Wednesday, August 23, 2006

The Epismetology of Pompatus

We all know that Steve Miller is sometimes called Maurice because he speaks of the pompatus of love, but what does pompatus mean? Wikipedia has the probably made-up answer:

"The word pompatus is used in the lyrics of Steve Miller's 1973 pop-music song "The Joker":

Some people call me the space cowboy.
Yeah! Some call me the gangster of love.
Some people call me Maurice,
'Cause I speak of the pompatus of love.

The words "space cowboy" and "gangster of love" are both references to previous Miller songs. The "pompatus" line is also a reference to an earlier song of his, "Enter Maurice," which was recorded the previous year:

My dearest darling, come closer to Maurice
so I can whisper sweet words of epismetology
in your ear and speak to you of the pompatus of love."

It's possible that he got the word from Vernon Green, too. Apparently the word is talked about at length in the movie The Pompatus of Love, but I didn't see it. So maybe everyone knows all about the history of pompatus, but if I've helped just one person, I've done my job. (By the way, there is a debate raging in the Advanced Community about whether Steve Miller is Advanced. I think he is, but I'm on the fence.)


Anonymous said...

I don't know enough about Steve Miller's work, especially his early work, to really be able to give an opinion. Reading his wikipedia page, I notice that he made two albums of pysch blues rock, which is certainly overt. "Fly Like an Eagle" and "The Joker" are so strange and wonderful and completely individual (minus borrowing the word pompatus) that I don't see how they couldn't be advanced.

I'm sure this is skating the rim of condescension, as all outsider art talk does, but could it be possible to have another classification of advancement to describe advancement that seems fully formed from the start. I realize this seems counter to the whole notion of advancement, being that you naturally have to "advance" to become advanced. how would the advanced theory, for example, handle someone like Daniel Johnston?

Jason Hartley said...

Britt (the cofounder of the theory) and I have often wondered if Tom Waits started out Advanced. The idea was that he was Overt before he started making music, then he did his "Up Shit Creek" songs, which were Advanced, then returned to being Overt. We believe that he might be a Second-Stage Advanced Weirdo.

sd said...

Steve Miller is definitely advanced. In the late 70's (think 'fly like an eagle') he declared the guitar 'dead' and said the synthesizer was the future. I distinctly remember reading an article in Creem where Ted 'The Nuge' Nugent took almost violent exception to this notion. It is also worth noting that Mr. Miller quickly returned to making blues-based guitar rock records.

Anonymous said...

Ronald Vaughan said...

RIGHT ON!! I like Steve Miller.

Let's here more about "advanced"