Tuesday, October 11, 2011

She Said She Said

Robert Bunter: Lethargic yet electrifying. Blurry yet stinging. Incisive yet incomprehensible. Ecstatic yet melancholy. John's early acid songs (besides "She Said She Said," there was "Rain," "Tomorrow Never Knows," and "Dr. Robert" with an honorable mention for "And Your Bird Can Sing") were full of contradictions. That's what happens when an already full-of-contradictions man has his brain scrambled by potent little colored pills that he keeps in a little jar by his enormous bed or also in the pockets of his colorful cloak. Oh God, it must have been amazing to watch John direct the rehearsals on these sessions. His dilated pupils pinwheeling crazily in impossible directions, he tells Ringo that he needs to fill every other measure with tom-tom fills that sound like the frantic yet slo-mo movements of a cat attempting to find its balance in zero gravity. George cackles inscrutably and blurs the lines between rhythm and lead guitar while watching the atmosphere dissolve. Paul is twirling a cane and doing a little soft-shoe, his bowler hat tilted at a jaunty angle ... then he picks up the bass and replicates the sound of a throbbing bloodstream, which makes the others smile with sizzling teeth. "Oh, by the way, on the bridge we're going to turn the beat inside out and reverse the flow of time. Mal, can you please prepare another serving of "crisps" and beans?"

Richard Furnstein: There are three moments of this song to live in. First, the recording session with Admiral Pinwheeleyes dictating the waltz bridge to his less zonked companions. I think you nailed that one, old friend. Second, the moment that the shaggy headed youth first heard this song, revealing a world of fear and chaos and gruesome discovery. They were just catching up with the playful marijuana games ("Hey Todd, play back that part on "Girl" again, is John smoking a jay?") and now Lennon removes the mountains, trees, and gentle deer from the landscape. It's all been replaced by a terrifying abyss where orange smoke plays the role of furniture, castles that house the wandering dead yawn out of the bubbling ground, and a series of malevolent fauns are at play in the whispering dew. Things have changed, Todd. It's brutal underground after you die. All you have is your mind to keep you company as your mouth fills with dirt. You know what the third moment is?

Robert Bunter: Of course I do, dummy. It's the party where this song was born (or was it? Get it?). Cast your mind back to Los Angeles, 1965. It's a brief break from the endless touring; they've rented a lovely house with a pool and filled it with semi-celebrities and gorgeous women with whom they do it, over and over again. John and George just had their first acid experience a few weeks ago, when they were unknowingly dosed by a horny dentist who wanted to drill Cynthia and Patti. Now they bought their own, and they're ready to try it again. Paul's not ready, but Ringo's more than game.

It's brutal underground after you die. All you have is your mind to keep you company as your mouth fills with dirt.


Richard Furnstein: Yeah, but Ringo's a lightweight. He takes a dose and then wanders off from the party a few times. He's redirected by the police, and is found later passed out behind a drum set in the basement. John's on cloud nine, though. It's the first time that his brain seems on center with everyone else. David Crosby's smiling eyes wander into his brain as they discuss Shunryu Suzuki and Norwegian women. It's a meaningful fix, like a helix fornicating with a three headed snake. Peter Fonda wanders up and gives new meaning to get your motor running and heading out on the highway. The motor is your psychological fears and the highway is psychotheraputic explorations of the inner spirit.

Robert Bunter: Fonda's not exactly a mental heavyweight himself, if you acquire my drift. So the drug takes a turn in his brain and he starts remembering the time he accidentally shot himself as a kid. He becomes fixated and starts mumbling about "I know what it's like to be dead." John tells him to bugger off, but it's too late. Once an idea like that gets into your acid trip, the fun is over. You may as well just head inside and try to have some dinner. The problem is, you're too confused from the drug to operate your knife and fork correctly, so you end up spilling all your food onto the floor. What a bummer. It's all you can do to drag yourself upstairs and do it with another three Playboy girls before going to sleep. Meanwhile, Peter Fonda is puking into the fireplace after he tried to eat the food you spilled on the floor. We're not in Kansas anymore. This is late August, 1965 at 2850 Benedict Canyon Drive in Beverly Hills. If you invent a time machine and go back there, be cool. Don't disturb the Beatles with your dumb obsessions. I'm certain that if it had been me, I would have behaved in an appropriate manner.

Richard Furnstein: Is there a better use of a time machine than to head to that Beverly Hills home on that historic day? I'd play it cool as well. Maybe a dip in the pool (proper swimming attire optional!), eat some snacks (I am thinking fancy cheeses and salted pea pods), and thumb through their magazines. I'd be careful not to drastically impact the continuum of reality. Sure, I'd like to get in on that conversation with Pete and John, but I'd hate to throw John's creative drive off track. I would never forgive myself if "She Said She Said" didn't end side one of Revolver!

Robert Bunter: Oh man!

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