July 8, 2010
I know I'm laying a bunch of obvious ones on you and am trying not to go all "Chad Burma's record collection" with this whole "Summer Essentials" thing but fuck, I love the Silver Jews.
Go get all their records.
I will also say that I was really bummed to find out a few months ago that they announced last year (I'm always the last to know) that there will not be any more Silver Jews records (I always find it weird to use "they" when you know I'm just referring to David Berman)
Here are two announcements by DB, one about the end of the Silver Jews and one about his father, which made me love him even more. You should also buy his book of poetry "Actual Air" it's real good. Sometimes he's overly clever and it feels like he's trying hard and you're trying hard too so that you can be counted among the cool kids, but if you take it as breezy it's all pretty fantastic. That's the way I always imagine it's intended. Breezy.
There is also something about the phrasing that makes it easy for me to imagine the words leaving my beloved Mark$ter's lips. Mark has this crazy cockeyed heretic school marm thing going on.
From David Berman
Hello, my friend.
Cassie and I went to the cave and it looks great. 58 degrees but the humidity makes it feel like 72.
I'm just going to play fifteen songs. My fifteen favorite ones.
A dollar per song. Plus Arnett Hollow. I don't
want to keep you underground for too long. Fall Creek Falls State Park State Lodge is great by the way its like the one from a place wherein they called Falls -
Yes I cancelled the South American shows. I'll have to see the ABC Countries another way.
I guess I am moving over to another category. Screenwriting or Muckraking.
I've got to move on. Can't be like all the careerists doncha know.
I'm forty two and I know what to do.
I'm a writer, see?
Cassie is taking it the hardest. She's a fan and a player but she sees how happy i am with the decision.
I always said we would stop before we got bad. If I continue to record I might accidentally write the song answer to Shiny Happy People.
What, you thought I was going to hang on to the bitter end like Marybeth Hamilton?
MY FATHER, MY ATTACK DOG
Now that the Joos are over I can tell you my gravest secret. Worse than suicide, worse than crack addiction:
You might be surprised to know he is famous, for terrible reasons.
My father is a despicable man. My father is a sort of human molestor.
An exploiter. A scoundrel. A world historical motherfucking son of a bitch. (sorry grandma)
You can read about him here.
My life is so wierd. It's allegorical to the nth. My father went to college at Transylvania University.
You see what I'm saying.
A couple of years ago I demanded he stop his work. Close down his company or I would sever our relationship.
He refused. He has just gotten worse. More evil. More powerful. We've been "estranged" for over three years.
Even as a child I disliked him. We were opposites. I wanted to read. He wanted to play games.
He is a union buster.
When I got out of college I joined the Teamsters (the guards were union organized at the Whitney).
I went off to hide in art and academia.
I fled through this art portal for twenty years. In the mean time my Dad started a very very bad
company called Berman and Company.
He props up fast food/soda/factory farming/childhood obesity and diabetes/drunk driving/secondhand smoke.
He attacks animal lovers, ecologists, civil action attorneys, scientists, dieticians, doctors, teachers.
His clients include everyone from the makers of Agent Orange to the Tanning Salon Owners of America.
He helped ensure the minimum wage did not move a penny from 1997-2007!
The worst part for me as a writer is what he does with the english language.
Though vicious he is a doltish thinker
and his spurious editorials rely on doublethink and always with the Lashon Hara.
As I studied Judaism over the years, the shame and the shanda,
grew almost too much. my heart was constantly on fire for justice. I could find no relief.
This winter I decided that the SJs were too small of a force to ever come close to
undoing a millionth of all the harm he has caused. To you and everyone you know.
Literally, if you eat food or have a job, he is reaching you.
I've always hid this terrible shame from you, the fan. The SJs have always stood autonomous and clear.
Hopefully it won't contaminate your feelings about the work.
My life has been riddled with Ibsenism. In a way I am the son of a demon come to make good the damage.
Previously I thought, through songs and poems and drawings I could find and build a refuge away from his world.
But there is the matter of Justice.
And i'll tell you it's not just a metaphor. The desire for it actually burns.
There needs to be something more. I'll see what that might be.
if you want to know what evil Herr Attackdog is currently up to look here:
You know, now I'm getting all emotional and worked up about this. I'll leave you with the second track from their first album. It seems fitting. I couldn't find the album version except for this anime mash up. I was really lucky to get to see them play this song twice, they existed for 15 years before ever doing a tour. Finally being able to see them play several favorite songs that I'd been waiting years to hear live is something I cherish very deeply (even though the crowd was always way weird, a bunch of kids doing their best to seem as literate as possible. patches on the elbows, graduate student types).