Dispatches, thoughts, and miscellanea from writer Jon Konrath

Differently worded War Pigs

Nothing beats listening to Black Sabbath – the song Black Sabbath, the title cut to their first album, when the weather is shitty and you’re half awake and not running at full steam. It’s that righteous depression that Henry Rollins is always talking about – not the kind that makes you think “I’m so sad, she left me” or whatever, but the kind that makes you think you ARE Iron Man, and your heavy boots of lead are pulling you down, which explains why you overslept by two hours and couldn’t get out of the shower in under a half hour. What really rules about the CD I’m listening to – this new Ozzy Osbourne compilation – is that this particular version of Black Sabbath is one that was recorded live at a rehearsal, before their first album came out. It’s heavier than fuck, like the album version, but the sound is really raw and the vocals are not as refined as the album. There’s also a version of War Pigs on here that has different words to it.

Last night, I thought I almost blew the whole night away – right after work, I hit the phone and made four calls that lasted about four hours, plus dinner in there, the tail half of Frazier (which was just background noise as I cooked), and Seinfeld. By 11:30, I felt shitty and knew I wouldn’t get any writing done. I sat down and took about four or five pages of notes about the first couple of chapters in Summer Rain. I’m on a weird rewriting program where the first few chapters will collapse down into one or maybe two chapters, because I piss away almost the first third of the book talking about one weekend that doesn’t have much to do with the story. After the notes, it was almost 1, but I sat down and started chopping at the first first chapter. I’m learning how sloppy my writing is, and it’s letting me seriously change things, but it’s slower than hell. I’ve always considered the first part of the book to be the best writing, since it’s what I edit most. I start with grandiose ideas to edit the whole book and I quit by chapter 3. So chapter 1 has been rewritten like 200 times, but when you get about 40 chapters out, that stuff hasn’t even been read since it was laid on the page in 1995.

This version of War Pigs with different words is just fucking eerie. I’ve listened to this song hundreds of times, plus the cover versions by Faith No More and whoever else covers this song. I seem to remember being on church with Jim Manges and his parents (maybe this was a hallucination, or something we talked about) and turning to him during the service and saying “Satan laughing spreads his wings” in the most Ozzy-like voice I could perform in a half-whisper. Jim originally got me going on Sabbath, on Paranoid and on old Ozzy stuff like Bark at the Moon.

I just did a search, and there’s a Black Sabbath web ring….