Thursday, July 07, 2005

rex at sun

sun studio

When in Memphis be sure to take the Sun Studios tour. Your tour guide may very well be some asshole who dramatically huffs each time someone in the crowd whispers, makes horribly unfunny jokes delivered without a trace of enthusiasm, reminds everyone that tips are allowed, and then spends the last couple of minutes talking about his shitty band, but it is worth it. He may even so far as to tell you which unlucky coffeehouse in west Tennessee will be graced with his solo acoustic performance that very night and then trying to sell you a CD of his “look at me, I have feelings just like Elliott Smith had feelings” originals, but it will still be worth it. He will play some of his CD and you will find it a course in setting regrettable high school poetry to cliché music, but you will live. The prick will even list himself among the roll of legendary musicians who have recorded in that very room in a manner obviously less than half-joking, yet it will be bearable. It will be worth it and you will have the added benefit of having just officially met the least important person to have ever recorded at Sun.

I don’t like to have tourists milling about in my vacation photos. However, this was inevitable in such a small space, so I took a shot of the studio ceiling just above the crowd and directly over the spot where Elvis, Johnny Cash, Howlin Wolf, and many others stood while recording their vocals.
ceiling @ sun studio
This is just your Uncle Rex’s opinion, but I didn’t mind braving the sweaty tourists, the Memphis heat, and being led around by some bastard with the most unnatural and unbearable combination of being both arrogant and a candy-assed little emo-rock bitch so long as it ended with a few minutes of standing in that musty little room where so many great records were made. Sam Phillips spent ten years here, leasing it only from the mid fifties to mid sixties before moving on to another, less legendary location on Beale Street where he could have more space. This original spot was reopened in the mid-eighties and has since recorded Def Leppard, Matchbox 20, Tom Petty, and U2, but is still worth seeing. That musty smell could’ve very easily just been the lasting remnants of Bono.
I didn’t have time to take the Stax tour on this trip but plan to hit it the next time I’m in Memphis. I would think it more significant than Graceland, as the museum features Otis Redding, Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, The Jackson Five, James Brown, Ike and Tina Turner, Isaac Hayes, and Booker T and the MGs. I will then finish things up with a trip to the Rev. Al Green’s Full Gospel Tabernacle on a Sunday morning, and I guarangoddamntee that it will be worth it.


Anonymous Blake said...

"I don’t like to have tourists milling about in my vacation photos."

Me either...I detest it.

9:08 AM  
Blogger Stella said...

Sun rules. So does Memphis. I should be living there.

10:15 AM  
Anonymous Blake said...

I thought you wanted to be in LA.

3:41 PM  
Blogger Rex L. Camino said...

Memphis is nice to visit, but I think I would grow tired of it rather quickly if I lived there.

5:09 PM  
Anonymous tha b said...

if you actually lived there, you would die of the smoky heat and the ribs within a year... happened to me...

10:57 PM  
Blogger Stella said...

My plan is to marry rich and then have a home in Nashville, LA, Memphis, and Chicago. Dream big, right?

12:08 PM  
Blogger Rex L. Camino said...

Godspeed you in your dreams, Jill. And please don't forget to donate some of that cash to any oft unemployed musician/graphic designers out there. Or in here, as the case may be.

5:00 PM  
Blogger Stella said...

Adding Denver to the list. They even have Stella.

11:22 PM  

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