David Lindley is a brilliant multi-instrumentalist and a hilariously wicked musician who writes and sings songs especially to gross you out. The stage around him is filled with stringed instruments of all descriptions, a Greek bouzouki, a Turkish saz, an oud, a Hawaiian lap-guitar and a banjo among them. Lindley started out playing folk and bluegrass, moved into rock but began to focus on ethnic and worldbeat traditions, too, which later led him to tour with the similarly interested Ry Cooder and Henry Kaiser. He helped Ry Cooder create the soundtrack for the Wim Wenders film ‘Paris, Texas.’ For me, this is the loneliest music on earth, the way it manages to funnel all of life’s regrets into that sparse, slow slide guitar sound that wafts over to you across the equally desolate desert landscape. Lindley masters the full array of global string instruments he’s collected, so a performance by him not only guarantees great musicality – they call him a ‘musician’s musician,’ but also real bad-assed, hilarious entertainment: he says things you’d like to say but dare not because you try to be nice.
Does he really have such a big head? Yes he does, because his skull has to house that some-odd 172 IQ brain he has in common with Frank Zappa, so I guess I overdid it a bit in the drawing to emphasize this prominence. He’s the Thinking Person’s bad boy musician, in his early sixties when I drew him, with huge white curly sideburns and a big disheveled head of long hair half covering that huge forehead. Other than that, he’s a small guy with spindly little legs, so his proportions are seriously out of whack, much like the workings of that big brain. Who else would sing ‘He would have loved you more than Eva Braun?’ And play it in an upbeat Hawaiian party-style? His mouth is the biggest thing of all and he uses it well.
Lindley proudly wears the UGLIEST polyester shirts he can find – way more tacky than Chuck Berry’s which means he’s so tacky he’s stylish. I’m not a musician, I draw, so when I spot an interesting-looking player making great music, not only my ears but my eyes feast on him.
Lindley played solo this evening; his usual percussionist in those days, Jordan-born Hani Naser, wasn’t with him. Drawn from three metres away at the Rime Café on the Drive in East Vancouver, a venue that did not last long enough but while it did, it was a fabulous place to hear live music in intimate surroundings. Its programmer, Cem Zafir of ‘ZulaPresents,’ was a real enthusiast and brought in some of the best acoustic- and jazz acts this city has ever seen, this side of the Folk and Jazz Festivals.