12 June 2008

Walt Mink

I was talking to Jackson recently about my increasing boredom with writing about music. Two reasons -- I'm not really seeking out new music, and since I gave up caffeine I lack the resolve to argue that 'Right Down the Line' by Gerry Rafferty is a better-sounding pop song than anything that came out in the last 10 years. Second, I am sick of the New York City music scene. It's turned into a microcosm of the machine I fled from in my teens when I gravitated to punk and alternative music.

When you do a new drug for the first time, it knocks you on your ass. We're all jealous of people who get to experience amazing things for the first time. But there are diminishing returns. I never have to hear another catchy rock song as long as I live. I have Big Star, Guided by Voices, the Posies, Sugar's 'Copper Blue', the Raspberries, everything Grant Hart ever wrote, Pulp, Lou Barlow, "Hybrid Moments" -- the list goes on and on.

The way for me talk about music is to sit down in a room with each of you (all 6 of you), listen to a song or an album side or a band and just talk. In a vacuum, it feels pointless. And here in NYC, since Brownies closed, there's no successful business model for building a live music venue with great sound unless overpriced drinks and overpriced haircut-wearing heroin-thin trendpackers are in attendance.

So if anyone wants to hear me talk about the bands that matter to me, that's all that's going down on this site from now on.

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Walt Mink came out of musical mecca Minneapolis at the exact same time that the Smashing Pumpkins were convincing sad goths that overproduced records exalting misery were the great new and true art. Lead singer and guitarist John Kimbrough was cursed because he sounds like a chipmunk on helium when he sings. But he blasted through Orange amps, and is one of the lost great unheralded guitarists of my lifetime.

When I turned 21 I was stuck in St. Louis for my birthday, a city I transplanted to and never really got sold on. I drove down to a tiny club called Cicero's and saw Walt Mink play a fantastic show. Walt Mink was a 3-piece, with the guitar hero Kimbrough, his gorgeous wife on bass, and Joey Waronker on drums, who went on to play on Elliott Smith's 'XO' and tour with REM after Bill Berry faked an aneurysm because he was sick of the Douche Peter Buck.

I don't normally wax about guitarists but Kimbrough was incendiary. Where Billy Corgan decided to be a figurehead and write anthems like 'Cherub Rock' with insipid lyrics, JK focused on the guitar. These two guys were probably the only '90s alterna-rock guys with the chops to salute Hendrix, but you can hear Kimbrough springboard and dive tight. That fuckin Orange amp sounds awesome.

Here are a few Walt Mink songs--one from each of their first three records.

Miss Happiness: boomp3.com

Turn: boomp3.com

Overgrown: boomp3.com

5 Comments:

Blogger Jackson said...

"the Smashing Pumpkins were convincing sad goths that overproduced records exalting misery were the great new and true art"

You get me.....

I don't know this Walt Mink you speak of. For me, this will be a 'new music' turn-on.

Tony Alva and I were discussing this post when he was up this weekend. I hadn't commented yet because I knew there was something important I had to say, but I couldn't formulate it. In talking with Tony it hit me.

Any music you don't know is 'new music'.

New York is the last place anyone who wants to play in a rock band should move.


.....now I got an idea for a post of my own.

At any rate I'm glad you did move here, and I'm proud to be one of the 6.

I think you need a vinyl night at the Jackson/Legal Diva household.

7:51 PM  
Blogger stinkrock said...

New music...yes.
New York...yes, definitely.
Vinyl Night. YES. (can i bring my ipod?)

10:58 PM  
Blogger Jackson said...

Sure, can I rest my beer on it?

12:40 AM  
Blogger Dfactor said...

>>>"But there are diminishing returns. I never have to hear another catchy rock song as long as I live. I have Big Star, Guided by Voices, the Posies, Sugar's 'Copper Blue', the Raspberries, everything Grant Hart ever wrote, Pulp, Lou Barlow, "Hybrid Moments" -- the list goes on and on."


No Dfactor songs??@#$#??

:-)

1:14 AM  
Blogger DigMeOut said...

Listen to a podcast review of Miss Happiness by Walt Mink on Dig Me Out at digmeoutpodcast.com, a weekly podcast dedicated to revisiting lost and forgotten rock of the 1990s.

1:10 PM  

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