“I will not be ground down into dust.”

Posted: July 19, 2011 in Uncategorized
Yes, that is them.

Fuck them if they don't come to Milwaukee this time.

Yep; multi-ethnic, multi-gender, aging socialist-punk artists with a stubborn streak and a love of simple music, strong drink,  and foul language.  I CANNOT figure out why I am drawn to them.  It’s a fucking mystery, it is.

The Mekons reformed in the early 80s after an abbreviated stint on Virgin, to play a benefit for a striking miners’ union, recording “Abernant 1984’1985” and launching an obsession with American musical styles.  And over the course of thirty plus years of activity, have never broken up, thus never been able to reap the cash rewards of a ‘reunion tour’.  And have kept thinking, and progressing, and still doing what they liked rather than what a record label thought they should do.  MEKONS

BBBB, they are playing the Bell House this fall, and I expect a report.  In fact, if all of you readers send in 10 dollars … well, I will have twenty dollars.  But IF I could get to New York in the right time frame…. well, it’s not gonna happen, so why speculate?  Snag can tell you what happened when I managed to get to First Avenue to see two of my other favorite bands, Soul Asylum and The Figgs.

Mekons have a new album coming out in the fall, called Ancient And Modern, 1911-2011.  Yes, it is a concept album; many of their albums have been such.  Famously, Rock n Roll was their major label debut, and a scathing indictment of the music industry.  That’s how they are “walking under ladders for a living, we should be running round to pubs and bars.”

I just know it was all-consuming and exciting and amazing and the possibilities seemed limitless to me when Mekons formed. And I was 19 years old. And I still hold some of that kind of idealism.

fuck me so do I.  That quote is from an article that kg from Sadly, No clued me into.

And just like the Mekons, that idealism means fuck-all when it comes to making a living.  Unlike the Mekons, I don’t have much in the way of alternatives, so I keep plugging along.

That’s what [the Mekons have] turned into: this collective of people who just choose to get together every now and then, and do some things for their own amusement. No pandering.

And I really do appreciate not being pandered to.  Yes, I AM looking at you Bono, you flea-flapped yoniteaser.

Anyway, I recognize that my love of the Mekons is even more singular than the Rush thing, and I also know some of you have risked physical harm by investigating further. Like the Free Hot Lunch obsession I have, it is best served by the Live venue.

But you know, this is still my ever-favorite song, and will make me drive too fast and blow things up:

I guarantee you do not have proper speakers on your computer to play this loud enough.

Dammitall, now I am all wound up to see the Mekons, and they don’t have a Milwaukee date yet.  Von, if I come down there, can I sleep/pass out in the backseat of my car in your driveway?  Or maybe you can ask your besties Jon Langford to make a stop up here?

lt looks like an accident
Caused by the government
Good people with good intent
Paving the highway down
It seeps into the water
Where the bad side is burning
And it’s not where they lead us
It’s in the act of turning
The way things are geared here
The way it’s all framed
The names are named
And now they’re all naming names
They’re putting on human faces
Say “There is no alternative”
v Carved in stone
And I want nothing
lt’s what I’m trained to beleve in
But I can still dream ofthings
That have never been
But someday will be

  1. Another Kiwi says:

    I really like that photo. I SHALL listen to some of their music, yes.

  2. ISN’T that a fine photo, AK?

    The guy in the flat-brimmed hat in the middle is Lu Edmonds, who plays with 3 Mustaphas 3, Public Image LTD, and Billy Bragg’s blokes.

  3. Recommendations for music:

    Harder alt-rock: Rock n Roll, Retreat from Memphis, I (heart) Mekons
    Straightforward alternative: So Good It Hurts
    techno dabbling: Me
    Proto-alt country: Honky Tonkin, Fear and Whiskey
    DIY Punk: Mekons Story (difficult music)
    More accessible punk: Punk ROCK
    Sampler: I have Been to Heaven And Back (gives you a sense of their sensayuma)
    “Mature” sounds: Natural, Journey To The End Of The Night (also featuring Neko Case on vox)
    An excellent mixed bag: Out Of Our Head (OOOH!)

  4. mikey says:

    Love. And Passion.

    I envy you. I never had any love to spare, and I don’t think I ever found anyone or anything I trusted with my passion. I’ve had music that spoke to me intensely, think Warren Zevon and later Roger Clyne. But I don’t feel what I feel when you talk about the Mekons. I think, in the bloody end, I could slip out the back door. You? You’d stand and shout fury and damnation until the fires consumed you. That is…something.

    It’s not about pragmatism or living in the real world. It’s about finding things, a band, a woman, a place, a calling to give yourself over to, heart and soul. It pushes back the darkness and teaches you how not to fear.

    Feed these things that call out to your passion. Understand the place they occupy in your life, and how they make you strong even as you come to fear their loss.


  5. Your enthusiasm has to mean they are a decent band..and kind of anarchists at that. I shall listen to them on Spotify tomorrow. Tonight I have a chardonnay buzz and a few things to do. But I do smile at your outright pleasure when talking/writing about this group of musicians. Sort of like I am when talking about Joe Bonamassa, whom I am followed since his first album at the tender age of 20.

  6. mikey, I don’t think anybody has said anything quite that nice to me, ever.

    But, I also think almost anybody who knows me at any level, pretty much anticipates that I will, indeed, go out while standing in a doorway howling into the darkness….

    The Mekes are are a difficult affection, at best; Wife sublime and I just spent the evening out on the half-deck, drinking lovely beers and talking and listening to my Mekonicity Playlist; but I had a heavy hand on the the skip, because even I find the diversity of that band to be twisty at best.

    Dusty, listening to the Mekons is a weird thing. The people who click on it, get a little weird; others just kind of get bemused. But for me, in addition to love some of the songs and art they’ve created (understand I have two woodcuts and four original prints on my walls authored by “mekons”) I also have to say that a band that simply does what they want, come what may, being true to their own ideas of art and music: Fuck me, but that is golden. And completely ignored.

    So, here I stand, in the doorway of this rickety, collapsing structure, and I howl. I will keep howling, and maybe someone will hear, but if not, the howling is what I do….

  7. Also, mikey: I trusted many people with my passion; in order to get my design ideas built.

    Yeah, it hurt. Oh god, it hurt.

    It wasn’t good, but it was, and is, the only outlet for my passion.
    Perhaps I have too much passion.

  8. Zombilicious..I admire your allegiance to this group. It’s sort of cute in a weird-ass way. But anyone or group that makes their music the way they want, regardless of the financial consequences, can not be all bad..and I must check out their artwork too evidently.

  9. Kathleen linked the interview on 6Bulls!/2, also. So I read it. Pretty good stuff.

  10. B^4 says:

    BBBB, they are playing the Bell House this fall, and I expect a report.

    I could probably snag comp. tickets (friends with one of the owners), but October is a bad month for me (Captain Nemo goes into the submarine and doesn’t surface for a month). I will try to weasel out of my obligations, but it’s probably nah gah happen.

    I always joke that my job is extremely cushy, except when it’s not. October is pretty much a one month “not” time. Love the Mekons, but love my job as well… never been in a dole queue.

  11. Jenna is totally knocked up.

    Henry Hagar is a beard. Or whatever you call it when the guy is getting married to cover up the nasty nasty unmarried preggers, but is totally not the father.

    HH is one of Karl rovers Little Boys.

    Yeah, i’ve totally got my hate on today. Hatorade for breakfast, A Plate of Hate for lunch, a Hate Five at break, and run and hate after work.Hata Libres
    billy pilgrim

    Seen on the W.O.W.

  12. Snag says:

    Snag can indeed tell you what happened when we went to First Avenue. We had a good time. Fucking-A, we did. I commend Zombie unto thee.

  13. Kathleen says:

    *sob* I posted that article for you. next you’re going to tell me you aren’t even interested in gnawing on my brain.

  14. Kathleen says:

    I’ve been listening to the Mekons on Spotify. Definitely want to see them live. I had to switch to Hothouse Flowers though so I could get some work done.

  15. yes, you did, Kathleen, and thanks for Mekon-trolling the Bulls. Serves ’em right for 3Bulls Radio.

    Someone beat you to it over at Sadly, No, though.

    EVERYONE is aware of my Mekon-obsession, it seems.

  16. Kathleen says:

    effing Sadly No.

  17. well, YOU are lucky, K. The first few stops booked on their NA tour lists Hardly Strictly Bluegrass at the end of September. They may be more acoustic for that one.

    Still no Milwaukee date.

  18. Kathleen says:

    oooh cool. I really wanted to go to Outside Lands but they only sell 3-day passes. no very family friendly. This is way better.

  19. When we were in SF, I was VERY SAD that it was not at the time of HSBG. The lineup looked awesome.

  20. Kathleen says:

    it’s like we are IMing each other.

Go ahead, tell me how I fucked up this time.

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