As Above, So Below; So Below, As Above. The old principle of correspondence, Dear Reader. You can see it in everyday life through the ages if you look. Newton’s third law: for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. Sabbat dances as recorded were reversals of liturgical rituals. Demonologies and reversed tarot cards, the right- and left-hand path, the visible and invisible world. The Self and the Shadow Self. Changes in the visible world affect the invisible world, and vice-versa.

And listen: the idea of a middle ground, a balance point, is no more than a comforting fiction.  There is no middle ground.  In reality, there is just one thing, or the other.

Which brings me to CW McCall, a man in the great tradition of phony blue-collar heroes (c.f. Larry the Cable Guy, Tim Allen, and whatever that Duck Dynasty shit is).

McCall’s real name was Bill Fries: he was an advertising man by who recorded a bunch of novelty C&W songs.  One of these, “Convoy,” piggy-backed onto America’s inexplicable, never-to-be-revisited trucker obsession. As soon as this single dropped (1975), a movie based on its plot trundled into existence, emerging years later (1978).

The song “Convoy” describes a bunch of truckers who are driving around, you know, vroom vroom. And I guess truckers don’t like to stop at weigh stations? Anyway, these truckers don’t, and pretty soon they have a giant convoy of vehicles heading across the country. A lot probably burly dudes in big trucks, and a few hangers-on, including some “long-haired friends of Jesus in a chartreuse microbus.”

The trucker fad was short-lived—a couple years and then everyone realized that they were glorifying a bunch of corpulent idiots sitting on hemorrhoid donuts as they trundled on down a black stripe of tedium, now and again enjoying the dubious erotic favors of rest stop lot lizards. By 1980, all that trucker shit was done, son.

But—one year before the demise of our love affair with America’s long-haulin’ highway desperados, and one year after Convoy made it to theaters, the band Redd Kross formed in LA. The nucleus of the band was Jeff McDonald, 16, and Steven McDonald, 12. Although members of Black Flag and the Circle Jerks passed through their ranks, Redd Kross weren’t really a hardcore band. It’s hard to say what they were. Glam-ish, funny, sprouting like neon fungus from a soup of 1970s pap pop, they are widely believed to have reached their apex with 1984’s Neurotica.

An important thing about Redd Kross that I can’t overstate: they were/are fucking fantastic.

Now the first song on Neurotica, called “Neurotica,” contains the following verse “Long haired friends of Jesus/In a chartreuse microbus/Come on lose your mind/Now you're one of us.”

Now, you could say this or that about Redd Kross using this line, that it’s an answer song, or an appropriation, or an homage, or who cares it’s not any of those things. This is a small, nearly unnoticeable act of alchemy.

Just like that, something is transmuted, its nature irrevocably altered.

It doesn’t take much.  It doesn’t take secret knowledge, or obscure instructions.  It’s as simple as holding a thing in your hand and willing it to be different, to focus on it and will the entire world around it to change. So remember that, and good luck.

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