How Lonely Does It Get?

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I got to know Jeffrey Cobb from when I was working at a dysfunctional cappuccino hangout called Sufficient Grounds which was near the UC Berkeley campus, just off Telegraph Ave. We were both from “back east,” both Mets fans and both involved with music, Jeff being a DJ at KALX, the college radio station. But our friendship wasn’t sealed until one day someone told Jeff that I was driving down to LA and he called up to see if he could catch a ride — something about a girl down there he wanted to see. I said sure, and picked him up in my ’71 Comet very early the next morning. But Jeff didn’t look so hot, and we hadn’t even made it out of the Berkeley flats and onto the highway when he asked me to pull over, then puked his guts all over the street. I looked on in admiration. Apparently he’d had a rough one the night before.

It wasn’t long before I started crashing Jeff’s radio show, lounging around the studio, pulling records, and sometimes he’d let me sing a song on the air. This is an acoustic version of Zane Campbell’s “Post-Mortem Bar,” performed more or less the day I figured it out. It’s funny (for me, anyway) to compare this version to the All-Girl Band version which was both more accomplished and more rote in its Nirvanization of the song.

Stripped down to its bare essentials I am reminded of what was so obviously and fetchingly attractive to me about this song in the first place: ineradicable longing, sure, but that coupled with the idea that in the afterlife there’s actually a bar (!) where we can meet and drink and catch up with the loved ones we’ve lost in this life. I’ve never had any trouble picturing that scene when either playing or listening to “Post-Mortem Bar.” Such a simple, brilliant premise for a song.

Post-Mortem Bar (Live Acoustic on KALX) (Zane Campbell)

3 Replies to “How Lonely Does It Get?”

  1. This is a great song, performed well.

    My favorite Z. Campbell song has always been, “Fucked Up on Jesus.” He really gets into it.

  2. You have now, of course, transformed me into a single-purpose automaton…”Must track down copy of Jesus song…”

    Though even as I type these words it occurs to me to ask, You, uh, wouldn’t happen to have a copy of this tune, would you?

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