On September 8th, OIW is a little bit thrilled to be hosting the awesome Mr David Viner along with the excellent I Said Yes and Brooklyners This Frontier Needs Heroes! It’s going to be another amazing night and to get you in the mood, Mr DV himself has written a blog just for us Oh, Inverted Worlders. Cool, now read on!
I PLAY POP MUSIC (A LIARS CONFESSION)
In 1937 Rev. Gary Davis refused to play any more blues and rag time. As an ordained minister, his repertoire consisted mainly of spirituals and religious songs. I suspect this was not to do with him “seeing the light” or turning his back on the devil (a naff notion) but Mr. Davis finding a new voice away from blues music which had become nationally popular and increasingly tired.
For every bespectacled, stubbled white blues enthusiast that asked for an old number, Davis would out right refuse, opting for “12 gates to the city” or “I’m gonna sit down by the banks of the river” and so forth. If you listen to these recordings, and can see past the pining for Jesus’ forgiveness you’ll still hear that ragtime and a man playing and singing better than any other. To question his decision now you’d be a fool.
Blues music is a great style of music and hearing Luke Jordan’s “Church Bell Blues” is as breathtaking to listen to as it is to listen to Donald’s Byrds “Cristo Redentor” or say, the Bee gees’ “I Started a Joke”. I am constantly referred to as a bluesman; I am not a bluesman and care not to be one. I write songs and finger pick, play with my balls and drink wine through-out the day. I want to be Mike Nesmith, James Jameson and Spiderman. I am Hank Williams, I am Hank Williams III. I’ve sat cross legged, howled at the moon, smelt roses, and spat at people, I’ve ripped pages from the book, cried blind for my mother and pissed thousands of pounds up the wall. I consciously forfeited the one step forward and leaped with relish two steps back. I am a stale puddle of puke; I am a fucking Lavender field. I love you more than you can imagine but would kill you for the penny in your pocket. Fuck, You wouldn’t call Nick Cave a murderer or Leonardo De Vinci an aero dynamist. Dried herbs are more pungent than fresh ones and all that.
2 years ago, Ko, the bass player from the Dirtbombs took me to a bar underneath her flat in Detroit and Greg Cartwright, (The Oblivians, Compulsive Gamblers etc) was at the bar. Greg was in town recording some new material for the Shangri-las and drinking heavily on his own. I have nothing but blind admiration for him, which I guess in turn means he is my idol. I had “sour and viscous man” as my wedding song.
I sat down next to him, ordered a large scotch and introduced myself. Now, I have never met him, never even crossed my mind that I would, and told him I was playing a gig the next night in the Polish side of town, maybe he’d like to come down. He turns to me and says,
“what kinda music you play?”
I have been asked that question many times and each time I stumble to come out with anything describing what I do. I have never once said Blues. So after a few seconds, of which time I have thought to myself I better say something fucking good, I say;
“I play pop music”.
In one sense, this is exactly what I do, the other sense, I wanted to say something wild, meaningful, unflappable. He turns to me, nods, and says;
We both turned to our drinks and didn’t say another word all night.
And that, to this day, is the best thing I’ve ever said. Not because it succeeded, or for that second the bar seemed like my kingdom, that the warm air was my very own motorway, free of cars and trucks and pollution, but that for the first time since I can remember, I actually spoke the truth.