Wednesday, 15 July 2009

A tale of two dudes

On a recent trip to Edinburgh, the airport taxi into town passed a bar called Lebowski's, with the slogan, 'not just a man, a way of life'. Apt, as that weekend I was on my way to see one of my favourite dudes, David Crosby, play with Steven Stills and Graham Nash in the suitably craggy setting of Edinburgh Castle.

Now looking indubitably like Father Christmas, his hands shoved in his blue jeans pockets and with his white hair blowing in the breeze, he channelled utter dudestry. Complaining of the cold - it was a lovely summer's evening, by Scottish standards - he drawled, 'Hey. What can I say. I'm from California.' Wondering whether the climate sent the Scots mad, 'So, you guys, what, pitch logs?' And about the music, 'Nash writes the anthems, Stills writes amazing rock and roll, and I write the weird shit.'

The man oozed the aura of someone who has only ever done things one way; his way. Apparently the guy who, back in the day, always had the best drugs, the best car and partied longest and hardest, he made Graham Nash look like one of The Monkees. (How the hell did Nash pull Joni Mitchell? The mind boggles.)

Steven Stills was still utterly dude-like too, absolutely rocking the place with his guitar solos and sounding in good voice, even if he couldn't quite enunciate the lyrics. A life of utter dude-ism will do that to you. Crosby still took the dude crown though.

[ To hear Crosby at the height of his dude-dom, listen to the Wooden Ships or Long Time Gone on the album Crosby Stills and Nash. Or the aptly titled solos album 'If Only I Could Remember My Name'. ]

A week or so before that, Steely Dan played live in London and Donald Fagen jokily tried to subvert the brilliance of his and Walter Becker's slick and sometimes too polished music by playing a Yamaha Melodica for a few songs (which were performed predictably note perfect to the records, by a brilliant band, with a trio
of beautiful afro-haired backing singers).

Despite being a funny looking fellow who yabbers at his keyboard with monkey arms, I can't listen to Steely Dan or Fagen's solo stuff without either wishing I was him or that I could just, you know, hang out with him a bit. Perhaps indulging in some of the finest Columbian and a few Cuervo Golds. [ To see the dude in action with his equally dude-like partner Walter Becker, track down the documentary 'Classic Albums: Steely Dan - Aja'. It's awe-inspiring stuff. ]

Crosby image courtesy of Henry Diltz, an absolute dude photographer in his own right, we'll cover him later. Steely Dan - Becker with guitar and Fagen with sax

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