Monday, October 10, 2005

An Example of the Advanced Theory

It's been a while since I've written about my personal relationship with the Theory, so I thought I share this with you: In high school, Britt (the cofounder of the Theory) and I used to listen to "Rock and Roll Animal" for laughs. We could not believe how terrible it was. Not terrible, actually, just ridiculous. In particular, "White Light/White Heat," with its thumping bass and rocking solos, was over-the-top stupid. Or so I thought. I was conditioned to expect the Velvet Underground version of Lou Reed, so I couldn't relate at all to what he was trying to do in "Rock and Roll Animal" and rejected it as cheesy. Later, however, I absolutely loved it, but ironically. I thought that he knew how ridiculous it was to jazz it up with fancy musicians and Southern Rock riffs, and so he did it for laughs or just to make people mad. Now I understand that it isn't ridiculous at all, and that the "Rock and Roll Animal" version of "White Light/White Heat" is much more interesting than if he had tried to reproduce the Velvet Underground version. This is how it works with the music of Advanced musicians: You hate it and feel betrayed, you think it's a joke, then later (usually much later), you love it and wish the stuff the musician was doing today sounded more like the stuff that you originally hated.


Ryan said...

I have a question. First of all, a disclaimer: I have not heard this "White Light/White Heat" song. I will track it down. BUT: I do have a question. You were able to understand Lou Reed's works as Advanced because, Mr. Reed being famous, you heard his songs many times. His album achieved "repeat-listen" status. Had he not been famous, and were you not already a fan of his, you might have heard one or two songs, not understood them, and never listened to them again. So Advancement, as far as I understand it, is predicated on first becoming famous--which is hard to do if you start off Advanced, nigh, impossible--and only THEN Advanc-ing. So my quesion is this: what happens if you're a nobody, and you're Advanced before you're famous? Will you never make it? Will you never have a career? Do you just go teach music at the local high school?

I think so. I'm a little depressed about this. What are your thoughts?

Jason Hartley said...

It's not so much that you are famous, so much as thought to be a genius. I think of Advancement as very personal, which is to say that if I am convinced that an artist that I know has established himself as potentially Advanced with a large body of work, then that artist can be Advanced to me, even if no one has ever heard of them. However, most Advanced artists achieve cult status, then mainstream acceptance, then dismissal by all but core fans. Starting out Advanced is tough, but some people feel that Tom Waits started out Advanced but is now second-stage Advanced, or what would seem to be Overt.