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Notes From The Flip Side: 03.15.2002

When I started writing this update, I was planning on writing about the American Steel show I saw Monday. It was a thing of majesty and one of the best shows I've seen. The band just seemed to get lost in the music. It was a beautiful thing to behold. I had been planning on writing about how few people showed up to the venue to see American Steel, One Time Angels and Vena Cava. Then I talked to Davey this afternoon and he told me that Cranford from The Malakas had died.

I met Cranford one night at the Velvet. The doors weren't open yet and I was really early, as I tended to be back in those days, because I had fuck all else to do and being alone in my shitty one bedroom walkup only made my depression worse. He was lounging around outside, fucking around with a Gibson Les Paul. We started talking. He told me he had a migraine; it was recurring because some guys had kicked him in the head during a street fight some years before. And so our conversation went until Andy opened the doors.

The Malakas wrote deceptively simple songs - musically, they wouldn't have sounded out of place in the 1950s. Thematically, they were straight out of the 1970s. They wrote songs about getting drunk and having a good time and raising hell. They wrote songs about getting loaded. They wrote songs about hard times and they wrote songs about the consequences of their raucous behavior. And through it all, they had a wry sense of fatalistic humor about their bad luck. It was just the payment for the ride.

I was lucky enough to see the Malakas a fair number of times. They played infrequently, but I made a point of going out when they did and Cranford always remembered me. Frankly, it seemed that he remembered everyone he'd ever talked to, no matter how briefly. He always seemed to have a smile and a kind word for people.

I hadn't seen him in a while; in fact, I was talking about him just this past weekend with someone - Porter, I think - and I heard that he had moved to Detroit. And now this. So I'll raise a glass for the dearly departed tonight. And I'll pull out his old records every so often and grin.

I know I fall back on this quote every time I have to mourn someone but Thoreau still said it best: "Even the death of friends will inspire us as much as their lives. ... Their memories will be encrusted over with sublime and pleasing thoughts, as monuments of other men are overgrown with moss; for our friends have no place in the graveyard."

Rest in peace, Cranford.

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Kali provided a new essay on why having children is a fundamentally selfish act. The American Nightmare interview is done. Ceylon Mooney wrote an astounding first-person account of his trip to Iraq. I also added more new links.

Now Playing:

New tiltWheel; One Time Angels, "Sound Of A Restless City" and "Tricks And Dreams"; Coheed And Cambria, "The Second Stage Turbine Blade"; new A.M. Vibe

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J.P. Donleavy, "A Fairy Tale Of New York"

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Italo Calvino, "t zero"; Greil Marcus, "The Old, Weird America"

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Last modified on Wednesday, March 26, 2008