Drinking, Fighting, Fucking and Crying Title

Drinking, Fighting, F*&king, and Crying

Jennifer CharlesHere’s to your f*&king Frank, to paraphrase a favorite film.

Loveage: Songs to Make Love To Your Old Lady By purports, in a somewhat tongue-in-cheek way, to be a sonic aphrodisiac. The entire tableaux around which this Dan the Automator-conceived and produced, trip-hop masterpiece is built is so thorough, so painstakingly thought out, that when I saw them live in early 2002, Nakamura (The Automator’s real name) and Mike Patton wore smoking jackets and Jennifer Charles wore a slip.

And that was all she wore. You can only imagine how this sealed the deal on the tone of the show. It was the lush, erotic nature of the record but presented live, almost acted out, like some torrid musical burlesque. And although Dan the Automator dressed the part to hold up his end of things, all eyes were on Patton and Ms. Charles. And they delivered.

The chemistry on stage was, from Patton’s end, committed but with a level of distance. He was in character, acknowledging and accepting of what was needed to pull off this bit of musical theatre (the stage looked like a lounge, complete with a wet bar and Patton and The Automator quaffing cognac from snifters). And yet, as into it as Patton was, he was still very much broadcasting that he was “in character.” Jennifer Charles, on the other hand, committed fully. I mean, this woman absolutely drips sex. Her persona on stage that night matched the breathy, promiscuous nature of her vocals, and it was captivating.

So Loveage: Music to Make Love to Your Old Lady To, while not an album I spin often, has a special place in my heart. Not just because of that show, but because, much like Thievery Corporation or Sade, this record actually proved itself to me as an aural aphrodisiac. I don’t remember how it worked out that a good female friend of mine accompanied me to the show, as so many of my friends at the time were also Patton fans, but that’s how it went. Perhaps all my Patton friends were previously engaged, or maybe I’m misremembering, and I strategically rolled the dice here. Not sure. Either way, this female friend was not a Patton fan, was not really a fan of rock music at all unless it was British in origin, so she only somewhat reluctantly accepted the second ticket. We drove up to the near North Side of Chicago on that Sunday night, had a few drinks at a neighborhood bar, and then stood side by side at the Chicago House of Blues, both slowly falling into quiet lust with Jennifer Charles. And it was a funny thing because as we watched each new song Ms. Charles performed, I distinctly remember feeling the “friend-zone” between us dissolve. There was a strange contract between us signed by our bodies that night, in that place. The signature was to come later, after the show, when we returned to my apartment. It was a surprise, and I 100% credit Loveage, and more specifically Jennifer Charles, with its occurrence.

Somehow I think Dan the Automator would be happy to hear his record inspired a brief, torrid tryst between friends. In the years since Music to Make Love to Your Old Lady By has come out, I’ve heard people plead for a follow-up, but I say leave perfection alone. In my mind, that record will always be a legend.

Next week: One last, good cry.

Shawn C Baker

Shawn C Baker

Shawn lives in Los Angeles where he co-hosts Drinking w/ Comics, writes screenplays and fiction and has been known to drink quite a bit of beer. Good beer.

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