Saturday, November 18, 2017
Song: "Twist And Shout"
Artist: The Beatles
Album: "Please Please Me"
Place Of Origin: Liverpool, England
Years Active: 1960 - 1970
WHAT I THINK THE SONG IS ABOUT:
"Twist And Shout" isn't too hard to read into lyrically. The vocalist is basically liking what he is seeing by a certain female on the dance floor and he wants her to dance with him and be his girl. He's basically admiring her. "Twist And Shout" was written by Phil Medley and Bert Berns in 1961. The first artist to record the song was The Top Notes and the song first achieved chart success when the Isley Brothers covered it. The Beatles covered it and released it on their debut album, 1963's "Please Please Me".
THE BEATLES DISCOGRAPHY (Full length albums only):
1963 - Please Please Me (Parlophone Records)
1963 - With The Beatles (Parlophone Records)
1964 - A Hard Day's Night (United Artists Records)
1964 - Beatles For Sale (Parlophone Records)
1965 - Help! (Capitol Records)
1965 - Rubber Soul (Capitol Records)
1966 - Revolver (Capitol Records)
1967 - Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (Capitol Records)
1967 - Magical Mystery Tour (Capitol Records)
1968 - The White Album (Apple Records)
1969 - Yellow Submarine (Capitol Records)
1969 - Abbey Road (Apple Records)
1970 - Let It Be (Apple Records)
1988 - Past Masters Volumes 1 & 2 (Capitol Records)
*The Beatles also released a slew of compilations, live album and singles as well as different versions of many of their albums. These albums that I listed are basically the core studio albums as well as "Past Masters" being the ultimate Beatles comps.
CURRENT STATUS OF THE BEATLES:
In 1957, a young teenager John Lennon formed a band called The Quarrymen. Soon, a guitarist called Paul McCartney would join the band and in 1958, McCartney convinced Lennon to let his friend George Harrison join the band as lead guitarist. In 1960, bassist Stuart Sutcliffe and drummer Pete Best joined the band and by August of that year, they were called The Beatles. Sutcliffe soon departed the band and while recording their first album, the band as well as producer George Martin felt that Best did not fit in. In 1962, Ringo Starr joined The Beatles and the "Fab Four" was created. Honing their skills by playing live clubs in Germany, The Beatles first album, "Please Please Me" was a mix of covers and originals by Lennon and McCartney. The song "Please Please Me" would be The Beatles first #1 hit. For whatever reason, Capitol Records was dragging their feet when it came to releasing The Beatles albums in the States. "I Want To Hold Your Hand" was released in the U.K. in 1963 but Capitol didn't release it as a single in the U.S. till 1964. The single exploded and became the first #1 hit for The Beatles in the United States. Beatlemania had arrived! Beatlemania exploded when the band performed on the Ed Sullivan Show in February of 1964. The show did a whopping 34% Nielsen rating! Riding on this success, the band released "A Hard Day's Night", both as a movie and soundtrack. 1965's "Help!" also had a film attached to it. When the band recorded "Rubber Soul", you could feel a stylistic change in the band. The songs were growing more mature and a little more experimental compared to their first few albums which were basically melodic pop songs. 1966's "Revolver" really stamped Lennon and McCartney as superior songwriters as well as George Harrison who was beginning to shine. 1967.. "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band".. Perhaps the greatest album of all time! By now, The Beatles were essentially a studio band. Their last concert was performed at Candlestick Park in San Francisco on August 29, 1966. The extra time that the band had in the studio led to an abundance of creativity. The band's sound was also becoming much more psychodelic. In 1968, The Beatles created their own record label, Apple Records. The first release on their new label would be "The Beatles", or better known as "The White Album". Tensions were getting high at this point in the band's career, so much so that John Lennon considered "The White Album" to be like a compilation of solo songs. There wasn't much collaboration on this album. The "Let It Be" sessions would be equally painful. Oddly, the band basically had "Let It Be" completed before they did "Abbey Road", but "Abbey Road" was released before "Let It Be". August 20, 1969 would be the last time that the four members of The Beatles were in the studio together as they finished up the song "I Want You (She's So Heavy)". A month later, John Lennon announced he was leaving the band. On April 10, 1970, Paul McCartney announced he was departing The Beatles. In the 70's following the break-up, Lennon, McCartney, Harrison and Starr all began solo careers. Most of the members would collaborate on each other's songs, but never all four on the same song. Lennon and McCartney were basically in a feud which subsided a bit by the mid-70's when they began speaking on friendly terms again and even meeting with each other, one famous instance when they were together at John's apartment in New York when Lorne Michaels of Saturday Night Live offer $3000 to reunite The Beatles on his show. John and Paul actually thought about going down to SNL but decided against it. In 1980, John Lennon was tragically shot to death by a deranged fan, Mark David Chapman. This tragic event basically shut the door on The Beatles. In 1988, Capitol Records released "Past Masters Volumes 1 & 2", which essentially compiled the singles that were not released on full length albums. In 1995, Harrison, McCartney and Starr got together for the "Anthology" project. The band was given some unfinished demos of John Lennon by his widow Yoko Ono. Of these demos, "Free As A Bird" and "Real Love" were re-worked with the other Beatles adding instrumentation and vocals making those two songs essentially the last two Beatles songs ever recorded. In 2001, George Harrison died of lung cancer leaving Paul and Ringo as the last two remaining Beatles. To this day, McCartney and Starr still tour pretty relentlessly and still come out with new music. A few occasions, they have performed together as well. The Beatles are basically considered the best band of all time. I wouldn't even put a genre on that because their influence spans all of music. They played pop, they played blues. They mixed in some rock and roll and soul. They ventured into Indian music and owned psychodelic rock. When it comes to songwriters, Lennon and McCartney sit at the top of that hill. The band has sold over 800 million physical and digital albums worldwide! That's just astonishing! A half a century later, The Beatles music still holds up and is still superior.
TEN BEATLES SONGS YOU SHOULD CHECK OUT:
1. Come Together
2. While My Guitar Gently Weeps
3. Two Of Us
4. Here Comes The Sun
6. Don't Let Me Down
7. A Day In The Life
9. Strawberry Fields Forever
10. Paperback Writer
Saturday, November 11, 2017
Song: "Flaming Youth"
Place Of Origin: New York City, New York
Years Active: 1973 - present
WHAT I THINK THE SONG IS ABOUT:
"Flaming Youth" appears to be an anthem for the youth. An uprising song for the underdog and for those who others look at as losers. It could be considered the anthem for the Kiss Army. Young kids who are looked at as different and chastised because of it. Here is a place we're they can feel strength and togetherness. Here's a place where they fit in.
KISS DISCOGRAPHY (Full length albums only):
1974 - Kiss (Casablanca Records)
1974 - Hotter Than Hell (Casablanca Records)
1975 - Dressed To Kill (Casablanca Records)
1975 - Alive! (Casablanca Records)
1976 - Destroyer (Casablanca Records)
1976 - Rock And Roll Over (Casablanca Records)
1977 - Love Gun (Casablanca Records)
1977 - Alive II (Casablanca Records)
1978 - Gene Simmons (Casablanca Records)
1978 - Ace Frehley (Casablanca Records)
1978 - Peter Criss (Casablanca Records)
1978 - Paul Stanley (Casablanca Records)
1979 - Dynasty (Casablanca Records)
1980 - Unmasked (Casablanca Records)
1981 - Music From The Elder (Casablanca Records)
1982 - Creatures Of The Night (Casablanca Records)
1983 - Lick It Up (Mercury Records)
1984 - Animalize (Mercury Records)
1985 - Asylum (Mercury Records)
1987 - Crazy Nights (Mercury Records)
1989 - Hot In The Shade (Mercury Records)
1992 - Revenge (Mercury Records)
1993 - Alive III (Mercury Records)
1996 - Kiss Unplugged (Mercury Records)
1997 - Carnival Of Souls (Mercury Records)
1998 - Psycho Circus (Mercury Records)
2003 - Kiss Symphony: Alive IV (Sanctuary Records)
2006 - Alive! The Millennium Concert (Universal Records)
2009 - Sonic Boom (Kiss Records)
2012 - Monster (Universal Records)
2016 - Kiss Rocks Vegas (Eagle Rocks Entertainment)
CURRENT STATUS OF KISS:
From the ashes of a band called Wicked Lester, bassist Gene Simmons and guitarist Paul Stanley set out to form the band that they wished they had seen. Enlisting drummer Peter Criss and lead guitarist Ace Frehley, the band was set to explode, quite literally, on the music scene. Influenced by the theatrics of Alice Cooper and the New York Dolls and by the sounds of Led Zeppelin and The Who, Kiss set out to be a band that would blow your eardrums out and fascinate you visually. Being that they formed in 1973, there's a lot of history. You can kind of break down the band in four eras.
The first, 1973 to 1982. This was the make-up era. You know the characters, Paul (Starchild), Gene (Demon), Ace (Spaceman) and Peter (Cat). In the early years, Kiss didn't get any radio play but their live show was creating serious buzz. You look back now and their first 3 albums (Kiss-1974, Hotter Than Hell-1974 and Dressed To Kiss-1975) are littered with hits and concert anthems but it wasn't until the band released the double live album "Alive!" in 1975, that they started to achieve some success. In 1976, the band enlisted famed producer Bob Ezrin to help them produce the ultimate Kiss album. A feat which I think was accomplished with the release of "Destroyer". This is the first Kiss album I owned and it holds a special place. The band released some more classic albums, "Rock and Roll Over", "Love Gun" and "Alive II" by 1977. This was the heyday for the band and in my mind, Kiss at their very best. The armor was beginning to crack however. They delivered solo albums in 1978 as well as filming a flop of a movie, "Kiss Meets The Phantom Of The Park". Then in 1979, came out with a disco influenced album "Dynasty", followed by a pop album in 1980, "Unmasked", then followed up with a concept album for a movie that was never made, 1981's "The Elder". What the hell happened to my hard rock, kick ass band??!! Peter Criss was fired from the band following the release of "Unmasked" and while the band regrouped in 1982 to release a return to roots type of album with "Creatures Of The Night", it wasn't enough to keep Ace Frehley in the band as he also departed, barely playing anything on the "Creatures Of The Night" album.
Second era. This is the non make-up years, 1983 to 1995. This was a tough era for the band. They were struggling trying to find themselves as a band without their bigger than life personas. It was much easier for Paul than it was for Gene in this era because the Demon character was such a big part of who he was as a performer. Eric Carr, who became the new drummer in 1980, brought a more heavy rock and roll feel to the kit than Peter, who was schooled in jazz but made up for that with pure aggression when he was at his best. Eric would succumb to cancer in 1991 and was replaced by Eric Singer, who played on 1992's "Revenge". The band went through guitarists Vinnie Vincent and Mark St. John before finally settling on Bruce Kulick to hold down the leads. One thing I hated about this era is that Kiss became followers instead of leaders. It seemed whatever hair metal act came out, Kiss would follow that. Look and sound like Motley Crue on one album, like Ratt on the next. Like Stryper or Poison on the next. Bon Jovi on the next. Guns n Roses and even Alice In Chains!! This is not to say that they didn't have some good songs. "Lick It Up", "Tears Are Fallen", "Crazy Crazy Nights", "Unholy", "Who Wants To Be Lonely" and "I Just Wanna" are all cool songs. It seemed like 1992's "Revenge" was a point where their look and sound finally felt comfortable. But, by then the grunge era was exploding and though Kiss tried to go with that style ("Carnival Of Souls"), it really just wasn't who they were.
Third era. Reunion! In 1995, Kiss was set to perform on MTV's Unplugged series and as a special treat, invited Peter Criss and Ace Frehley to come out and play a few songs. This would be the impetus of getting a full on, original four reunion. In full make-up and costumes of the 1977 "Love Gun" era, Kiss announced that they were embarking on a world wide reunion tour in 1996 and 1997. This would be one of the most successful tours for the band. The were the top drawing act of 1996. Though the tour was successful, and Kiss was on top of the world again, old scars began to surface again. Addiction issues that plagued Ace Frehley in the 70's began raring their ugly head again and Peter's attitude was volatile from one day to the next. Paul and Gene shouldered some of the blame as well as a lot of their business decisions could be considered shady at best. In 1998, the band put out a new album, "Psycho Circus". Problem was that Ace and Peter barely played on it and were not really asked to. Ace recorded his song in his own studio and Peter provided vocals to a song that Paul wrote. Hardly a band effort, again increasing tensions within the band. They did tour to promote the album. In 2000 and 2001, Kiss embarked on a supposed farewell tour. By now, the members were barely talking to each other and just riding out the string. Ace would play his final show with Kiss at the closing ceremonies of the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City while Peter's last gig would be the Symphony concert in Australia in 2003.
Fourth era. The Farewell Tour was really just a farewell to Peter and Ace. Gene and Paul had no intention of stopping Kiss. In a controversial move amongst some fans, Eric Singer would don the Cat make-up and Tommy Thayer would wear the Space Ace make-up. Some people call them half a cover band while others supported the move. One thing for sure is that the band was much more reliable. This era also saw the band release two more studio albums, 2009's "Sonic Boom" and 2012's "Monster". Both of these albums were considered full band efforts unlike "Psycho Circus" which had ghost players up the ying yang! The band continues to tour around the world and perform to sell out crowds with shows that still show that even in thier 60's, they can still have bombastic shows with tons of energy. The only sad thing is that Paul's voice, which was once so strong, is a shell of it's former self. It seems that the years of straining his vocal chords are starting to take it's toll.
Kiss is such a lightning rod of a band. You either love them or hate them it seems. They've sold over 75 million albums world wide so they must be doing something right. To me, there is the real band and that is the original line-up from 1974 to 1977. That's classic Kiss. That's what 90% of their live shows consist of even today. Of course, that era started to breed what would become the commodity Kiss. Was merchandise overtaking the importance of the music? Maybe. But, I'll always have a soft spot in my heart for Kiss. They were the first band I ever loved. I'm talking when I was like 3 or 4 years old! There's so many bands I like more than them now, but I will always revisit some of those classic Kiss records and remember old memories from when I was a kid. Shout out to the REAL space man!! Ace was always the coolest member!!
TEN KISS SONGS YOU SHOULD CHECK OUT:
2. Detroit Rock City
4. Love Gun
5. Black Diamond
6. I Stole Your Love
7. It's My Life
8. Mr. Speed
9. Makin' Love
10. King Of The Night Time World
Saturday, November 4, 2017
Song: "I Hate Myself And Want To Die"
Album: "Pennyroyal Tea" single
Place Of Origin: Aberdeen, Washington
Years Active: 1987 - 1994
WHAT I THINK THE SONG IS ABOUT:
In retrospect, looking at a song called "I Hate Myself And Want To Die" and knowing that the song's writer, Kurt Cobain, committed suicide about a year after writing the song, you would think it would be foreshadowing events that were about to happen. Not so. Forget my interpretation of the song, here is the story behind the song straight from Cobain himself. "Kurt Cobain's last interview was with Rolling Stone magazine on January 27,1994. When the writer asked him, "One of your songs that you cut from In Utero at the last minute was I hate myself and I want to die. How literally did you mean it?" Cobain responded: "As literal as a joke can be. Nothing more than a joke. And that had a bit to do with why we decided to take it off. We knew people wouldn't get it; they'd take it too seriously. It was totally satirical, making fun of ourselves. I'm thought of as this pissy, complaining, freaked out, schizophrenic who wants to kill himself all the time: 'He isn't satisfied with anything.' And I thought it was a funny title. I wanted it to be the title for the album for along time. but I knew the majority wouldn't get it."
NIRVANA DISCOGRAPHY (Full length albums only):
1989 - Bleach (Sub Pop Records)
1991 - Nevermind (DGC Records)
1992 - Incesticide (Sub Pop Records)
1993 - In Utero (DGC Records)
1994 - MTV Unplugged In New York (DGC Records)
1996 - From The Muddy Banks Of Wishkah (DGC Records)
2009 - Live At Reading (Geffen Records)
CURRENT STATUS OF NIRVANA:
Nirvana got it's start as a band back in 1987 when guitarist Kurt Cobain and bassist Krist Novoselic were in high school in Aberdeen, Washington. After using such bands names as Skid Row and Fecal Matter, they decided upon the name Nirvana. The Melvins were an important band to Nirvana in the early years in fact, Melvins drummer Dale Crover actually played on some of Nirvana's early material and toured with them sometimes as well. In 1989, Nirvana released their debut full length album "Bleach" on Seattle underground label Sub Pop. Cobain didn't feel Nirvana was a "grunge" band however. When the band began working on new material, Cobain's songs were getting much more melodic and definitely had pop sensibilities. In 1990, the band finally settled on a drummer with Dave Grohl, formerly of the D.C. hardcore band Scream, joining Nirvana. With the line-up settled, Nirvana turned to Butch Vig to produce their next album. 1991 was the year. "Nevermind" was the album. The music world changed on that day! Radio stations and MTV began rotating the single "Smells Like Teen Spirit" heavily. The band didn't even know they were blowing up as they were on tour in Europe. They did start to notice that the clubs they were playing couldn't fit the demand as venues were overpacked with fans to see them live. "Nevermind" has sold over 30 million units worldwide. The singles "Smells Like Teen Spirit", "In Bloom", "Come As You Are" and "Lithium" became anthems for the youth. Kids that became labled "Generation X" and Kurt Cobain was unwillingly thrust in the position to be their spokesman. Overwhelmed and exhausted, Nirvana had to cancel part of their tour in support of "Nevermind". When it came time to start writing their next album, Cobain was again ready to shift the band's sound a bit. He wanted the songs a little more abrasive and less radio friendly. The band selected Steve Albini to produce their next effort, 1993's "In Utero". Featuring the dark single "Heart Shaped Box" and the harsh "Rape Me", "In Utero" solidified Nirvana's place in the music world. In my opinion, the band's best album. The Pacific Northwest ruled the musical landscape at this time. Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden and Alice In Chains ruled the charts and were selling out venues all around the world. On November 18, 1993, Nirvana had a live acoustic performance in New York taped for MTV's "Unplugged" series. This was an epic performance by a band who was more known for their distorted guitars and screaming vocals than they were for stripping down acoustically. Stand out tracks were the Bowie cover "The Man Who Sold The World", "All Apologies" and the Leadbelly classic "Where Did You Sleep Last Night". Even while Nirvana was riding high, Cobain was struggling both with unwanted fame and what was becoming a crippling addiction to heroin. On March 4, 1994, Cobain's wife, Courtney Love, found the singer unconscious in their Rome hotel room. He was rushed to the hospital where they said he had a bad reaction to a mix of sleeping pills and alcohol. It was much deeper than that however. After having an intervention with him, family, friends and bandmates convinced Kurt to get treatment which he agreed to. After one week in the facility however, he escaped and returned to Seattle. After mixing heroin and cocaine, Kurt Cobain committed suicide by self-inflicted shotgun wound to the head. His body was found on April 8, 1994. The music world was shocked. Cobain was just 27 years old with so much ahead of him. His death really signafied the beginning of the end of sorts to the Seattle sound. Soundgarden would break up a few years later. Pearl Jam totally pulled back from the mainstream and Alice In Chains were going through their own addiction problems, most notably with lead singer Layne Staley. Generation X lost their voice. "MTV Unplugged Live In New York" would be released in November of 1994. A haunting performance by a band that appeared to have so much more to offer. Nirvana as a performing and recording band ended with Cobain's suicide though the remaining members, including guitarist Pat Smear who joined the band on the "In Utero" tour, would perform at Nirvana's 2014 induction to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In my mind, the Seattle sound of the early 90's was the last great music to come out. Not saying there isn't good new music coming out, but Nirvana was a gamechanger. The same way that the Beatles changed the musical landscape in the 60's or the punk movement of 1977 really changed the rules. Nirvana came at a time when rock music really needed a kick in the ass. Much like the punks of the 70's, it was music for the underdogs and the unpopular. It was most definitely the music of my generation. It's amazing to me that here in 2017, Kurt Cobain has now been dead for 23 years. Layne Staley has been dead for 15 years and we just lost Chris Cornell in May of this year. Here's hoping that Eddie Vedder is taking good care of himself cuz he's the last man standing.
TEN NIRVANA SONGS YOU SHOULD CHECK OUT:
1. Heart Shaped Box
2. Drain You
4. You Know You're Right
5. Where Did You Sleep Last Night (Leadbelly cover)
9. About A Girl
10. Serve The Servants
Saturday, October 28, 2017
Song: "Chemical Upgrade"
Artist: Tony Sly
Album: "Tony Sly/Joey Cape" split 7"
Place Of Origin: San Jose, California
Years Active: 1987 - 2012
WHAT I THINK THE SONG IS ABOUT:
After reading the lyrics to "Chemical Upgrade" and finding out how Tony Sly's last years were dependent on alcohol and pills due to a herniated disc on his spine, it's a bit of a sad read. You get a sense the song is an ode to his wife for sticking by him and always being there for him, but it also shows that he looks at himself and what he sees is a horrible drunk, perhaps not worthy of her love and support. He suggests in the song that when he falls down to leave him there. Really a song about dependency and depression. Classic line says it all, "and so we live another day, and try to make it fun, I need it like a bullet needs a gun". Total addiction. Good friend and Lagwagon frontman Joey Cape provides background vocals to this beautiful song.
TONY SLY DISCOGRAPHY (Full length albums only):
2004 - Acoustic (w/ Joey Cape) (Fat Wreck Chords)
2010 - 12 Song Program (Fat Wreck Chords)
2011 - Sad Bear (Fat Wreck Chords)
2012 - Acoustic: Volume Two (w/ Joey Cape) (Fat Wreck Chords)
CURRENT STATUS OF TONY SLY:
Tony Sly was best known as the lead vocalist/guitarist for the punk band No Use For A Name. He joined No Use when he was just 18 years old back in 1987. Very early on, it was clear that Tony would become the chief songwriter of the band and the rest of the guys held on to see how far Tony could take them. Of course, No Use For A Name would become one of the best skate punk bands to come out of the mid 90's punk revival. The distinction? Tony Sly's lyrics and gift of creating melodic punk rock anthems. No Use would release 8 full length studio albums, 1 live album and several EP's, singles and appearances on compilations. No Use, NOFX and Lagwagon really became the sound of southern California skate punk and made record label Fat Wreck Chords the place to go if you wanted to be an up and coming punk rock band. In 2004, Sly and Lagwagon frontman Joey Cape released a split album called "Acoustic" which featured each of them basically stripping down No Use and Lagwagon songs in an acoustic setting. This would be Tony's first solo effort. After No Use For A Name released 2008's "The Feel Good Record Of The Year", Tony decided to focus more on his solo career. He embarked on his very first solo tour in 2009 and in 2010, released his first completely solo album, "12 Song Program". A year later, Sly released the album "Sad Bear" and one year after that, he and Cape returned for "Acoustic: Volume Two", again mostly covering No Use and Lagwagon songs in an acoustic form. Tony's solo efforts were very personal, both dealing with depression and dependency but also showing his love for his wife and daughters. In 2012, Tony along with Joey Cape, Jon Snodgrass and Brian Wahlstrom released and album under the moniker Scorpios. The majority of his solo touring featured all the guys in Scorpios, the guys having a great chemistry on stage together on their acoustic sets. Sadly, the last concert Tony Sly would play would be a solo acoustic gig in Gainesville, Florida on July 29, 2012. Two days later on July 31, 2012, Tony Sly passed away in his sleep. As a huge fan of No Use For A Name, this was just a terrible day to say the least. Selfishly, I just wanted to hear more music from this man. No Use was so crucial to me when I was really growing into the person that I eventually became. In the punk rock world, his death shook the entire scene. In 2013, Fat Wreck Chords released "The Songs Of Tony Sly: A Tribute" which featured a who's who in the punk rock world. To name a few that contributed, bands like NOFX, Bouncing Souls, Joey Cape, Strung Out, Alkaline Trio, The Gaslight Anthem, Rise Against, The Flatliners, Bad Religion and Pennywise. All of those bands and more covering Tony's songs throughout his career, solo and with No Use. Tribute songs by NOFX (I'm So Sorry Tony), Lagwagon (One More Song) and Yotam Ben-Horim (Tony Sly) also showed the love and appreciation that Tony had all throughout the punk rock community. Before Tony released his "Sad Bear" album, there were some rumors that he was working on new No Use For A Name material. Perhaps, there is enough material recorded somewhere, even if it's just one song, that we can get at least something new from Tony. Hard to believe it has been more than five years since Tony's passing. Thank God he left us with a catalogue of great music. R.I.P. sad bear :(
TEN TONY SLY SONGS YOU SHOULD CHECK OUT:
1. Chasing Rainbows (acoustic)
2. Not Your Savior (acoustic)
3. Chemical Upgrade
4. The Monster
5. Soulmate (acoustic)
7. Liver Let Die
8. Devonshire And Crown
9. Capo, 4th Fret
10. Hey God
Saturday, October 21, 2017
Song: "Having A Blast"
Artist: Green Day
Place Of Origin: East Bay, California
Years Active: 1986 - present
WHAT I THINK THE SONG IS ABOUT:
"Having A Blast" appears to be a song about pent up anger and frustration. The vocalist is so pissed off at everything and everyone that he's at a tipping point. So much so, the he feels he wants to destroy himself and others if they happen to be near him. In the end, it's more of a battle going on in his own head. Is he a psychopathic killer in a rage? Or is he just dealing with so many little things that seem to keep piling up and adding to his anger? With all the mass killings that have been happening around the world recently, "Having A Blast" almost has an ominous feel to it.
GREEN DAY DISCOGRAPHY (Full length albums only):
1990 - 39/Smooth (Lookout! Records)
1991 - Kerplunk (Lookout! Records)
1994 - Dookie (Reprise Records)
1995 - Insomniac (Reprise Records)
1997 - Nimrod (Reprise Records)
2000 - Warning (Reprise Records)
2002 - Shenanigans (Reprise Records)
2004 - American Idiot (Reprise Records)
2005 - Bullet In A Bible (Reprise Records)
2009 - 21st Century Breakdown (Reprise Records)
2011 - Awesome As Fuck (Reprise Records)
2012 - Uno! (Reprise Records)
2012 - Dos! (Reprise Records)
2012 - Tre! (Reprise Records)
2014 - Demolicious (Reprise Records)
2016 - Revolution Radio (Reprise Records)
CURRENT STATUS OF GREEN DAY:
In 1986, Billie Joe Armstrong (guitar) and Mike Dirnt (bass) formed the band Sweet Children in the East Bay, California. The band became part of the rising punk scene at the infamous 924 Gilman St. in Berkeley, California. In 1988, the band signed on with Lookout! Records and officially changed their name to Green Day. In 1990, they released their debut album, "39/Smooth". That was also the year the drummer Tre Cool joined the band and that trio is still intact to this very day. After dropping the successful "Kerplunk" in 1991, Green Day signed to major label Reprise Records. Two longtime relationships formed at this time. Reprise has been the only label Green Day has known since their epic 1994 release "Dookie" and producer Rob Cavallo became intregal to producing the Green Day sound on most of the band's records. Speaking of "Dookie", can you say certified diamond?! That means more than 10 million albums sold worldwide!! Green Day, along with The Offspring, Rancid and Bad Religion, were at the forefront of a resurgence in punk rock music in the mid-90's. Though the record sales dropped a bit on their next few albums, 1995's "Insomniac" and 1997's "Nimrod" still achieved multi-platinum status. 2000's "Warning" saw a drop in sales and perhaps questions that maybe Green Day had run their course as a band. Then came 2004. Some ten years after "Dookie", Green Day dropped the punk rock opera known as "American Idiot". Selling over 6 million units worldwide, Green Day had reinvented themselves and became one of the the biggest bands in the world... again!! It's rare for a band to have that type of success twice in their career the way Green Day did. Often, music goes through phases and band's get caught up in that. Older bands get pushed aside for what is hot at the time. Green Day totally broke that mold with "American Idiot". 2009's "21st Century Breakdown" would be the last Green Day album that was a multi-platinum effort. In 2012, Green Day released three albums, basically a month apart from each other. "Uno!", "Dos!" and "Tre!" was an ambitious project but perhaps a little oversaturated. Collectively, all three albums have sold just under 2 million units. In 2016, Green Day released their most recent full length studio album, "Revolution Radio". Green Day is a killer band. Early on, they were snotty punk filled with teenage angst and as the years went on, they became a more politically charged band. At the forefront is the songwriting of Billie Joe Armstrong. Equally great at writing snotty pop punk anthems, personal lyrics and shining a light on some social issues, Armstrong is just a really talented songwriter. Mike Dirnt and Tre Cool are the backbone of the band, holding everything together. Not only were Green Day influenced by punk rock artists like Operation Ivy, The Ramones and the Sex Pistols, they were also heavily influenced by alternative acts like Husker Du and The Replacements as well as classic bands like The Who, The Kinks and Cheap Trick. They really laid the blueprint for melodic pop punk that influenced a slew of newer bands that came out after them. In my opinion, they don't have any bad albums. While some are better than others, I can say that I love all of their albums. It's really a testament to who they are as a band. Over 85 million albums sold worldwide. Five time Grammy Award winners. 2015 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees. Green Day, one of the best bands of all time!!
TEN GREEN DAY SONGS YOU SHOULD CHECK OUT:
2. 2,000 Light Years Away
4. Going To Pasalacqua
5. Nice Guys Finish Last
7. Geek Stink Breath
8. Still Breathing
10. Coming Clean
Saturday, October 14, 2017
Song: "You Need A Hug"
Artist: The Ataris
Album: "End Is Forever"
Place Of Origin: Anderson, Indiana
Years Active: 1995 - present
WHAT I THINK THE SONG IS ABOUT:
"You Need A Hug" is a song that appears to be about someone who seems like they're always in a rut. They hate their job. They hate their life. They're always pissed off about something. The vocalist is the one who is constantly trying to cheer that person up and let them know that life isn't all that bad. There are some things that could be worse so lighten up a little!
THE ATARIS DISCOGRAPHY (Full length albums only):
1997 - Anywhere But Here (Kung Fu Records)
1999 - Blue Skies, Broken Hearts...Next 12 Exits (Kung Fu Records)
2001 - End Is Forever (Kung Fu Records)
2003 - So Long, Astoria (Columbia Records)
2004 - Live At The Metro (self-released)
2007 - Welcome The Night (Sanctuary Records)
CURRENT STATUS OF THE ATARIS:
The Ataris formed as a band back in 1995. Though they are originally from Indiana, it wasn't long before they set up shop in California, a move they hoped would land them a recording deal. Their big break was when they passed a demo tape to the bassist of The Vandals, Joe Escalante. Escalante quickly signed the band to his own label, Kung Fu Records and the band released their debut album, "Anywhere But Here", in 1997. The band's popularity began to escalate a little bit with the relase of their next two albums, 1999's "Blue Skies, Bronken Hearts...Next 12 Exits" and 2001's "End Is Forever", the former featuring perhaps the band's signature song, "San Dimas High School Football Rules". In 2003, the band signed on with major label Columbia Records for the release of what would be the band's most successful record, "So Long, Astoria". Featuring a more refined sound, this album would feature the suprise hit single "The Boys Of Summer", which is a pop punk take on Don Henley's classic. That song would reach #20 on Billboard's Hot 100 chart. "So Long, Astoria" would eventually be certified gold. The Ataris would leave Columbia and their next album, 2007's "Welcome The Night" would be distributed through Sanctuary Records. This album was a big departure in sound for The Ataris, featuring keyboards and cello on most songs. The albums was also distinctly dark and the pop punk anthems of their previous albums were gone. This seemed like a clear case of a band just over thinking things. Sometimes you just go with what works and pop punk songs are what works for The Ataris. The songs on Welcome The Night were really lackluster and seemed devoid of any spirit. As you can tell, not one of my favorite albums. From 2008 on, there were constant rumblings about a new album called "The Graveyard Of The Atlantic". This album would never come to fruition however. The title track would be released as a double single along with "All Souls' Day". Several other tracks would be released that were supposed to be on the album as well including four that popped up on the compilation album "Silver Turns To Rust", which happens to be the bands most recent release. It seems The Ataris have been trying to find themselves since the release of "So Long, Astoria". And when I say The Ataris, I'm talking about chief songwriter and guitarist Kris Roe. He is the only constant member of the band which has seen a slew of band members throughout the years. Perhaps that's the reason we haven't seen any new albums since 2007. There appears to be no cohesion in this band. At their best, 1996 to 2004, the band played catchy, pop punk songs with lots of pop culture references in the lyrics. At their worst, you have "Welcome The Night". Just a terrible album. I don't mind a band evolving, but don't totally throw away what made you special to your fans. The Ataris are pop punk not moody, slow rock. As for similar artists, I would say The Ataris sound is close to bands like MxPx, Fenix TX, The Starting Line, Midtown and Allister. The band played the Warped Tour in 2017, so maybe if the members can stick together, then new music will be on the horizon. Let's hope Roe returns to his pop punk roots and storytelling lyrics.
TEN THE ATARIS SONGS YOU SHOULD CHECK OUT:
1. Summer Wind Was Always Our Song
2. The Saddest Song
3. San Dimas High School Football Rules
4. In This Diary
5. Boxcar (Jawbreaker cover)
6. I.O.U. One Galaxy
7. A New England
8. The Graveyard Of The Atlantic
9. The Boys Of Summer (Don Henley cover)
10. Rock N' Roll High School (Ramones cover)
Sunday, October 8, 2017
Song: "Father Son Picnic"
Artist: Slick Shoes
Place Of Origin: Antelope Valley, California
Years Active: 1994 - present
WHAT I THINK THE SONG IS ABOUT:
It should be noted that Slick Shoes is a Christian punk band. So in saying that, it appears to me that "Father Son Picnic" is about no matter what mistakes the vocalist has made in his life, that God, or "Father", has always showed him love and has always been by his side. The thing that makes me feel that the "father" is God and not the vocalist's own father is the line "faith in human beings never got me anywhere". His faith is in God. God never let him down.
SLICK SHOES DISCOGRAPHY (Full length albums only):
1997 - Rusty (Tooth & Nail Records)
1998 - Burn Out (Tooth & Nail Records)
2000 - Wake Up Screaming (Tooth & Nail Records)
2002 - Slick Shoes (Tooth & Nail Records)
2003 - Far From Nowhere (SideOneDummy Records)
CURRENT STATUS OF SLICK SHOES:
Named after one of the many gadgets of the character Data from the movie The Goonies, Slick Shoes got their start in 1994. In 1997, they released an EP and also their debut full length album, "Rusty". This marked the beginning of a five year relationship with Christian punk label, Tooth & Nail Records. That five year span saw the release of 1998's "Burn Out", 2000's "Wake Up Screaming" and 2002's "Slick Shoes". In 2003, the band parted ways with Tooth & Nail, not because of religious reasons, but that their contract had ended. The band's most recent release was 2003's "Far From Nowhere" which was distributed by SideOneDummy Records. After touring in support of "Far From Nowhere" in 2003 and 2004, Slick Shoes went on a four year hiatus. During that time some members of the band worked on a side project called Sigmund. Since 2008, the band has been pretty sporadic. They played a few shows in 2008, then all was quiet for about three more years when they got together again in 2012 for a few shows. Again, not much news out of the Slick Shoes camp until 2017, when they opened for MxPx on their 25th anniversary tour. Word is that the band is actually, finally working on new music. Slick Shoes basically has that mid-90's, southern California skate punk/pop punk feel to their music. The biggest comparison to their sound that I can make is definitely MxPx. Both bands were considered Christian punk. Both bands started out on Christian punk label Tooth & Nail. And of course, they're both pop punk/skate punk bands. Along with MxPx, if you're a fan of bands like Rufio, Ten Foot Pole, Pulley or The Ataris, then you should check out Slick Shoes. These guys were young teenagers when they started out. All five of their full length albums are solid. My personal favorites are "Far From Nowhere", "Burn Out" and "Slick Shoes" though I like all of them. Nothing wrong with some California skate punk!!
TEN SLICK SHOES SONGS YOU SHOULD CHECK OUT:
1. Now's The Time
2. For Better, For Worse
7. East On Tracks
8. Joe's Sick
9. So Much More
10. Another Day