Tuesday, December 9, 2008
35. The Country Western Robot Cries Again
It's a cold hard metal fact that the saddest sounding American instrument is the pedal steel, and the reason for this is simple: way back when we (you and I) were making America, steel guitars were strung with the tendons of unhappy dead people. This was in fact before steel had been discovered during a cave-in in Hazard County, West Virginia, which provided several more "redneck theremins." Technology and America remorselessly moving on, we no longer call this "country pleader" the pedal tendon. Another reason is that that is fuggin' gross, man.
It is another fact that everyone thinks about robots all the time. And why not? They're funny when they put on dresses and heroic when little itty-bitty ones saved Uncle Ferd after that botched Panamanian angioplasty. And it's also funny when someone refers to 'our robot overlords,' because it's better to laugh at the hideous truth than to cry.
And that's something robots don't do (cry). This simple statement is axiomatic to literally every piece of music made in England from 1979-1985 and gave us the non-Euclidean wonder of the Flock of Seagulls haircut. Robots cannot cry, for we have made them not as we are (see Ripley Scott's neat-o Vangelis video "Blade Runnings" for more on this) but as we wish we could be. We have made them stoic and without Gods and with laser eyes so they never need bottle openers.
But what would it be like if robots could, in fact, cry, wail, gnash their geary teeth? Well, it would probably sound like Pete Drake, the man who created the Talkbox. You have heard the Talkbox. Deep-sea worms have heard the Talkbox. Here's why: "Do You Feel Like I Do?" That's why. You heard that three times a day until you were allowed to pick the radio station, cause Dad still has one of those beerhats with the straws and a Peter Frampton shirt.
My point being, Pete Drake was a king-hell pedal steel player, and he invented the Talkbox. So take the keen of the pedal steel, and then pull it out of shape and have it sing at you.
'But I hate country!' I hear you say, and I am reminded yet again that you are a hideous little quasi-person. Listen: download these albums and if you don't like them, if they don't sound like literally nothing else you've ever heard, then I'll refund your costs. I'll refund the costs with my boot up your ass.