An individual exhibiting such uniqueness or individuality that he or she will cause a roomful of bar cronies to exclaim, "That's one interesting motherfucker!" Actual sexual relations with one's mother are not required.
Have you ever thought to yourself, "What if everyone at Acid Logic was sensitive?"."What if Saleeby didn't rail on endlessly about single moms and Hollywood liberals, if Pete Moss didn't vent his vitriol against Orange County gangbangers and suburban wiggers, if Tarryn didn't so snidely pass judgment on the elderly, crippled and anyone else who didn't fit into her limited view of what's acceptable, and if Wil Forbis ceased to offer his unending sarcastic remarks that are plainly designed to bolster his flagging self esteem by humiliating those around him.?" (As he is doing now.) Did'ja ya ever ask yourself that? Well, there's one thing I can tell you: if we were sensitive, we'd probably listen to a lot more Kate Bush.
I find myself back peddling on that statement almost as soon as I make it. After all, in my book, "sensitive" is one of the cruelest descriptions you can burden someone with, and my point here is to offer up the lovely Ms. Bush as someone deserving of your admiration. It seems so many people in the world carry themselves about as being sensitive in the mistaken belief that that will give them some sort of emotional depth, when in reality they are vapid wisps with little conviction or individuality. This cannot be said about Kate Bush. she may be sensitive, but she has always been determined to carry the torch for her very particular, very unique brand of rock music.
To be truly unique in the realm of popular music is a seldom seen act. Most performers can be segregated into easily defined categories. in fact, it seems most rock artists strive to be segregated into such categories. They wave the flag for techno, or punk, or heavy metal and go out of their way to flog the clichés of their particular genre. It's certainly rare to come across an artist that seems to transcend such labeling, or more so, actually succeeds in creating their own genre. But I think you could safely say that's what English, singer/songwriter/pianist Kate Bush has managed to do in her twenty plus years career of performing.
The first time I ever heard the music of Ms. Bush was in the late 1980's. I was staying with my friend Conrad, in a musty rented house outside of Olympia, Washington, and one day he sat down at the piano and started pounding out the opening section to Bush's "Feel It". The tune caught my ear with its eclectic chord changes and theatrical rhythms, so I made an effort do dig through Conrad's music collection and listen to some of Kate's LPs. What I discovered was an artist who created very ethereal, European, self-contained music that operated on its own terms. Though you can hear some of the influences that affected her songwriting - Floyd, YES, perhaps even a bit of Motown - lyrically and sonically, Bush has a fairly unprecedented take on songwriting. She often starts off with a standard rock chord progression, then ends up in unfamiliar territory, twisting her melody to follow the strange path her harmony has taken. The instrumentation she uses to support these juxtapositions is dreamy, often piano and keyboard based, with wide vocal harmonies. But not "dreamy" in a calming, new age sort of way, but rather an emotionally undulating, often nightmarish one.
When she first started releasing albums in the late 1970's, it was primarily Bush's voice that caught the attention of the music press. She had a tremendous range, and could easily take flight into the upper octaves. When Kate's first single, "Wuthering Heights," came on the radio, some listeners would hurriedly switch stations to avoid having her shrill glissandos shatter their windows or sterilize their house pets. Kate definitely fell into the "love her or hate her" grouping of female artists, but she managed to take "Wuthering Heights" to a number one position in the U.K. charts. (It was later covered by Pat Benatar on her "Crimes of Passion" album.)
However, singing is just one part of the Kate Bush equation. As a wee lass growing up in England, she had developed an interest in dance, and starting applying that towards her musical career as well, choreographing production numbers around her own music for videos. I was clued into that aspect of Frau Bush's personality a few years after first hearing Conrad play her music on the piano. Still in Olympia, he and I were visiting the apartment of a local artist named Al and he happened to have one of Kate's mid 80's performance videos. Watching it, I was fascinated - it was nothing like the pop dance performance of Paula Abdual or even Weird Al - rather it was closer to a traditional ballet performance, with very un-ballet-like music. And the trippy thing was that for some of the songs in the video, Kate wouldn't even sing, she'd simply dance along to a pre-recorded rendition of her own music. It had a bit of a Milli Vanilli quality, but at the same time, it was ennobled in a way. I mean, one of the great unspoken rules of rock and roll is that if you're performing your music, you at least pretend to sing along with it - What would happen if Depeche Mode came out and simply stood there while their hits were blasted over the arena sound system? I'll tell you what would happen! Chaos! The end of the world! Cats sleeping with dogs! Fish sleeping with mice! No 39 cent hamburger days at McDonalds! - BUUUUUTTTT (Getting back to my point here) Kate seemed entirely unconstrained by the conventions of rock performance and felt quite comfortable alternating her role onstage from that of singer, to dancer, to S&M Dominatrix (well, that last one actually has more to do with her role in this dream I had last night, but you get the picture.)
That's Kate Bush the artist, but what about Kate Bush the human being? Is she as sensual as her music, as precise as her dance? It's hard to tell, Bush tends to avoid the media and interviews, preferring to keep the details of her life private. Little is known about her romantic life, though the following episode was revealed a few years ago. In 1994 Kate began a temptous affair with a young zine writer named Wil Forbis. Their affair was impassioned but rocky, involving frequent arguments at high class restaurants and public lovemaking sessions on the floors of European Museums. Kate claimed that it was the talented writer's vast sexual expertise that kept their relationship alive as long as it did. "No man came close to the sexual satisfaction that Wil provided me," Kate once said in an interview with US magazine. "As a result I was more than glad to satiate his perverse, carnal desires. Any woman would be lucky to have him. including the barista at the corner Starbucks who seems so intent on ignoring him."
Don't buy it, huh? What gave it away. the part about me being a zine writer? Well, okay, the truth is, Ms. Bush has been in a long term relationship with Del Palmer, the bass player who appears on her albums. And she lives in England and probably has some cats and basically goes through life without all the violent trappings of your typical rock musician's existence. Kate Bush, unlike a lot of pop stars from the other side of the Atlantic (cough... Oasis...cough), is content to let the attention fall not on her exploits as a celebrity, but her output as a musician.
What do you think America? Leave your comments on the Guestbook!
Wil Forbis is the pen named shared by such noted authors as James Ellroy, Katie Roiphe, and Jim Thompson. E-mail him, I mean, them, at firstname.lastname@example.org
View Wil's Acid Logic web log, a stirring endorsement of sex with pandas!
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