Diversions :: Patterson Hood on Darkness On The Edge of Town

(Diversions, a recurring feature on Aquarium Drunkard, catches up with our favorite artists as they wax on subjects other than recording and performing.)

At the bottom of the page you will Patterson Hood’s live tribute to Darkness On The Edge Of Town recorded in 2007, by Sloan Simpson, at the 40 Watt club in Athens, GA.   Last week, on the eve of the Darkness reissue, The Promise, I asked Patterson to share his thoughts on the original LP. He did just that. Below is his transmission from  the Netherlands, thinking about Darkness, while touring with Drive-By Truckers.   Look for the new DBT record, Go-Go Boots, out February 2011.

I was fourteen, had just moved, was about to enter high school, puberty and all that shit. I was hanging out at the record store (as I did every Saturday) and my friend Jay, behind the counter, told me to buy this record. He probably didn't tell me it would save my life, but he might has well have. I think it got me at track 3 ("Something in the Night", still gives me chills). Somewhere around the time that everything dropped out, leaving only the voice and the kick   drum, playing the most simple of things as he crooned about being caught at the state line and having their car burned that I knew this was some special kind of Rock and Roll Record.

I grew up, the son of musician, reading Rolling Stone and Musician and Creem and even Billboard (Dad had those all laying around) as well as National Lampoon and MAD (and whatever pornography I could find hidden under the bed) so I grew up steeped in Rock and Roll folklore as if that was my Grimm's Fairy Tales and or by that age, Bible.

Rockers had been singing about their cars since before Chuck Berry and no one had ever done it as well as him. Jan and Dean wrecked their car on Dead Man's Curve (followed shortly by the real thing) but they didn't have their car set fire too. I didn't know what it all meant, but I was blown away by it. I was already writing songs by that time and probably set fire to all the cars in my songs for the next year or two.

Then "Candy's Room" came on and what the hell was that all about? Those drums came in, just impossibly fast. I already knew about Punk Rock, as I saw that thing on TV (A show on NBC called Weekend did a segment on this new 'horrible' phenomenon and I was hooked). I began hitting up my friend Jay for these bands with cool names like the Sex Pistols and especially the Clash. Those records were hard to find in my Alabama hometown, but Bruce Springsteen was borderline mainstream, I mean even WQLT played "Born To Run." The fact that Springsteen seemed to be embracing Punk Rock was of astronomical importance to me in 1978.

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