Monday Muse: Michael Penn
Ok, the last thing I want is for two of these things to show up back to back like this, but I spent the first half of last week sick and the second half busy busy busy, but you fuckers went to all the trouble of clicky clicking so I figure I owe you some writings and this one was next in the mental queue.
“March”, by Michael Penn, came out in 1989. It was introduced to me by a good friend of mine from the old Phoenix Gamers days. I have no idea why the biggest Cincinnati gamers group was called “Phoenix”, it just was. Anyways, Jason Holmgren had a car and I didn’t, or when I did have a car he didn’t, and we shared a passion for Car Wars and Champions and other geek related activities. We drifted apart as the 90’s meandered on, but I always think of him when I hear this album. Which is one of the great things about music I suppose… creating emotional shorthand for times and places that have been ripped from us by the ravaging devourer that is time. Jason lived the dream though, he founded his own gaming company, Sanguine Games, producers of Ironclaw, which is pretty damn cool.
I got to see Michael Penn at one of the most intimate performances I have ever experienced. At the Mt. Adams Pavilion one Christmas season he played an entire set in that tiny little room. He was essentially playing in our laps. The great thing, it was a benefit performance, all it cost was a few canned goods for the food pantry.
Michael is still out there, collaborating a lot with his wife Aimee Mann… which makes me all sorts of jealous. I still enjoy his work a great deal, but I’m not sure anything matches the shear joy of sharing this first album with an old friend as we drove the dark and lonely roads back from a night of pure escapism.
This is the best song on the album…