A few months back I was shopping for clothing for my toddler son at Target and I was immediately taken by a pint-sized Pink Floyd t-shirt. I know: I recognized immediately that this was a simple but effective ploy to play upon a combination of adult nostalgia and a parental desire to make children look ‘cool‘ (especially for those Gen Xers and younger who were always too cool to want to appear to try to be cool.)
My wife mocked me a little. I felt both less and more self-critical when I saw not one but two little boys at day care wearing the same t-shirt. I over-compensated by getting a science officer Star Trek (original series) shirt for my son and trying to squeeze him into a one-year old’s shirt emblazoned with Carthago Delenda Est.
I don’t really know new Wilco. I don’t really know old Wilco actually as I only listened to their first album with any regularity. I know they’re kind of a hip band for collegians and slightly older folks as well as for alt-rock afficiandos of all ages. I like the alternative country stuff from their earlier albums, reminiscent of the earlier band Uncle Tupleo.
I guess I get ahead of myself as I haven’t really explained that I have been a devout honky-tonk fan from the very first time I heard Hank Sr. in the seventh grade.This has to do with Wilco only because of the fact that I really only like their country sounding stuff. Two songs seem to stick out and they were both on my iTunes. (Oddly enough, I have itunes but have never owned an iPod…..but that’s a story for another day.) I like Wilco mostly because of the song “Passenger Side”: and this is due to my memory of hearing it for the first time and what it’s about.
To illustrate my ignorance about the band, I will give a short recitation of what I do know. I know they came from the break-up of Uncle Tupleo, allegedly due to Tweedy’s growing role as singer and songwriter and his possible proposition of Jay Farrar’s girlfriend. (I saw Jay last year at Mountain Jam, accompanied by himself on a guitar and a pedal-steel player. He was really good, a perfect Sunday afternoon gig.)
Anyway, whatever the reason for the break-up, Jay went on his own and formed Son Volt and the rest of them became Wilco with added members along the way. I know Tweedy is supposed to be kind of an arrogant prick, although I can’t say since I’ve never met him.