Hearing U.B. Jesus in church

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Hearing U.B. Jesus in church

Postby Aspiemom on February 14th, 2011, 4:11 am

So I'm sitting at mass today and I hear this reading: "He has set fire and water before you, put out your hand to whichever you prefer.". Sirach 15:16. This starts "U.B. Jesus" playing in my head- "Don't need a book to put your hand in the fire....". Inappropriate thought for church, I know. Anyway, I'm wondering whether this Bible verse sheds light on the lyric. Fire is a complex Christian image- there's hellfire, but also tongues of fire from Pentacost. They give lit candles to godparents of new-baptized babies to symbolize Christ-light. I had assumed the lyric referred to Holy Spirit-type fire, but now I'm not sure. The next Bible verse seems to equate putting your hand in the fire with choosing death over life- "A human being has life and death before him; whichever he chooses will be given him.". And fire is pretty negative in other DB lyrics- a destructive (maybe even self-destructive) force.

That gave me enough to think about until the sermon, when the preacher said, honestly, "Heaven is not a place.". My mind is singing "Heaven" until the next hymn drowns it out. Oh, well, it was somewhat more appropriate head-music. I hope someone else listened to the rest of the sermon. He seemed to have worked hard on it.
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Re: Hearing U.B. Jesus in church

Postby Buck's Student on February 14th, 2011, 9:52 pm

David's lyrics often involve interactions with inanimate objects, and for things that are not animated, fire is bad.

I don't think "Heaven" involves religion so much; it's more of a song about a place called Heaven, which may have been Richard Branson's gay bar. There are many people who believe Heaven to be boring, though, but I have always seen it as life through a positive lenses. Instead of a red fire hydrant you can't park next to, you have a golden one that never gets used. For some reason, I just see Heaven as life shinier than normal, but without hassle.

I don't have a favorite song, though, so the band in Heaven would be a little perplexed on what to play for me. I'd rather play in Heaven's band; Duane Allman, Kurt Cobain, John Coltrane... Wow.
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Re: Hearing U.B. Jesus in church

Postby Aspiemom on February 15th, 2011, 12:16 am

That's "Rock and Roll Heaven," a different song entirely. Do you play an instrument, or would you sing?
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Re: Hearing U.B. Jesus in church

Postby Buck's Student on February 15th, 2011, 12:48 am

Aspiemom wrote:That's "Rock and Roll Heaven," a different song entirely. Do you play an instrument, or would you sing?

Guitar. I sing too, but I'd probably be a background singer... Think of who would sing... Sandy Denny, Nina Simone... Geez, there's a lot of dead musicians. I doubt I'd get a note in edgewise! :lol:
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Re: Hearing U.B. Jesus in church

Postby Aspiemom on February 15th, 2011, 3:22 am

Yes, you're probably better off playing here where you only have to compete with the living musicians!

How did you learn to play the guitar? I bought one for Christmas and worked my way through the Garage Band lessons (except for bar chords, which remain impossible for me). I have tried just imitating recordings, but since there is more than one way to play any individual note, I'm always second-guessing whether I'm playing the note "right."
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Re: Hearing U.B. Jesus in church

Postby Buglet on February 15th, 2011, 10:32 am

Bar chords are the Devil's work if you have small hands. Luckily there's almost always an open version of the chord (or one that works just as well) to fall back on...

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Re: Hearing U.B. Jesus in church

Postby Buck's Student on February 15th, 2011, 10:13 pm

Aspiemom wrote:Yes, you're probably better off playing here where you only have to compete with the living musicians!

How did you learn to play the guitar? I bought one for Christmas and worked my way through the Garage Band lessons (except for bar chords, which remain impossible for me). I have tried just imitating recordings, but since there is more than one way to play any individual note, I'm always second-guessing whether I'm playing the note "right."

I began playing at age twelve, and am now 20. I've recorded fifteen albums since 2006: http://www.youtube.com/user/BucksStudent?feature=mhum You can hear 11 and 12, For the Frats and Illustration Through Sound, on there.

I took lessons for a few years, but I taught myself more over time just because I'm more into exploration. I just wish I had a band; when I first started playing, everyone was into Greenday, and then emo (And some into bad modern metalcore), then Taylor Swift, etc. Most of the older people around here are in blues cover bands, though, and I have avoided the blues over the past couple of years because it's hindering in many ways. It's a genre that hasn't moved forward since 1970; everyone's playing it the same way since, including Stevie Ray Vaughn who openly admitted that very fact.

So, I know that's more information than you cared for, but there it is. ;)
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Re: Hearing U.B. Jesus in church

Postby Aspiemom on February 16th, 2011, 3:40 am

That's not too much info. I checked out a couple of videos on your YouTube channel. I'm impressed with how much you've learned by your age, even with 8 years' practice. Your riffs are way too hard for me to copy now, but I agree that you're ready for a band. I hope you find some talented people to work with, especially a good rhythm section. Maybe collaborating long distance with some talented people would be an option. I've heard that some cool albums were made that way too. :rockdude:
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Re: Hearing U.B. Jesus in church

Postby Buck's Student on February 16th, 2011, 10:06 pm

Aspiemom wrote:That's not too much info. I checked out a couple of videos on your YouTube channel. I'm impressed with how much you've learned by your age, even with 8 years' practice. Your riffs are way too hard for me to copy now, but I agree that you're ready for a band. I hope you find some talented people to work with, especially a good rhythm section. Maybe collaborating long distance with some talented people would be an option. I've heard that some cool albums were made that way too. :rockdude:

I have tried making albums with other people online before, but they're usually not up for it.

At my university, I don't know anyone who really plays an instrument, and if they do, they're either just a bad acoustic guitar player who whines, or in the marching band.
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Re: Hearing U.B. Jesus in church

Postby Aspiemom on February 17th, 2011, 3:35 am

Hi, Simbells!

I'm a new fan playing catch-up. It's amazing that you have followed an artist your entire adult life!

I thought I understood U.B. Jesus the first time I heard it. The key line for me was "be my savior." I thought the person had somehow twisted a religious instinct into an attraction for his girlfriend. "Don't need a book to put your hand in the fire," then became don't need religion (Bible) to touch the sacred. All the "baby you are the only car I drive" stuff was about fidelity.

But then the Sirach verse and the negative fire images in other songs made me reconsider. I went to the DB website to read the lyrics, and found that one line is "I feel good when I burn myself." I can't make heads or tails of that. The picture on the liner notes of a hand in fire is now taunting me.
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Re: Hearing U.B. Jesus in church

Postby Aspiemom on February 20th, 2011, 2:47 am

Hi S!mbells,

I don't know how to do that cool shadow-box quotation thing yet, so I just cut and paste from your post below.

S!mbells wrote: "I feel the lyrics "I feel good when I burn myself" need to be read with the words preceding "Maybe I'm gonna fry in hell". And then he refers to a smokey place and his girlfriends car (not his car - whys is that?), no map (no direction) - and drove to far (out of control maybe). I used to think UB Jesus was bagging religion but I'm not so sure now - maybe he is trying to highlight there is something bigger than us. He is looking up on the CD cover...."

S!mbells, after reading your post, the car now seems more important. The car metaphor runs through the whole lyric, from "pull me over" through "you are the only car I drive." "Threw out the map when we drove to far" sexually? Could the song just be about sex in a car, and how Bible-beaters who want to condemn it can go to hell? (As to why the girlfriend's car, I wonder whether David even had a car when he wrote the lyric. He mentions in his Journal that he does not own one now- Rides his bike around NYC. Not to confuse the artist with the art or anything :) ). The song could be reworking a theme from William Blake's "The Marriage of Heaven and Hell," where "love, sweet love, was thought a crime." Blake was a Roman Catholic who loved to stick his thumb in the eyes of the self-righteous. I feel a similar vibe with U.B. Jesus.

Or this could be another song that just inexplicably mixes images of teen sex with salvation, ala "Take me to the River," a cover song for TH, but still. Car sex with your girlfriend, worrying about going to hell for it, concern about going "too far" is kind of a teenager thing. . . . The mind reels.

S!mbells also wrote:
"I can't help but connect (I'm not sure connect is the right word) "I feel good when I burn myself" with "And the knife is near at hand, I cut myself to see who I am" from the song Nothing at All (David Byrne)."

Yeah, I made that connection too. Reminds me of Blood and Fire by the Indigo Girls "I have spent nights with matches and knives." Well, maybe. But the cutting in Nothing at All seems to be an attempt to remove "the policeman inside," a reference to William S. Burroughs idea that "a functioning police state needs no police" because its poor citizens have policemen inside their own heads censoring their thoughts. So I'm going to interpret that as metaphorical cutting- maybe meditation, therapy or some kind of attempt to gain control of one's own thoughts.

I also found an interview from 2001 in which David claimed to have no idea what the lyric meant. So I guess we can't go too far wrong with our interpretations! :biere: :biere:

Song of the week for next week? Would you do the honors of picking one? I feel like I may be talking too much.
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Re: Hearing U.B. Jesus in church

Postby Aspiemom on February 20th, 2011, 10:15 pm

Deal. "Waters of March" this week, and I'll pick one for next. I think we make a good team. I bring pretentious WIlliam Blake references, and you bring decades of listening experience. I'm getting the better end of the deal, but still. Thanks for the "Help me Somebody" link. I had not realized that this was performed live before the Everything tour, and the Sessions version is fun.

I'm going to start a thread under David Byrne with a link to the Youtube video. "Waters of March" is an interesting pick. Just the thought of March makes me happy, from my Northern Hemisphere perspective. Light, warmth, flowers . . . Are you in Australia? You'll be heading back into the darkness come the Equinox. You probably feel differently about March than I do.
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