Two Tuesday Quotes: Avett and Been

Courtesy of Vanity Fair

When nothing is owed or deserved or expected
And your life doesn’t change by the man that’s elected
If you’re loved by someone, you’re never rejected
Decide what to be and go be it

Head Full of Doubt/Road Full of Promise

Courtesy of The-Call-Band

Well they blew the horns
And the walls came down
They’d all been warned
But the walls came down
I don’t think there are any Russians
And there ain’t no Yanks
Just corporate criminals
playin’ with tanks

The Walls Came Down

Who are they?

The Avett Brothers

Before they went and got big, before the late-night talk shows, before Bonnaroo and Coachella and Red Rocks and the Gorge, before the major label, before they shared a stage at the Grammys with Bob Dylan, the Avett Brothers were the Avett brothers — born-performer Scott and shier second son Seth, brothers of Bonnie, sons of Jim and Susie and the worn-wood farmhouse on 60-plus Cabarrus County acres out where the asphalt ends. They sat with their sister squeezed into the backseat of a Chrysler LeBaron dubbed Gray Baby and created the kind of harmony best made by blood kin. They took piano lessons. They took guitar lessons. They listened to gospel at church and bluegrass at home and Black Sabbath, Soundgarden, and Nirvana in fields with friends around couch-burning bonfires. They studied art at East Carolina and the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, and played in noisy, rowdy heavy-metal bands. They cleaned carpets to make money and during breaks jotted in journals snippets of lyrics of songs in their heads. They drove their bronze Ford Taurus wagon across the country, eating little but peanut butter and honey on wheat, listening over and over to the soundtrack of Willie Nelson’s Honeysuckle Rose, putting on shirts mostly only to go inside to pay for gas, stopping on street corners and opening their instrument cases and waiting for dollars and coins that usually never came. They drove home from Seattle, 46 hours straight. They saw the sun rise twice. They met Bob Crawford on a Sunday evening in a parking lot in front of a Media Play store in Charlotte and did some songs with him and liked what they heard. So they played around Charlotte, the three of them did, in front of the Dairy Queen on Central, in front of a tattoo parlor on Morehead, at University Place over by UNCC, practicing in public, until the owner of a shop called the Wine Vault gave them a regular Friday night gig on his brick patio, where they played shows that lasted three hours, and sometimes more, for 150 bucks plus tips. Fingers grew raw and voices grew hoarse and crowds just grew. As 2001 turned to 2002, the brothers began becoming the Brothers, and Scott, the most confident Avett, the whole family agrees, figured he knew something others would soon: that it was only a matter of time before somebody noticed. Then one night at the Wine Vault somebody did. SOURCE

Michael Been/The Call

Unless you were really paying attention to music in the 1980s, chances are you might have missed hearing of The Call. There was nothing necessarily flashy about them — they were a band of four strong musicians with a straight-forward rock sound.

Today, hearing about the death of that band’s lead singer, Michael Been, I am reminded why I’m glad I took time to get to know The Call.

Depending on when you got to first hear them, unless you’re a fan, you’ve might’ve heard of any of five songs by The Call at some point during the ’80s — “The Walls Came Down”, “Everywhere I Go”, “I Still Believe”, “I Don’t Wanna” and “Let The Day Begin”. In each of them, and any time where the group was truly at its best, Been’s voice was front and center, deep, straight as an arrow.

It was unlike a lot of what was on the radio then — wasn’t even close to hair metal or mall pop. Just good, no-BS rock. The best way to describe The Call’s sound — tough one, but here goes. It’s either a less bombastic U2 or if The Pretenders had a male singer and more of their songs were like “My City Was Gone” or, really, anything off Learning to Crawl.

What The Call had was respect, from both their fans and the more popular musicians in their corner, like Peter Gabriel or The Band’s Robbie Robertson and Garth Hudson (both of whom guested on The Call’s albums at some point).
Even when The Call’s name began to fade into the footnotes, Been wasn’t far from helping put out great music. He had a massive role in the development of another of my favorite bands, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club — not surprising, considering his son, Robert Levon Been (aka Robert Turner), is the band’s bassist and one of its two lead singers.

Michael Been in fact died helping B.M.R.C. — he was working as the group’s sound engineer at a show in Belgium when he had a heart attack. While the situation is sad, truly the man loved music. SOURCE


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