Archive for the ‘Dazed and Confused’ Category

SOUNDTRACK: LED ZEPPELIN-The Song Remains the Same (1978).

I don’t normally try to have my soundtracks correspond to the book. But since Andrew suggested that Mastodon’s Leviathan was a good match, I decided I’d try to have all six Soundtracks relate to the book some how.

The obvious starting point was Led Zeppelin’s “Moby Dick” and where better to look than at the over-the-top live version contained here.

As a classic rock guy, I grew up worshiping Led Zeppelin.  And I have no way of objectively talking about their music, really.  However, when I was in college, some guys in my dorm played this particular release all the time and claimed it to be the best CD in the history of music.

And thus, I have a delightfully convoluted relationship to this live album.  I used to really dislike it: extended jams of silliness rather than rocking live tracks.  However, as I’ve gotten older, and I’ve begun enjoying jam bands more, I see the enjoyment of this kind of show.  And yet I read a review of this very disc the other day that described it as being a few shows past Led Zep’s prime, and I think that’s pretty valid.

I haven’t heard any of the other recently released live discs (which are supposed to be amazing).  But this one feels overblown and pretentious.  And there’s nothing wrong with that if that’s the kind of band you are, but Led Zep was not that (until later);  they were meaty and heavy.

This version of “Moby Dick” is 12-minutes long.  Over 10 minutes of it is a drum solo.  This always reminds me of the line from Dazed & Confused: “Man, I ain’t belivin’ that shit about Bonham’s 1-hour drum solo…I mean, 1 hour on drums…you couldn’t handle that shit on strong acid, man.”  The rest of the disc is the same way: long solos that don’t really showcase virtuosity, they just sort of go on and on.  I do like the kevboard solo in one of the songs, but the “ah ah” part in “Dazed and Confused” is pretty silly.

In some ways, the song “Moby-Dick” (and the album itself) is like the book: a product of its time.  In 2010 , if you played a ten-minute drum solo (even Rush have added electronic horns and a swing number  to Neil’s drum solo) you’d be mocked.  But back in the 70s, it was a badge or honor.  Similarly, Moby-Dick seems quaint and weird to most contemporary readers.  And yet, put in context, it’s funny and surprisingly forward thinking.  And I suppose the music does make a good background for reading it, too.

[READ: Week of May 24, 2010] Moby-Dick [Chapters 1-18]

So, the instigators at Infinite Zombies are hosting a read along for Moby-Dick (and yes, the hyphen is supposed to be there).  I’m going to be a contributing writer to this shindig, so I’m going to curtail what I say here somewhat [see my post about religion, here]. Also, unlike Infinite Jest and 2666 which had difficult, multi-charactered, multi-layered, confusing plots, Moby-Dick is fairly straightforward.  And so, there’s not a great need for in-depth story summary (not to mention each of the 100+ chapters is titled, so you know what’s going to happen in each one!).

But with that out of the way, let’s see what I can say about this book.  Oh, one more thing, I’ve been trying to include page numbers in my citations, but there are just too many versions of this book (and I am using one for my reading and another for my copy-and-paste-quotes–the whole book is available at that link), so I’m just going with Chapters.

I was joking with some friends recently that their sister thinks Moby-Dick is very funny.  And I have to say I was surprised about how funny it was, too.  Not gut-busting funny, mind you, but funny enough. (more…)

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