July 25th, 2006 | by MARK BAUMGARTEN Music | Posted In: Columns, Columns

Decemberists Fans: Weird, Bored, High

     
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colindeerApparently Decemberists fans are so thirsty for information from their favorite pop band that a mere MySpace blog post sends them into fits of spastic keyboard stroking and mouse clicking. Just two hours ago a post appeared on the site called "My Five Favorite Things. By Colin." The list that follows is quite cute and appropriate for a music fan, new father and homeowner, all of which Decemberists frontman Colin Meloy is. The list included:

1. The folk CD section at Jackpot Records in Portland, OR. They have immaculate taste. The folk vinyl section is obviously a little employee-picked-over.
2. Orange sorbet from the gelato place up the street from my house.
3. The Squid and the Whale on DVD. So I can watch it over and over and over and over. . .
4. Lily Allen, "Alright (sic) Still"
5. My lawn.


Awww. The Decemberists fans flocked like so many seagulls after the posting, leaving behind 27 comments and a couple photoshopped images of Meloy driving tractors. People like this gentlemen, using the handle "Weird," posted notes of support and encouragement:

Colin -- Astute observations on Jackpot - ohh so true! Squid and the Whale is amongst the most underappreciated films of the past ten years. What a stellar film -- and upon several watchings you will indeed be amazed at new discoverys and feelings from the characters. Also, Jeff Bridges makes an awesome lead supporting actor. He was amazing in this film, not to menton Big Lebowski as well.

P.S. -- Portland boy -- now what?


Despite the fact that that P.S. seems a very sinister taunt, all of the hullaballoo over Meloy's current faves is very good for the band, if a little creepy.

To have such an immediate response to such a benign post means that the Decemberists ship is going strong as the Portland quintet prepares to release its fourth album (and first for major label Capitol Records), The Crane Wife, due out on Oct. 3. Then again, there is very likely a young man somewhere applying Colin Meloy heads to pictures of his grandfather mowing the lawn while rocking back and forth in front of his computer, eating peanut butter straight from the jar, mumbling passages from Leaves of Grass, and playing "The Mariner's Revenge Song" full-blast. In reverse. On a stereo made of human skulls.

Meloy does attract this kind of camaraderie from his fans for good reason. Like any good storyteller, and the man is one of the best, Meloy must naturally be a good listener. One listen to his meticulous tales and it's easy to imagine the bespectacled brunette sitting and listening to his best friends (and maybe some fans) go on and on about their struggles, ideas and successes.

I actually happened to experience this phenomena on Friday night at the Doug Fir Lounge, where Meloy was taking in his first bit of live music since the birth of his son this past Spring. Walking through the patio towards the Lounge—where I would watch one of the Northwest's greatest pop bands, the Long Winters, give one of the summer's best concerts—I witnessed a man, who seemed to be high on hallucinogens, chatting with Meloy. Leading a mostly one-sided conversation, the man first asked Meloy about the singer's recent fatherhood before pinballing through a three-minute ramble, bouncing from the fact that his work was making him slightly "crazed," to the pain he felt since his girl was far away across the sea, to his great love for a book called City of Quartz by Mike Davis.

Meloy stood and listened intently, his eyes focused on the constantly-shifting fellow. Then he clapped him on the shoulder, saying, "City of Quartz, right?," and telling him that perhaps they should both head down for the show.

Sure he probably mumbled "Weirdo," as the man headed in. But the fact of the matter is that Meloy sat and listened to some jackass on mushrooms talk about the social history of Los Angeles. He's a listener people. So, wipe your peanut butter covered hands off on your cardigan and tell the man what flavor gelato you like, for Christ's sake!

The Decemberists MySpace page: myspace.com/thedecemberists
The Decemberists: decemberists.com

Photo: Colin Meloy riding a lawnmower. Posted by Soylent Green is People on the Decemberists' MySpace page.
 
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