Monday, May 15, 2006

My Favorite Guitarist, 26 Years Running...

Carol Levy was a member of the late 70s, early 80s Athens, Georgia groups Mars Needs Women, Pre-Cave, Nest (adj.), and Boat Of. She died from injuries sustained in a tragic, wholly senseless automobile accident in 1983. I knew her for only four of her 20-odd years, but in that time I grew to love her very much.

There was no sexual chemistry between us; I doubt if we ever so much as kissed. No, the love I harbored for Carol was that which one nurtures for a like-minded provocateur, for - and forgive this rather delinquent choice of words - a bandmate.

Carol was such a brilliant guitarist, such a straight-the-fuck-from-far-left-field player... She was stunning. At that moment when Keith Levene, Nina Canal, Lydia Lunch, Gareth Sager, Arto Lindsay, Viv Albertine, Cosey Fanni Tutti, Sumner Crane, and James "Blood" Ulmer were bashing their way through benign redoubts into a collective, necessarily secretive psyche, Carol was there too, drinking from and spitting back into the slipstream, altering perceptions (or, perhaps more accurately, entirely deflecting them) and challenging norms with self-deprecating subtlety. That this activity went largely unnoticed is of little importance...

(If I seem to make more of her than her talents merited, so be it. Those that knew her well were acutely cognizant of her abilities. Of course, I have an advantage - I have the recordings.)

All I can relate with certainty is that she, in her inimitable, mercurial fashion, helped me better understand the music that prowled around in my skull. She thus was essential not only to the Boat Of sound - as tremulous and oddly perturbed as it must have seemed at the time - but to my knowledge of self. (That's a lot to ask of a friend... I wish I'd done more for her.)

Here is a photograph of Carol, taken in 1981 by Cynthia C***a ("C2" to constant readers of this blog.). It says everything...



I hope some of you will soon be able to hear what I (and Mike Green, and David Gamble, and many others) heard for ourselves.

Until then, a big-ass no-kiss kiss from me to you, CL.

Tom