April 16, 2009

we’ve got feeling and we’re dang proud of it

in loving memory of Derek Weiler
(1968-2009)

CD covers & booklet (PDF)

The Velvet Underground & Nico – I’m Waiting for the Man

Chosen by Sari.

The Replacements – Can’t Hardly Wait (Tim version)

Michael: I think the last time I talked with Derek was last year when he was my special guest in a music playlist game that I play. The song he pitched was “Can’t Hardly Wait” (Tim version) by The Replacements. Here is what he said about it:

“I always loved this song on Pleased to Meet Me, but once I heard the version recorded for Tim – it surfaced on a compilation in the mid-1990s – there was just no going back to the other one. The opening notes tell the tale: on PtMM they’re soft & polished like little round pebbles, but here they’re compellingly prickly & misshapen. The guitar sound throughout is wonderfully elastic, clipped & sharp at some points and swoony & stretched at others. The backing is muscular and there’s lots of momentum, but the song still has a strong sense of melancholy. (It helps that the lyrics for this version are more developed, more clearly evoking suicide rather than just vague longing. Apparently they were truncated for PtMM because the label felt that with this and “The Ledge,” that would be one suicide song too many for one album.) I can appreciate the textures of the PtMM version – the horns, the strings – but overall it still sounds flat & incomplete next to this one. At least to me.”

Beautiful writing. Our game involves ranking all the nominated songs, and when Derek played, he actually ranked his own song quite low – 7th or something, which, as Michelle suggested, is “so very Derek”.

Barbara Manning – Sympathy Wreath

Chosen by Michelle.

Joy Division – She’s Lost Control

Marcy: Derek was THE musical influence in my life. I was the lucky sister who got to grow up in a record store that only stocked music worth listening to. I remember I borrowed his Joy Division She’s Lost Control EP sometime in the late eighties and conveniently forgot to return it. I listened to it so often that it got completely warped, and Ian Curtis warbled in slow motion. I wish I still had that record; the warped version would transport me directly back to that time, sitting on his bedroom floor going through all his records to find my favorite gems.

Blumfeld – Verstaerker

John: This song has a special memory for me…

Palace Brothers – I Am a Cinematographer

Chosen by Michelle and John.
John: Will Oldham is also an actor, and Derek regarded his performances highly.

Johnny Cash & June Carter Cash – Far Side Banks of Jordan

Megan: Today I listened to the mixed CD that Derek made for me when I left Q&Q. Its a wonderful mix of music from The Sonics to The Shins. I’d like to suggest the final song (which had me in tears) on this compilation, “Far Side Banks of Jordan.”

Yo La Tengo – Speeding Motorcycle (Fakebook version)

Chosen by Michelle and many others.
Michelle: There is a long story about Derek and his relationship with this cd, I’ll have to save it for another moment.

Patti Smith – Kimberly

Frank: I know he was always a huge Patti Smith fan and he played this song during his set when I did my last radio show on CKMS last year. He and I co-hosted a show for over a year on CKMS back in the early 90s.

Steve: I went on a road trip with Derek to NYC in 1995 with Sandy Atwal and John Jylanne. Kimberly was on one of my mix tapes. I remember Derek being thrilled that this song was on it.

Mercury Rev – Car Wash Hair

Christopher: I was lucky enough to get a couple cassettes from Derek during our Imprint days. The best came in the mail when I was living in Halifax. Its track listing included Yo La Tengo’s cover of Speeding Motorcycle, Magnetic Fields’ 100,000 Fireflies (both songs [mentioned by others]), Mercury Rev’s Carwash Hair and dozens of other smart, inventive, playful and earnest songs that spoke volumes about Derek’s personality and character as well as his unerring knack for unearthing great pop songs.

The Pixies – Ed Is Dead

Stacey: One of the songs on the first mixed tape he gave me – nearly 20 yrs later, I still think of him when I hear it.

John Fahey – In Christ There Is No East or West

Chosen by Sari.

Bruce Springsteen – Dream Baby Dream

Robert: I’ve always been proud of my friendship with Derek, even while I feel a little unworthy of it. What a magnificent guy, so much more gracious and accomplished than me.

I was especially pleased to have been able to reverse roles with him, just once, when I alerted him to Springsteen’s cover of Suicide’s “Dream Baby Dream.” It closed each show during the “Devils and Dust” tour of 2005. I burned for him a recording of the Toronto performance and it became the subject of the second ever Bury Me Not entry.

Given Derek’s annual Christmas compilations, his constant concert recommendations, and the blog itself, it’s odd to fixate on the one occasion that I could return even the smallest fraction of his enormous generosity. Like I said, though: I’m proud, if perhaps a little unworthy.

Brian Eno – Mother Whale Eyeless

Gary: In mid-2007, Derek wrote about Brian Eno’s 1974 track “Mother Whale Eyeless,” and considered not so much the meaning but the value of nostalgia. He admitted that he listened to the middle section of the Eno song endlessly during an emotionally down period in 1995. Quoth Derek, because his Eno source was a cassette: “I’d play it, rewind the tape for a couple seconds or so (believe me, I got good at the timing), and play it again.”

Because he had given me so much unique, insightful joy with his blog, I decided to try to give something ‘unique’ back to him. I used crude software, grabbed the two-minute section in question, and looped it five times, vaguely ‘creating’ a ten-minute version of the song that Derek wanted to hear. I called the track “A Glimpse of Transcendence?”, and here’s why:

(From Derek’s post, August 2007)
It’s always fascinated me that nostalgia seems to attach to unhappy periods of my life, much more so than to happy ones. It’s always the times of everyday depression & drudgery that – once I have a few years on them – most fill me, in the remembering, with warmth & dazzled affection. Not for the person I was or anything, but for the bright spots that flashed now & then: friendship, music, etc. For the whole world that was around me when I appreciated it least. Just a fluky spark of the brain’s circuitry, I guess – but still, even though I’m not a religious person, I’d like to think there’s some kind of glimpse of transcendence in that.

Derek, we love you and we miss you. And that will always be. It’s maudlin, but it’s true. Thank you for the music, brother; you are gone, but in one sense, you’ll never leave.

Repeat.

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds – Babe, I’m on Fire

Marjan: I’ve been struggling with my song choice for this compilation. I know the mix from which it will come: of all the great mixes over the years, the one that had the perfect combination of soul-moving music was a double disc set he made me for my 33rd birthday. The set was a perfect mix of brooding indie, grating experimental, bubble-punk-pop, and unknown (by me) gems by superstars. It was the default music in my discman that year, and it’s something I’ll return to for the rest of my life.

It was a perfect mix except for two strikingly odd tracks, one on each CD: Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds’ “Babe, I’m on Fire” and Cat Power’s “Willie Deadwilder,” which clock in at over 14 minutes and 18 minutes, respectively. My first thought when I heard them was “Who in their right mind puts repetitive quarter-of-an-hour-long tomes on a rock mix? And not just one, but TWO?” Was this a joke that I should feel free to skip over after the initial chuckle? Was there a secret message I was missing? Was he just testing my patience? I was almost offended, man. I mean, they weren’t even the best examples of these artists’ work.

At the same time, though, I marveled at the man’s sheer balls. It takes courage to put yourself out there, to share with someone not just what you think THEY might enjoy, but the oddball and arguably difficult music YOU enjoy.

So it is in that spirit that I contribute “Babe, I’m on Fire.” Forgive me for taking such a big chunk of the compilation – I almost went for a safer choice. But along with his many other admirable qualities, Derek had cojones. He wouldn’t have shied away from a controversial choice if it was the right one, if it expressed something that no other choice quite expressed. I still don’t love those two songs, but I’ve come to appreciate these qualities about them, and about the man who shared them with me: relentless passion (subdued as well as overt), vision, and courage.

I’ll miss you for the rest of my life, Derek. Thanks for the music.

The Magnetic Fields – 100 000 Fireflies

Frank: I’m pretty sure that this was one of the first bands that Derek introduced me to. He put it on a mixed tape for me way back and I have loved the Magnetic Fields every since.

Michelle: 100 000 fireflies was on the very first mixed tape that Derek ever made for me. I was working up north and he sent it to me in a care package with a very strange collage picture of Geena Davis on the cover. Almost every band on that cassette has been formative to my musical taste, which was pretty much entirely shaped by Derek. I used to borrow cd’s, a dozen at a time from him.

Yo La Tengo – Speeding Motorcycle (Genius + Love version, with Daniel Johnston)

Sean: Our paths crossed most often in music, usually at shows… and a good number of those were Yo La Tengo ones. I will 3rd or 4th the nomination of a YLT song – and probably the YLT / Daniel Johnston version of Speeding Motorcycle. I will never forget watching them play that song together (at last!) a few years back in Toronto, and I will never forget the words Derek said when they finished – though given this forum, I won’t repeat them here.

Philip Glass – Metamorphosis One

Paul: Derek and I only occasionally discussed music while I was at Quill. (Kind of a weighty topic for the workplace.) A couple of years after I’d moved on, he started his blog, and I became a devotee. Through Bury Me Not, I was introduced to Springsteen’s version of “Dream Baby Dream” and Epic Soundtracks’ “Sad Song”, among others. Even when I wasn’t crazy about the songs, his writing about them (and about movies, books, memories and what have you) was consistently engaging and funny and insightful.

We corresponded a couple of times about his posts; I let him know how much I enjoyed the blog, and I’m glad I had the chance to do that.

For this compilation, I’d like to suggest Philip Glass’s “Metamorphosis One”, which Derek blogged about on March 1, 2006. He notices the piece in a Battlestar Galactica episode, and he goes on:

It’s notable, I think, in that it asks nothing from you but gives a lot, more so the more you listen. Or maybe it doesn’t ask but quietly demands; a lot of ambient-type music just drifts away & sticks to the wallpaper, but here the simplicity of arrangement & firmness of composition actually command your attention, until without even realizing it you’ve pulled something up out of yourself & joined it to what you’re hearing.

George & Ira Gershwin – Shall We Dance

Chosen by Dave.

Talking Heads – Thank You for Sending Me an Angel

Sari: [This song] was on the first mixed tape that he made for me which arrived unexpectedly in the mail before we were dating. I loved that entire tape and hope I can figure out where we stored it soon. I love this song more than ever.

Curtis Mayfield – Move on Up

Peter: My favourite song on my favourite Derek Weiler mix tape, a birthday present in 1997. It was the best roadtrip mix in the history of the genre. This mix tape was inseparable from the tape deck of my brand new 1997 Pontiac Grand Am and most assuredly propelled the Denver Broncos to victory in Super Bowl XXXII. (Just ask Richie.)

The Replacements – Left of the Dial

Chosen by Karen.
Robert: I know that the Replacements’ “Left of the Dial” has special significance for Karen. She recalled to me how she and Derek marveled at it together during their university days.

The Mountain Goats – Cubs in Five

Sari: [This is] a great lo-fi track which pays tribute to Derek’s love of baseball. Of course he introduced me to the Mountain Goats who I now adore.

The Replacements – Skyway

Chuck and Julia: [This song] always makes me think of Derek, as he introduced me to this band.

Neil Young – Till the Morning Comes

Charlene: Derek made 2 amazing cassettes for me on the occasion of my 22nd birthday. I listened to them over and over that summer and since then I can’t begin summer without them. I have always cherished them and told him so just a short while ago. He accepted the praise in his typical “aw shucks” fashion.

The very first song on the first cassette is Daniel Johnston singing “Speeding Motorcycle” and later on the beautiful “Till The Morning Comes” by Neil Young. Oh and I can’t forget “Sweet Jane” by The Velvet Underground. Any of these would be a lovely tribute to Derek.

Regina Spektor – Fidelity

David: Derek mentioned Regina Spektor’s album “Begin to Hope” (on Facebook I believe) a while back, and I without hesitation, bought it. For me, a recommendation from Derek was all it took.

The Stone Roses – Fools Gold

Richie: Derek introduced me to the music of The Stone Roses which became one of my favourite bands. I am submitting the song “Fools Gold”, the first song of The Stone Roses that he ever played for me and one of the funkiest bass riffs I’ve ever heard. ([I’m] submitting the 4 minute single version, not the 10 minute album version.) I played that song outside last night under the stars and had a teary-eyed drink in his honour.

Yo La Tengo – Autumn Sweater

Scott: If Yo La Tengo came to town and I got a ticket for the show, I could be almost certain I’d see Derek there, his tall frame bobbing and swaying to the music. I’d like to suggest “Autumn Sweater.” I don’t know if that was one of his preferred Yo La Tengo songs, but there’s something about the sentiment and the sound that seems Derek-like to me: calm, warm, quiet: “we could slip away, wouldn’t that be better…”

David McComb – Song of No Return

Trevor: We both loved The Triffids and I remember playing this after Derek told me McComb himself had passed away, ten short years ago. The song fuses loss and hope like no other.

REM – (Don’t Go Back to) Rockville

Karen: I was wearing my REM t-shirt from the Reckoning tour to an English class in 1987. A tall skinny guy complimented it. Turns out the tall, skinny guy was Derek Weiler, whom I hadn’t seen since elementary school.

Michelle: I remember when we lived on William and Derek has stored his prized REM albums in a safe, out of the way spot. Rare stuff, signed stuff, a very precious collection. Unfortunately it was so safe that when we moved he forgot to grab them. In a panic he went back to the house to ask the new tenants to look, but they didn’t find them.

I always felt so bad for him about that.

Slow – Have Not Been the Same

Jeff: I liked Derek instantly upon meeting him, ten or eleven years ago. He and Sari became close friends fast and have been present at most of the important celebrations in our lives (mine and Marjan’s) since. But it was only in the last several years that Derek and I had started to spend time together on our own, had started to talk about our lives in depth. Each time we did I found that we had much in common – in our roots, in our spiritual and emotional lives, and in our perspectives.

I was glad that the friendship was growing slowly; it’s how I like to move. But I thought that he’d be still impressing me with his kindness and his intelligence and his humour when we were old. And now I wish I’d moved faster, or said more, and I hope he knew how much I liked him. I think he did, but I wish I’d said it out loud to his face: “Derek, you’re an amazing cat. I am really grateful for your friendship.”

[This song is] from a Derek CD that he made for my birthday in 2005.

Junior Boys – So This Is Goodbye

Frank: I think [this band was] the last live music that Derek saw (the last concert I saw with him anyway).

Miles Davis – Shhh/Peaceful

Chosen by Karen, Frank, and Marjan for the importance of the album In a Silent Way to Derek.

The Velvet Underground & Nico – Sunday Morning

Chosen by Frank.

Pony Club – Knees; TLC – No Scrubs

Erin: I know these are supposed to be songs that influenced me, but instead I chose two songs that I have memories of Derek attached to (there are hundreds more, but these just made me smile).

The first memory is from just before I left Canada in 2007. Sari and Derek had each given me CDs for my birthday, or because I was leaving, or just because.
Anyway, we were driving somewhere together and listening to one of the new CDs. Sari, I think it was yours (Kites are Fun – from April 2007). The first track on that CD was Knees, by Pony Club and Derek was in the back seat belting out the chorus. I think we might have had to play the track a few times for him as he was having such a good time singing it.

And the other has to be No Scrubs by TLC. I think that’s on more than one compilation tape/CD I have from him. It always seemed such an unlikely song for him to love, but then again it really wasn’t. It was just Derek.

I hope sometime at one of the celebration there will be dancing. I’ve got so many dance party cds that he made, and in the early days of our friendship there was a lot of dancing. Why did we ever stop?

Bust Out At Full Speed

Sari: The following is a smattering of songs and artists that Derek loved in no particular order. I could post 200 songs that he loved, but these are some you may not have heard or are hard to find. [These songs] were not included on the “we’ve got a feeling and we’re dang proud of it” double CD compilation.

The Floaters – Float On (Derek liked Larry’s verse the best.)
The Undisputed Truth – Smiling Faces Sometimes
The Tornados – Telstar
Terraplanes – Evil Going On
Barbara Manning – Shalala Song (Derek swore that this version was better than the original by Marianne Faithfull.)
Manu Chao – Bongo Bong
Hugh Masekela – Grazin’ in the Grass
Joe Dodo & The Groovers – Groovy
Flamin’ Groovies – Shake Some Action
The Fall – Shoulder Pads
Dollar Brand – Soweto’s Where It’s At
Adverts – Gary Gilmore’s Eyes
Sun Ra – Love in Outer Space
DMZ – Mighty Idy (Now you know the story behind our home email address.)
The Monks – I Hate You (It was a toss-up between this song and Monk Time.)
Barbara Lewis – Hello Stranger (Gleaned from “Homicide – Life on the Street”.)
Fleetwood Mac – Farmer’s Daughter (Ira Kaplan hipped him to this one.)
The Clean – Oddity
Mighty Sparrow – Jack Palance (The original version of the song which was reprised on Van Dyke Parks’ Discover America.)
Robyn – Jack U Off (I was quite surprised when Derek put this on a mixed CD for his parents recently. They took it in stride.)
Arthur Russell – A Little Lost (Russell’s music is quite varied. Derek was recently into his quieter work like this track.)
Os Mutantes – Baby (Derek loved tropicalia.)

In case that wasn’t enough, here are a few more. If you can’t find copies and are interested, contact me.

Deee-lite – Groove is in the Heart
The Kinks – This Man He Weeps Tonight
A Guy Called Gerald – Voodoo Ray
Syd Barrett – Baby Lemonade
The Undertones – Teenage Kicks
The La’s – There She Goes
Looking Glass – Brandy
The Fruit Bats – When U Love Somebody
Barbara Manning – Joltin’ Joe Dimaggio
Kanye West – Jesus Walks, Stronger
Pizzacato 5 – Baby Love Child
Denise Williams – Let’s Hear it for the Boy
Chaka Demus & Pliers – Murder She Wrote
Prefab Sprout – Faron Young
John Cale – Andalucia
Kate Bush – Cloudbusting
Miriam Makeba – Pata Pata
Les Paul & Mary Ford – Hummingbird
Bonde do Role – Marina Gasolina
Lil Mama – Lip Gloss
Sly & the Family Stone – Ooh Child
The Orb – Little Fluffy Clouds
Zion I – Cymande (he loved that jazz flute)
Big Star – September Gurls