After we closed the Monte Bello Tasting Room today, I put on The Ramones.
A very unusual occurrence. More often than not, I stick with The Jazz for closing up shop.
When the team needs a bit of a lift, we move to Soul.
But for some reason, today, it was The Ramones. A first.
And so we thought about Punk. And we talked about Punk.
And now I find that Lou Reed is dead.
I think often on the parallels between music and wine.
There are a great many phrases about the power of music, and a great many have come to be associated with the power of Rock N’ Roll. Tonight, I think of two:
This machine kills fascists.
Three chords and the truth.
The first comes from Woody Guthrie’s guitar. Literally. He wrote it on the body of his instrument.
The second is from Harlan Howard, describing what exactly Country is.
Together, they could describe the music of Lou Reed.
They could describe Rock n’ Roll.
The could describe anything that strips away falsehood and artifice.
Anything pure, raw, and real.
All art should strive for this. Be it wine, be it music.
I never listened that often to Lou Reed, but I believe in how he matters.
I never listened that often to Lou Reed, because I think he often got in the way of himself.
He made it hard to find the beauty.
But punk is beautiful too.
But when you walk yourself to punk, you may need beauty to hold your hand as you cross the street.
Because this kind of beauty can be dangerous.
This kind of beauty kills fascists.
This kind of beauty is the truth in three chords.
To find the beauty in Lou Reed, you can of course listen to The Cowboy Junkies’ recording of “Sweet Jane” from The Trinity Sessions.
And to find the truth in Lou Reed, you can listen to Chris Whitley’s recording of “Another Perfect Day.”
And you should.
But to find the Rock n’ Roll, to find the Punk, you must listen to Lou himself.
And go ahead, listen to “Sweet Jane.” But listen to the right version, the one with the bridge:
Heavenly wine and roses
Seems to whisper to her when he smiles