It’s the height of summer and it’s been nut-sweatin’ hot outside. That means it’s time to pack up my tackle boxes and go on my yearly backwoods fishing expedition. I’m always amazed at the sheer amount of fishing stuff I’ve amassed over the years: fly-tying material, exotic European glues, special lures, hooks, leaders. I’d really wanted to buy a new fly rod this year but times are kind of tight and…
OK, seriously? The last time I went fishing was around my freshman year in high school. I quit because I couldn’t stand killing the worms and decided that a “good” hour of fishing couldn’t beat out a “bad” hour of reading and listening to music.
The truth is that it’s been a long time since I even thought about the fact that I used to fish. That is, until a couple of nights ago when me and TheWife™ were digging in to a couple of episodes of John Lurie‘s Fishing With John series. This was a short-lived, oddball comedy series featuring the under-the-radar jazz musician Lurie taking his famous friends on fishing expeditions.
Did John Lurie fly under your radar? Yeah, I’ve always thought that he was deserving of more recognition. I discovered him purely by accident. While visiting a friend, I saw this album by The Lounge Lizards in his cabinet. We put the thing on and the top of my head almost came off. Lead by saxophonist Lurie, they’re really kind of hard to describe. If you’ve never heard them, they sound like a big band with a serious film-noir fixation. The album we put on the stereo, Big Heart: Live in Tokyo, was also my introduction to guitarist Marc Ribot. Yeah, it was a good night.
Beyond The Lounge Lizards, Lurie is quite the erudite. He’s lead several other musical ensembles, has working as an actor in both film and television, and is also an accomplished painter. The music he wrote for Fishing With John illustrates the breadth of his sound with its use of spooky percussion, angular sax lines, nervous guitar, and otherworldly vocals.
So yeah, I know that fishing is supposed to provide a sense of Zen-like calm and inner peace, all enjoyed in the pristine outdoors. But my idea of a good time is watching John Lurie and Tom Waits rowing a boat down a Jamaican waterway, both croaking out “Fishers Of Men.” Plus, I don’t have to kill any worms.