Saturday, March 29, 2008

In A Big Country

The spark of motivation for starting this blog was created during an email exchange with my friend Chris Standish (my wife's sister's boyfriend) about bands we love. Me being the 80s junkie that I am, I asked him if he had any feelings about Big Country, one of my faves. God bless him, he felt like I do. This jumpstarted an exchange I've wanted to preserve because it nailed my feeling on, not only Big Country, but love for my fave bands and the responsibility of fans to support their rock heroes.

For those who don't know, Stuart Adamson, lead singer and guitarist for the band committed suicide about 7 years ago and it still doesn't sit well with me. He wrote such passionate songs about life and love and yet he couldn't muster the same passion to save his own life. It's so incongruous and heartbreaking. It's lyrics like "I'm not expecting to grow flowers in a desert, but I can live and breathe and see the sun in wintertime" that inspired me to begin writing and naming this blog. Below is excerpts of Chris and I's exchange. Maybe some readers can relate in some form.

"I've always wished I could have let him know somehow that I thought he was great, in case it would have made a difference. That's lofty, I know. When your rock heroes kill themselves, especially guys like Stuart and Paul [Hester, drummer for Crowded House, my all-time favorite band above all bands] who are in bands long out of the public eye, but completely entrenched in my heart, I feel some personal responsibility, like I wish I could have been there to nurture them back to health. If they did it because they didn't feel loved, well I loved them a lot! You know? Maybe just knowing that would have changed something. I'm sure it wouldn't have, but it would make me feel better.

"The first Big Country album I ever bought or owned was Peace In Our Time and it's terrible. It was high school and I took it to school once and it got stolen and I never bothered to replace it. It was just so far from their early great stuff. I think because that is where I started with their albums, it took me a while to pick up any more. I got their Best Of in college and it, along with Talk Talk - Natural History, are priceless. It gives you all you need to know about the latter work. "Wonderland" and "East Of Eden" are my faves. So, [then I go to work for Tower Records in their marketing and advertising department] and have access to free cds, as well as a lady friend I had at the time who loved Big Country too, which served to enhance and strengthen (if not even create, women will do that) my devotion, so I asked their label, Navarre, to send me whatever stuff they could. I got 3 of their Rarities discs. Not essential, but it helped to jumpstart my collection. Then, I pick up Why The Long Face for a buck somewhere. Again, not a great album, but by now I was willing to accept them faults and all. Finally, about a year or two ago, I bought The Seer and The Crossing. (Oh, Steeltown was obtained during a visit to the Bay Area by said lady friend. That's when I finally broke through to the good stuff and regained some trust after the Peace In Our Time disappointment).

"I find that I've begun to gauge my love of a band by how much money I've spent on them. So, used and Tower freebies don't count toward them because they wouldn't have seen any royalties. In that case, they were paid when I bought Peace, Seer, Crossing and Best Of, and the rest don't count. When I go through my collection and see how few bands I love that I can say I've spent that much on, I'm happy for them. Bands are like political candidates, if you believe in what they're doing, you have to show it by opening your wallet. Otherwise, they aren't given any indication how much you care. It's sad but true."

Chris pointed me to a beautiful article written by the one-and-only Dave Eggers about the band right after Stuart's suicide. Isn't it ironic that the man that admonished us to "Stay Alive!" couldn't do the same. The link is here:


AnnieB said...

beautiful! well said!! bravo!!!

dish said...

By the way, I'm pretty sure it's: "come UP screaming"