Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Man of Action

One of life’s lessons is this: never write off Robert Pollard. The booze-fueled rock-and-roll roundhouse kicker (in khakis!) just bubbles forth with bite-size absurdist jams. Circus Devils was one of his many post-GBV sideprojects. It came out this year on Mike Patton’s Ipecac Records. It’s by no means without its flaws. But Pollard’s music is like that bitumen-filled sand up in Alberta: it takes a lot of work to sort the fuel from the rubble, and the process may in fact be toxic, but you need your nutjob rockers, so what are you gonna do? Pollard sits around doing collages, scribbling down bits of surreal wisdom in his pad. Just the titles of some of these tracks are enough to earn the guy a Driftwood Singers life-time achievement award: "Bogus Reactions," "Hot Lettuce" and "French Horn Litigation" – that’s a man who’s hot on the trail of the steaming, stinky truth. To paraphrase a drunk I met in Charleston, S.C. many years ago, after my first out-of-town rock gig - "he plays what I feel."

Lefty and I cranked a few of these tunes in the Drift-o-tron during our concentrated weekend time-space warp tour over the summer. And if "Love-Hate Relationship With the Human Race" doesn’t say it all, or most of what needs saying (aided, to be sure, by ample cowbell), then I can’t see anyone else conquering that challenge in under two minutes.

"Love/Hate Relationship With the Human Race" - Circus Devils

"George Took a Shovel" - Circus Devils

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