September 22nd, 2003
Something Deeper Than These Changes comes out tuesday. I went to Tower today and they had one in the bins. I won’t quibble that it’s out a day early. I was hoping it would be there. So far I like it very much. But then, I’m a fan. The Statue Song makes me want to cry it’s such a perfectly sad song. And of course some of it has made me laugh out loud already. Stew is a great favorite. Several months ago I went north to see him play with “The Cover Problem” in Los Angeles. Took a train up, and a bus to the gig, and a Greyhound back. It was a great disorienting/orienting evening. The man actually recognized me, we having had corresponded since I set up his online “diary” stew sez.
The new record actually includes lyrics. I’ve been transcribing Stew/The Negro Problem lyrics since 1999 or so (and I think I can believe my smorgasborg). So it’s kind of neat to have the lyrics and not have to interpret so much, not that the lyrics aren’t a hodgepodge of baroque, arcana. Stew’s words are lovable to me precisely because he woos the muse of the odd.
I’ve seen Stew play several times now here in San Diego. I think three times. And then up in Los Angeles with TCP.
It’s bittersweet then, to note the news that he and Heidi Rodewald appear to be headed to Gotham.
As usual, Stew has insight to burn, and kicks the ass of anyone who thinks it’s a dis to L.A., or who thinks the move legitimizes the NYC bigotry of New Yorkers. That bigotry being that NYC is somehow the greatest city in the world. Screw that. He says, on the negroproblem mailing list:
New York Provincialism – one of my big topics. my biggest problem with NY (besides large rents and larger roaches) is New York’s weird love affair with itself. It strikes me as oddly provincial for a place so super cool.
A NYer was recently complaining to me about how boring a certain very small city was that she got stuck in during a business trip and how “horrible” it was that there was so little to do there. A Manhattanite complaining about a small town being boring is as childish and absurd as a bumpkin whining about Times Square traffic.
I love that The Man Himself runs a little mailing list — and posts to it.
So Stew will be in residency, more or less, in the Northeast. I wish him well, and I hope Stew and Heidi find the city wonderful and invigorating.
I’m sad to hear them leaving SoCal, even if it only ends up temporary. But I’m also reminded of a certain Frank Zappa, taking up a residency in the Garrick Theatre of NYC in 1967.
In the end Zappa was more a creature of L.A., and returned “home” to Los Angeles. Comparable? Time will tell.
These changes are deep for Stew I think. I say, mind the noose and fare thee well.