365 T-shirts - the reasoning

This blog should be sub-titled: a journal of my life in geek.

I get my geek on with things about which I am geeky: comic books, Baseball, Ultimate, science fiction, my favorite bands, books I have read and loved, and Jungian psychology to name some of the most frequently traversed subjects.

I began this project simply as a way to count my T-shirts. I own a lot of T-shirts. But how many do I have? Do I have 365? We shall find out.

When I started this blog, I thought about how each T-shirt means something to me. I bought it for a reason, after all. I set myself the task to post an entry about a new T-shirt every day as a way to simply write something every day, a warm up for writing fiction, which is my passion. Writing is like exercise. Warm ups are good for exercise. But after completing a month of blogging about T-shirts, I have learned that this blog serves as a journal; it documents my life in geek, sort of a tour of my interests in pop culture. The blog serves as a tool for self-inventory, for assessment and analysis of self and the origins of self, for stepping through the process of individuation in catalogues, lists, and ranks.

The blog also made me aware that I have some serious gaps in my T-shirt ownership, and I am in the process of collecting some new T-shirts for several of the great popular culture icons that I truly love. Stay tuned.

I was also a bit surprised that people checked out my blog and continue to check it, read it, and even comment on it. I am very appreciative of this readership. Please feel free to share your thoughts in my comments section. I will respond.

Also, please note that I have moved the original introductory text to the side bar. And now, I present to you the most recent entry of 365 T-shirts: a journal of my life in geek. Thank you for reading.
(Second Update - 1310.24. First Update - 1306.05 Originally Posted - 1304.25.)

Thursday, February 13, 2014

T-shirt #329 - The Pixies

T-shirt #329 - 

The Pixies

On Saturday the 8th, just five days ago, my step-daughter Piper and her boyfriend Adam went to see the Pixies in Detroit.

When I listed my top ten favorite bands (which was actually a top thirteen) in T-shirt #273, I did not list the Pixies. But they were in my secondary list.

Here's what I wrote in T-shirt #273, which was dedicated to U2 and the Vertigo Tour and I think it bears repeating because for some of you, this is the way you see it for the first time and for regular readers, it never hurts to see it again (because who am I kidding, how many people click ANY of my links):

... okay, actually the top thirteen and a secondary list of many.

U2 is definitely a favorite band, but would it make my top ten? I don't think so. Here's a quick list of absolute top ten bands:

The Jam, Cocteau Twins, 10,000 Maniacs, The Indigo Girls, Pink Floyd, Steely Dan, Everything But the Girl, King Crimson, Radiohead, Stereolab, Spyro Gyra, Sigur Rós, The Clash.
Okay, that's thirteen. But I was going by iTunes playlists and most frequent listening stats. And there's a secondary list, and this is where you will find U2:
Kraftwerk, The Innocence Mission, Japan, Talking Heads, U2, REM, The Art of Noise, Genesis, Hooverphonic, DEVO, Simon and Garfunkel, Haircut 100, They Might Be Giants, New Order, Joy Division, The Style Council, Cabaret Voltaire, Lush, Dead Can Dance, This Mortal Coil, The Pixies.
And I am still leaving out many great bands and groups of artists who function like bands, such as Aphex Twin and most especially Machine Love(note the link to my entry on them in my other blog). I have given Machine Love some LOVE on my pages before, but in 273 posts, I am not sure where.

I would say this is a pretty good start to the favorite bands list. Though not a top ten, those thirteen bands are those I have listened to most often over the years. Though great and frequently in my rotation, U2 falls into a secondary category of favorites that I adore but for one reason or another were not as constantly played as first thirteen. I also think it's worth noting that of the thirteen "favorites," I have blog posts specifically dedicated to nine of those thirteen top bands, and I have plans for posts with three more of them.

All that said, though U2 is not in that top thirteen bands, I do love U2 and have a long history of loving them and listening to them.
I believe that when I made up my lists in T-shirt #273 that I had quite forgotten my list in T-shirt #46. Here's what I wrote in that post:

This list excludes childhood loves (the Partridge Family, the Osmonds, the Jackson Five), musical artists who are not bands even though they may be backed by a band, and newer bands that I have not loved long enough to consider placing in the top ten. I also do a little doubling up.
Though numbered, the bands are not ranked.

  1. 10,000 Maniacs
  2. Cocteau Twins
  3. The Jam/ Style Council
  4. Spyro Gyra
  5. Steely Dan
  6. Pink Floyd
  7. Everything But The Girl
  8. King Crimson
  9. The Indigo Girls
  10. Talking Heads

As much as I love Devo, they do not make this list. And other bands who I love with a great burning passion, like Joy Division (see T-shirt #35), Kraftwerk (T-shirt #36), and Sigur Rós (T-shirt #12); other great bands do not break the top ten but would be in my top twenty, such as Radiohead, Roxy Music, the Clash, Dead Can Dance, and the Police.

Even though DEVO is not in the top ten favorites, they are in the list of bands or musical artists that I want to see live. A list that also includes bands I cannot see live, such as Pink Floyd, Roxy Music, and the Jam.

So the lists are similar though not identical. For instance, the Clash is not on the earlier list. Neither is Sigur Rós, Radiohead, or Radiohead. I had Talking Heads originally in that early top ten list and then dropped them upon consideration to a secondary list.

The Pixies make that secondary list not because I am a huge Pixies fan gone berserk with Pixies adoration but because the Pixies are one of those bands that one is supped to like if you are someone like me given my other fandom focuses and general aesthetics. Now, don't get me wrong, I like the Pixies. I like them a lot. I think they are a GREAT band. But I am not as completely off my rocker nuts about them as other people in my orbit are and I resist the pressure I feel to be so nuts.

The next question is whether or not I would put the Pixies on a list of greatest bands in the history of modern music, and I think I can say without reservation that I would. Many of my favorite bands would not make that list, a more objective list, measuring greatness, impact, and some kind of seminal factor.

I featured the Pixies many semesters in my musical artists of the week and talked about the band's importance to modern music as we know it.

I had the pleasure of seeing the Pixies during their first reunion tour in 2004 11 years after their inexplicable break up in 1993.

I saw one of the shows at the Aragon and ran into many other Kalamazooans there.

It was a great show. The Pixies were dead on target with their music and their set. The distance and time from the original recordings and early years had given them a necessary perspective allowing them to play songs lovingly and without sounding forced.

Given my companion at the time, I did not dance but actually secured seats from which to sit and watch and listen. It was an unusual way to see a band that gets me dancing.

Before the concert, I ate at a nearby Vietnamese restaurant in Chicago.

I also bought the live recordings through a service that records the show and produces high quality CDs mixed from the sound directly from the concert's sound board.

 When I met the woman who is now my wife, Liesel, I discovered that she was also a Pixies fan. I had the word "huge" originally modifying "Pixies," and I took it out because I do not consider myself or Liesel a "HUGE" Pixies fan. I like the Pixies. I recognize how great they are. But there are many other bands I love more from a purely personal taste perspective.

One thing that has always struck me about my wife, Liesel, is that she has great taste. She has great taste in everything but especially in music. Our musical tastes do not align perfectly, but we're pretty closely synced.

We adopted "Velouria," the first song off the 1990 album Bossanova.

We used some of the lyrics in our wedding invitation: "We will wade in the shine of the ever."



More on this story in the entry for T-shirt #279: thirtysomething.



I have a few other goodies to share, also.


A song with lyrics based on Un Chien Andalou, the 1929 silent surrealist short film by the Spanish director Luis Buñuel and artist Salvador Dalí, is going to be one of my favorites. But the song has such a great hook. I think it's one of the Pixies' best songs.

Pixies - Debaser (Official Video)

Girls playing the bass are super hot and awesome. Kim Deal happens to transcend this tawdry praise and achieves a hole new level. This is a fantastic song and proof that Frank does not have to be the front man on every song.

The Pixies - Gigantic

Yes, I am going with the best known Pixies song as a fave. What of it? But this video is so awesome. And I prefer the UK surf version of this song. I first heard it on the X-Files, which may be how I came to connect with the Pixies for the first time.

The Pixies - Wave of Mutilation (UK Surf)

Since I leaving "Velouria" for last, my fourth choice is very tough because there's tons of great songs to choose from. A lot of people might choose "Where's My Mind?" or "Bone Machine" is popular. Though top tracks in You Tube are a bit puzzling. Check out this list.

My fourth is going to prove that Doolittle is my favorite album. But I also have to go with this clip from Letterman.

The Pixies- Monkey Gone to Heaven

And lastly "VELOURIA," one of the two songs that Liesel and I consider "our songs." I own recordings of the Brixton shows featured here, so a final Pixies treat. The lyrics of this song are capable of transporting me to the early days of my relationship with Liesel. It always kindles our love for each other.


hold my head
we'll trampoline
finally through the roof
on to somewhere near
and far in time
her covering
travelling career
she can really move
oh velveteen!

my velouria, my velouria
even i'll adore you
my velouria

say to me
where have you been
finally through the roof
and how does lemur skin
reflect the sea?

we will wade in the shine of the ever
we will wade in the shine of the ever
we will wade in the tides of the summer
every summer
every summer
my velouria
my velouria

i know she's here
in California
i can see the tears
of shastasheen

my velouria, my velouria
even i'll adore your
my velouria

Pixies - Velouria (live)

And now for those treats that I mentioned...

bowie on Pixies

Great stuff by the masterful Mr. Bowie!! If you look at You Tube, you will also find a video of Radiohead talking about the influence of the Pixies.

Though not the Pixies, this next is from the Breeders, whom I may love more (at least The Last Splash) than the Pixies for the excellence of the Deal sisters.

Cannonball - The Breeders

Damn that's a great song.

Okay, Okay, I LOVE THE PIXIES. Damn you. Damn you all.

It's true.

Not put down the pipe.

COUNTDOWN TO END OF THE BLOG YEAR - 36 shirts remaining

- chris tower - 1402.13 - 15:59