Sunday, May 14, 2006

Against All Odds: Why Jim Walsh rules edition

7 Days Out -- If posting this late in the day seems like cheating on my "posting everyday" pledge, you're probably right. I woke up this morning, and left the house for work. This is the first chance I've had to blog. So there.

I've really only talked with Jim Walsh once that I can remember, and it was a strange conversation. We stood next to each other at a Liz Phair show at First Ave. in August 2003 on the left side of the stage and talked about the screen that shields the band from the crowd before they're ready to go on.

For some reason they didn't use the screen or the screen didn't work or something. Jim was mock complaining about it, and I was mock giving it right back to him about being an old man and needing the screen for his experience to be complete. I remember also using air quotes at some point in the conversation. He left before the last encore, and the screen mysteriously began to function. I emailed him the next day to tell him, and he sent back a cheery email.

Jim's a City Pages columnist and blogger. He used to write for the Pioneer Press, and worked at my university's student newpaper -- before my time though. He's pretty much the same age as the guys in the Replacements, Husker Du, et. al.

My first encounter with him was in the summer of 2001. He was writing for the St. Paul paper, and hyping the living shit out of then-unknown Ike Reilly. So, I ended up at the Turf Club with Mark and Brianna, who I also had just recently met. (It was some summer.) And Jim's writing spoke the truth: Ike was fabulous.

After the show Ike played a couple songs for just us three, and in Jim's next column he wrote about it. And I was floored. I was "famous" -- even though I was just one of the "three Minnesota Daily music writers" mentioned in the story. I still have the computer print out of the story.

He's just the perfect taste-maker. He's old enough to be immune to the seduction of hyped pretentious rock music. But he's young enough to still write convincingly and honestly about the power of rock. And he's not jaded. Plus, I heard a rumor he sings back-up on the 'Mats "I Will Dare."

I'm drawn to the unflinching optimism that sometimes pops up in his writing. And I'm grateful that he doesn't use irony as a crutch when he writes. (My theory is this: he learned to write in the pre-irony age.) I like that he's married and has kids, but hasn't given up on the stuff I think he loves, namely new music and writing and going to shows.

Thanks, Jim.

Today: nothing
Tomorrow: quick walk


At 11:50 PM, Blogger Kristina said...

Liz Phair ... swoon

At 5:02 PM, Blogger Brianna said...

I completley forgot that Jim wrote about the Ike basement thing. Not surprising...

This was great, by the way. Claro.

At 8:18 PM, Blogger JIm said...

paul. thanks. that means the world to me. bri and i are watching the only ones (buy everything you can get your hands on). happy summer and get ready to rock. everybody's pissed off and hot.

All The Best,


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