Tuesday, 22 November 2005

Link Wray Is Dead

There were not many Wrays as famous as Link - though the one in King Kong's clutches must count as a distant second.

The death of Link Wray is the end of an era of sublime trash-noise simplicity whose cultural value will only rise with time. He was a musical genius, and more interestingly, a man with a fascinating personal story.

The fortunes of Quentin Tarantino, and his masterpiece, Pulp Fiction, would have been very different, if Wray had not supplied some of the major musical moments, which, along with Miserlou, are the leitmotifs of the film. It is no puffery to say that Wray had the opportunity to create signature sounds that were iconic in at least two key decades, one of them being the 90s. His influence on garage-punk-surf, both originally and during its revivals, is comparable to that of Ezra Pound on Imagism - which is to say, he almost single-handedly (as it were) strummed the power chords of his genre into existence.

I have long felt that, should the thin walls between high and low culture ever truly crash down, in a thundering surf, it will be recognized that a legimate B-poetry movement has been rumbling along, beneath the surface, all the time, since the Beats. This trashy, indie, alt-poetry, if it is ever noted, will come to be called The Age of Wray, in honour of this often wordless troubadour of something wild, raw and utterly itself.

The link below (no pun) takes you to his obituary.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/obituaries/story/0,3604,1647696,00.html
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