Monday, August 21, 2006

Unanswered Since 1973

The only song that I like by Steve Miller is “The Joker.” It was the first record I’d heard by him where I knew it was him. One day it was just there on the radio, back in the mythical 70’s – before disco, before anyone even fathomed putting the word “classic” alongside “rock.” 1973. Lots of great music on the radio back then. We just took in stride.

My friends and I didn’t much care for the bulk of his material. We thought he was a “rip-off” artist with really stupid lyrics. Even today when I hear his monster hits from the 70’s, I hear “Crossroads” inside of “Big Ole Jet Airliner,” and “All Right Now” embedded in “Keep On Rockin’ Me Baby.” Not even Yoko was safe. Gotta give him due credit - he magically turned her almost-good "Walking On Thin Ice" into the number one "Abracadabra." It didn’t matter to him – those tunes were ubiquitous and made him a very rich man.

I heard “The Joker” today on the way to work and I still like that one. It has a nice feel and it takes me back. Every time I hear it though, I still ask myself the same question.

“What the fuck is a pompatice?”

7 Comments:

Blogger Bobby Lightfoot said...

It's the thin, lattice-like web that helps a pompadour retain its shape.

I like th' keyboards in "Fly Like An Eagle". Them words are hurtin', although undeiably full of truth. Time, as we all know, does keep slippin', slippin', slippin' into the future. The proof is undeniable.

9:56 PM  
Blogger roxtar said...

I take the contrary position. Time actually keeps on slipping into the past. Try to grab that moment....oops! It's gone! Where did it go? Not to the future, that's for sure.

Of course, as a Rock Star, Steve had access to the best drugs, so time might have been slipping sideways into a parallel present for all he knew.

3:07 AM  
Blogger Kevin Wolf said...

I like ol' Steve more now than I did then. I was sick of him at that time because he was everywhere.

And despite, as you say, all the good music around, back then the attitude was to take rock music pretty seriously. Even when it didn't deserve it - like Steve Miller.

It's easier to deal with years later as simple old pop music.

7:46 AM  
Blogger Tom said...

“What the fuck is a pompatice?”

Basically, "pompatus" (the spelling that I've seen the most often; it was used in a movie that centers around your very question) is a word that Steve Miller either misheard in another song or just made up, according to this column by ace know-it-all Cecil Adams. Oh, and while we're at it, the lyrics to "Louie, Louie" aren't filthy and "colitas" (from "Hotel California") is a type of high-grade boo.

I like "The Joker" quite a lot, to the extent that my sister forbade me from referring to my nephew Maurice as "the gangster of love" (his being about two years old at the time may have had something to do with that as well), but my favorite is still "Take the Money and Run", possibly because Miller dared to rhyme "taxes" with "facts is."

4:13 PM  
Blogger Bobby Lightfoot said...

Holy shit, time DOES keep slipping into the past. W'happen??

Now I have to go through my whole record collection.

12:54 AM  
Anonymous The Heretik said...

The earlier Steve Miller of Space Cowboy and Living in the USA was a different beast.

Of course by the time he got to Swingtown . . . oy.

And, um, the Neville Brothers version of Fly Like an Eagle is quite nice.

10:58 PM  
Anonymous The Heretik said...

This sounds like a live version of Living in the USA

11:04 PM  

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