Chicagomuzik

I've got a whole city to hold down

April 19, 2004

Breaking news: John Stirratt sneezes

Not really. But we've been tracking Wilco so closely of late that such a headline doesn't seem too far-fetched.

Anyway, as noted in the comments for a previous post, Wilco has announced a hometown show at the Vic, set for June 12. We'll add ticket info when we get it.

In other news, we've had the chance to snoop through Greg Kot's pending book Learning How to Die. Our first reaction is that it's more a Jeff Tweedy bio than a Wilco bio ... but then, as fans certainly have realized in recent years and as the book itself makes plain, Wilco is more a Jeff Tweedy project than a Wilco project, too. Also, predictably, Kot is hamstrung by a lack of historical perspective. Because the band and its members are very much living, breathing, working entitities, real life has already outpaced Learning How to Die. The book doesn't so much as mention A Ghost Is Born, new players Pat Sansone and Nels Cline, or Tweedy's current rehab stint.

On the latter topic, though, the book is riddled with references to Tweedy's reliance on pain medication, his emotional problems, and his overuse of alcohol and pot. Substance abuse, Kot holds, was long identified by Tweedy and those close to him as a potential pitfall. Referring to Tweedy's decision to go cold turkey on booze in the middle Uncle Tupelo days, a longtime friend named Dave Dethrow says, "his brothers and his father had their difficulties with drinking, and Jeff knew he had to be careful. He knew where he'd be heading if he kept it up, because he saw it in his own home."

There's now a website for Kot's book.

Update: The Daily Herald's Mark Guarino warmly reviews ex-Wilco guitarist Jay Bennett's new disc, Bigger Than Blue (Undertow), released today.

Update II: This post's judgments about the timeliness of Learning How to Die have been superceded by a following post, "Kot clarifies" (see above).

Update III: Bob Mehr gives Jay Bennett a shoulder to cry on.