Darkness into Light
Who would have thought I'd ever like a song about the suicide of Sylvia Plath? Not me, but in fact, I do. A song called "Crackle and Drag" by Paul Westerberg. Subtle and heartbreaking and beautiful. Particularly Westerberg's sparse, gentle delivery which appears in the documentary "Come and Feel Me Tremble." Saw it last night at the Riverview in Minneapolis and despite its rough, homebrew aesthetic, it's good. Although an appreciation of the man's back catalog is probably necessary in order to get through the poor audio and jumpy camera work during many of the live performances. The movie is in limited release (in fact, it's possible it won't ever be screened again), but the DVD and soundtrack are available starting today at a hip record store near you.
Acting on a tip, I ran down an interview Westerberg did last week with the Onion. It's on their AV Club page, which seems to dabble in straight media reporting, not parody. But that doesn't prevent some Westerberg humor from getting through.
His thoughts on fame:
It goes fast. You turn around and go, "Oh, that was our peak?" [Laughs.] Suddenly, you do the same venue you did the year before, and only half the people show up. It only hits as hard as high as you go. It didn't really affect me, because the 'Mats never got to the level of superstardom. We went from cult figures to unpopular cult figures.
His thoughts on the Replacements touring with Tom Petty:
O: You did tour with Tom Petty.
PW: That was pretty much the beginning of the end. Obviously, the label was trying to get us to appeal to a broader, wider audience, and Tom's fans are Tom's fans. There were a lot of altercations in the audience. Maybe 1/20th of the audience came to see us, and they would get in fights with Petty's fans, because they were booing us. It wasn't really a cool scene, actually.
O: Did you mind Petty swiping your "rebel without a clue" line? [That line, from The Replacements' "I'll Be You," turned up in Petty's "Into The Great Wide Open." --ed.]
PW: It miffed me a little bit, but it's all... I'd steal something back from him, if I could find something I liked.
Not realizing this interview appeared on the AV Club page, I initially searched the main Onion Website for "Replacements." And I got this article from September 2000, which is somehow, oddly appropriate:
'85 Chicago Bears Return to Studio. Shufflin' Crew Begins Work on Long-Awaited Follow-Up Album.