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Posts tagged "ian svenonius"

Jan 03, 2013
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Ian Svenonius, Supernatural Strategies For Making A Rock ‘n’ Roll Group

Oh, now this was a fun book to finish 2012. Like I said of Svenonius’s first book, The Psychic Soviet, “Outrageous, brilliant, kooky, and totally hilarious.”

It’s really two books: the first book, “True Secrets Revealed,” is a silly premise—various dead rock and roll stars are contacted through a seance and muse about the form—framing Svenonius’s theories about the development of rock and roll. The second book, “Supernatural Strategies,“ is a rock and roll “how-to” cobbled together by these spirit mediums: everything from picking a name to taking a photo to recording an album to touring in the band. I could’ve done without the framing device of the seances. Part of the fun of reading Svenonius is the “He can’t be serious? But yet, I can’t really disagree” type feeling you get from reading him, and the seances take away from that a bit. But I love the writing.

Gems abound.

On sex: “The relative ease of sexual conquest in modernity is the culprit for contemporary music being so revoltingly mediocre.”

On conversation: “If you confuse people, they can’t pull their shit on you.”

On drugs: “Drugs are time-consuming and once one is not taking them, it becomes apparent to the former user how many years were used up with what is essentially an expensive version of sleeping late.”

On success: “The flush of success, after all, breeds conservatism born of fear.”

On criticism: “Ultimately, no one really cares about your group to the degree that you do, so chitchat about your group must be regarded for what it is: chitchat. You will never actually know if what you do is “good,” “bad,” or just confusing. You are, in any case, too close to it to understand what it is.”

At one point, Svenonius holds up the Viet Cong’s Code of Discipline as a model for group discipline:

I will obey the orders from my superiors under all circumstances.
I will never take anything from the people, not even a needle or thread.
I will not put group property to my own use.
I will return that which is borrowed, make restitution for things damaged.
I will be polite to people, respect and love them.
I will be fair and just in buying and selling.
When staying in people’s houses I will treat them as I their would my own house.
I will follow the slogan: All things of the people and for the people.
I will keep unit secrets absolutely and will never disclose information even to closest 
friends or relatives. 
I will encourage the people to struggle and support the Revolution.
I will be alert to spies and will report all suspicious persons to my superiors.
I will remain close to the people and maintain their affection and love.
On #2:


  This seems like an odd rule since stealing is what rock ‘n’ roll is based on. The groups one plays with will steal your song ideas, your lyrics, your stage presentation, and even your style and demeanor. You will have stolen these things from records you have heard, books you have read, and films you have watched. The sound engineers will steal your microphones and your guitar cords (or vice versa), while people “hanging out” backstage will steal your beer, your computer, your money, and your address book. Meanwhile, junkies outside the club will steal your luggage, your gear, and your van. People at the show will steal your records and T-shirts from your souvenir stand.


And finally, at the end, comes a word of warning to those who would attempt rock ‘n’ roll (the warning could apply to all art):


  If one becomes a lawyer, scholar, mechanist, typist, scientist, production assistant, or what-have-you, the world will commend your decision. Each day at lunch, on vacation, or at whatever party you attend, your choice will be applauded, upheld, and affirmed. And you will know what is expected of you. Even if your job is difficult—if you are a brain chemist, international death merchant, or rocket designer—your responsibilities will be obvious and your goals concrete. If you achieve them, you may be rewarded by promotion. If you fail, you might be fired or demoted, but nonetheless—unless your boss is insane—the job will have tangible parameters.
  
  The group, however, is different. You will never know exactly what you must do, it will never be enough… no matter what change you achieve, you will most likely see no dividend from it. And even after you have achieved greatness, the infinitesimal cadre who even noticed will ask, “What next?”


Recommended.

Ian Svenonius, Supernatural Strategies For Making A Rock ‘n’ Roll Group

Oh, now this was a fun book to finish 2012. Like I said of Svenonius’s first book, The Psychic Soviet, “Outrageous, brilliant, kooky, and totally hilarious.”

It’s really two books: the first book, “True Secrets Revealed,” is a silly premise—various dead rock and roll stars are contacted through a seance and muse about the form—framing Svenonius’s theories about the development of rock and roll. The second book, “Supernatural Strategies,“ is a rock and roll “how-to” cobbled together by these spirit mediums: everything from picking a name to taking a photo to recording an album to touring in the band. I could’ve done without the framing device of the seances. Part of the fun of reading Svenonius is the “He can’t be serious? But yet, I can’t really disagree” type feeling you get from reading him, and the seances take away from that a bit. But I love the writing.

Gems abound.

On sex: “The relative ease of sexual conquest in modernity is the culprit for contemporary music being so revoltingly mediocre.”

On conversation: “If you confuse people, they can’t pull their shit on you.”

On drugs: “Drugs are time-consuming and once one is not taking them, it becomes apparent to the former user how many years were used up with what is essentially an expensive version of sleeping late.”

On success: “The flush of success, after all, breeds conservatism born of fear.”

On criticism: “Ultimately, no one really cares about your group to the degree that you do, so chitchat about your group must be regarded for what it is: chitchat. You will never actually know if what you do is “good,” “bad,” or just confusing. You are, in any case, too close to it to understand what it is.”

At one point, Svenonius holds up the Viet Cong’s Code of Discipline as a model for group discipline:

  1. I will obey the orders from my superiors under all circumstances.
  2. I will never take anything from the people, not even a needle or thread.
  3. I will not put group property to my own use.
  4. I will return that which is borrowed, make restitution for things damaged.
  5. I will be polite to people, respect and love them.
  6. I will be fair and just in buying and selling.
  7. When staying in people’s houses I will treat them as I their would my own house.
  8. I will follow the slogan: All things of the people and for the people.
  9. I will keep unit secrets absolutely and will never disclose information even to closest friends or relatives.
  10. I will encourage the people to struggle and support the Revolution.
  11. I will be alert to spies and will report all suspicious persons to my superiors.
  12. I will remain close to the people and maintain their affection and love.

On #2:

This seems like an odd rule since stealing is what rock ‘n’ roll is based on. The groups one plays with will steal your song ideas, your lyrics, your stage presentation, and even your style and demeanor. You will have stolen these things from records you have heard, books you have read, and films you have watched. The sound engineers will steal your microphones and your guitar cords (or vice versa), while people “hanging out” backstage will steal your beer, your computer, your money, and your address book. Meanwhile, junkies outside the club will steal your luggage, your gear, and your van. People at the show will steal your records and T-shirts from your souvenir stand.

And finally, at the end, comes a word of warning to those who would attempt rock ‘n’ roll (the warning could apply to all art):

If one becomes a lawyer, scholar, mechanist, typist, scientist, production assistant, or what-have-you, the world will commend your decision. Each day at lunch, on vacation, or at whatever party you attend, your choice will be applauded, upheld, and affirmed. And you will know what is expected of you. Even if your job is difficult—if you are a brain chemist, international death merchant, or rocket designer—your responsibilities will be obvious and your goals concrete. If you achieve them, you may be rewarded by promotion. If you fail, you might be fired or demoted, but nonetheless—unless your boss is insane—the job will have tangible parameters.

The group, however, is different. You will never know exactly what you must do, it will never be enough… no matter what change you achieve, you will most likely see no dividend from it. And even after you have achieved greatness, the infinitesimal cadre who even noticed will ask, “What next?”

Recommended.

Dec 13, 2012
Permalink
Excerpt from Ian F. Svenonius’s forthcoming Supernatural Strategies for Making a Rock ‘n’ Roll Group

I loved Svenonius’s Psychic Soviet. Can’t wait for this.

(via @krecs)

Excerpt from Ian F. Svenonius’s forthcoming Supernatural Strategies for Making a Rock ‘n’ Roll Group

I loved Svenonius’s Psychic Soviet. Can’t wait for this.

(via @krecs)

Oct 06, 2012
Permalink
The Psychic Soviet by Ian Svenonius

I love this book. It’s almost impossible not to want to read excerpts aloud to whoever happens to be in the room when you’re flipping through it.

A sampling of the ideas in The Psychic Soviet: rock ‘n’ roll is ”a capitalist cult, anti-semitism is an attempt by Christians “to eradicate all traces of their plagiarism,” Seinfeld “was designed expressly to rehabilitate the blighted American city,” Alan Greenspan is to blame for the freak-folk and electroclash genres, The Lord of the Rings “is the woman hater’s bible,” if rock ‘n’ roll is “blaxploitation” then punk is “gaysploitation,” and the DJ is the ultimate capitalist and star of the ruling class, who “like the rulers on Wall Street…has no actual talent except to play with other people’s labor.”

When asked how seriously people should take this book, Svenonius replied: “People in America are so binary. They think that if something’s funny that it’s not serious. If you can manage to be funny, that doesn’t mean that things don’t mean anything.”

Outrageous, brilliant, kooky, and totally hilarious.

The Psychic Soviet by Ian Svenonius

I love this book. It’s almost impossible not to want to read excerpts aloud to whoever happens to be in the room when you’re flipping through it.

A sampling of the ideas in The Psychic Soviet: rock ‘n’ roll is ”a capitalist cult, anti-semitism is an attempt by Christians “to eradicate all traces of their plagiarism,” Seinfeld “was designed expressly to rehabilitate the blighted American city,” Alan Greenspan is to blame for the freak-folk and electroclash genres, The Lord of the Rings “is the woman hater’s bible,” if rock ‘n’ roll is “blaxploitation” then punk is “gaysploitation,” and the DJ is the ultimate capitalist and star of the ruling class, who “like the rulers on Wall Street…has no actual talent except to play with other people’s labor.”

When asked how seriously people should take this book, Svenonius replied: “People in America are so binary. They think that if something’s funny that it’s not serious. If you can manage to be funny, that doesn’t mean that things don’t mean anything.”

Outrageous, brilliant, kooky, and totally hilarious.

May 25, 2012
Permalink

Slant 6/The Make-Up

The Make-Up, “We’re Having a Baby,” off I Want Some

It’s true.

(via themakeupthemakeup, a Tumblr devoted to one of my favorite bands, The Make-Up)

Apr 19, 2011
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The Clash

The Clash, “Garageland,” off The Clash (1977)

"Once upon a time, a group called the Clash sang, ‘We’re a garage band.’ But who can afford a garage nowadays?"
Ian Svenonius

(Source: kellydeal)

Feb 25, 2011
Permalink
You think of disco and electro-funk and funk music as being obsessed with space travel. Garage rock—they talk, maybe, about cars, but never boats. In gospel music they talk about the train. Psychedelic bands talk about planes.

Jul 19, 2010
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Oct 23, 2008
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Once upon a time, a group called the Clash sang, ‘We’re a garage band.’ But who can afford a garage nowadays?
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