Tuesday, February 5, 2013

From The Desk Of Kelly Hogan: Bill Hicks

Neko Case has called her pal Kelly Hogan “the Zelig of rock ‘n’ roll.” Her name appears in the credits for albums by Mavis Staples, the Mekons, Will Oldham, Matt Pond PA, Amy Ray, Giant Sand, Archer Prewitt, Alejandro Escovedo, Drive-By Truckers, Jakob Dylan, Tortoise and many others, Case included. Hogan’s fourth album has been a long time coming, in part because she’s been busy as a crucial part of Case’s band (anyone who’s seen Case live has witnessed Hogan’s amusing banter), in part because of the nature of the project. For I Like To Keep Myself In Pain (Anti-), Hogan sent letters to her songwriter friends, many of whom she’d sung with, asking them if they would send her a song, either one written specifically for her or one that “you think I could do right by,” as she said. That process started several years ago, and results yielded songs from a veritable who’s who: Vic Chesnutt, Stephin Merritt, Andrew Bird, Jon Langford, Janet Bean, M. Ward and others. Hogan will be guest editing magnetmagazine.com all week. Read our recent feature on her.

Hogan: I’m gonna talk about someone whose art has meant so very much to me in the past 15 years.

One afternoon during a heatwave at SXSW in 1998, my pal Ted and I retreated into the cool dark of his apartment, with his pet snake and some cold beers. The curtains were closed, and a mattress was on the floor. Ted said, “I’m gonna show you someone you’re gonna like.” And he put on a video of Bill Hicks.

I jumped up off the bed and yelled, “That’s him! That’s him! It’s finally him! That’s the guy whose show I saw right after my friend Allen died!”


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