Miss Marianne Faithfull:

Miss Marianne Faithfull:
(Born December 29, 1946) Songs she inspired: She Smiled Sweetly, Let's Spend The Night Together, She's Like A Rainbow, You Can't Always Get What You Want, Wild Horses, I Got The Blues, 100 Years Ago, Winter

Miss Anita Pallenberg:

Miss Anita Pallenberg:
(Born April 6, 1942) Songs she inspired: You Got The Silver, Sister Morphine (words by Marianne), Wild Horses, Coming Down Again, Angie, Beast Of Burden, All About You

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

God's Own Singer

Gram Parsons dips just below my Holy Trinity of rock n' roll - Stones, Aerosmith, Gn'R - but he never sold anywhere close to as many records as they did, received the accolades or fame and fortune or any of that. Most idiots can drunkenly karaoke "Sweet Child O' Mine" or "Honky Tonk Women" or "Walk This Way", but it is a rare person indeed that regularly spins The Gilded Palace Of Sin or G.P. Gram came to me four years ago as an extension of my Keith Richards fandom; they met around 1967 (I think...) and despite a little jealousy from Mr. Jagger, Keith and Gram formed a close bond, trading guitar strums and country albums. As much as Anita and Marianne are to thank for the Golden Era of the Rolling Stones beginning with Beggar's Banquet, Gram is as well; you can hear his influence on everything from "Country Honk" to "Wild Horses" (which he covered with his band the Flying Burrito Brothers). Gram was an exquisite boy and a visionary artist. He grew up wealthy but troubled; his father committed suicide when Gram was a boy and his mother Avis went mad and was committed. The family was embedded with money, alcoholism and depression. Gram, priviledged and bright, got into Harvard, only to fail out after his first semester (lack of attendance and discipline, of course, not smarts).

His first band to make some noise was The International Submarine band, whose debut Safe At Home is heralded as the first sort of "country rock" album (a problematic term that Gram rejected). The album is good, but by no means fantastic. It's simple and inoffensive and not recorded terribly well, but you can see glimmers of Gram's vision and songwriting ability. When he joined The Byrds, he got the first real taste of stardom, recording 1967's Sweetheart Of The Rodeo, widely regarded as a classic of its time. It features an original of Gram's "Hickory Wind", which he didn't get to sing lead vocal on (unfortunate, but he later did). The Byrds weren't working out, and Gram left, joining forces with buddy Chris Hillman and forming The Flying Burrito Brothers, who were the toast of Los Angeles. Mick and Keith were staying in the Hollywood Hills and would often go out and see the band at L.A. nightclubs. Gram was utterly romanced by the fame and decadence of the Stones, a critical validation he always wanted for his music and a celebrity status he wanted for himself. And Gram should have been a celebrity. Ultimately I think his priviledge got in the way; when you're pretty much a trust fund baby, there's a lot less motivation to succeed. It isn't as if your livelihood depends on it. And yet, Gram had the talent, the looks and the connections to make it huge. What did he lack? The luck? The discipline? The work ethic? Who knows.

The Flying Burrito Brothers got to play at Altamont thanks to Gram's BFFness with Lord Richards. When the Stones took off on that rather apocalyptic day, Gram was one of the few people in the heliocopter, leaving his bandmates behind in the bedlam. I think he had a habit of abandoning them to hang out with Mick and Keith, which makes perfect sense to me, but was perhaps not the best way to nurture a working relationship. Gram and wife Gretchen (kind of a bitch) were invited to Villa Nellcote in that glorious Exiled summer of 1971. Some people say you can hear him sing on "Tumbling Dice" (I've listened and cannot, but that doesn't mean he wasn't in the harmony of singers...in fact, he probably was). He absolutely had a hand in at least the inspiration of "Sweet Virginia", an acoustic favorite from Exile On Main St. Sadly, this was the last real hurrah he and Keith got to spend. Gram and Gretchen were finally kicked out of Villa Nellcote and Gram died two years later. I think Keith still feels badly about this.

The Burritos put out a slew of amazing tunes, my favorites being the two "Hot Burrito" numbers, "Sin City", "Juanita" and others. Gram had a beautifully vulnerable voice, a shaky tone that made you think he just might shed a tear, that he believed in what he was singing that much. His solo albums with Emmylou Harris, G.P. and Grievous Angel are his best achievements, though like all his work, they earned more post-humous praise. He died of an overdose in the Joshua Tree hotel and scandalously had his body stolen and burned by road manager, babysitter and friend Phil Kaufman. His ashes were scattered among the desert, like he would have wanted. Gram, Keith and Anita used to spend a lot of time out there, taking hallucinogenic drugs and spotting UFOs.

Gram Parsons is one of my favorite musicians who has ever lived. If you haven't checked out any of his material, I highly suggest you do so.
"It's a hard way to find out
That trouble is real
In a far away city
With a far away feel
But it makes me feel better
Each time it begins
Calling me home
Hickory wind..."

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Tits and ass with soul, baby

So, being the relatively young lass that I am and growing up not only in our media-saturated US of A but also in an affluent, image-obsessed town, I learned at an early age to appreciate the art of THE SKINNY GIRL; her long lines and peek of ribcage when she yawns, the bones in her back moving as she dances--the notion that there's something delicate about her, something breakable. Such vulnerability is difficult to deny, and I don't know about you, but I think vulnerability is kind of hot. So believe me, I get it. I get the appeal of that anorexic, hollow-eyed, underfed, cutglass cheekbones type of look. For many years (and sometimes now) I experience the wish that I was one of those girls, a model posing for Vogue, body bent forward to achieve some impossibly angular physique, a girl you look at and marvel how a person can be quite so weightless, so nobby kneed and fat-less thighed (and then how she can look like that when the camera supposedly adds ten pounds). It's very glamorous to be tall and gaunt. Clothes hang on you like they were designed to. You have a definite "one up" on the majority of the population, a superiority to those who blubber and smear grease all over their faces every meal, fat hanging off their jeans. Being skinny, I'd imagine, is pretty cool.

But as enchanted as I often am by the pages of fashion magazines or clips of runway shows on TV, having T&A is something I love and celebrate. The older I get and the more men I meet, I understand that my teenage thinking was faulty for one glaring reason: Being curvy is fucking HOT. If I was a man (and I often try to think like one just for shits and giggles), I think I'd much rather be grabbing the milky thighs of some bombshell rather than bruising myself on a hipbone. Granted, there's a fine line between being deliciously ripe and being rather fat and dumpy, but the women who fit in the former category--well, there's nothing like 'em. And I think that most guys probably agree. So, why not celebrate the godesses who defined the notion of 'sex appeal', whose angelic faces and traffic-stopping figures are never out of style? It's no surprise that the iconic images of Marilyn Monroe remain an international sensation, or that porno magazines that 12 year old boys steal from their daddy's drawer are always of busty babes with curves to spare, or that on the arm of the Jaggers and Tylers is usually a luscious, leggy pin up.

The sexual allure of a woman, you would think, would be that she is unlike a man--she curves in at the waist and out at the hips and has boobies and that ever sought after triangle of lust between her thighs. She's softer, rounder, and more delicate (smaller boned). That's the way the good Lord made some of us, and I'm over feeling badly about it. Luckily there are images like the ones above (of goddess Jayne Mansfield) to make a girl proud of her T&A. After all, even darling Keith just wanted his little rock n' roll, his tits and ass with soul...

In the words of Axl Rose, "Yowza".

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

"I see my Marianne walking away..."

The other night when I (clearly) had nothing better to do than peruse Google Images, I came across this stunning collection of Marianne photos from when she was very young. I think most of these were shot in 1964-1965, when she was 17/18 years old. Wasn't she such a dream?

Saturday, January 3, 2009

"Got your hair slicked back and those Wayferers on, baby..."

Ray-Ban Wayferer sunglasses are effortlessly cool, and a rather reasonable price for designer shades, ringing up at about $140. I got my teal pair early this past summer, and they are so "me"--I wear them everywhere, despite whether or not they match my ensemble (and they usually don't). I got my little sis the black and white pair she's donning here for Christmas (the inside rims and legs of the glasses are black, which you can't see from this photo).

I'm a bit embarrassed to admit my total LOVE of Don Henley's anthem "Boys Of Summer", but ever since hearing that tune when I was quite young, I've always wanted some Wayferers. Actually, the whole album, Building The Perfect Beast by Henley, is quite good. Cheesy, overproduced '80s material, sure, but still good. I don't fancy myself a huge Eagles fan, mostly because of my affection for country-rock hero (though he hated that term) Gram Parsons, whose cosmic American music influenced the sound the Eagles adopted much more than most people realize. Gram, who died of a drug overdose in 1973, is one of my favourite human beings, a total visionary and unsung hero of his time. It's quite a shame that the fame and status he so desperately wanted while a member of the International Submarine Band, The Byrds, The Flying Burrito Brothers, and as a solo artist was only afforded to him post-humously. Such is life.

Anyway, Happy New Year to all! When the clock struck midnight and ushered in 2009, I was having probably the most fun start to a year that I've ever experienced. Hopefully, these blessings will continue. 2009 is most certainly a year of freedom for me. 'Freedom' in this sense does not come with any sort of sexually promiscuous connotations, mind you, but that I feel very much in charge of my own destiny. This year I promise to myself that I will achieve something that I'm proud of, be it modeling, saving money, moving in with my best friend, doing a photoshoot with Krystal and starting our business, having a successful and happy relationship, or hopefully all of the above.