Little Feat, Waiting for Columbus (Rhino reissue, 2002, two-CD set).
I’ve been crazy about this record for more than 40 years now. If you need some scoop on the band, this does a fine job. I’m going to throw in a couple of personal notes.
A colleague in the poetry-writing program at the University of Montana became a fan of my musical smarts after I turned him on to Little Feat and once described our august teacher, the masterful Richard Hugo, as “A Fat Man in the Bathtub with the blues,” which I still think is Surrealist perfect.
My utmost agonies over rock deaths began with Janis and Jimi and ended with Cobain. Right in the middle was the horrid demise of Lowell George. I admit I was shocked at how sloppy and incoherent his solo album was — he sounded like fried brains on a plate. And he’d become a gruesome-balloon version of his once-sexy self.
I was working in a record store when the news of his death came over the radio. A rock-singer gal who also worked there (and would later die of a smack OD herself) told me a story about a backstage encounter she had with George. A groupie came scampering up to him and said “I got what you wanted, Lowell,” then presented a double-handful of mixed pills, pills and more pills. She dumped them into George’s hands and he — GLOMPH — snarfed them all down at once. As Eve Babitz has observed, Keith Richards survived because he didn’t mix his drugs.
For bonus credits (and no fair doing online research) can some youngsta tell me the joke and significance buried in Neon Park’s cover illustration (Gawd, seems the most talented people associated with this band were cursed). Also met a premature, albeit not self-caused, death.