Saturday, July 3, 2010

Fourth of July

Here's wishing a happy Independence Day to all. While I could post a Sousa march or some other patriotic song, I've decided to post a video for one of my all-time favorite songs, The Fourth of July by L.A. rock band X. While I am a huge X fan, I will defer to anyone who has a greater understanding of the band, and the scene in which they emerged in late 70's Los Angeles- if such a person is among my readership. The song The Fourth of July was written by Dave Alvin, formerly of rootsy rock group The Blasters, who joined X for the See How We Are album:

John Doe and Exene Cervenka, to my ear, rank among the great vocalists in the rock pantheon, and their vocal interplay is instantly recognizable. The song itself is a timely one- with economic uncertainty, this tale of a couple in a struggling relationship could be the back story lurking behind the headlines about the 99ers and the underemployed (in the opening line, the narrator sings about coming home from work, which implies a low-level service job- or a job at non-profit fundraising event, if he's lucky, which he does not seem to be).

She gives me her cheek, when I want her lips,
Oh, but I don't have the strength to go.
On the lost side of town, in a dark apartment,
We gave up trying so long ago.

There's a glimmer of hope, though, as the narrator struggles for a reconciliation, and tries to rouse his wife or girlfriend out of her malaise:

What ever happened, I apologize
So dry your tears and baby walk outside,
It`s the Fourth of July.

On the album version (scrubbed from Youtube by Warner Music Group, which prompts me to link to my great and good friend Jim Keyes' satirical Warner Wonderland yet again), John Doe sings "We forgot" over the chorus, "We forgot it's the 4th of July"- the first "we forgot" could apply to the relationship as a whole. They forgot the things that made their relationship worthwhile, but there's the hope that they could rekindle things.

Here's hoping that the struggling couples out there can pull it together in these tough times. Here's hoping that we don't forget those we depend on this Independence Day.

Note: I almost made a joke about how it's not Codependence Day... anyway, ignore this bit of snark and watch a whole lot of X videos after your cookout guests go home, and you're polishing off the last of the beer. It's your patriotic duty to listen to this great American band.


Smut Clyde said...

On this side of the world I am celebrating your Independence Day several hours early with the help of my second-favourite pub, which is offering a range of Rogue ales on tap.

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

I don't recall listening to X that much.

None the less, CHEERS!

(Don't let S.C. drink all the beer!)

zombie rotten mcdonald said...

That may be my favorite X song.

Nevertheless, I spent the fourth of July with my son at Summerfest, watching another Great American Band; Devo.

An Oslo band named Katzenjammer played before. You should check them out, Big, I think they might be your kind of thing.

Butch Pansy said...

I was more into the San Francisco scene: The Nuns, Avengers, and let's not forget FLIPPER !!!

M. Bouffant said...

I rate for FLIPPER too!

Scenes are, of course, not what they seem. X (like me) were a bit older & had been at it for a while longer (not like me) than the crazy Hollywood kids who started bands right after seeing the Sex Potatoes on the tube; they were more electric neo-beatniks than "punks," but were part of the whatever that was getting media action.

If Wack-a-pooty is correct, Mr. Doe is still married to Gigi Blair, who hired me to videotape an interview she did w/ him in 1984.

Big Bad Bald Bastard said...

I like FLIPPER as well, but their side-project POLKACIDE was even better.

Big Bad Bald Bastard said...

they were more electric neo-beatniks than "punks," but were part of the whatever that was getting media action.

Well, the media always simplifies things, and "punk" was a catch-all buzz word that was applied to wildly disparate groups.

M., I knew you'd be hep to the milieu in which X formed.

Thanks for the input.

Vonnie said...

Love X. Saw them pretty recently at a semi-small show here.
Good post!!

fish said...

I think their earliest stuff (Los Angeles/Wild Gift) were pretty punk. I rate particularly for We're Desperate. By More Fun in the New World they got a little mellower and a little more sophisticated. Love them all though...

zombie rotten mcdonald said...

I agree with fish....

fish said...

Uh oh, 1st sign of the apocalypse.

Smut Clyde said...

Fish stole ZRM's comment.