by Joseph Kyle
A few weeks ago, Mr. True made a comment on his Facebook about being wrong. I snidely remarked, “Why not have a ‘Why Everett True is Wrong’ week,” an idea to which he quickly agreed. My original suggestion was made as a desire to refute his overwhelming opinion towards The Polyphonic Spree’s cover of ‘Lithium’.
Part of Mr. True’s rather heated, vitriolic — and, well, somewhat amusing — opinion of the cover stems from his obvious relationship with the song’s author and the band that made it. While his connection with grunge in general and that band in particular cannot be denied, I will not go on record as putting him in the awkward position of being the band’s defender, guardian, or spokesman, because, well, the man’s a legend, and he earned the title well before he knew that scruffy kid from Aberdeen.
Attempts to rebut his piece became a daunting task. I’m sure that many of the souls who wrote supportive comments about what he said were simply doing so out of sycophancy, because Everett True is a legend, has a history, blah blah blah bullshit bullshit statements about fame and renown. Those kinds of comments are easy to spot as they usually consist of flattery mixed with even angrier comments. Some people were brave to defend their take on the song, especially because those doing so must know that, well … Everett wasn’t joking in his opinion.
So though I, as a Polyphonic Spree fan, find his take on the band silly, if not downright misguided, I do appreciate that his animosity towards their cover comes from a proximity to the original that I simply cannot have, and, as such, I cannot fault him for his belief, nor would I care to engage in any attempt to dissuade him to change his mind. Is that wimpy of me? Perhaps it is. Maybe if I’d been in a van with the man, talking about the songs that he was playing, getting to bond with the songwriter, maybe my opinions would be different.
Perspective is sometimes difficult. Back in the 90s on an email list about Tim Buckley, I inadvertently offended Lee Underwood, bassist, longtime friend, and advocate of the late songwriter. In a discussion about drugs I paraphrased a quote about Nico, stating, “In the end, he was just another damn junkie casualty”. Underwood — being a friend of Tim’s — was upset by this. I pointed out that no offense was meant, yet if Buckley didn’t want to be forever labeled a junkie he probably shouldn’t have died of a morphine-related overdose. After the heat calmed down, he conceded that the subject of his death was a touchy one, but because he was a friend he sometimes forgot that others have a different point of view, not being close to the subject in question.
At the same time, I too come to this conversation with my own biases, especially towards The Polyphonic Spree. I have been a long-time supporter of the band, being amazed and enthralled by them mere months after their formation. I have a debt of gratitude and love towards Tim DeLaughter and The Polyphonic Spree that is perhaps on the same level as Everett’s feelings towards Nirvana. I have been a supporter since the band self-released its debut, and have supported them through thick and thin. When albums weren’t that great, I bought them anyway, because I knew the people behind them and knew their intentions were good. After all, when you know that a musician or a band is ‘one of the good ones’, you still support them, right?
[Before Tim DeLaughter was in The Polyphonic Spree, he was in a band called Tripping Daisy. Here's their big 1995 hit 'I Got A Girl'.]
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