Taos by Menomena – Not the New Mexican (is this proper?) city. My lyrical analysis for this track (N.B. including doggerel like: the hours pass us by as gin slips slowly / past our tingling spines / cheeks warm and glowing; and underneath this fleshy robe lies a best with no control)(N.B. vomit) indicates that Taos should actualy refer to more than one tao as in the “Chinese word meaning ‘way’, ‘path’, ‘route’, or sometimes more loosely, ‘doctrine’.” And in this instance, it means multiple ways, paths or routes for these guys to get laid….that most noble of reasons for writing a rock song.
But more than likely, were Menomena confronted about the title of this song, I’m certain their response would be “we were really high in New Mexico when we wrote this.” Anyway, this track is from their album Mines. I’ll be honest with you, the entire thing is pretty damn good. Menomena, from what I’ve read, record their music using some fancy computer software called the Digital Looping Recorder, or Deeler for short. I almost read the entire discription of it, before returning to Twitter/Newser on my iPhone. But feel free to help yourself.
Regardless, this track immediately made me think of a lengthy obit/retrospective of the
superb Dennis Hopper I read in Rolling Stone. I won’t get into the specifics (actually, I will), but the dude lived a crazy life. Anyone who’s ever watched anything he ever seriously acted in (Apocalypse Now, Blue Velvet, True Romance, Hoosiers) knows the dynamic acting chops he offered. But I say “seriously acted in” because in the article he copts to totally mailing it in for a bunch of shit movies (e.g. Super Mario Brothers) simply for a pay-day. You have to get behind that kind of candor. Hopper essentially disappeared twice in his life only to be rescued by his performance in a seminal movie role. First, in the fifties, he acted with James Dean in Rebel Without a Cause (N.B. As I have no real frame of reference for James Dean, I can’t tell you old this makes him seem. This, in turn, reminds me of an odd story about my Aunt Lu (wow, a WD appearance in consecutive weeks. You go girl.) and Jackie Robinson that I’ll save for another day). This led to him getting some minor TV roles (and he was in True Grit) which were the springboard to his being able to act in and direct Easy Rider (1968), which Wikipedia calls the celluiod anthem of the 60s. Then he vanishes, acts in low budget European movies and does a shit ton of drugs till F.F. Coppola casts him in Apocalypse Now. This kind of revived his career but he was still a wreck until being cast as vicious Frank Booth in David Lynch’s Blue Velvet. The article was a captivating portrayal of a seriously fucked up dude. But, by far my favorite part of the article was this line: “For the next 12 years he spent much of his time in Taos, drinking half a gallon of rum a day, snorting coke and riding around town on a chopper with a gun slung across his back.” Yes. Enjoy.