Archive for the ‘Lloyd Cole’ Category
I’m visiting my dad this weekend, and while rummaging through a box of old letters and memorabilia that I’ve unearthed from the closet of my childhood bedroom, I found a ticket stub for a Lloyd Cole concert I saw in 1991. I had been a fan of Lloyd Cole and the Commotions through college. I was an English major, and so I was very pleased to catch all of the literary and cultural references on his first album, Rattlesnakes. Well, some of them—the song about a girl “looking like a friend of Truman Capote” was easy, but it was years before I realized that “Speedboat” took its title from Renata Adler’s novel. And then, of course, the line “She looks like Eva Marie Saint in On the Waterfront” … Name-dropping aside, the Commotions’ songs were pretty special—catchy and romantic and kind of hangdog.
The band broke up and Lloyd went solo, and suddenly he went from being neat and clean-cut and English-major-y, as he was in this video, to being kind of louche. He had had the best floppy British person’s hair, the kind of hair that I wanted but couldn’t exactly pull off, and then he grew his hair to shoulder-length and wore medium-length facial stubble, the kind popularized by George Michael. I had seen a post-Commotions Lloyd Cole concert the previous year, or had tried to—he was drunk off his rocker, annoyingly so, and I walked out of the club after only four or five songs. The 1991 show was at the Berklee College of Music auditorium, and when Lloyd came on stage, he said, “Now, this is a nice place, so don’t mess it up,” as though we were going to start ripping the seats out of the floor in our excitement. I thought, you’re Lloyd Cole. (Even so, there were two young girls seated in front of me and my friend Patrick, and they got up at the beginning of the first song, which was “Perfect Skin,” and started doing a frenzied dance; we couldn’t see anything for a few minutes, until the usher told them to sit back in their seats.)
I stopped following Lloyd Cole not long after. I’ve heard that he’s put out some very good albums in the two decades since, and I know that now he’s a family man living in Northampton or thereabouts. The louche days didn’t last long, and now he’s clean-cut once again. I just started following him on Twitter—a friend re-Tweeted one of his Tweets, and it was funny—so perhaps I’ll try to catch myself up with his music. While poking around on YouTube I found this wonderful song, which I had totally forgotten about, and which brought back to mind what made him so great, and what made a whole era of music-making so great.