Monday, April 7, 2014

The Jesus Lizard, "Boilermaker"

The Jesus Lizard will never win a Grammy, a gold record or a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction, but now they've got something better than all three combined, a book. Better yet, it's a brilliantly-compiled collection of photos, essays, recipes and more from the band and several of their music industry fans. Like the band itself, Book was meticulously prepared but feels thrown together. Naming your printed tome Book seems lazy until you realize it falls in line with the band's album titles (Pure, Head, Goat, Liar, Lash, Show, Down, Shot, Blue, Bang and Inch).

Chris Weingarten, now of Rolling Stone, contributes two pieces, including three paragraphs on the first second of "Boilermaker" on Liar. I hope to write about music as well as he does someday.

"The opening second of Liar is hands down the greatest opening second of any album ever recorded. It makes the introductory chord of A Hard Day’s Night sound like a chorus of wet farts. It makes Bobby Gregg’s snare crack on Highway 61 Revisited sound like a cat coughing up a paperclip. If rock music is inherently about sexual energy, 'Boilermaker’s' inaugural second is the shock and shame of premature ejaculation.

Part of its charm is how hilariously self-defeating it is to put the climax of your album within its first second. To compare, note that the bridge to Nirvana’s 'Drain You' comes like twenty-eight minutes into Nevermind—what are you guys, Genesis? If Liar were a splatter flick, it would start with the woodchipper scene. It’s getting cold-cocked without even seeing the face of your attacker. No matter what volume your stereo is at, it’s too loud.

Best of all, this onomatopoetic spittle-sprayer is barely a bark. It’s like walking in midbark. Bark as suffix. It’s opening the door to find the Jesus Lizard rehearsing (or worse) in your living room. Their first album released after the 'alternative gold rush,' and here’s an abrupt jolt coming in midsentence, seeming to send the message, Uh, the party’s already started, where the fuck have you been?"

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