Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Range Life

"Range Life" is one of my favorite alt-country farces of all-time (along with the Lemonheads' "Big Gay Heart"). The song describes an aging hippie (I hate hippies!) remembering his days in the limelight and as a skater-punk of the streets. He longs for that slow country life, the range life, so he can settle down.

The interesting part of the song is the third verse in which the hippie calls out the rock gods of the time, the Smashing Pumpkins and Stone Temple Pilots. Much was made of the Smashing Pumpkins being described as "nature kids" who "have no function". Billy Corgan was so insulted that he supposedly refused to play Lollapalooza if Pavement was on the bill. Whatever. Pavement played the next year at my favorite Lollapalooza (right after a stirring set by Sinead O'Connor!).

Malkmus often inserted other bands into the slots occupied by the Pumpkins and STP when playing the song live. I remember seeing them at Lollapalooza in Columbus, OH. He inserted Royal Trux as the "nature kids" and the Afghan Whigs as the "eligible bachelors". It was a clever nod to two great indie bands from Ohio (although, the Whigs weren't so indie at that time). The Trux recorded on Pavement's old label, Drag City.


Michael said...

Back when I was in high school, just reading about "Range Life" was enough to scare me away from the band. Though I was not a Smashing Pumpkins or Stone Temple Pilots fan, the lyrics seemed snotty and elitist to me, the humor that of a clique I probably wasn't edgy or cool enough to join. I still haven't joined any cliques, but I fucking love Pavement now (and "Range Life" of course).

comoprozac said...

I was looking back through Rob Jovanovic's book and read how SM supposedly made up the lyrics on the spot. He thought it would paint this ironic picture of Pavement as this jealous indie band that hated the Pumpkins and STP.