Anti-Friends David Ivar Herman Dune and Jeffrey Lewis (part two)

September 4, 2017

Anti-Friends David Ivar Herman Dune and Jeffrey Lewis (part two)

unexpected happened in my conversation with David Ivar Herman Dune, when he
expressed an admiration for the darkness of Jonathan Richman. Certainly it was
true Richman had never spared addressing darkness throughout his career, but
I’d always thought of him as someone able to transist that impulse into
something better, as in Franny Glass’s understanding, in the Salinger story named for her, that a real
poet must leave something beautiful on the page to earn the name.

of the keys to his poetry is to understand that he IS sad, but he still loves
life,” says David Ivar. “I love [Because Her Beauty is] Raw & Wild. I love
the darkness in [his songs].”
album in question, released in 2008, featured songs like “When
We Refuse to Suffer
,” protesting human
culture’s seeming preference for additives and assistants over endurance and
adaptation, and “Our Drab Ways,”
diagnosing the human preference for numbing routine over galvanizing shock, and
well bore out Yaya’s observation.
people can’t take continuous work, they need a limited period upon which to
gauge someone’s work. Which is convenient of course. That’s why VU, The Stooges
or The Beatles are perfect to have an opinion. It takes more effort to
appreciate people like Bob Dylan or Jonathan. Because it doesn’t stop. There is
no era. But to be honest, who really has time to grasp all of someone’s work?
Take Chuck Berry. Every record I’ve ever bought of his has the best songs ever
written on them. But who’s even aware of genius records like ‘Bio’?”
 have you heard it?
Jonathan Richman soundtrack to movie.”
see. There is something strange in the fact that, say, T.Rex is considered a
legend with really one album, and to be precise, two songs on that album, and
others like Jonathan produce constant landmarks . . . the way Culture has to be
told in small bites, in clips, we can’t grasp the spectrum of things.”
think he was talking about Tyrannosaurus Rex.
Same band, different version. I like T. Rex okay, but point taken. As a lit
student, I’ve often found myself stuck in conversations with people who’ve
formed giant grudges over one or two books this or that prolific author wrote
as if they were that author’s thesis, meanwhile singing the praises of somebody
else who only wrote one book.
Dune has recently reformed, following a breakup and a transitional period,
during which David Ivar wrote “angry sad songs” as the leader of an outfit
called Black Yaya, releasing its first new video, “Crazy
,” with footage of a naked
rollerskater, a few days ago. The song is NME’s pick for “Song Of The Summer
2017” and Rolling Sone US’s “Hottest Summer Video.” Playboy also
has it on its “Folk Music Best” list of the decade. Fans can buy it
on iTunes, or listen for nothing on Spotify.
whole series began with a piece about Cindy
Lee Berryhill
with an emphasis on her
Brian Wilson influence, then in part one of this piece, I said comparison to
bygones is not consideration, but here I am doing it again. I think it says
something about David Ivar Herman Dune that, while I haven’t drastically
revised my impression of Richman as being in some way, better than darkness,
his comments caused me to remember the number, “I
Can Hear Her Fighting With Herself
,” from Richman’s I’m So Confused album, which astounded
me, when first I heard it, for its apt reflection of being in love with someone
who has a mental crisis, showing absolute comprehension of a condition I was
experiencing with my own romantic partner at the time.
give them honest consideration, free from comparison or contrast, what do these
two think of the question of art versus politics? There are some who feel that
to be truly artful, a piece of art must be better than mere activism. Others
believe it must have a social effect to be worth anything.
Lewis, “I do write some political songs, I don’t feel like it is the best thing
I do, but sometimes some of them are okay. I have already written about 6 -8
songs about Trump, but there are only about 2 of them that I feel like are good
enough to play live. Usually when people write a political song it sounds a bit
fake, because if you really cared you would be doing something more serious
than writing a song. To really fight for something requires you to risk your
time, your money, your health and safety and reputation and security. It’s much
easier to just write a song that says you ‘care’ about something, but you
almost automatically sound like a fake, because how can you say you ‘care’
about something, if all you are doing about it is writing a little song about
it? Still, I do think that culture has a lot of power, it can teach or
reinforce different perspectives, and it can provide a mental architecture for
how to think about things, even when it’s something you already think and feel,
a work of art allows you to put how you think and feel into a conveniently
accessible mental form.”
point. As obvious as it is, it took me many years to stop thinking of artistic
accomplishment as tangible assistance or acknowledgement.
Yaya, on much the same tip, “There’s a good bunch of things involved here.
First, I am an artist, I am a man. Both are the same me. I have a political
presence, I am somewhere on the spectrum. Whatever permeates of it in writing
is there, no doubt. Anyone can pick it up. But sometimes I write outside the
boundaries of my consciousness, sometimes somehow outside of my moral compass.
Let’s say I am against looting, stealing, but I want to write a song where I’m
a burglar, with great detail, with all my fantasies about robbing. I know I
won’t restrain myself. So in a way that’s where the political Me and the artist
Me shouldn’t be one and the same. Because I don’t want to have to stick to
everything I write even outside of my songs, whereas in real life conversation
I like to think I can account for what I say a little bit.”
what I was getting at. I wouldn’t like my artistic volition to feel incapable
of investigating every perspective, yet I don’t want to further any negative
social or psychological trends with my political alignments.
point is that, although I have a lifelong commitment in building a
philosophical stance for myself, gathering a moral, ethical and political
thought that I truly feel about, I ought to be aware that no one asked me about
it. I mean, passed the joy of voicing an opinion, and I hope an original one, I
am aware that no one is really seeking advice in me. So I question, outside of
what I use in a piece of art under the artistic impulse, I question the endeavor
. . . I’m sure you can find a lot of
lines in my songs that speak for the political stance I forged for myself, but
also a lot of lines that don’t. And so as to define that stance, I don’t think
my songs will do the job, and nor should they I think. As to sharing my
thoughts and opinions, until I write a book or an essay that I feel proud
enough about to discuss in a historic and societal way, I feel like it wouldn’t
be a lot more than wind blowing through a strainer.”
about good versus evil? Have these social and spiritual institutions and
verities and transgressions lost their meaning in the modern muddle?
Ivar treats of these as alchemic quantities in his answer, saying, “Eros and
Thanatos? True and False? Spiritual or Debased? That’s what comes to my mind.
I’ll answer by saying that the art that moves me is Erotic or Spiritual,
sometimes both at the same time. The Erotic and the Spiritual energy turn into
Magic for me, and by Magic I mean good songs, of course.”
couldn’t agree more, having so far been galvanized, more than anything else, by
recent objectively unfavorable events outside this apartment.
neutrality is displayed by Lewis in his answer to this left-field question of
mine, which may have given him the impression I was coming from a religious
perspective in asking it. “In the Swamp Thing comic book in the 80s when Alan
Moore was writing it, Swamp Thing encountered many horrible monsters and
murderers and then finally he goes to hell and then the powers of ultimate evil
grasp him and ask him about evil and the only answer he can think of is the
words that he heard the old trees tell him in some previous issue ‘a bug eats a
leaf, and a bird eats the bug, and a fox eats the bird, etc, and where is evil
in all the woods?’ or something like that.”
to put you on the spot like that. I could tell you that question was the leadup
to some clever point I was trying to make, as it once may have been, but I’ve
since lost the plot in the swirl of rousing events. Thanks a lot, guys, for
your patience with me in this article’s production, please keep in touch, and I
hope you enjoy it, readers!

Read Part One
– Zack Kopp
© Copyright http://www.psychedelicbabymag.com/2017
Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *