Even if he wanted to, Giant Sand’s Howe Gelb couldn’t repeat himself. Just watch him sing sometime; the guy’s got two vocal mics, one distorted, one clean, and he doesn’t make up his mind which one he’ll be singing into until he’s halfway through his line. Tucson (Fire), Gelb’s latest release (credited to Giant Giant Sand), is named after his Arizona hometown. He will also be guest editing magnetmagazine.com all week.
Gelb: Desert rock? What is that? Who does that?
Nothing means anything most of the time. Meaning is in a constant state of flux, and whenever you catch someone thinking they know what they mean, immediately they begin to look not so sure because like everything else, the mind is in a constant state of erosion. You’re not building up to live forever but you are gonna die forever as far as we think we know, but that single thought is already eroding so, not sure.
Music should be like nature, take a queue from it, a clue from it. Nature loves erosion; it does it all the time, and it is what it does best. I love when music does that too, erode, change its shape and become a new road where the old one used to be. I know, that idea has always been a marketing man’s nightmare. How the hell can you promote something that’s in one shape one day and another shape the next? Well, it takes an erosive mind to be able to spin that ‘scription.
When people try and blame my beautiful neighborhood on the mess I make in music, I offer up something else: a release from that kind of stereotype casting. Although we tend to work in stereo most of the time, any kind of music that gets made around this camp will be eroding in no time, changing its color and shape and challenging its own landscape. This has confused enough people over the years who have been trying to figure out the nature of the sound when it has always been way more simple then that and exactly the opposite of: its the sound of the nature.
On any given day at any given hour when you stare at a patch of land around here you can witness its erosive state sometimes particle by particle through the extreme sizzle or slamming monsoon. It’s there with every breeze or dust devil, and it’s easier to see around here because there is no lucky grass covering it up. Instead, it’s right there every minute in every day; particles of a giant sandscape changing its mind, rock erosion at its best, and if you have to blame our music on anything over these eroding years, then liken it up accordingly to just that. Erosion, a proud form of constant change, the shape of reshaping. Some of us tend to love it or at least see how it makes more sense instead of less.
Maybe as we age, we tend to enjoy less change then when young and all fired up. Like in the ’80s, when that decade was begging for anyone to come along and put it out of its misery. But one thing is still the same for me and for everyone else here: The grass really is greener everywhere else.
Video after the jump.