Thursday, January 1, 2009

Dirty Boots

The first song on Sonic Youth's 1990 LP Goo is called "Dirty Boots."

Goo marks the start of a new era of Sonic Youth, the Geffen era. After being approached by majors for the entire 1988-89 tour, Sonic Youth finally settled on Geffen, because they were the only label that allowed complete artistic freedom, or so they thought.

Goo was practically written over a weekend and recorded in less time, atleast the first rejected draft of the record was. The band entered Wharton Tiers Fun City Studio at beginning of 1990 and busted out 11 songs on an old 8-track tape machine. The tapes were handed to the people at Geffen with the intention of being released as their major label debut. Leave it up to Sonic Youth to hand in the most super duper lo-fi album to a major label. In all truth, the band was mocking them and they knew it!

"Dirty Boots" sounds nothing like the band has ever done before. Thurston claims that being on tour with bands like Dinosaur Jr and Nirvana made him feel like he had to compete. Thurston also has the most "pop" sensibility of all the band members, so Thurston took the writing into an even more mainstream direction than ever before. "Dirty Boots" says it all.

The song was written in California in the summer of 1989. The lyrics managed to take many "slang" terms and string them together. Essentially, the song is about california and how fake it is. Could this also be a song about the industry the band was about to enter? I think so. Sonic Youth knew what they were about to get into. Dirty Boots shows they are no stranger to the music industry and its way of "screwing" over. the band entered this with a "take no prisoner do what you want" attitude. Now THATS punk rock!

There are three versions of this song out there. First the Goo version. Then what is considered to be the "demo" versions. Both Wharton Tiers versions are different, but only in length. These can be found on the Goo re-issue.

This song has not been played since 1993. I wonder why? Seriously! I do! I met a freind at a Sonic Youth show in 2004. We hit it off and had a great time enjoying the band together. Before the encore, she turned to me and said "If they play Dirty Boots can I kiss you?" If you've seen the video, you will know what i'm talking about. Good times.

The 1990 video:

Taken from the documentary 1991: The Year Punk Broke

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