So Long, Frank Lloyd Wright: SotW / Behind the Music, Part I

So Long, Frank Lloyd Wright: SotW / Behind the Music, Part I

Last week I started in to my first T.C. Boyle novel, The Women. In brief, it’s a fictionalized account of his relationships with, primarily, his three wives. Beyond that I won’t give you a book report, because what struck me initially was the introduction, in which our memoirist, a Wright apprentice, tells of his journey to – and arrival at – Taliesin, Wright’s remote Wisconsin home. I couldn’t help but be reminded of my own visit to Taliesin West (Scottsdale, AZ) when I was in the 9th grade.

Taliesin West

The main house at Taliesin West

My grandfather, who I unfortunately never knew, was an architect of some renown with a flair for the modern. To an extent, he embraced Frank Lloyd’s ideas of organic architecture so having heard a lot about him when I was very young, I was more aware of design and nature than other small people might be. Thus, a trip to an architectural curiosity out in the desert was not so strange for my family. My memories are slim, but I definitely recall a pair of creepy fire-breathing dragon lamps and a great reliance on natural light. I managed to leave with a cool Taliesin patch that I affixed to some jacket or other (in the years before I became inseparable from my denim jacket, the required costume of the metalhead) but the trip was eventually forgotten. Big thanks to my father for digging up these pictures.

The flooding-in of these distant thoughts as I began The Women greatly enhanced my reading and, as an added surprise, it also helped me as I began assembling my set list for the Sainte Rocke show on July 21.

Simon & Garfunkel were a very important part of my musical education, and are not unrelated to this thread in more ways than one. I got my first S&G album at my Arizona grandmother’s house and I couldn’t have had a better starting point. Bookends (complete with the enclosed psychedelic poster) is their masterwork: touching, experimental, quirky and beautiful. It wasn’t long before I had collected all their original five albums. I immediately loved “So Long, Frank Lloyd Wright,” from Bridge Over Troubled Water, with its unusual lyrics and sneaky key changes. I’m not saying I’ll definitely play this on in a couple weeks, but it’s helping me along. We men with fey tenor voices tend to relate to old Art.


Speaking of Art Garfunkel, if you’re one of those who’s all “hey, Paul Simon wrote all the songs, so why does Garfunkel with nothin’ but his zany hair get equal billing?”, to you I say shut your mouth and watch this. Then shut your mouth again if you can manage to get your jaw off the floor.

Skip ahead about 1:45 to “For Emily…”