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Klosterman Dissects Frankenstein
July 27, 2011 7:14 PM   Subscribe

Chuck Klosterman breaks down Edgar Winter Group's 1973 Old Grey Whistle Test performance of Frankenstein. Unlike zzazazz's previous post, there is no bonus, because "Edgar Winter's finest nine minutes" is its own crazy good reward.
posted by davejay (82 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite

 
When Klosterman says "I guess I'm just anti-saxophone", he totally loses credibility with me. (Regaining a little by making what 'involves Gerry Rafferty' his one exception - but as a serious Rafferty fan, I fear he has rarely ventured beyond Baker Street) I hope he is haunted every night by the ghost of Clarence Clemons.
posted by oneswellfoop at 7:28 PM on July 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


Stop. Feeding. The. Klosterman.
posted by MikeMc at 7:33 PM on July 27, 2011 [12 favorites]


MikeMc, I never heard of him before today. Something old to you is not something old to everybody.
posted by davejay at 7:34 PM on July 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


I dig ya, Chuck, but Edgar Winter needs no explication, nor does his brother.
posted by jonmc at 7:34 PM on July 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


Who I think of when I hear the name Klosterman. In all fairness, this sounds like the music criticism of a former NFL quarterback/team executive.
posted by oneswellfoop at 7:41 PM on July 27, 2011


Speaking of his brother, I saw Johnny Winter at the Alabama State Fair in Birmingham, round the year '73 or '74, thereabouts. Johnny was so totally fucked up he had to have two roadies walk him up the stairs to the stage. Wonder he could play at all.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:42 PM on July 27, 2011


Scientologist!
posted by Sys Rq at 7:44 PM on July 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


I saw him (Johnny) at a John Lee Hooker tribute show at Madison Square Garden in '90 or '91 (lost brain cells) he played terrific, but he was up there shirtless and with the bright lights and all you could almost see through him, it seemed.
posted by jonmc at 7:44 PM on July 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


Just wouldn't be complete without The Chuck Klosterman Opinion Generator.
posted by two or three cars parked under the stars at 7:46 PM on July 27, 2011 [7 favorites]


I've always thought Edgar White paled in comparison to his brother.
posted by Flashman at 7:47 PM on July 27, 2011 [14 favorites]


I enjoyed this and the previous Zeppelin post. Love his description of the central riff of the song: "if you play it through partially blown speakers, the sound waves will literally install wood paneling in your basement"

And damn, that bass player's having a good time.
posted by marxchivist at 7:48 PM on July 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


I've always thought Edgar White paled in comparison to his brother.

Who?
posted by Sys Rq at 7:48 PM on July 27, 2011


D'oh! Been watching Breaking Bad
posted by Flashman at 7:49 PM on July 27, 2011


"We are supposed to comprehend the program's seriousness of purpose from its lack of a studio audience"

Bullshit. The production had no budget and the studio was a closet. An audience wouldn't fit. He got Derringer right, but that's easily googleable.
posted by Ardiril at 7:50 PM on July 27, 2011


I know ole Chuckles grates on some nerves here and there, but I get a kick out of sentences like:
"Unless you're employed by Rolling Stone magazine, you likely perceive Edgar Winter as the most important albino in rock history."
posted by solipsophistocracy at 7:54 PM on July 27, 2011


Unless you're employed by Rolling Stone magazine, you likely perceive Edgar Winter as the most important albino in rock history

So who is Rolling Stone's "Most Important Albino in Rock History"? Feel free to explain as if you are talking to your Grandmother.
posted by benito.strauss at 7:58 PM on July 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


I love the shit out of Frankenstein, man. It is the song that I use to psych myself up for important doings.
posted by solipsophistocracy at 7:59 PM on July 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


When I first read Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs I thought, Hey, this could be me. I am also obsessed with Billy Joel and earlier seasons of The Real World. I also have strange theories about why Puck, from Real World San Fransisco, was kicked off the show. I also Enjoy chocolaty cereal, In my case it is Cocoa Pebbles. I could have easily written this book, reaped all the rewards and garnered all the accolades.

It is pretty clear Klosterman stole my schtick, I feel like late one night, after too many PBRs and shots of Jameson, I met Klosterman. I feel like he listened to me talk about the Billy Joel I had played on the jukebox, and listened to me talk about the meaning of Real World New York. I think he was probably nodding, while taking notes, maybe feeling me shots, to keep me talking.

To test this theory, after finishing the book I recited some of Klosterman's opinions about Billy Joel to my girldfriend at the time. She just kept playing The Sims and saying "uh huh, sure honey, 'Only the Good Die Young' is the national anthem of Brooklyn". And I had not even mentioned that song in days! Chuck's words were so close to my own that my girlfriend had instinctually ignored them!

Next time I see Klosterman I am feeding him som crazy type stuff, stuff that will make him a luaghing stock. I am tired of him stealing my shit!
posted by Ad hominem at 7:59 PM on July 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


I never knew that this bit from Snuff Box was referencing anything until now. I have a new appreciation for it, that's for sure.
posted by dagosto at 8:01 PM on July 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


So who is Rolling Stone's "Most Important Albino in Rock History"?

Johhny Winter. Check out footnote 6.
posted by solipsophistocracy at 8:01 PM on July 27, 2011


Great Saxophones:

X Ray Specs
The Coasters
The Skatalites

...that about covers it
posted by to sir with millipedes at 8:10 PM on July 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


It hurts, it really, hurts... because if he said, "FUCK the Keytar! I needs me 88 keys, three pedals, two stomp boxes, Moog himself at the patch panel, and Chicago's brass section!" There would have been 10 full minutes of albino WIN!
posted by Slap*Happy at 8:10 PM on July 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


OH FUCK I FORGOT JAMES BROWN AND FUNKADELIC
posted by to sir with millipedes at 8:10 PM on July 27, 2011


Nice to see Klosterman continuing to champion music that has already sold millions and millions of copies. He's a real voice in the wilderness, that one.
posted by lumpenprole at 8:13 PM on July 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


Bullshit. The production had no budget and the studio was a closet. An audience wouldn't fit.

Occam's Razor does not exist in the magical world of deconstruction. There has to be a deeper meaning to everything!
posted by Spatch at 8:14 PM on July 27, 2011


Oh, wow that was six kinds of awesome. I don't give a crap what Klosterman has to say about it but that performance is just rocks like could only be done in 1973. Gawd, I fucking miss that decade.
posted by octothorpe at 8:15 PM on July 27, 2011


I've always liked this song, but man, this performance is killer. Like some kind of Sonny Sharrock business.

I didn't like Klosterman's book, but thanks for finding this!
posted by ignignokt at 8:17 PM on July 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


6:27 to 6:52: "I am a grizzly bear who believes a salmon is inside this ARP 2600 keyboard."

BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

I fucking love this performance. And ever since Tiger Woods appeared in the commercial for whatever he was selling along side this song, I have thought of it as a personal "Mutt Anthem" for those of us who identify as mixed-race.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 8:23 PM on July 27, 2011


So who is Rolling Stone's "Most Important Albino in Rock History"?

If they expand that category from "Rock" to "music from all around the world, however, Hermeto Pascoal would surely hold the number one slot. Salif Keita wouldn't be far behind.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:25 PM on July 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


Excuse me, Klosterman does not "break down" "Frankenstein." Edgar Winter breaks it down.
posted by Joey Michaels at 8:26 PM on July 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


Edgar Winter breaks it down.

Meanwhile, Bukka White shakes it down. Then Miles runs the voodoo down.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:29 PM on July 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


Great Saxophones:

X Ray Specs
The Coasters
The Skatalites

...that about covers it

OH FUCK I FORGOT JAMES BROWN AND FUNKADELIC


John Coltrane played the saxophone. Enjoy your chocolate breakfast cereal.
posted by benito.strauss at 8:36 PM on July 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


Edgar Winter fucking phones it in at the end of his career...

Dude. 1973 Edgar Winter vs. 1979 John Neuman. Edgar gets Chicago's brass. Neuman gets Ravenscroft.

As a time-travelling overlord, this is how I'd abuse my power first.
posted by Slap*Happy at 8:36 PM on July 27, 2011


White hot!

Oooh, I love both of the Winters brothers. Edgar's 2 years younger than his bro, Johnny, who I saw a number of times at the Fillmore in the late 60's. I love hard rock blues (Ooooooh!) and so he was my fave. I worried that heroin addiction might destroy him and glad it didn't.

Edgar came on the scene in the East coast in '71 I think. He's obviously one of those genius musicians that can play many instruments, a child prodigy. Love his voice too. Inspiring song.

Nifty post. Thanks.
posted by nickyskye at 8:40 PM on July 27, 2011


I was at a party where we started playing Old Grey Whistle footage in the wee hours (I know, fun, right?) when during this clip we renamed it The Ego Winter Group.

Still rocks.
posted by sourwookie at 8:43 PM on July 27, 2011


That was awesome but the clownbike horn sort of broke the mood. It's possibly just the comfortability of exposure, but I do believe I love the studio version 80 times more than this one.
posted by shakespeherian at 8:44 PM on July 27, 2011


NOW IS THE EDGAR WINTER OF OUR DISCONTENT MADE GLORIOUS AWESOME BY THIS SOLO OF DORK
posted by koeselitz at 8:45 PM on July 27, 2011 [4 favorites]


How the blazes have I not heard of this fine albino gentleman before now?
posted by smithsmith at 8:47 PM on July 27, 2011


My sister had this record when I was a little kid. The lipstick and jewels on Edgar confused and fascinated me.

(I also thought the cover of her Zappa record was fascinating too.)
posted by pinky at 9:00 PM on July 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


This was terrible, but I've fallen down a nice Old Grey Whistle Stop Youtube hole, so that's OK.
posted by feckless at 9:04 PM on July 27, 2011 [1 favorite]



When Klosterman says "I guess I'm just anti-saxophone", he totally loses credibility with me. (Regaining a little by making what 'involves Gerry Rafferty' his one exception - but as a serious Rafferty fan, I fear he has rarely ventured beyond Baker Street) I hope he is haunted every night by the ghost of Clarence Clemons.


I might disagree with him on that, but I love Klosterman.

A few years ago I was getting into some Internet arguments with someone who kept saying I was too rockist (true). I ended up at the bookstore she worked at reading through Klosterman reviews.

He's not up there with Bangs and Marcus, but he's comfortable - I feel like I get him, and he gets me.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 9:19 PM on July 27, 2011


@davejay >I never heard of him before today. Something old to you is not something old to everybody.<

Now that you’ve heard of him you’re halfway to being tired of him. It takes less than half of one of his books to go from "he’s pretty funny" to "oh my God I wish he would shut up". He is the embodiment of the tedious guy at the party that you can’t get away from. Only he makes his living from it.

A guy that supposedly lives for and writes about music who just writes off one major instrument entirely. I’m not a sax fanatic or anything, but seriously…
posted by bongo_x at 9:19 PM on July 27, 2011


Certain extraneous instruments add more to rock songs than others, most notably the cello and the bagpipes.

Some people may sneer at that sentence. Those people have never seen mediocre local Irish punk band turn a sleepy Sunday crowd into a howling mosh pit.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 9:21 PM on July 27, 2011


Bagpipe solo? Did someone say bagpipe solo? Yes, that's AC/DC being out-bagpiped right there by a new-wave band.
posted by Slap*Happy at 9:35 PM on July 27, 2011




Chuck! Does it really need explanation? Don't harsh my mellow with your witty banter, dude.
posted by DonnyMac at 9:49 PM on July 27, 2011


Who gives a flying shit about the article? That performance of Frankenstein made me see G*d. Fucking incredible.
posted by Devils Rancher at 10:29 PM on July 27, 2011


I thought Grantland was a sports website; shouldn't they be weighing in on the worst call in baseball or something? On the other hand, a Venn diagram of my favorite music, Klosterman's, and jonmc's would have a lot of overlap, so I enjoy both this and the Led Zep post.
posted by TedW at 11:06 PM on July 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


When i was working at the public library, I used to recommend our copy of the Old Grey Whistle Test DVD to people all the time, mostly because of the awe-inspiring performance of "Frankenstein". That and the Wailers' illustration of how to play quietly and still simmer down.
posted by stinkycheese at 11:28 PM on July 27, 2011


There's some Little Feat on one of those Whistle Test DVDs that is the groovinest groovin ever done been grooved.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 12:12 AM on July 28, 2011


Chuck Klosterman? Really?
posted by bardic at 12:41 AM on July 28, 2011


Great Saxophones:

X Ray Specs
The Coasters
The Skatalites

...that about covers it


Are we all too cool to admit that Lou Reed's Walk on the Wild Side is fucking awesome? If it has been removed from the acceptable list, I didn't get the memo. Please re-send.
posted by spicynuts at 12:53 AM on July 28, 2011


I've always thought it would be interesting to see what would happen if a major star (someone like Adele, for instance, or even Katy Perry) were to craft a truly memorable pop hook and then fill the vocal melody with absolute nonsense — just a continual string of nonexistent words and verbalized pauses, but delivered with a real intensity of purpose and a reservoir of unclear emotion. It would essentially turn her voice into an abstract instrument, and we'd suddenly have an "instrumental" hit that still (technically) included vox. People could still sing along with the song while they drove to work, but they'd have no idea what it was supposedly "about" (and could therefore create whatever message they organically lifted from the listening experience).

Klosterman doesn't realise he's actually talking about Prisencolinensinainciusol here.
posted by minifigs at 12:58 AM on July 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


Alright...I'm 4 minutes through this video. So far His Great Whiteness has played keytar, sax, percussion, glockenspiel, flugelhorn, washtub bass, Crumhorn, a hurdy gurdy, an organetto and the butt bongo. The only instrument not yet pwned by Edgar in this video is the Skin Flute and I'd lay odds the next 5 minutes put that one to rest as well.

Also...I can now say with great confidence that never in the course of the last 35 years have pants reached the pinnacle of awesomeness on display music videos of Edgar's era.
posted by spicynuts at 1:28 AM on July 28, 2011


I've always thought it would be interesting to see what would happen if a major star were to craft a truly memorable pop hook and then fill the vocal melody with absolute nonsense — just a continual string of nonexistent words and verbalized pauses, but delivered with a real intensity of purpose and a reservoir of unclear emotion.

Hello? La Bamba??

I mean "para la bailar la bamba" is clearly just rambling gibberish scripted after lying face down in the sun for 6 hours with 4 tabs of peyote galloping through your skull.
posted by spicynuts at 1:43 AM on July 28, 2011


"Lou Reed's Walk on the Wild Side"

Isn't that a bass clarinet?
posted by bardic at 2:43 AM on July 28, 2011


Isn't that a bass clarinet?

God, there's always a pedant.
posted by spicynuts at 3:01 AM on July 28, 2011


Isn't that a bass clarinet?

No. It's a baritone sax.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:09 AM on July 28, 2011


Played by Ronnie Ross.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:11 AM on July 28, 2011


to sir with millipedes: "Great Saxophones:

X Ray Specs
The Coasters
The Skatalites

...that about covers it
"

I humbly submit that you forgot Fear. New York's Alright If You Like Saxophones
posted by namewithoutwords at 5:34 AM on July 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Did someone say bagpipes? Dig Rufus Harley, jazz bagpiper.
Harley became inspired to learn the bagpipe after seeing the Black Watch perform in John F. Kennedy's funeral procession in November 1963. Then a maintenance worker for the Philadelphia's housing authority, Harley . . . purchased the instrument [in a pawn shop] for US$120, quickly adapting it to the idioms of jazz, blues, and funk.

On several occasions, when a neighbor called the police to complain about Harley's practicing in his apartment, he would quickly put away his bagpipes and feign ignorance, asking the officers, "Do I look like I'm Irish or Scottish to you?"
I recommend his 1966 album Bagpipe Blues.

Here he is on Coltrane's A Love Supreme.
posted by Herodios at 5:55 AM on July 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Also...I can now say with great confidence that never in the course of the last 35 years have pants reached the pinnacle of awesomeness on display music videos of Edgar's era.

Yes, in this era, but not in this clip.

Check out the superhero slacks on singer Rod Evans in this clip of Deep Purple on Playboy After Dark (1969).
posted by Herodios at 6:13 AM on July 28, 2011


I love this song. I loved it when it came out and still love it. But as I was watching the video I noticed that Rick Derringer was wearing those stupid pants with the big visible buttons on the fly and now all I can think of is "why did we ever think those were cool?"
posted by tommasz at 6:39 AM on July 28, 2011


Brother Ali. No, wait, Yellowman.
posted by box at 7:09 AM on July 28, 2011


If you ever get a chance, listen to Entrance. I always liked this stuff better than the Frankenstein era material. There's even a precursor "Hey, I've heard that before!" riff from Frankenstein on the album.
posted by Enron Hubbard at 7:26 AM on July 28, 2011


Did someone say bagpipes? Dig Rufus Harley, jazz bagpiper.

Heh. i was gonna link to Rufus in this thread as soon as someone mentioned bagpipes earlier/ Went to get a YouTube clip, but got a little immersed in Rufus Harley, and started thinking I'd do an FPP on him instead... oh well!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:30 AM on July 28, 2011


Albert Ayler rocked the bagpipes in jazzy fashion too, lest we forget.
posted by stinkycheese at 7:32 AM on July 28, 2011


Flap, Rufus totally deserves an FPP. Go for it!

He's a guy who followed his vision where it led him, to be sure. I don't think the man ever quit his day job.

Youtube clips might be a bit thin, though.
posted by Herodios at 7:35 AM on July 28, 2011


This is the song that pretty much mandated my buying a synthesizer.

Also: Sax lovers, you need to take One Step Beyond into Madness and check your Pigbag.

Additionally: GLAM ROCK!
posted by djrock3k at 7:35 AM on July 28, 2011


There are many many fine performances like that one in the Old Grey Whistle Test archives, many of which are on the YouTubes.
I've never seen EWG in concert, but I've seen Johnny Winter play twice, once at a tiny venue in Crystal Beach, Ontario, and again at the John Lee Hooker tribute jonmc mentioned upthread. Both times he looked like death but played like a god.
posted by rocket88 at 7:51 AM on July 28, 2011


A guy that supposedly lives for and writes about music who just writes off one major instrument entirely. I’m not a sax fanatic or anything, but seriously

One thing I've noticed is that anybody who takes Klosterman too seriously ends up being annoyed by him. If you just remember that he's only writing about pop culture, it seems fairly pleasant and you can go about your day not hating somebody for disliking saxophone.
posted by kingbenny at 8:53 AM on July 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Speaking of his brother, I saw Johnny Winter at the Alabama State Fair in Birmingham, round the year '73 or '74, thereabouts. Johnny was so totally fucked up he had to have two roadies walk him up the stairs to the stage. Wonder he could play at all.

flapjax, I saw Johnny Winter at the Pittsburgh Blues Festival last Sunday, and he had to have two roadies walk him up the stairs to his chair on the stage. I don't think it was due to being fucked up for 35 straight years; health problems possibly related to albinism is more like it.

Please consider revising your opinion of this great master.
posted by IAmBroom at 9:48 AM on July 28, 2011


Whatever happen to the man's neckerchief?
posted by gottabefunky at 11:51 AM on July 28, 2011


Whatever happen to the man's neckerchief?

Women wised up and began to understand how silly they look on a guy and how the words "neckerchief" and "blowjob" don't seem to go together.

Men subsequently took note.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 12:40 PM on July 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Whatever happen to the man's neckerchief?

Women wised up and began to understand how silly they look on a guy and how the words "neckerchief" and "blowjob" don't seem to go together.

Men subsequently took note.


Umm. . . Dan Hartman tied his neckerchief on the other side, you might say.

Regardless of his dress sense and what it might have meant (and to whom), Dan Hartman was a hell of a musician and producer, and deserves better than to be referred to as "the bass player" like the guy in That Thing You Do.
 
posted by Herodios at 3:08 PM on July 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Great Saxophones:

X Ray Specs yt
The Coasters yt
The Skatalites yt

...that about covers it

Ah-hem Saxa from The (English) Beat is one of many whom you've slighted.
posted by jeffen at 9:55 PM on July 29, 2011


flapjax, I saw Johnny Winter at the Pittsburgh Blues Festival last Sunday, and he had to have two roadies walk him up the stairs to his chair on the stage. I don't think it was due to being fucked up for 35 straight years; health problems possibly related to albinism is more like it.

Thanks for that, IAmBroom. It had never occurred to me that there might be any other explanation, but you are, of course, quite possibly right, that even as a much younger man, he was perhaps very weak and infirm. I don't really know, but it is entirely possible.

Please consider revising your opinion of this great master.

Please don't imagine that my seeing that in the early 70s resulted in my holding a bad opinion about Johnny Winter at the time, or that my relating of the story here reflects any bad opinion about Johnny Winter that I hold now. I am not especially judgmental about matters such as drug use, having come up in the 70s and all. Truth be told, when I saw him like that way back when, as a young teenager, I actually thought it was, well, kinda cool!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 11:16 PM on July 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


@kingbenny >If you just remember that he's only writing about pop culture, it seems fairly pleasant and you can go about your day not hating somebody for disliking saxophone.<

Hate is a strong word. I never even suggested I hated him personally. More like, "don’t think much of his writing".
posted by bongo_x at 10:34 PM on July 30, 2011


I just saw this commercial and thought - "aw man, poor Edgar!" Hope he got a fat check.
posted by pinky at 7:07 PM on August 4, 2011


Hope he got a fat check.

I reckon he did. And he's got a sense of humor, so he gets the last laugh.

Also, getting rejected by that dreadful couch potato chick? I'd say he came out on the better end of that, as well.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:11 PM on August 4, 2011


Ontario MeFites may want to check out the Kitchener Blues Fest this weekend. Saturday's lineup has Johnny Winter at 4pm and Edgar at 7pm.
posted by rocket88 at 8:40 AM on August 5, 2011


health problems possibly related to albinism is more like it.

Particularly vision problems, which in the lighting conditions of many concert venues would certainly explain the need for some assistance.
posted by TedW at 9:53 AM on August 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


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