J's Indie/Rock Mayhem

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Tuesday, June 08, 2004

(cross post with notes from underground)

robert quine is dead at the age of 61.

the world of music is a fascinating place. it can create the most obvious and glaring examples of excess and popularity; people whose very essence long overrode whatever person is really there under the creation and manifests a destiny of mythic proportion. these are the omnipresent visages of rock and roll. their contributions to the overall construction are sometimes questionable, but there are some who transcend all sense of critique and pretension to create something truly memorable and evolving to the art.

then there are those whose contributions are equally as debated, equally as remarkable and sometimes even surpassing to those who are the aesthetic, the countenance of rock. but they are the people who are not image. they are not a creation. they are purely artists. robert quine falls squarely into this category.

his name is one that is one of punk's legends. his fractured, noisy guitar work was one of the quintessentially most recognizeable in all of rock. as innovative as it was brutally envigorating, quine's work snaked its paws into the evolution of rock, leaving its tell-tale markings everywhere.

though his work is multi-faceted and broad, he has left me with two distinct and two very important images: the voidoids and matthew sweet.

he was a founding member of the voidoids, a band that was the mouthpiece for another punk legend, richard hell. having recently been given the boot from television, hell helped put together this band that would record one of the innarguable masterpieces of modern music, blank generation. while hell's songs are without a doubt the star of the show, they wouldn't be half the electric fix without quine's guitar work. it stabs and laces itself through numerous cuts and holes over the course of the twelve songs, leaving an acid and yet exciting taste in your mouth. the solo in "blank generation" is a heart stopping ride just on its own. it is without a doubt, one of the brightest moments in the already brilliant 70s new york punk scene.

the other moment is a set of three albums by matthew sweet: girlfriend, altered beast and 100% fun. matthew sweet pulled quite a coup in enlisting the help of both television's richard lloyd and quine for his studio band on all three albums. quine's guitar graces the lead part on sweet's classic single "girlfriend," as well as on standouts like "looking at the sun," "i wanted to tell you," "don't go," "nothing lasts" (all from girlfriend), "dinosaur act," "devil with the green eyes," "the ugly truth" (all from altered beast), "not when i need it," "we're the same," "lost my mind" and "come to love" (all from 100% fun). the guitar work quine gives to these songs is flawless and gives sharp, jolts of power to the wonderfully classic power-pop of matthew sweet.

these are the two that stand most in my mind, both having had such an impact on my musical listeneing experience and the course that my exploration in music has taken and will take. it is unquestionable that punk, rock and music in general is a much, much richer art for having known the brilliant input of robert quine. may all of us be able to pay him back in some small way by pushing forward the way he did his entire career.

god speed, robert.


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