The Daily Astorian invites people to share the music they are enjoying and describe a few thoughts about the work. This week, Krist Novoselic, a musician, political activist and grange enthusiast who was the bass player for Nirvana, gives us his playlist. Novoselic, who lives in Wahkiakum County, Washington, can be heard occasionally on Coast Community Radio as DJ-Know. He finds great satisfaction in growing potatoes. To submit a playlist, send to email@example.com
I bought David Bowie’s “Blackstar” on the day he died.
“On the day he died,” is actually a lyric to the song of the same name. The store clerk said a lot of people were also buying it that day. I got the second-to-last vinyl LP on the shelf. Once home, I performed the ritual of taking the cellophane off the record, removing it, placing the record on the turntable and setting the tone arm on the first groove.
The music of the title track is truly haunting. The lyrics on the whole record seem full of messages regarding Bowie’s mortality. There are some blogs that attempt to decipher the meaning, however, I should not do that here, except to say the music I heard struck me as profound.
As side two came to a close and the tone arm drifted across that inner groove, it dawned on me that I will never again hear a new David Bowie record for the first time. Indeed, there will be reissues, and collected material from the vaults, but it will never be a cohesive statement like “Blackstar” is. Bowie’s music was made for 2016 and you can hear it in this release. It may be contemporary, at the same time, as we fans know, David Bowie’s music is timeless.
Father John Misty is the alter-ego for Josh Tillman. I recommend his two records, “Fear Fun” and “I Love You, Honeybear.” Tillman writes eloquently about life — his, and the one we all share in our society. In one lyric he can speak our times, while in the next we hear something about yesterday with cultural references to Richard Brautigan titles. The good Father is not a big commercial musical figure. This may be due to him sabotaging his own work. The song “Holy Shit” is a stirring and beautiful work. I dare say it is a perfect summation of our country today. This is why the title makes sense. Americans, on the left, right and in between, seem to be running down dark alleys, chasing after any smokescreen they see. “Holy Shit” might have nothing to do with this, as it is only my interpretation, nevertheless the composition’s beauty is damaged commercial goods by way of the title. The difference is that Tillman knows what he’s doing while our society, at the current moment, seems to be lost.
Foo Fighters’ “Saint Cecilia” is a statement on how they are the biggest rock band in the world. I downloaded this free EP off the Internet. I bought 2011’s “Wasting Light” CD at the Fred Meyer in Warrenton — even though I played on it! It matters not that nobody remembered to send me a copy because they thought enough of me to invite me into the studio. “Saint Cecilia” is more straight-ahead rock that is done really well. I went to the Foo’s last gig at the Moda Center in Portland and they rocked a packed house. I love the drummer Matt Sorum. However, he is so wrong in his statement about danger and the Foo’s somehow lacking it. First off all, I know about danger in rock. I was the bassist in Flipper — and survived! Look at a band like Queen, who totally rocked. They were way more dandy than danger. Queen knows how to rock a stadium. So do the Foo Fighters and you’ll hear big rock on Saint Cecilia.
The thing about danger in rock is that it takes its toll. People burn out. The only person able to sustain this, not surprising, is Iggy Pop. Yet sadly, the rest of the Stooges are gone. I recall in the early days of Nirvana how some hipsters would sneer at us. We didn’t care. Today, some of these people seem to be aghast that you can buy Nirvana T-shirts at J.C. Penney; like the band is not cool anymore. I am proud that Nirvana will always rock, no matter where you buy your clothes. We grew up with working people. Foo Fighters are carrying the torch by connecting to people in a personal way. I was once at one of their shows, watching from the side of the stage. I looked out into the stands, way up high on the left, and there is this woman standing on the steps moving to the music in a visceral way. She stepped out of her seat to hang onto every note. This was her night. I bet she worked hard all week and needed to feel something. I could tell she got what she paid for.