Friday, June 29, 2007

I've been struggling with

Icky Thump. After I bought the new White Stripes album I called my friends Matt and Trista -- you know, the ones who abandoned me and moved to New York -- and left them a voice mail: "I'm just wondering. Are we over The White Stripes yet?"

It's not that I don't like it, it's just that it's, you know, The White Stripes. They do what they do and they're amazing as usual and it's fine and I'm not freaking out about how mind-blowing it is, it's just the next White Stripes album. Of course it's good and I swear Meg's bass drum is gonna blow out my car speakers if they aren't trashed already, but I'm wanting to feel the magic again, you know?

I just read Kate Sullivan's article about the new album in the LAWeekly, and she's done a great job of putting my response to the album in perspective:

It’s obvious that Icky Thump isn’t as bracingly groundbreaking as White Blood Cells (or The White Stripes, or De Stijl). But it’s also obvious that that’s okay. You see, aesthetically, if not commercially, the White Stripes were an instant classic from the start — and like all instant classics, they’re kind of inherently original, and perennially special. No need to force it. You can only invent peppermint candy once. After that, the main thing is to enjoy it while you got it. Christmas won’t last forever.
Maybe that's why I keep running out and buying their records. When this new one came out, I didn't even think much about it or anticipate it like I do other bands, I just knew I had to go to Amoeba and pick it up, having to maneuver through Hollywood traffic and park on the sixth level of the Arclight garage to do so. Oh well, I guess even Christmas is kind of a labor sometimes (or any other celebratory holiday of your metaphorical choosing), but it's still necessary, as much for the present as the past, right?

When I was in Pittsburgh, I was on the Graduate Student Association's social committee at CMU, and I took it upon myself to find a really cool band to bring to campus. The White Stripes were touring for White Blood Cells at the time. I emailed with their promoter a few times, but he couldn't justify bringing them to us because they were playing a place called Metropol near downtown around the same time we were looking to host them. When I couldn't get them, I really didn't have any more ideas and just gave up. It's too bad, too; it would've been fun to say I pulled off getting The Stripes to campus. Or heck, anybody else remotely cool, but I think I also had a play to produce at the time.

Even though I didn't get them on campus, I desperately wanted to see them live. I almost gave up because I didn't have anyone to go with me (where were you, Matt?), but I had been cyberflirting with this guy Jim and, even though he'd never heard of them, he agreed to go with me.

The show wasn't sold out, but they were carding everyone going in. I dug in my billfold for my license but it was nowhere to be found. We got turned away. Needless to say, I was mortified and apologized profusely to Jim; it was especially embarrassing because it was our first time to meet in person. He was a good sport about it, though; thank goodness he'd never heard of them. We walked over to Lucky's, a nearby gay bar, and had a couple of beers. Somewhere along the way I found my license; it was stuck to a credit card I was in the process of maxing out.

Aww, Lucky's! That brings back memories! Actually, Jim brings back memories too, but I'm not going to share them with you. Maybe I'll tell you a little about Lucky's some other time, though. Zack, you ever go there?

It's too bad I didn't get into Metropol so I could say I saw them way back when, but I finally did see The White Stripes live with B at the Greek here in 2003; it was one of those mind-blowing shows that comes around a few times a decade. Definitely magical, definitely Christmas.


ashlie Atkinson said...

I could not agree more, sir. After listening to a friend's copy I instead went for The Fratellis. I am only a smidge embarrassed that I listen to songs on ipod commercials.

But all this is beside the point. I am in LA doing Fat Pig at the Geffen for the next two weeks or more. I'm staying in Westwood...can we hang, brother? I know we don't know each other too well, but any friend of Jenny Mitchell's..

frank's wild lunch said...

AWESOME! I would LOVE to hang! Email me at And I've been on the fence about seeing that show but I'm totally getting tickets now! What a nice suprise!