Wednesday, July 10, 2024

I Worry That Drugs Have Made Us More Creative Than We Really Are

Thank you Lily Tomlin for the title of today's post.

Anyway, I bring it up because I have just learned the answer to a question that has plagued me since the fabled Summer of Love, i.e. 1967.

Specifically -- why the hell did Moby Grape (and songwriter Skip Spence) title the killer hit tune (from their eponymous masterpiece debut album) "Omaha"...

...given that the lyrics...

Listen, my friends!
Listen, my friends!
Listen, my friends!

You thought never but
I'm your's forever
Won't leave you ever

Now my friends
What's gone down behind
No more rain
From where we came

Get under the covers, yeah!
All of your lovin'
Beneath and above ya
Bein' in love! not mention/have-absolutely-nothing-whatsoever-to-do with the titular city.

Or, for that matter, any geographical location whatsoever.

Seriously, and I suspect I'm not alone in this, but every time I've heard that song since it originally came out I've found myself going "What the fuck? Omaha? Say what?"

Okay, I won't keep you in suspense any longer -- here's the answer as I just learned it.

It's a hippie drug joke.

It's not Omaha, the place.

It's somebody meditating and suddenly achieving enlightment.

To wit -- "Om...Aha!!!!"

Get it?

Hey, I guess you had to be there.

Anyway, all this is by way of introducing my new favorite indie band (Australians, BTW, and apparently a legendarily hard working live act who've been around for 14 years) who I have no doubt would appreciate the Grape's joke, and whose psychedelic three guitar attack probably would have probably gone over really well with the San Francisco crowd back in the day.

Ladies and germs, please enjoy the wonderfully monikered King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard, and their totally rockin' ode to the reptilian joys of a "Rattlesnake."

Coincidentally, I just discovered these guys over the weekend -- no kidding, I was totally unaware of them previously -- and I think they're a riot, which is the highest praise in my personal critical vocabulary. Your mileage may vary.

I should add that KG&TLW are playing, literally around the corner from my digs in the Paris of the North East, i.e. at Forest Hills Stadium, later in August. I gotta tell you -- I'm almost tempted to brave the heat and go see them.


mistah charley, sb, ma, phd, jsps said...

1/I wondered if there are rattlesnakes in Australia. No. But Australian Geographic did say:

Australia is known for its dangerous snakes, and we have many – but in reality few people die from bites.

When it comes to self-defence, Australia’s snakes have things pretty well covered. We share our continent with about 170 species of land snakes, some equipped with venom more toxic than any other snakes in the world.

But bites are actually quite rare in Australia and, since the development of anti-venom, fatalities have been low – between four to six deaths a year.

“This is in contrast to India, for example, where bites may reach one million a year, with over 50,000 deaths,” says Associate Professor Bryan Fry, a herpetologist and venom expert at the University of Queensland. “Snake bites are very, very rare [in Australia] and often the fault of the person being bitten. Most bites occur when people are trying to kill a snake or show off.”

2/I have heard about the origin of the song name "om-aha" and find it plausible.

I do want to point out that meditation and enlightenment are not necessarily connected with drug use. To give one famous example, Ringo is walking the path of sobriety while meditating [and also exercising, eating right, and focusing on peace and love] - he seems to be doing pretty well.

On the other hand, I have seen listed at Amazon the following book - I have not read it but others might be interested:

Cannabis in Spiritual Practice: The Ecstasy of Shiva, the Calm of Buddha - by Will Johnson [2018]

Alzo said...

OR they said it for the same reason Payton Manning did, which is...

Anonymous said...

Let's make it simple - Grizzard are no
Moby Grape

Anonymous said...

I've got relatives in Australia who put me on to this band (KGLW) around the time their first full album, "12-Bar Bruise," was released. Saw them a few times in Melbourne at a place called the Ding Dong Lounge.

Steve, I don't think you'd be able to hang with the youngins for a three-hour set of music made to fry your twinkies off.

IMHO there are much better tracks than "Rattlesnake" on "Flying Microtonal Banana." That said, it's not my favorite album of theirs. And there is so much to choose from. I'd recommend the following albums, "12 Bar Bruise," "I'm In Your Mind Fuzz," "Paper Mache Balloon Dream," and "Nonagon Infinity."

Some people are made to take hallucinogens. I'm one of them. Now I'm not saying you need to be high to like this music, but in a live setting Entheogenics definitely bloom the seance.


Robitussin and Elderberry Wine

Anonymous said...

KEXP plays this band a lot. I love the name.