I got “What’d I Say” by Ray Charles on the box here, early morning Maine. Bright sunshine, house empty but for me, D. at work, boys to school. Today Thing One (who gets to choose the music on the way TO school) introduced me to “Scars on Broadway,” which would be the solo album of two refugees from “System of a Down,” and if this means nothing to you, then you too might be fifty years old like herself. IT is brain-rattling, scream-o “death metal,” which does wake one up. I can tell you that a) yes, the music does fill me with horror, and b) the musicians seem smart and somewhere behind the noise is a dedication to, as Zach put it, “Saving the earth and smashing stereotypes.”
This music made me smile, partly from the sheer go-to-hell-noise of it, and part of it because its heart is sincere, and I thought about what my mom must have thought of Frank Zappa and the Grateful Dead, back in 1974, when I was the one who got to choose the music “on the way to school.” On the way home, of course, it was mom’s call– WFLN, Philadelphia’s then-classical station. Of course, WFLN went belly up, as a classical station, anyhow, a few years ago, and now THEY play death-metal too.
And yes, I do recall one time at my friend Kenny’s house, when we were listening to Zappa’s composition, “Weasels Ripped My Flesh,” his mother came into the room unexpectedly. She said, “Oh, I’m sorry. From the sound of it, I thought someone left the vacuum cleaner on in here.”
Tell your mama, tell your pa
I’m gonna send you back to Arkansas
Oh yes, ma’m, you don’t do right, don’t do right
Tell me what I say!