Sunday, February 21, 2010

BAM! POW! URK! Gibble, fribber, splat. Hoogahoogahoogahooga boom. EEEEYOWWW! Urk.

Courtesy of our friend John H. Farr (

Manby’s Head: Medicine!

by JHF on February 21, 2010 · 4 comments
You meet your gurus in the strangest places. Sometimes it’s like the messenger of the Lord.
(For behold!)
I went to hear a band debut in a record store in downtown Taos. Manby’s Head draws its name from a figure of local legend, one Arthur Manby. After arriving from England in 1892, he spent more than 20 years acquiring title to much of Taos and environs by hook or crook (mostly the latter), in the process stirring up enough dark karma to make you shiver from the reading of it. One July day in 1929 they found his ripe, four-day-old, headless body in his house in Taos, locked inside with the dogs. (Or was it Manby’s body, for how could anybody tell?) The coroner ruled that Manby had died of natural causes, his dogs having supposedly eaten the head. The obvious conclusion to draw might be the wrong one, though, if anyone could be that clever. In any case, there wasn’t any head, not until now.
The leader of the band had commented here before, I think, or maybe on a Facebook page. I’d listened to a couple numbers at the Manby’s Head Myspace page, recognized the names of other bands the members had been involved with, and knew I wanted to hear them play. I messaged that I’d be at the gig.
And behold, I actually left the house and showed up. Good thing, too.
Oh Jesus, what a relief!
LOUD, fast, big fat chords and no apologies. American music with a vengeance, just what the doctor ordered. With the first song, they had that ear-crushing, high-speed, roar and drone. I couldn’t believe it. I was so happy! (My culture LIVES, right here in Taos, New Mexico…) I hadn’t heard anything that good since I don’t know when. It was like the end of celibacy, like opening a floodgate, just like I would play if I were any good: dangerous and bad for you if you were normal! Not kids, these guys, either, so I was there.
And behold. Oh, how and behold.
After about the third song, the guy called out, “Where’s JOHN FARR?” (We’d never met before, remember.)
“HERE!” I yelled out from the back.
“Please to meet you!” he shouted.
“This is GREAT!” I whooped. “MORE!!!”
Which is exactly what they did. I felt so pleased and hip, I could have danced nekkid and turned everybody blind.
After the show, I went up to introduce myself and thank him. He was pumped from playing, in a state I recognized that follows sacrifice and letting go. I told him the show was “medicine,” and I meant it. He said he always read my blog, mentioned “commonalities,” and thought I had a lot going for myself. At this point, the house sound system came back up and I had a little trouble hearing–not surprising anyway, considering–he was still bouncing, eyes shooting all over the place, and then it happened (the words I quote here may be paraphrasing, but the elements were all there):
“The thing about your blog, the way you write, it’s honest… and what I take from it is you have a beautiful wife, all these things and all this going for you, and it’s NOT ENOUGH!”
BAM! POW! URK! Gibble, fribber, splat. Hoogahoogahoogahooga boom. EEEEYOWWW! Urk. Urk urk urk urk urk urk urk urk urk urk urk urk urk urk urk urk urk urk urk urk urk urk urk urk urk urk urk urk urk urk urk urk urk urk urk urk urk urk urk. POOT! Uh-huh uh-huh uh-huh. BOINNNNNNGGGG…
(For behold!)


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