the song that changed my life
I’m talking about the opportunities it created for me, as a drunken critic-turned-performer on numerous trips to America …
You could argue that it was my performance, more than the song: even the surreal actuality of a rock star critic getting up on stage in Seattle, February 1989 in front of 800 brawling punk rock kids and taking a stab at entertainment instead of dutifully covering the story. My photographer should have grabbed shots, I wish he’d have grabbed shots, but he was standing at the side open-mouthed. My set was 13th Floor Elevators’ ‘You’re Gonna Miss Me’ (guitar borrowed from Tacoma garage kings and queen Girl Trouble), this song, Arthur Conloy’s ‘Sweet Soul Music’ (a staple from my Living Room days with The Legend! And His Swinging Soul Sisters) and possibly one or two originals (no one recorded the set, strangely). The crowd sang along on most of the songs because I asked them to, but this was the one everyone asked for from then on in, whatever country we were in. Nirvana, Lemonheads, Soundgarden, Hole, Madder Rose (I think), Rodan (I think), Larry Pickleman (I think) etc. Loads more. It’s certainly the song I performed in front of more people than any other – cumulatively, the audience numbers must reach close on six figures – and, one could argue, one of the main reasons I so successfully managed to blur the line between critic and performer and hence was so able to be Everett True in the early to mid-Nineties.
Sub Pop even released my version as a seven-inch, the worst-selling on the label – but again, it added to the ‘myth’. It meant I would sit with the artists backstage at major arenas and festivals, waiting for my spot. And because my covering ‘Do Nuts’ a cappella on stage enabled me to be Everett True, above and way beyond the call of duty, it was as responsible for that ridiculous spike in my ‘career’ as anything and hence could be called “the song that changed my life” as accurately as ‘Denis’ (Blondie) or ”Touch Me I’m Sick’ (Mudhoney) or ‘Searching For Mr Right’ (Young Marble Giants) or ‘Backstreet Boys’ (Patrik Fitzgerald) or any other. And that’s why I list The Inkspots alongside Young Marble Giants and Patrik Fitzgerald as one of my three main influences on my MySpace page.
I originally picked up the album it was on because I liked the cover. No other reason. It cost £1.60.
See also: the first song I can remember dancing to