Yes We’re Going to a Party Party.

June 10, 2007

Today–Sunday–June 10–is my birthday. I’m 37. Tonight, Scrap’s gonna come over, and we’re gonna eat food that’s horrible and bad for us and watch the Sopranos.
Not only that, but it’s the Puerto Rican Day parade. So the universe has given me that most precious of gifts: thousands of cute Puerto Rican girls waving flags. Thanks, universe.
I don’t know why I’m awake at a quarter to seven. Perhaps unconsciously I wanted more birthday hours.
PS. As a kid in the early 80s, I had no idea that that was a Beatles song. I thought Anthony Michael Hall–in his immortal role as Farmer Ted–had improvised it to sing to Molly Ringwald in Sixteen Candles.

Richard Dodd is mastering my new album–which means it’s about a hair away from being done. I’m very excited about it, despite knowing that when it comes out, everybody’s gonna say, “It’s not as good as Haughty Melodic!” Just as they said when that record came out, “I’s not as good as Rockity Roll! Etcetera ad infinitum, back to the beginning of my professional life, when everybody said, “Ruby Vroom isn’t as good as you playing in tiny clubs!”
That’s not to say it’s gonna be out soon. It takes a long-ass time for a record company to set up the release of an album. Which I’m cool with. I’ll play shows, and get the chance to write songs without the pressure of an album–a luxury.
I’m kind of half-cooking-up a smaller record I think I’ll call Daylight Echo Um. A bunch of songs that hang well together that I didn’t want to put on the bigger record–kind of like this year’s Rockity, which I made superfast after completing Haughty. Now having a record company, I don’t have the freedom to put out records whenever I feel like it. So I think this will be an Emily Dickinson joint. Meaning, I’ll make it, dust off my hands, and put it in a drawer. If, in fact, I actually make it.
Richard sent two mastered versions of the album yesterday–one labeled DRY and the other STONEY. “Stoney” is Pete McNeal’s catchall adjective for something that sounds or looks beautifully gritty. McNeal doesn’t get stoned.
I called Dan and asked a rhetorical question: Okay, so I have the choice between two things, one is called “dry” and the other “stoney”. Which one do you think I’m gonna pick?
Last week’s issue of Time Out New York was headlined THE HIPSTER MUST DIE. It bummed me out. I wrote them a letter:
Dear Time Out:
My favorite definition of “hipster,” courtesy of my friend John Kirby, is: A hipster is somebody who complains about hipsters.
Mike Doughty

They didn’t print it.
It’s so irksome that people get so prickly, defensive, and insecure about their musical and fashion choices that they attack the people they think are snobbing on them–despite that they themselves are probably thinking the same thing. The point of the article was–it seemed to me–these people who are wearing the cool clothes and listening to the cool music don’t have the right jobs to be legitimate in listening to/wearing this stuff.
Credibility is bunk.
I feel sad for Paris Hilton. Really. The shot of her crying hysterically in the back of a police car breaks my heart. She thought she was free, and they dragged her back in. I don’t care how hated you are by the American public, or how unjust it is that they let you out when they keep non-celebrities in–that must be horrible, horrible, horrible. She cried, Mom, it’s not fair as they dragged her away.
Yeah, so I’m praying for Paris Hilton. Really. As the bumper sticker says: God bless the whole world, no exceptions.
I am recommending:
James Brown, Love Power Peace, a live record from a Paris show in 1971. The band sounds vicious; tight, and crazy fast.
Bootsy Collins plays bass; you can’t really hear him unless you’re listening on headphones, but he kills it. I’m not–sacrilegious, I know–a fan of his goofy envelope-filter stuff that he’s famous for. His brother (who knew Bootsy had a brother?) Phelps “Catfish” Collins plays guitar, and is my new guitar hero. Incredible. It’s startling to hear how much time James Brown gives to extended guitar solos, but listen to this guy–

Michael Chabon, The Yiddish Policeman’s Union, a detective story set in an imagined Jewish homeland in Alaska. As always in a Chabon novel, ultimately a story about a closeted gay guy coming to grips with himself. Or, not.
Coincidentally, I’ve been listening to Bronski Beat‘s “Smalltown Boy,” haunting early 80s tune, the tale of a gay kid leaving home for London to find his life:

Judee Sill, an odd-duck, funny-valentine singer/songwriter from storied Laurel Canyon in the early 70s. She died in 1979 of a cocaine and heroin overdose; she had been turning tricks for drug money. Amazingly, Graham Nash said years before her actual overdose that he’d heard she died; that’s how completely she dropped off the map.
The Youtube stuff of her isn’t that great, so go here, scroll down, and click on “The Vigilante”.
It occurs to me that all the music I’m recommending is 20 or 30 years old. I know people that are snobs about not caring for current music, and I’m definitely NOT that guy. But, it’s true, more of what I listen to is old. I guess I just like that mysterious layer that time puts on a recording. Which Pete McNeal would describe as “stoney.”