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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.

O.

M.

G.

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 on 02/25 at 09:48 AM
  1. I love Losers Lounge. Love. I think my favorite has been Serge Gainsbourg, but I’ve had a blast anytime I’ve gone.

    (Captcha: love!)

    Posted by  on  02/25  at  11:08 AM
  2. I don’t think I’d’ve been able to really enjoy the Hitler Rejected As 3QD Writer link were it not for my complete ignorance of German. I suspect that Tea Party Patriotism™ leverages a similar information gap for their outreach programs but I can’t find the TPP subtitle feed for my nightly news program to prove it.

    Posted by  on  02/25  at  03:10 PM
  3. Something about Margaret Atwood shutting down the 5-hole makes me giddy.

    Posted by Gary Oxford  on  02/25  at  04:14 PM
  4. Oh good, a post about generally trivial pop culture’s special moments.  Soon we will get to John Denver and Bob Seger.  Or we could of course go with Zappa band members.

    Posted by  on  02/25  at  10:54 PM
  5. That’s not really fair, now, is it, spyder?  When in fact this is a post about a post about generally trivial pop culture’s special moments.

    With Margaret Atwood and the Loser’s Lounge and also Hitler.

    Posted by  on  02/25  at  11:31 PM
  6. As far as “officially the best Internet Thing ever” goes, this post is pretty great itself.  I just read it through for the second time, and am pretty durn pleased.

    Posted by Lisa B.  on  02/26  at  02:56 PM
  7. This post actually inspired me to listen to this song.  I have to say, yes it probably is the best guitar solo in a crappy song, or one of the best.  Envelope-pushing indeed.

    And I get the larger “meta” point, but just wanted to chime in on the whole Carpenter’s thing.

    Posted by Geoffrey  on  02/27  at  10:36 AM
  8. In my junior year of high school I broke my hand in the third football game of the season. I decided to run cross country to stay in shape. Right before we got off the bus for a big meet “I’m on the Top of the Friggin’ World” came on the radio.  I had that god-awful song in my head like a cancerous worm for the entire race. I have worked hard to avoid any music by The Carpenter’s—Richard Nixon’s favorite group and no one should be surprised by this—ever since. I’m sure it’s a lovely solo, but it would not be worth to pain to listen.

    Posted by  on  02/27  at  01:54 PM
  9. It’s cool that “poet and author” Margaret Atwood is a goalie and all, but it’s amazing that in Canada such a person can be called a celebrity.

    Posted by  on  02/27  at  07:02 PM
  10. Who are you to say anything about the Carpenters.

    Cripes, you need a permit for everything nowadays. Damn over-regulatin’ Democrat party.

    When only the Officially Authorized can say anything about the Carpenters, only . . . uh, only Carpenters can say anything. Is that why Joe the Plumber is so bitter now? I may have lost the thread of the thread.

    Posted by  on  02/28  at  11:29 AM
  11. It’s hockey afternoon in Canada.

    Cherry’s prediction: Canada takes it 5-3.

    And he’ll deliver that message to the U.S. directly, when he joins NBC’s broadcast of the game,

    I’m curious how that is going to work out. I suspect it will be situationally dependent. (My wife cheered for Canada in the prelims, she is giving that stance an agonizing reappraisal at the moment.)

    [Ryan Miller]“He better be sensational, because he’s going to see more rubber than a dead skunk in a New York City six-lane throughway.” (I assume it was the writer and not Cherry who translated the quote into Canadian.)

    Posted by  on  02/28  at  11:57 AM
  12. Who are you to say anything about Don Cherry.

    Posted by Michael  on  02/28  at  12:47 PM
  13. Don Cherry?

    Superstar covered

    Posted by  on  02/28  at  01:35 PM
  14. I just watched the video. That IS a great guitar solo, but, I must SAY, I would not call that a Crappy song. I am a songwriter myself and I consider myself to be an excellent judge of songwriting, and that is a perfectly passable song verging on good. Add to it Karen Carpenter’s SHOCKINGLY beautiful voice, and the whole package is fairly kick-ass.

    You guys are just overly influenced by perceived/imagined peer pressure, and perhaps by memories of how UNCOOL the Carpenters were in your youth. Youths. Whatever!

    Posted by OVERLADY  on  02/28  at  02:54 PM
  15. I dunno, OVERLADY.  Yes, it’s a competent song, and Karen’s voice is, as always, stunning.  But the lyrics are maudlin, the arrangement is saccharine, and it even has a truck driver’s gear change.

    Then again, with Terhune’s solo and David Driver’s vocals, it was one of the highlights of my Friday night.  That and Connie Petruk’s great rendition of “Superstar,” for which I offered Ms. Petruk a few words of praise afterwards.  (She stayed just behind the beat throughout, making a wistful song just that much more wistful.) And there were delightfully weird moments, too, like the Losers’ versions of “Druscilla Penny,” “B’wana She No Home,” and “All I Can Do.” Yep, that’s right, a Carpenters song in 5/4.  I remarked to Terhune afterwards that I noticed the same thing at the Bowie show—their sets open with a couple of standards and then get pretty obscure pretty quickly, and repeat the process in reverse toward the end of the set.  To wit:  they opened with “We’ve Only Just Begun” (of course) and “Superstar,” and before long were playing “Mr. Guder” and “Bless the Beasts and the Children.” On the way out, “Top of the World” and “Close to You” were preceded by “Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft.” There’s a great deal of WTF in there, is what I’m saying—the Losers really study their subject matter inside and out.

    Posted by Michael  on  02/28  at  03:31 PM
  16. Rubio is a talentless hack with no identifiable contributions to society.

    Posted by  on  06/26  at  11:55 PM
  17. I don’t know about that Gretchen. A little bit harsh if you ask me but hey, everyone has an opinion right?

    Posted by Tony  on  01/07  at  03:25 PM
  18. Penny,” “B’wana She No Home,” and “jocuri fotbal” Yep, that’s right, a Carpenters song in 5/4.  I remarked to Terhune afterwards that I

    Posted by jocuri fotbal  on  01/11  at  06:06 PM
  19. Thanks for this article ,I will return soon for other items.

    Posted by jocuri barbie  on  06/10  at  10:01 AM

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