So I built an old truck. Big deal, thats what I always do. Maybe the better story here is not what I did but why.
The tune haunted me as long as I could remember. I’d hear snippets of it in my head or it would be playing very softly in some musty antique shop somewhere and just when I’d try to follow it and really understand it, it would be gone in a flash...nothing but a fading ghosted memory, leaving me not even sure if I’ve heard it in the first place. As it was a wordless instrumental tune, it was impossible to research by keywording lyrics...even a mismatched facsimile of lyrics, as what seems to be normal for me. With no lyrics, no name, and no ability to coherently reconstruct the song from memory, my only choice was to wait for the tune to come to me...and it would, but only on certain occasions. Maybe it has to do with its galloping tribal beat or its heavy use of vibrato, but I associate the tune with battle...but only a certain type of battle. Its the tune that you hear when after months, maybe even years of living in fear you finally stand up to the school bully and take him down, even though he’s a full head taller and outweighs you by 140 pounds. Its the tune you hear when a thug pulls a knife on you in a back alley and you give him a devilish sneer and a promise in your best Clint Eastwood voice that he will surely eat his own balls if he fucks with you. To me, it is the sound of righteous victory against all odds. Its macho enough to be deemed as badass, but beautiful enough to be romantic. Heavy reverb gives it an eerie, lonely sound. It is reminiscent of thunder and the desert...of cactus and buffalo skulls and skies the color of lead. Poetic and forlorn, its the kind of tune that only makes sense in dreams.
Recently, we tuned to a streaming surf rock station on my girlfriend’s laptop. Surf rock is, by in large, wordless and nice to have in the background while doing other things...cool, even badass without being overly distracting. It isn’t overly distracting...unless, of course...that certain song comes on. I’m sure you can imagine my reaction when thirty or so seconds into it, I caught on to what I was hearing. With a racing heart and shaking hands, I scrambled to the laptop to see the name of the song and artist before it was gone...gone for good. I felt an eerie shiver up my spine as I read the title. The song that haunted me...the one that came to me in times of distress, in fight or flight situations and in dreams...the one that occasionally came into mind as a fleeting, ghostlike snippet finally had a name! Apache.
Now that it had a name, I vowed to learn as much about it as possible. It was originally recorded in 1960. In name and in sound, the piece conjures up imagery of the American Old West but it was written by members of a British band called The Shadows. Apache made it into the list of 100 most influential guitar songs of all time...96th to be exact, but to me the song ranks much, much higher. It was covered and sampled several times, even made more famous than the original by the likes of the Incredible Bongo Band, The Sugarhill Gang, Afrika Bambaataa, L.L. Cool J and even Sir Mixalot in his song “Jump On It”. While any version may be good in its own way, (except for the laughable, culturally insensitive disco version by Tommy Seebach) this link provides the song in its oldest, most original form.
So what does this all have to do with the Lego truck? Its a 1960 Chevy Apache panel truck and shares the same name and year as the song. I allowed my subconscious to guide this build, probably more so than any other. It was vitally important to build in dark gray. While not a particularly flashy color, its reminiscent of storm clouds, which to me seems synonymous with the song. Among some very tricky build techniques, it also features a fully detailed engine, spring suspension, opening rear delivery style doors, an accurate looking gas can, Native feathers hanging from the rear view mirror, specially designed suicide doors and a tricky diamond patterned interior reminiscent of diamondback rattlesnakes. Its desert base, of course, seemed like a logical choice and contains a couple of scorpions, a bleached buffalo skull, and even a symbolic harbinger of death perched atop a cactus. This was built for the LUGNuts 2nd Anniversary Challenge that gave us the freedom to build from any challenge of the previous year. Conveniently, this fit within the “Play That Funky Music” build challenge based on songs. So there you have it...a cool new truck to look at and hopefully a newly rediscovered old song for your playlist. Thanks for reading.