“We used to think we were so dangerous…” was mumbled about the 5th or 6th beer in by my friend John, or as we used to call him Spaceman. Gooey looked amused and sipped his bitter. Did we really want to be dangerous?
All of August on the dreaded faceache, I have watched John’s adventures as he gallivanted around Argentina singing in various heavy metal bands, long red hair bearded in camo pants, a classic mid 80’s metal t-shirt and a patched denim. Throwing the devil horns at 10,000 plus Argentinian bikers and having a whale of a time. It looked fun and definitely at times dangerous, from the comfort of my arm chair. So maybe at least one of us became dangerous in a cuddly vikingesque way.
Did I want to be dangerous? No, when we were in our stupidest prime I always wanted to be the guy leaning in the corner in cuban heels, striped pants, paisley shirt and one green and one red lensed sunglasses. Ultimately I think I wanted to be Roger McGuinn. The studious psychedelic folk-rocker. Not dangerous but slightly enigmatic and experimental but not terrifying.
All this came to mind as I plowed my way through the Byrds ninth album entitled (untitled.) This is the latter day Byrds, not the Crosby, Cark boy band minstrels but the folk/country/jazzer Byrds. The band that was heading as far out as they could in an effort to be more shall we say adventurous because the Byrds didn’t really ever manage dangerous. What you get though is Clarence White and Skip Battin and McGuinn at times sounding like they are all in different bands playing different songs and it all manages to work, maybe because Gene Parsons is solid on drums. You also get a 16 minute Eight Miles High which is maybe about 9 minutes longer than it needs to be, I am having a hard time forgiving the bass solo though. Two sides live, because this version of the band could manage it consistently, two sides studio, just to prove they could do it. It contains the sublime Chestnut Mare, which depending on your source is either about the subjugation of the natural world by the marauding of man, or a cowboy trying to catch a horse, some drunk idiot in the pub once argued it was about heroin addiction but I have no idea. I did however see McGuinn perform it with Richard Thompson some time in the 90’s that was just damn good.
These days danger is another thing, usually associated with wondering if the chainsaw is at the right tension before maniacally attacking the downed tree, or wondering if the tractor can conceivably manage that slope without throwing me off.
Todays gratuitous tractor shot.