Even though he's dead I'd rather be him than me.
9:37:54 PM AVC: Me Too
Changed status to Offline (9:48:18 PM)
You must check out the singularly fantastic merv.com - I mean, although some claim he's dead, sure seems like he will live forever.
Alex V. Cook listens to everything and writes about most of it. His latest book, the snappily titled Louisiana Saturday Night: Looking for a Good Time in South Louisiana's Juke Joints, Honky-Tonks, and Dance Halls is an odyssey from the backwoods bars and small-town dives to the swampside dance halls and converted clapboard barns of a Louisiana Saturday Night. Don't leave Heathrow without it. His first book Darkness Racket and Twang is available from SideCartel. The full effect can be had at alex v cook.com