Let’s Go (So We Can Get Back)

tweedyWe were in Mexico, you and I, visiting your family, officially, but looking for your future wife, unofficially. You were, I mean — not me. Not that it matters. Anyway, you were lying on your bed, headphones on, listening to the new Flaming Lips CD, Clouds Taste Metallic, at my request. I asked what you thought. You said it was okay, but given the choice you’d rather listen to Uncle Tupelo.

This wrinkled my brow. I thought we were solid on the Lips and their psychedelic pop, even if they were starting to write songs about zoo animals. Made me think I don’t know who you are anymore. I felt betrayed.

Back home in Texas, I sat in the passenger side of a car parked outside a house in Dallas where the party was going on. Dean was playing “The Long Cut” off Anodyne, wanting me to hear how off-key the guy was singing at times, and how great that was. I said it was okay, but thought I’d rather be listening to the Lips. The Tweedy stuff was growing on me, though. “New Madrid,” “No Sense in Lovin'” — good stuff, that. I was surprised I could even stand it, though, my aversion to country being what it was. All those root-fifths and fiddles. But there was something about that Tweedy.

I ran across Golden Smog’s first album at a record store in Chicago that summer I lived up there. No one else had told me about this little side project of his, it felt like my discovery. I guess that made it okay for me to like. You hate that about me, I know, but at least you understand. If it helps, when my brother came to visit, I drove him around playing Golden Smog, and he pissed me off predicting the rhyme in a song he’d never heard before, he rolled his eyes. I put on something else.

I still have that copy of A.M. you gave me 20 years ago. Can’t listen to it anymore because of the scratches. Wore it out. I made a mix tape from it for Maria. It had my favorite songs from Anodyne, A.M., and Being There (in that order, of course). She said she liked the first song a lot so she listened to the next, liked it a lot too, then listened to all of it and liked all of it a lot. I pretty much wanted to marry her after that.

Then we broke up, and the song I couldn’t stop listening to was “Say You Miss Me.” It was on the mix tape. I imagined her listening, feeling what I was feeling. She wasn’t, of course, but imagining it helped. There’s no better breakup song than “Say You Miss Me.” They played it that time we saw them at Trees in Dallas, when I was shouting “Radio King” and Tweedy ignored me. (I know he heard me, I was like five feet away.)

I remember us dancing like drunken idiots to “Casino Queen” in the apartment. Brand new box of wine in the fridge, you used to call it a ‘gusher,’ the way it shot out of the spigot. We were old enough to worry just slightly about bothering the neighbors, but not old enough to care too much just yet.

It’s been such a long time. I hope you’re better. I’m sure you’ll never see this.

Summerteeth was not the album we wanted when it came out. Yankee Hotel Foxtrot wasn’t either. I just wanted more A.M., more Being There. “Just a stop frame in time…” Wait, that’s Son Volt. Farrar was the one obsessed with time. Tweedy was love.

But I see now how great Yankee Hotel Foxtrot was. Is. There are rock albums that are better, arguably. But not many.

Summerteeth is the one I never go back to. “I dreamed about killing you again last night, and it felt alright to me.” We’d just been talking about how dark the lyrics were and then the line about suicide came up and you just laughed.

It’s funny how funny things get less funny as you get older, sometimes. You probably don’t know I know.

I bought A Ghost Is Born, but I was kind of ready to move on from Wilco by then. We’d grown apart (now they’re “dad rock.”) My wife got me Sky Blue Sky as a birthday present anyway. (You remember Jenny, we went out to dinner once before we married.) I lost track of Wilco after that.

I’ve been reading Tweedy’s memoir, Let’s Go (So We Can Get Back). Jenny got it for me for Christmas. I’m almost done. “Hummingbird” is stuck in my head. I keep listening to it to give my head what it wants but it just wants it more. It’s in my daughter’s too — she’s in love with that song now, sings along with it (pretty good for eight). We’ve listened to more Wilco in the past week than I have in the past ten years. I’m okay with that.

I sat down to review a book about someone’s life and ended up thinking more about mine and yours. I’m okay with that, too.

The book is pretty good.


An excerpt, for inquiring minds. And for your convenience, the video mentioned is linked below.



17 thoughts on “Let’s Go (So We Can Get Back)

    • Yes, I agree with Tweedy’s sentiments entirely. And as someone who plays a little guitar and bass myself, I have to say that prancing about like that while playing is incredibly hard, and this guy makes it look incredibly easy. No small feat, that.


  1. “Hey guys, have you seen what I can do with my legs?”

    “What do you think?! I’ve wasted all of this time working on my bass hands solo and look at my freakin’ feet!!”


  2. Something about that book had a good trigger in you, hope it still does..:ride that wave! I love that feeling, assuming you’re feeling something similar. Whatever, lots of good feelings in this post.


    • Yes, kind of like Forrest Gump that way. People said they didn’t like the story being told through it’s soundtrack. However, I’d say that implies you could take away the soundtrack and have no story. Which is not so.

      I felt like I was not being true to someone or something by not mentioning that old Coke commercial. That was a cultural moment the likes of which we probably won’t see again. Still brings a bit of a tear to my eye seeing old clips of it, even knowing it’s a manipulative ploy to sell me a very bad-for-you beverage not found in nature.

      Remember the one with the Native American looking out over polluted lands?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes. The soundtrack adds to the narrative, it doesn’t make it.

        My habit of making short comments caught up with me on this one. I was thinking of the Youtube comments where I was really expecting to see a bad joke or two. I remember singing along to ad up until the slogan. I felt like it was intruding into a good sing-a-long song and not just the because they were mentioning a brand though that probably influenced me.

        Hard to forget The Tear.


  3. Summerteeth I got back to again and again and again, and strangely enough, Via Chicago is my favourite. That dissonance at the end, the strange choppiness, the plodding build up, then the noise. But At Least That’s What you Said off A Ghost is Born is the epic. That slowness and then the thrashing guitar, it’s like they heard Neil Young’s Like a Hurricane and decided to turn it into a clearer, more direct love song. A refinement on Mr. Young’s masterpiece, which I just never thought would have been possible. If they’re remembered just for that, I think Wilco has done well. Very very well. You know who the new Wilco is? It’s Lana Del Rey.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Agreed entirely on At Least That’s What You Said, and very bold of them to tweak Neil Young. My favorite of theirs might be Misunderstood, the first track off Being There. I’m going to go re-listen to Via Chicago, haven’t heard that in forever. Then I’ll check out some Lana Del Rey. The name sounds familiar, but I don’t think I’ve heard anything by her.


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