I had listened to most of the preview of this album, and I was mixed about it. But I have to say that of all the songs “Turtle Neck” is my favorite. It begins as most of these songs do with a very simple melody. There’s an easy vocal melody, accompanying guitars and interesting keyboard notes dropped in. As with most of these songs it has a very 80s feel to it. The big difference with this song is that it is 6 minutes longs and allows Omar Rodriguez-Lopez some wiggle room to goof off. Like the weird little noises (effects, guitars what have you) that sprinkle the ends of the verses.
But it’s at the 3 minute mark that Omar really takes over—the song turns kind of sinister with a great dark bassline. And then comes the guitar solo—screaming, noisy, more or less out of control, while wailing notes and off-kilter scales litter the one-minute instrumental section. Then Teri joins the tone with a wholly new vocal section that compliments what Omar is doing. The wildness kind of wears itself out until the end of the song recreates the beginning sweetness.
It’s probably the best encapsulation of the combination of pretty and wild that Bosnian Rainbows put together.
[READ: June 18, 2013] “Pedigree”
This is a Personal History, so I assume it is true. I don’t know Walter Kirn at all, and really I only read this because the main person he talks about is named Clark. Of course, the Clark in this story, Clark Rockefeller, is an unmitigated fraud.
It turns out that the story of Clark Rockefeller, and his real name Christian Gerhartsreiter, is fairly well-known in popular culture (there was even a Lifetime movie made about him. Of course, I don’t watch movies on that network, so this whole story passed me by. I wonder if this narrative is more or less interesting if you already know the truth.
This narrative begins with Walter explaining how he got to know Clark. Clark had signed up to take a dog who had been injured and rehabilitated (it was a Gordon setter who had been hit by a car and now used a wheelchair for its back legs). Clark had been vetted and talked to Walter, who was supposed to transport the animal. Things were complicated and the trip from Montana to Manhattan was more difficult and costly than Walter imagined. But Clark was there with an envelope and an offer of a place to stay and fabulous people to meet and a tour of all of Rockefeller Center. When asked about his source of income, Clark explained his job as “a freelance central banker for Thailand.” And Walter accepted it all.
Later, the envelope proved to hold a check for $500 (not even half of what Walter spent). None of the famous people showed and the tour didn’t materialize. Nevertheless, the ruse was surprisingly complex–like the man who claimed to be from MOMA authenticating the Mondrians and Rothkos that Rockefeller had on his wall.
The next section begins by talking about the trial of Christian Gerhartsreiter for the 1985 murder of John Sohus. I had no idea how these stories were related (I’m not sure if Walter assumed we would know him or if this was just dramatic writing). So it took me a second read to realize we were talking about the same person. Gerhartsreiter had killed his landlord’s son and had begun to impersonate his life. Not his name, but his characteristics (like becoming a die hard Trekkie even though Gerhartsreiter had never watched the show).
The trial went on for a while, with all of the people that he duped (except the author) giving testimony. Like the girlfriend who believed in him even though he never paid for anything. Or Mihoko Manabe who fell for him utterly and made a life with him for 7 years–doing all of the crazy things that Gerhartsreiter told her to do. Like walking on the opposite side of the street and never arriving anywhere at the same time as him–all under the ruse that what he was doing was so important that people were after him. (He also had a different identity at the time).
In 2002, Clark wrote to Walter asking him to help with a series of novels he had written. He had gotten divorced and said he was really hurting for cash (Walter was shocked that a Rockefeller could be hurting for cash). Despite all of the precariousness in Clark’s life he still managed to sound important–like that the cop car in his front yard was a security detail and that he had a personal link to George Bush (the current President). He even gave Walter Bush’s “direct” phone number.
Some more history: in 1993, Clark met Sandra Boss at a party and they hit it off. They were married in 1995 and had a child in 2001. They were divorced in 2007 (Walter had known him during this period). His custody was erratic because of what his wife had said about him. And that’s why in July of 2008, Clark was charged with kidnapping and abducting his own daughter.
And even when Walter saw that, he still believed in Clark, thinking that his bad life had finally made him snap. He was appalled on Clark’s behalf that the Rockefeller family said he was not even a part of their family. And then Walter’s mother said to him, “It sounds like he was a phony, Walt.” And that’s when it all came crashing down on Walter.
It was revealed that he was a suspect in the 1985 murder (he had fled California). Walter was still strangely drawn to him. he attended the trial and even visited him in jail, although this time to find answers. And, truthfully, none were there.
This was a fascinating story of duplicity and it makes me wonder just how trusting I am of people.