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Carla Bozulich
July 28, 2014 6:21 PM   Subscribe

"So, my life was not too bad. It was during the period where I was still panhandling daily and doin' good at that due to looking much younger than my eighteen years. It was weeks before I went to jail again and became straight up regular homeless and got all the way sunk into street prostitution and then severe mental illness. It was before the years when I was utterly severed from even one note of music I liked. So, in other words, at that moment, I was somewhat holding it together." (link goes to a magazine article scan). Carla Bozulich (of Evangelista, The Geraldine Fibbers and others) has a heart-rending epiphany in the wire magazine. (via | previously)
posted by dng (25 comments total) 21 users marked this as a favorite

 
The thing I miss the most about the 90s is the weekly ritual of going into a music store, randomly picking up a CD that looks intriguing, taking it to a listening station, and being blown away by a blistering opening track like "California Tuffy". (I'm mystified that this song has yet to be used as the opening theme song to a cable TV series, or Netflix original comedy. It would be perfect.)
posted by Atom Eyes at 8:22 PM on July 28 [6 favorites]


I listened the hell out of Ethyl Meatplow for years and years and felt like I'm the only one who did.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 8:46 PM on July 28 [2 favorites]


Ow. That's a pretty hardass piece of writing, I liked it even though it raises as many questions as it answers.

Then again, it would, because somehow I know nothing about her, despite that she's kind of exactly the sort of thing I'd like- I'm a sucker for fucked up rocker gals from my era (come back from mars Exene! Where the hell are you, Maria McKee?). That linked Geraldine Fibbers song is great, I'm now looking for other of her stuff to listen to.

(It occurs to me that I probably have heard of her, and confused her with Carla Bley, whose music also kind of frightens me but not in a good way. Anyways though, thanks for the post!)
posted by hap_hazard at 8:52 PM on July 28 [1 favorite]


I was lucky enough to see The Fibbers play twice at Satyricon here in Portland. Both times were an amazing experience.

The second time, I was incredibly sad, angry and depressed about not being accepted into a semester abroad program that hinged on some slander from someone I thought was a friend. It was a transcendent experience. The rage and anger and raw emotion of their songs seemed to wash all of mine away. Nels was amazing, and Carla was out of this world.

I don't want to use a phrase like "they saved my life" but they did make a really, really, really shitty day amazing. Plus it gave me the idea to slash the fuckers tires, which I never did but I figured Carla would get a kick out of that if I ever told her.
posted by Asbestos McPinto at 9:02 PM on July 28 [3 favorites]


evangelista's hello, voyager!
posted by shackpalace at 9:02 PM on July 28


Is there a transcript available? that text-as-jpg is completely illegible on the screen of either of the devices i tried it on :(
posted by emptythought at 9:33 PM on July 28


I was a huge fan of the Fibbers for Lost Somewhere Between the Earth and my Home and Butch, but lost track of Carla's work after that. Must rectify immediately.
posted by ejs at 10:02 PM on July 28 [1 favorite]


Here's Ethyl Meatplow's cover of Richard Chamberlain's (They Long to Be) Close to You, which as far as I'm concerned is definitive. Ripened Peach and Queenie are both pretty good, too, and all three ended up on many of my mixtapes over the years.

I did listen to Geraldine Fibbers, too, but didn't end up with any albums.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 11:09 PM on July 28 [2 favorites]



Ow. That's a pretty hardass piece of writing, I liked it even though it raises as many questions as it answers.

Then again, it would, because somehow I know nothing about her,


Well it seems of a piece with this old, pretty well-circulated story which seems to be from a later point in her addiction, when she approaching being on the mend. I don't know if she's ever going to knock out a book about the weird dance between addiction and music in her life but she's been working that territory for a while.

I never saw the Fibbers live, but the best Carla shows I ever saw were with her short-lived, unrecorded band The Night Porter. They were really incredible. The Evangelista stuff never hit as hard for me.
posted by anazgnos at 11:12 PM on July 28 [2 favorites]


"Is there a transcript available? that text-as-jpg is completely illegible on the screen of either of the devices i tried it on :("

I just looked everywhere before giving up and reading the jpg. It's in the March 2014 issue (#361) and available for purchase for a few pounds, but I wasn't willing. I even tried to OCR the image, but the result was so error-ridden that I would have just been re-typing it. Sorry. It's not very long, though.

And it's pretty great.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 11:53 PM on July 28


confused her with Carla Bley

I'm figuring you don't mean, musically confusing
posted by thelonius at 12:00 AM on July 29


I'm figuring you don't mean, musically confusing

Right, I would her her name and think 'oh it's that jazz lady that I tried to listen to before,' I had no idea! And I like Nels Cline a lot too! So the whole thing is very embarrassing and I have no clue why I brought it up :(
posted by hap_hazard at 12:18 AM on July 29


I thought it was charming. The brain is weird, no problem.
posted by thelonius at 1:46 AM on July 29 [2 favorites]


The piece was kind of brutal and I was glad enough to get the Carla Bley diversion.

In the earlier part, she is stealing from the only person on Earth who is trying to help her, and, if you were naive, you'd maybe think, hey, rock bottom. I was a little confused at first, since she was first talking about selling someone else's records, but the Billie Holiday was hers, from childhood, and, in the moment, she was glad to take $5 for it. I have never had an opiate problem but I can relate, in a way that is pretty scary and humbling, because I know I've sold something of myself off like that too, but I am not sure what it was right now. Well, that'll cheer us all up.
posted by thelonius at 1:52 AM on July 29 [1 favorite]


Is there a transcript available? that text-as-jpg is completely illegible on the screen of either of the devices i tried it on :(

Yeah, sorry, I looked and looked but this was the only version I could find anywhere on the internet.
posted by dng at 4:17 AM on July 29


That first Geraldine Fibbers record was one of the best pieces of music in my teenage years. I used to have it on cassette and it is long since out of print. I wish I could find it again!
posted by Kitteh at 5:55 AM on July 29


I highly recommend her cover of Willie Nelson's Red-Headed Stranger album. Both her cover and the original are great.
posted by signalandnoise at 7:10 AM on July 29 [2 favorites]


She covered the whole album?
posted by thelonius at 7:12 AM on July 29


Yeah. Here's the Wikipedia page on it. I just this minute bought it on Amazon and am beginning to listen to it right now. (I don't mind linking to Amazon because of that automatic MeFi referral thing and, hey, every little bit helps.)

I actually only got Willie's album last year -- I'd only ever listened to it (a million times) because my dad had it. I love that album and I'm excited to hear what Bozulich does with it.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 7:28 AM on July 29 [2 favorites]


Higher quality version of the article. (.jpg)
posted by porn in the woods at 8:33 AM on July 29


Whoa. I have BOY and GIRL tattooed really huge on my thighs over my knees and refer to myself as a boy/girl a lot, and it was weird/cool to see someone else refer to themselves that way.
posted by Juliet Banana at 9:10 AM on July 29


Sadly I discovered the Fibbers just as they were no more, so I never got to see them live. But hearing Asbestos McPinto's story helps make up for it.

Their version of "Jolene" is definitive, and I would expect even Ms. Parton herself to recognize.
posted by whuppy at 10:40 AM on July 29


I don't know if she's ever going to knock out a book about the weird dance between addiction and music in her life but she's been working that territory for a while.

Damn. I really enjoyed reading this late last night, and just kind of assumed it was an excerpt from a memoir or something that I was going to look for today.
posted by mannequito at 10:56 AM on July 29


Dragon Lady has a slow wind-up, but it's a knockout when it finally cuts loose. A paradigm of pure wailage.
posted by whuppy at 11:13 AM on July 29 [1 favorite]


Yeah, Ethyl Meatplow and Red-Headed Stranger are great. Haven't delved into the Fibbers stuff, but I guess I need to.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 12:45 PM on July 29


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