Sunday, January 28, 2007

I'd Rather Feel Like Shit Than Be Numb

Wig Wam Bam: a meditation

If all I do is spread the irresistable gospel of The Sweet at their peak I will occasionally feel fulfilled. The calculated bubble-gum AM trebly sound of Wig Wam Bam on "repeat" puts me in touch with 1972. That is, it is a time machine that evokes ALL of being 11 years old listening to glam and glitter rock, reading Marvel Comics and Lester Bangs' Creem magazine.

As far as Creem and Marvel were concerned, punk rock had already been invented. Gil Kane inked by Johnny Romita Spider-Man howling in pain, ostensibly about Gwen Stacy getting pitched, but more globally for me as a zinger of expressionistic URGH or AARGGH lasered its way into my cortex, displacing Curt Swan gentility for the next decade or more. That inking style and those Artie Simek handlettering was an analogue to festering pubescence, hormones, awkwardness... The SHINY SURFACE of bubble-gum was gleaming Neal Adams draftsmanship all over Green Lantern/Green Arrow, Batman, X-Men.

Where is the Hernandex Bros. Comics Journal interview #1, where Gilbert says, "That's the way it was with me...the Batman TV show meant everything and long division didn't mean shit."?

Not only does the literal meaning of that sentence ring true, but the essential vibration of that sentence is a touchstone.

Listen again to the opening chords and candy coated lyrics...

Hiawatha didn't bother too much
'Bout Minnie Ha-Ha and her tender touch

Till she took him to the silver stream

Then she whispered words like he had never heard

That made him all shudder inside when she said

Wig-wam bam, gonna make you my man
Wam bam bam, gonna get you if I can
Wig-wam bam, wanna make you understand

Try a little touch, try a little too much

Just try a little wig-wam bam