Jerry, Bro.

The man himself.

The man himself.

There is a Spanish/Mexican Restaurant – that is to say a place with Paella on one side of the menu, and carnitas on the other – near my apartment that seems lately to emanate music that is, well, hard to expect.

A couple weeks ago I walked by and from some distance away could hear the Grateful Dead. By the time I was next to it, the undeniable Jerry-ness of a long, long solo was coming down hard on me man. Like I was back in a college dorm room, tapestries and patchouli. Marijuana blown through dryer sheet toilet paper roll. Turntable. Jerry. PBR I couldn’t buy for myself. Getting yelled at by a small but incensed – on this subject at least, I mean ask him about the president and you’d get an aw man, you can’t focus on that stuff bro, its all just a conspiracy anyway, caring makes you complicit! – upper-middle-class kid with professor parents that taught at a school (pointedly) all the way across the state. Yelled at because I said, in my country ignorance, that I had never really thought of Jerry Garcia as a strong guitar player. I hadn’t. I still don’t really, to be honest. I mean, better than me, you know. But not like, makes-me-want-to-listen-to-12-minute-guitar-solos strong. Well, he informed me that I clearly hadn’t listened to enough of the Grateful Dead. Perhaps I had not. But in this moment, outside the Spanish/Mexican restaurant, I was unbalanced more by the music than the memory.

The weekend before it had been the Doors. Organ grinding away on hot summer sidewalk. Before that it was straight up contemporary Country pop. Like trucks-and-solo-cups country¹. At volume! Now, look, I’m not trying to say that a Mexican restaurant needs to be playing the pan-Latino classics that we have all become accustomed to in these settings. I’m just saying that if you pass this place up on a Wednesday afternoon, that’s what you get. But if you pass it on a Saturday, well, there seems to be an equal opportunity music thing happening on the weekends that I find interesting.

A thing that recently started there, which may coincide with the weekend music choices, is Brunch. Maybe they are just looking to tune in what the Windsor Terrace brunch crowd wants to hear? Perhaps, more terrifying, is that maybe they already found it. My neighborhood is, probably I imagine like your neighborhood, changing rapidly. It is hard sometimes to keep a bead on just who it is that I live around in the aggregate sense. But if it is the case that I have come to live in a neighborhood where the Dead, the Doors and Bro-Country is what brings people into a restaurant for mimosas and chiliquiles, then I just… Might need to spend some time meditating on some things for a while. Like why that makes we want to throw up for instance. I don’t know if I’ll ever be okay with that. This is going to take some work.        

FN1. By the way, Nashville is a city. I know people from the country, I’m actually from a small town myself, but I know people from the legitimate true to god country. And there is indeed a tendency there to listen to this garbage music from Nashville, but it is music made by wealthy men, on music row, in a city. Many of whom probably have places in New York. Many of whom are probably from the tri-state area and drove down one day, living on a credit card, until finally they got a break from their internship or whatever because they just wanted so bad to work in the music industry. I very nearly put scare quotes around those last two words and then thought better of it. But. Not musicians you understand, just people who dream about being in publishing, or whatever, just so long as they are in the music industry. Same temptation. Who does that? Who wants that? And the thing you want is to become successful at making money off the backs of musicians and songwriters? You would like to be a professional exploiter of talented people? What kind of a person? I’ve met some of these people. They are not very smart or interesting or nice to be around. For what it’s worth. But they live in a city. This has been a footnoted rant on class-war and geography, I hope you found it useful in some way.

About Chris Michael

Eating guitars since 2009.
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