I have flashes of painful memories that hit me suddenly. Without any discernible provocation or stimulus, I remember painful details. They flood back to me. I also have sudden comforting insights. They are also unpredictable. For example, I was walking to a conference today, and I realized that I am never alone and I never will be alone. I will never be alone.
The White Stripes is the first band Miles really loved. When he was starting to love music, he listened to them all the time. He discovered them on his own—thank you, Internet. He got all of their albums and listened intently to bootlegs he’d found of radio show interviews before they got really popular. He made mix CDs for his friends with a lot of White Stripes songs on them. He loved the simplicity, the rawness of the sound. I am not sure if Miles understood the blues. In his music collection, he has some Muddy Waters and other blues artists. I would love to sit down with Miles and listen with him now to the genealogy of rock and the blues. I would love to trace back the White Stripes, Led Zeppelin, the Rolling Stones, Captain Beefheart, and Cream to the early blues musicians. I think Miles understood the connection intellectually, but I am not sure if he completely connected the dots. It would be a great drive or a great afternoon on a rainy weekend over a puzzle or cards with him. I did not have enough of those days with Miles. I felt like our last walk in the woods was a gesture in that direction, but it never came to fruition, this idea for doing more things together. We didn’t play enough cards or listen to enough music. So here I am playing songs.
“Dead Leaves on the Dirty Ground” is a great song, and I love the opening feedback. People would play this on the jukebox at 123 Pleasant Street—where the jukebox is always turned up superloud—and it would curdle all the cream in the kitchen.