Friday, October 06, 2006

On Johnny Cash

I have been very big into Johnny Cash since I saw the movie Walk the Line. You can probably tell that I dig the rebel types like Cash, the ones who flout society and live their own way and blah blah blah. I am surprised it took me 22 years to find his music, and, more importantly, his attitude. Any man who plays in two prisons for his most famous albums is a man that I would share a drink with.

I love his older stuff, the things about prisons and cocaine and farms, and yet it is the song "Hurt", that is leaving the hardest impression on me.

This may be the most intense, murderous song I've ever heard. He didn't write it, of course- Trent Reznor did. There is something about the way Cash plays it, though, that makes this song a true musical landmark in my eyes. I don't know shit for shit about music as far as playing it, but I know quite a bit about soul and passion, and this song has it in spades.

I am drunk right now, and my eyes are tearing up because of these, the last hymn of a dying man. This was a man that knew his time was near, and that all his TV appearences and the days of idolatry were over. These were the words of a man who no longer wishes to live, and is hounding the devil to come and play.

So rare is this breed in all of history! Most famous, rich folks avoid death at every turn, and then give last whimpy utterances when they see the decil smiling in the doorway. There are a million quotes such as, from Pancho Villa's, "Don't tell them it ended like this. Tell them I said something" to some asshole king's, "All of my possessions for another moment of time". Everyone tries so hard to duck death... but Cash stared it in the eyes and smiled, as broken and dead a man as the framed yet shattered "Certified Gold Records" on the ground in his video.

The pain is there. This rebel without a cause, the man who gave the finger to the world and took all the consequences....a dying genius' manifesto. Few have either the guts or the talent to do something like this.

It is probably not a good thing that I feel that I have such a kinship with a man like Johnny Cash. I don't like it because I know people like me and him don't measure success by the books we've published or the albums we've's by how happy we are.

And we are never, ever happy.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Poignant, moving post.