Saturday, August 30, 2008

Dean Wareham - Black Postcards

Took the day off from the asylum yesterday and went to Philly to see Sonic Youth and The Hold Steady at TLA. Thanks to the lovely Sarah Flynn and Derek Evers from Tripwire for hooking up the guest list as well as Dana Erickson at 230Publicity for making in happen with Converse. Look for reviews here and on Tripwire soon. I took Jersey Transit to the SEPTA and was of a mind to travel light, but bad weather necessitated a bag, which facilitated a hard cover book that happened to be Black Postcards, the rock and roll memoir of Mr. Dean Wareham of Galaxie 500 and Luna fame, currently getting in touch with his inner Lee Hazlewood in the succinctly monikered Dean and Britta band.

Galaxie 500 were/are one of those bands that I filed under the category of 'bands who I liked the girls that liked'. I got familiar with the records as needed to get familiar with the ladies, but they never really did much at all for me. Back then, my girl Kjirsti was known to take a hallucinogen or two and go on Galaxie 500 benders, but even a shared tab or two never really solidified the band for me. My slo-core go-to has always been Codeine or the mighty American Music Club, if you consider them compatriots.

I first heard Wareham's first post-Galaxie project Luna on a CMJ comp in the early 90s. I liked it ok, plus my girlfriend at the time had bought it for me, establishing it as the first of the "albums I did it a lot to". I'll let you know when the second record presents itself. Lunapark opened with Slide, as I recall, which began and ended the Luna mystique for me. Slash Your Tires I remember as being pretty decent as well, but they always seemed like a New England Red House Painters to me (see BWILTGTL caveat and add 'poor man's AMC for good measure). I saw Luna six or seven times, never of my own volition, and always found them to be nice sounding but staggeringly boring. It was cool to see what amp or pedal Dean was using, but I rapidly lost interest after that. Despite this asshole's lack of signing on, Luna always seemed to do well for themselves, especially overseas. When Caroline at Maine Road said she had Black Postcards, I figured it was worth flipping through, if only to have a reason for keeping the MP3s around.

Reading Black Postcards, Wareham seems a decent enough guy, in that overly dramatic New England art school guy sort of way. It keeps the book-reading ladies and heavy black spectacle set buying the records (and now books), I guess, but I always enjoy a Kramer anecdote and it reinforced my impression that Damon and Naomi were/are pretty boring rich kids. I guess it is only right to point out that Wareham is a rich kid, too. It's always interesting to hear about starving artists that live on Bleecker St, but Wareham is candidly self-deprecating in elucidating his faults and his role in causing fucked-up situations in his personal life. None of them seem to go far beyond various transgressions of the "what happens on the road, stays on the road" variety, but those who have less progressive views of fidelity might take greater exception.

Wareham is an engaging writer, and Black Postcards is a pretty quick read. It's an interesting take on the usual band stuff, covering infidelity, publishing arguments and the like. He's pretty candid about life as a semi-successful band, admitting chasing an advance or two and rushing out a half-baked record every once in a while to keep the lights on. He seems to love his son very much and have some regret for scuttling the ship that was his marriage. He also seems genuine in his affection for Britta, for whatever that's worth. I enjoyed Black Postacrds, but am glad I didn't pay for it. It hasn't fostered any desire to revisit the old Galaxie or Luna material, but Wareham seems like he'll do ok without this asshole's endorsement. If you wanna buy Black Postcards or the digipak reissue of the D&B record L'Aventura that's dropping on 9/2, you can pay some Wareham alimony here. More Wareham links are below.



Anonymous said...

me being lovely aside, can i borrow that book someday??

tiger said...

I love it! Very creative!That's actually really cool.

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