Monday, November 21, 2005

An Evening with Thax Douglas

You don't have to be in town long to discover Chicago's rock & roll Poet Laureate. Thax Douglas makes the rounds from venue to venue on a daily basis, spontaneously writing poems and reciting them as introductory prose for local bands. The poems usually have titles like insert band name #1 (the number depending on how many introductions Thax has previously made for that band). They don't necessarily have anything to do with the respective band either...that is unless Chicago rockers are hiding their metaphysical natures from me. Ask Thax for a copy of your poem and he'll give you a hand-written facsimile. Pick up a local band's 7", particularly a live recording, and you are likely to have acquired a Thax Douglas oration free of charge. Sttep in to a local bookstore or record shop, you'll find Thax Douglas publications in text and audio formats.

If you're picturing Bob Dylan, Jim Morrison, Richard Hell or Henry Rollins you are off mark. Thax doesn't look, behave or write like a rock poet. Unless you pictured Allen Ginsberg, you probably have a mental image that is anti-Thax. That's a good thing because the world doesn't need another leather bound ryhmer.

Thax began his rock poetry career in 1997 at the very un-rocknroll age of 40 and according to his MySpace bio, he'll "probably keep doing this for some time." Recently he resurrected his showcase series at the Beatkitchen. This Sunday, November 27th, churchbus will receive their first Thax Douglas poetic blessing along with (fittingly) a Christian rock band the Skull, Genital Hercules and Swimmer Missing.

Since I will be recording the show, that will be four new Thax Douglas poems recorded for posterity and likely appearing on a 7"/website/MySpace page near you.

While he doesn't get the front page attention of his contemporary (attention he most certainly doesn't want), Thax has already left his mark in the fine lineage of Chicago poetry. Carl Sandburg and Gwendolyn Brooks look out.

Check out some Thax Douglas poems, posted on Guided By Voices website.

*image from Stranger Than Films

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