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The Go

The Go

A Fan's Notes on The Goby Mark J. NortonI'll immediately dispense with any notion of being objective about The Go, because I haven't written any "rock criticism" since about 1987, and have no intention of ever doing that odiferous task again. Back in the day, I just liked to goof on folks' sensibilities regarding what they thought art was / is. With few exceptions, people know very little about art. When I got the editorial gig at Creem in 1979, I had access to more than I should (in every dimension - it got pretty ugly after awhile), including Lester Bangs' home phone number. I called him, asked for some advice On Becoming a Rock Critic. He said, "If you love a band, tell everyone, spread the joy, and say why. You'll do everyone a favor if you do that." Well, I'll take his advice here for the first time - I love The Go. I consider them to be the distillation of what rock music is all about, all the way from the top of Bobby Harlow's pointy little head to the dog shit on John Krautner's Chuck Taylors. Have you heard The Go's "American Pig"? It's Number One of the Top 10 songs of the first decade of the new millennium. Who says so? Me, you little bastards, that's who - because it's clean, vibrant, catchy as herpes, but much too wise to have that happen. The song asks questions you might want to ask yourself, and I hope you will. Our country needs to take a good long look in the mirror and ask itself if it likes what it sees. And that's what "American Pig" is all about - your sorry ass. Look in the mirror, then slap your own face. The Go are world-class songwriters. The rough edges, however interesting they might be, are being sanded down and they're becoming newly minted classicist in the vein of The Kinks, Lou Reed, with this vague nod to The Pretty Things, Mott the Hoople, the Yardbirds. The Go are like having Harry Nilsson fronting the Exile on Main Street-era Rolling Stones. Shit, what more can I say? Okay, they really rock too (we Detroiters see this as our birthright, don't we?), and if you're a Detroit rocker the "ability to rock" is issued to you along with a motorcycle jacket in the 9th grade. I just saw The Go on May 6th at the Larimer Lounge in Denver, a few blocks away from where Jack Kerouac's hero Neal Cassady was born, and The Go must have been imbued with Neal's spirit that night because they played an incendiary set, a wild-ass loud'n'proud rock'n'roll show. Ace song writing is what The Go are about. Their latest offering on Lizard King doesn't have a dud on it, it's exactly what I want from my favorite band. Sure, they re-invent "Hey Linda We're in Trouble" but like Frank O'Hara and Larry Rivers said, who do you like best anyway? Steal from yourself. And that's exactly what all the greats do. After you develop a style - which connotes snobbery, doesn't it? - don't sweat it, because we artists need to know who we're dealing with in the first place anyway - and we're dealing with snobs and complete jerk-offs. The big kick in the ass comes every time The Go release a new album, because they are constantly changing, evolving, honing and re-inventing themselves in a way that isn't much different from Lou Reed, The Kinks or David Bowie. "Learn from the best, to hell with the rest" just might be The Go's motto. I heard people are booking vacations to Detroit to take in rock culture - can you believe this stuff? Which hotel would you stay at in Hamtramck anyway? The mind boggles. If you're going to Detroit, wear some rust in your hair and be there when The Go play. You'll thank your prettiest stars that you did.

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