Wednesday, November 02, 2005

never question bruce dickinson

I have a rental car for a couple of days: too many modeling jobs, too far apart, and an ill-concealed desire to drive like a madwoman, howling along to the radio with the windows open and my hair whipping in my eyes and making me more dangerous than usual.

Channel-surfing on the Bay Bridge, I caught the Bangles version of Hazy Shade of Winter (which is not, I repeat not, their song, as some would have it; it's actually Simon and Garfunkel). You remember, it was on the Less Than Zero soundtrack, back when Bret Easton Ellis was, well, sort of relevant, before other people wrote better books about SoCal kids snorting coke. It's a song that never fails to make me think of California, probably because the film is set in LA. That might be why I always get it mixed up with California Dreaming (written the same year, btw), which also references brown leaves and grey skies.

But I digress. What really struck me was that I could hear the claves very clearly--and they sounded as though they'd been played live, which surprised the toast out of me. I thought everything from that era, percussion-wise, was machine-made. But there are a few points where there's a tiny hesitation, where the downbeat doesn't come at the same time it did in the measure before. I found that very endearing.

It also made me think of one of Christopher Walken's finer moments. It embarrasses me how much this cracks me up.

Here's the original SNL skit, courtesy of GorillaMask. Take a look at Will Farrell's midsection on the second take; fellow belly/Polynesian dancers will note that he's got a plausible ami going for a minute there, which is a complete surprise. And he's playing one of these for all he's worth.