Deconstruction week has long been over, but I still have a couple of thoughts to throw out there before I officially turn the page on this band. I’ve actually already moved on to this week’s band, and I’ve been listening to them since Monday, but let’s get this out of the way, first.
As mentioned in a shocking recent post, I would never have found out about Deconstruction had they not been featured on the back cover of my Columbia House catalogue. I took a risk on them, and it paid off. In recent years, that has happened more times than not when discovering new music. Many of the bands I listen to were “found” through searches on Last.fm of “related artists” or have come up in carefully crafted Pandora channels or merely discovered by Wiki-jumping from bands I liked to related projects and side projects and influences and ultra-specific genres and such. But before the internet, I relied on luck to find new bands. Without the internet to help me, things did not always work out positively. I ended up spending money (sometimes, some were free) on CDs that eventually just collected dust on a shelf after one or two listens. But Deconstruction worked out for me.
I mean, for only having the one album, they really knocked it out of the park. From what I’ve read, it was supposed to be a “concept album” about Los Angeles and pop culture. I’m sure it is that, though I’m not in a position to say, having never been to Los Angeles nor being able to confidently define what a “concept album” actually is. I like it because it’s a continuation of all of the things I loved about Jane’s Addiction with better vocals.
But loving an album is not enough to get a band on my list, even loving an album as much as I love this one. It’s definitely a “desert island” album for me. The reason they are on this list is to illustrate my music snobbery.
Yes, I am a music snob. There is a magnet on the side of my microwave that says “you don’t have to like the same music that I do, but you’re wrong and I hate you.” My friend Josh and I coined a similar expression about our music tastes. We like to say that we’re not elitist, we just don’t like anything that sucks. There are honestly a precious few things that I’m arrogant about, but my knowledge of and taste in music is on that list. I don’t quite know what it’s borne of. It may be based on my voracious appetite for music, an appetite that has contributed to my enormous music collection. It might be because of my genre spanning tastes, feeling superior for never restricting myself to just “rock” or “metal” or “hip-hop” or “blues” or “classical” but pulling artists from all of them as they appeal to me. It may have to do with the amount of research and effort I put in to my musical selections, making me more knowledgeable than the average listener. Whatever it is, it exists. I am a braggart, a smarty-pants, a pompous musical ass.
I love to have conversations about music. Confidence in my subject material helps make it one of my favorite things to talk about. Sometimes it’s as simple as “have you heard the new album by…” or “I just heard this new band and they seem pretty good.” Sometimes it’s more complicated discussions about music in general. The bigger conversations are my favorites. Any good conversation about music will indelibly lead to someone asking for a recommendation. A lot of times it is me, since learning about a new band or artist is like getting a new toy. I am immediately excited. Other times, the question is posed to me. It depends heavily on what were were talking about, but Deconstruction is one of my top recommendations.
Recommendations are tricky. If you’ve just had a conversation were you have played the role of some sort of expert or guru, you can’t go recommending something they’ve already heard of. All of that work to build yourself up as some kind of keeper of deeper and secret knowledge is smashed if you refer them to something they’ve already encountered. At that point, they wonder why they spent all of that time thinking you knew something they didn’t. Your wisdom on everything else is instantly in question (there’s a solid chance I’m overthinking this, but it’s my brain so it doesn’t have to make sense to you). That’s why a band like Deconstruction is perfect.
First, the album is really friggin’ good, so I’m never worried that someone is going to come back at me with a “why did you recommend that piece of shit.” It’s a safe bet, again depending on the clues I’ve picked up about their tastes, that Deconstruction will sit well with them, and at the very least they won’t hate it. My recommendation will hold, and their opinion of me will be safe.
Second, and most importantly according to my earlier statements, Deconstruction is really obscure. I have yet to meet someone who knew about them. They got together, wrote and recorded the album, got someone to produce and distribute it, and then broke up. Supposedly, this had something to do with another band called Deconstruction (who I have never looked in to) piping up and saying “hey, you can’t use our name, we’re already using it.” By the time they complained, Dave Navarro and co told them that they just got together to do the album and that they were all going their separate ways now. This all happened before the album ever came out. Without a band to promote and tour to support the album, let alone release singles and record videos for MTV, the album fell quickly into obscurity. So I never worry that when I say “have you checked out Deconstruction” that I’m going to get anything other than “no, who are they” in response. Again, my guru status is preserved, because I have brought hidden knowledge to the table.
I am slightly worried that by posting this, I am endangering the obscurity of my go-to obscure band. However, considering how few people actually read this, I should be okay.
Listening to the album last week, I was reminded of a good memory. It wasn’t enough to warrant its own post, but it still deserved a mention. Back in high school, I was in the drama club (there will be a longer post about that at a later date). Now, I wasn’t popular or talented enough to get the lead in anything we did, but I liked hanging out during rehearsals regardless if I was scheduled for that day or not. I always had my trusty portable CD player with me, and on days when I didn’t have to be on stage, I would sometimes just sit in the auditorium and listen to music while my cast mates practiced lines and scenes. I am reminded of the week or so when I had Deconstruction in my CD player, and I would just sit there with my feet up on the row in front of me, drawing pictures or writing stories in my notebook and listening to Deconstruction while the rest of the cast stumbled through this scene or that. It was especially perfect when the opening track, L.A. Song, was on. It’s a good memory.