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Thursday, February 25, 2010

All the years of useless search have finally reached an end

Wow.  It turns out that Chris Robinson was not kidding in comment 4 of the previous thread: there really is a YouTube of a CBC segment in which Margaret Atwood teaches us how to play goal.  I didn’t believe Chris at first, not because I didn’t think Atwood had it in her (remember, I’m the one who recalled Hannah Arendt’s and Kenneth Burke’s contribution to the 1969-70 Boston Bruins) but because nobody “stacks the pads” anymore in the Age of the Butterfly.  So I stand corrected.  Thanks, Chris!

Alas, I have no time to blog about last night’s epochal smackdown involving Canada and Russia (6-1 after 24 minutes? are you kidding me?), because I’m off to New York for an MLA meeting.  I do have time, however, to confirm that my people did indeed refuse to speak to Hitler’s people about a guest-posting gig on this resolutely anti-fascist blog, just as Abbas Raza suggested in this compelling version of “Downfall.”

I’ll be holed up in MLA headquarters for most of my stay, but I do plan to sneak away after dinner Friday night and head to the Loser’s Lounge, partly to check on my old bandmate David Terhune and partly to hear the magical music of the Carpenters.  It’s the would-have-been-60th-birthday-celebration of Karen’s work, you see.  I sent Dave an email warning him that I would be in the crowd, and letting him know that I hoped he would be playing teh awesomest guitar solo ever (in a song that sucks) in “Goodbye to Love.” He assured me that he would indeed, though he added that the horns would be taking part of the outro.  In response, I sent him this old post, which of course led me to revisit Steve Rubio’s original post on “Goodbye to Love,” and ...

Z.

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Would you look at that comment thread?

The post opens with, “OK, this is a silly thing to write about, because the audience of 12 that I have for this blog has pretty much all heard the story.” It is dated September 22, 2003, back when an audience of 12 would have made Steve’s the 83rd most influential blog on the planet, and nobody responds until one Henrietta R. Hippo (if that is her real name) posts two comments on February 25, 2004.

I originally linked to the post because of Steve’s eloquent closing encomium:

The lyrics were bad enough:

Loneliness and empty days will be my only friend
From this day love is forgotten
I’ll go on as best I can

But then Tony Peluso steps in, with a short solo in mid-song, and then a longer blast to close out the record. And if it wasn’t for those two solos, I wouldn’t even know who Tony Peluso was, but off he goes, with Hal Blaine pounding beneath him ... and the only crime is that there wasn’t a place for Tony on the recent Rolling Stone list of the 100 best guitarists of all time.

And I don’t care if the above pisses off you Carpenter fans, or if I sound like a snob, but fuckin’ A as they used to say, that solo at the end of “Goodbye to Love” is an inspiration, it suggests that anything is possible, it’s the most truly uplifting thing that ever appeared on a Carpenters record, it’s the artistic truth in opposition to the sap that was the Carpenters.

My post was dated July 1, 2005; on July 13, two more readers weighed in chez Steve.  One was someone named Sean, who wrote, “Heh, I was going to comment with this on the ‘Best Guitar Solos in Crappy Songs’ post, but this is even better, since you mentioned it.” So now the post is almost two years old, and we’re at 4 comments from three different people, two of whom may have been directed Steve’s way by this very blog.  Then there’s some more love for Tony Peluso on August 19 of that year, followed by a spray of comments in 2006, one of which is from a Cynthia Michaud who says,

Tony Peluso is my best friend. He loved Karen Carpenter—her voice and her person. So you can be a fan of both with his blessing. He is immensely proud of his work with Tacuba. It’s great that you all appreciate him so much. Check out Antonio Carmona and Natalia LaFourcade.

The next, dated March 3, 2007, is from a Brian Richardson; it opens with

I was in the music dept at Long Beach State when Karen and Richard Carpenter were students there.

On March 22, Steve Richards weighs in to say,

Tony Peluso learned to play guitar by listening to Nokie Edwards, the lead guitarist of The Ventures.... The riff at the end of The Carpenters song Mr. Postman is played by Tony Peluso and is definitely a Nokie Edwards riff.

On August 13, Lucinda Filpi writes,

I knew Tony’s mom most all of my childhood. She gave me singing lessons on Saturday afternoons after she taught catechism class, when I was about twelve or so. I never remember meeting Tony, although I had seen him from a distance on occasion at church.

Then Jimmy Iovine, or someone plausibly claiming to be Mr. Iovine, appears on October 3, with a comment on the Hal Blaine love that had accumulated to that point:

Though Hal Blaine was the Carpenters primary studio drummer, Karen actually played the drums on numerous album tracks. She was also the drummer on some of their most successful hits such as “Yesterday Once More”, “Please Mister Postman”, “Ticket To Ride”, and “Sing”. Buddy Rich recognized Karen as one of his favorite drummers, and Hal Blaine himself praised Karen for her technique and overall ability as a drummer.

And here’s John Gebhart on November 16:

My family and I are blessed to have Tony Peluso as a friend. His remarkable musical talent is surpassed only by the immensity of his heart. And I’m sure I won’t live long enough to meet anyone with a more hyperactive sense of humor (I write with a huge grin).

His solo on Goodbye to Love is remarkable for any number of reasons. A distorted ‘58 335 on a Carpenters record? No way! It took amazing insight to even try it and it was executed with a master’s touch. Perhaps the overarching thing that made it work, no matter how hard he pushed the envelope that day, and he did push, was that Tony didn’t play the instrument, he played the song.

OK, so by this point two years ago, someone can show up and say,

This page is the first hit if you search for Tony Peluso on Google. Congrats to the blogger!

Followed by Spike Stewart on April 14, 2008:

I knew Tony when we where both enrolled at “Blessed Sacrament” grade school across the street from Sunset Sound. I later worked with him at C.P.MacGregor Recording Studios after his house-band gig with ‘The Abstracts’ expired at Bill Gazzari’s on the strip. Unfortunately I’ve misplaced the album long ago, but would love to have another copy sometime. I hope he is doing well and would like to know how David Dinino, Pierre Vigiant, Roland Baston and company are faring.

And in November 2008:

As we speak, Tony is in Houston to attend the Latin Grammys. Here’s hoping he’ll be a winner for his work with Cafe Tacuba! Go Tony!

Also, May 2009:

I know Richard! We talk online all of the time, so be careful of what you say! What the hell are you talking about? Who are you to say anything about the Carpenters.

And the most recent comment is dated November 6, 2009.

So let’s sum this up, shall we?  Steve Rubio posts a whimsical little something in September 2003 that he thinks will be silly and superfluous, because his readers consist of twelve people who have already heard his “Goodbye to Love” bit.  The post then generates forty-nine comments over the next six years, spread out randomly and unevenly as people famous and unfamous show up to look for Tony Peluso, Hal Blaine, friends of Richard Carpenter, David Dinino, Pierre Vigiant, Roland Baston and company.  The whole thing starts off unassumingly and gradually builds into what is clearly teh awesomest longue-durée thread to be found anywhere in the domain of the Internets, surpassing even those meta-meta-threads that are more metareferential than metareferentiality itself

In other words, Steve Rubio somehow wrote a tribute to “Goodbye to Love” that not only becomes the Tony Peluso Virtual Public Square but replicates in its very structure the totally unexpected WTFitude and head-asploding, medium- and genre-transforming brilliance that is Tony Peluso’s solo.  For this, and for this alone, Steve Rubio’s “Tony Peluso” post and the ensuing thread is officially the best Internet Thing ever.

Take it away:

Posted by Michael on 02/25 at 09:48 AM
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