Thursday, May 17, 2012

SOTW - May 18, 2012

It seems last week's post created a bit of confusion. After "The Greatest Rock and Roll Band in the World, Part II" went to press, I received a series of misplaced Spence-has-finally-seen-the-light-and-is-in-the-Beatles-camp now emails. C'mon guys. You know better. An explanation is in order. I do not have permission from Derek Wildstar to disclose his identity and may never. The true origins of GRRBITW, II will likely remain a secret for the Ages. However, let's assume for the sake of this discussion that I did have some creative input. As a lawyer, a critical skill is the ability to see and argue both sides of the same coin. Sometimes, in furthering a client's interests, I must argue a position that I do not necessarily agree with. Agree or disagree, I must be able to put myself in the other side's Cole Haans.

Over the years, for purely academic reasons (of remote interest to about 0.056% of the populace), I've put on my advocate's hat and tried to defend some unpopular musical positions. On that fateful night back in the spring of '95 in Room 18, did I actually believe that the Goo Goo Dolls were better than Phish? No, Cliff, of course not. I was just trying to make an impossible argument. Post Partridge Inn at Kirk's place back in '99 did I really consider Matchbox Twenty's Rob Thomas to be Eddie Vedder's superior? C'mon Katie! That's borderline treason against the Seattle Crown. It was those Sunday before Monday Practice Round "Strong Island Iced Teas" from Somewhere talking. We've all heard of "the sake of discussion." The phrase means nothing if it's not employed from time to time.

But let's not lose sight of one immutable fact. I am a Stones man. Always will be. Their music is engrained in me. It's there in those cherished slivers of time: Mary Katherine at Wes's Rapper Mansion deciding one "Tumbling Dice" wasn't enough (thus violating Music Commandment 3: Thou shalt never voluntarily play the same song more than once in a night.) At least two different times in my life, having an uninitiated Stones fan look directly at me with an impossible smile on his face and exclaim something close to: "I don't know what this is, but it is bad as hell!" in reference to a Stones album. (Jason Hill about half way between Americus and Cordele on highway 280 at 12:48 a.m. in the back of Mitch's red Sunbird after a Get Yer Ya Ya's Out version of "Sympathy;" James Versaggi back in Room 18 part of the way into Track 3 on Exile during a late night "jam session.") Sitting Indian style on the floor of the Country Club Apartments in Americus with Mitch and Pheil exploring England's Newest Hitmakers like middle schoolers on their first trip to Six Flags. The weight of these experiences is pleasantly overwhelming. They keep me anchored to the Truth. I am a Stones man.

Your Song of the Week for May 17, 2012 is one of their masterpieces. Lyrically, it's chock full of stirring imagery laid against the hazily interspersed instrumental layers so prevalent on Exile. The song substitutes piercing shots of piano for guitar ornamentation as it builds to the greatest mid-song Crescendo in Rock history. On a long ago night in Buckhead, we were at Wes's apartment at the Manor. It was late. Very late. There was a party in progress. Sensing a moment, my dear (and incredibly open minded) friend Jason Wallis pulled a vinyl chair in from the porch and positioned himself, alone, directly in front of the 5,000 whatever watt speakers. For a reason we will never know, he had on sunglasses. This song was playing loud enough to be heard from there to the Disco Kroger. Jason was singularly engrossed. He was seated with his back to all other revelers. It was him and the speakers. As the Crescendo was reached, he felt motivation from deep within, the kind that brilliant music inspires. In a measured display of sheer joy, he balled his hands into two tight fists and slowly raised them as far above his head as he could reach.

"What a beautiful buzz!"


  1. Thanks for remembering that truly transformational experience. Music touches and inspires the soul!

  2. I faintly remember not being a stones fan. Faintly. Country club apts changed my mind on a lot of things. Stones being one of the greatest. Love your writing. Pheil