Mom, Spitting in Her Hand (for Van Christian)
Van Christian (Naked Prey) reached out to me for some quotes for his new record. I listened to it. And it moved me.
By the way, not that it totally matters, but Van's record was completely financed by running pot cross country for Mexican National's. Shortly after Van finished his opus he got busted and served 3 years. He's out now. And flying straight. Anyway, seek out the record. It's worth the seeking.
Mom, Spitting in Her Hand
Trust me here - that weird title is a good way of thinking about Van Christian. Maybe I'll be able to explain that. First, you know, we all ought to be a little bit more grateful. Maybe quit worrying so much about being graceful. Is there any single creature who made the Tucson scene more interesting, more fun? And am I grateful for him? Damn straight I'm grateful. Now you go and be grateful.
Seriously, did anyone make Tucson cooler? No. Any one more than Van fucking Christian? Name one and I'll go down on you with the cameras rolling at the 50-yard line at half time on the Super Bowl where everybody in America is waiting for the high-dollar commercials and wardrobe malfunctions.
Way before Desert Rock was shanghaied by careeristas -shit-snipes who in a (forget perfect) merely fair world would be teaching Jazz Band at a second-rate community college in Los Posole, New Mexico or Glee Club in Pacomia - before there were even matches at Burning Man...
Before any of that, there was that crazed son of a doctor Van Christian. My opinion here. My opinion this time out is flat fact.
In the Zonie tradition - from Alice Vincent Cooper to Hector Molina - you'll find the true Desert Rock where, I guess, people couldn't go any further on the 10. Desert Rock: the skuzzy stuff, the truly good stuff, the skanky and skeezy right-off-the-bone real stuff. Rock and Roll. Loose, tight. Sloppy, precise. Clear-eyed and fucked up. Messy, Greasy. Revelations from the desert. The deep fried nausea, the pass the fucking bong I really think I'm Elvis lunacy.
That's Van Christian. I don't have to say this. I seldom get paid for anything and I damn sure don't expect a paycheck from Van. No, this praise isn't because of all the things he knows about me I wish he didn't - and that grizzled dishwasher better take those tales to his grave. No. I want to say this because, hey! this time out he means business. He financed this record about the hardest of ways - but also sort of traditionally. When Black Flag were broke, Henry delivered Dominos in Venice. Or so they say. Van did his time as a deliveryman, but there weren't many pepperoni with extra cheese thin crusts involved.
He stayed alive. That's business. There's an amazing - true - story about how that madman got called into his day-job boss' office for a spanking at best and a firing at worst. The crazy fucker saluted his boss who was baffled by how Van looked - sort of like a chipmunk who'd been eating peyote buttons. But he started laughing. Couldn't keep a straight face. And when he grinned, his boss saw that Van had somehow managed to get an entire hand grenade between his jaws and onto his tongue and then close his lips. But he started laughing. And his boss fled from the room.
There's some sort of movie about Tucson music out there, censored/uncensored. What the fuck ever. But the Van Christian movie won't ever be made. And for that I'm grateful; Van's life has been a free flick you want to see over and over. Somewhere, those idiot desert rat new born transplants like Larkins are laying down that country club/high country groove. And for that the world shows it's gratitude with rolled up twenties. But Van is under that radar. His new record says it all. Van is a natural, and his henchmen are perfect for the heist. Guitars into Memory Mans. Fuzz in just the right places. I can taste broken strings and I can imagine the bent spoons it took to cook it up. I smell the perfume of brain cells in the ozone.
This record is Van's movie. It's like Mom spitting into her hand to try to lay your cowlick down. It's defiant. Stubborn. Perfect. The violin's just enough out of tune to pull your ear. The record's an assault in some ways, yes, but it's tender and chaotic at once. Mostly, it's sweet, the sweetly definitive Tucson record.
Maybe it's better than sweet: it's poignant.
I salute you, Van Christian.
Chuck Prophet, San Fransico/Los Angeles/Baja