Saturday, January 8, 2011

Stealers Wheel - "Stuck in the Middle" from the Reservoir Dogs OMPST &

April March - "Laisse Tomber Les Filles" from the Death Proof OMPST

Reservoir Dogs OMPST cover Death Proof OMPST cover
Interesting it is, I think, that in the wake of Gerry Rafferty's death January 4th, I've spent more time thinking about a guy getting his ear sliced off in a famously ultraviolent indie film than I have thinking about the deceased artist in question.

Maybe it's just mine own reaction, and if so, let's just forget the whole thing, and I'll see you on Tuesday or so. But it doesn't seem fair to me, on consideration, doesn't seem fitting.

Gerry Rafferty was no Captain Beefheart, no revolutionary, no great influence to anyone, really. The relevant stage of his career as an inoffensive soft-rocker lasted a decade, or actually a little less, and he seems to have spent the last 15 years of his life drinking himself to death.

Despite all this, however, Rafferty did manage to write 3 or 4 or 5 pretty great songs, and upon his passing, it seems a little sad to me that we spend more of our time thinking about some fictional rookie cop getting his fucking fictional ear sliced off by some fictional psychopath than about the real, true-to-life music that Rafferty actually made.

Stealers Wheel CD coverNot sure what the upshot of this is, though. I'm not suggesting that Rafferty and his partner Egan shouldn't have sold the song (its title expanded to include "With You" on as many releases as not, BTW) to Quentin, and I'm not suggesting that Tarantino shouldn't have bought it. I'm just lamenting how it all turned out.

It's the tyranny of the cinema, I guess.

I've been bitching and moaning for years about Scorsese, and what I feel to be his horribly inappropriate choices for soundtrack music. Like the mafia capos he depicts in his movies give a shit about The Rolling Stones, or that the simple accident that Marty happens to enjoy the music of John Lee Hooker makes that music at all appropriate for his films about Italian-Americans.

Not that I'm saying "Stuck in the Middle" is necessarily inappropriate for Reservoir Dogs. Tarantino's clever, he's like The Butthole Surfers: in his detached, ironic, postmodern, postpunk way, he manages to evade the question of appropriateness in the first place. It doesn't matter whether the song fits the film or not, see, 'cause it's all intended to be ironic, anyway.

Michael Madsen as Mr. BlondeSo, y'know, in this oh-so-artistic way that he has, Tarantino is not as annoying as his ultraviolent grandfather Scorsese, but, to be sure, the end result is the same. I wind up thinking of guys in pinstripe suits hanging on meathooks inside of refrigerated trucks when I hear "Layla," and I think of Mr. Blonde when I hear a certain Scottish folk rock band performing their biggest hit.

It ain't right, I tell ya, but there's no getting around it. As big as rock and roll is, it ain't so big that it isn't dwarfed by Hollywood.

Anyway, there's no denying Tarantino's omnivorous taste in music. Stealers Wheel is just the beginning of a long list of wizened (and yes, many times ironical) inclusions QT has made onto his soundtracks. Check Dick Dale, T Rex, Neu!, Dusty Springfield, Kool and The Gang, and the's.

And April March. I've long wanted to share her outrageously fun Serge Gainsbourg cover, and I doubt I'll ever have a better chance.

File Both Under: Quentin Tarantino's Greatest Hits

1 comment:

TAD said...

R: Tarantino does assemble some great soundtrax -- doesn't RESERVOIR DOGS open with George Baker's "Little Green Bag"? Great song, tho kinda obscure -- I about fell off the couch when I saw the movie & heard that as the opening theme.... Chuck Berry's "You Never Can Tell" worked great in PULP FICTION too....
Dunno why Rafferty drank himself to death, but summa his late '70s/early '80s work is really nice -- NIGHT OWL especially is really solid early-morning wake-up music. There's also his vocal cameo on Mark Knopfler's LOCAL HERO soundtrack, "The Way it Always Starts."
I haven't heard as much Stealer's Wheel as I otta -- always loved "Star," tho.... -- TAD.