Sunday, January 14, 2018
Song: "Space Shot" (acoustic version)
Album: "A-Z: Acoustic Download EP"
Place Of Origin: Downpatrick, Northern Ireland
Years Active: 1992 - present
WHAT I THINK THE SONG IS ABOUT:
"Space Shot" is a song that appears to be about getting amped up to hit the town. The vocalist appears ready to have a good time. By reading the lyrics, it sounds like his night is definitely going include some mind altering drugs, perhaps cocaine or extacy or maybe even some acid. Whatever it is, it's going to be a major rush. Space shot, the ultimate high!! "Space Shot" was released as a single for Ash on their "A-Z: Vol. 1" series. This version I chose for my song of the week is an acoustic rendition that the band released as a digital download.
ASH DISCOGRAPHY (Full length albums only):
1993 - Garage Girl (self-released)
1993 - Trailer (Infectious Records)
1996 - 1977 (Infectious Records)
1997 - Live At The Wireless (Death Star Records)
1998 - Nuclear Sounds (Infectious Records)
2001 - Free All Angels (Infectious Records)
2002 - Cosmic Debris (Infectious Records)
2004 - Meltdown (Infectious Records)
2007 - Twilight Of The Innocents (Infectious Records)
2010 - A-Z Vol. 1 (Atomic Heart Records)
2010 - A-Z Vol. 2 (Atomic Heart Records)
2015 - Kablammo! (Atomic Heart Records)
2016 - Live On Mars: London Astoria 1997 (Atomic Heart Records)
CURRENT STATUS OF ASH:
Ash formed as a band back in 1992, hailing from Northern Ireland. The band first began creating some noise with their song "Jack Names The Planets" but it was their 1996 album, "1977", that really put the band on the map thanks to the singles "Goldfinger", "Girl From Mars" and "Oh Yeah". That album quickly shot to number 1 on U.K. music charts and eventually went platinum. The band, then a trio of Tim Wheeler, Mark Hamilton and Rick McMurray, decided to add a second guitarist/vocalist to the line-up, Charlotte Hatherley. While releasing their next album, "Nuclear Sounds", Ash almost went bankrupt. It was their 2001 album, "Free All Angels", which once again thrusted Ash's popularity, especially in their native Ireland and in England. With singles like "Shining Light" and "Burn Baby Burn", "Free All Angels" also claimed a #1 spot in England and also sold platinum. After 2004's "Meltdown", the band decided to go back to being a trio and split amicably with Hatherley. In 2010, the band decided to release a single every two weeks. This was called the A to Z series, each single named relative to the letters of the alphabet. Eventually, the band released two albums which featured the 26 singles, "A-Z" volumes 1 and 2. At this time, it would also mark the band's relationship with Atomic Heart Records after pretty much spending the first 15 years as a band on Infectious Records. The band's last proper full length studio album was 2015's "Kablammo!" and their most recent release was a live album in 2016, "Live On Mars: London Astoria 1997". The band was touring in early 2017 in support of that live album. Ash broke on the music scene right at a time when Seattle's grunge was king but there was a burgeoning alternative rock movement that was creeping to the surface. Though they're from Ireland, they sometimes get tossed in with the Brit pop scene that was beginning to happen as well. Though they got some love in the United States, especially when "1977" came out, they were a pretty big deal in Europe, especially Ireland and England. Their style is alternative rock with definite hints of pop and at times punk. If you like the music of bands like Superdrag, Everclear, Donots, The Vines and Oasis, then you'd most likely enjoy Ash. Ash is one of my favorite bands, moreso when I was younger, but I still love their music. It's a shame that Charlotte isn't still in the band though. She added a dynamic to the band that I miss, especially her harmonizing background vocals that fit so well with Tim Wheeler's lead vocals. To this day still, when I hear "Goldfinger" or "Burn Baby Burn" I get excited. Definitely takes me back to my younger days getting loaded with good friends!!
TEN ASH SONGS YOU SHOULD CHECK OUT:
2. Burn Baby Burn
3. A Life Less Ordinary
4. Shining Light
5. Jesus Says
7. What Deaner Was Talking About
8. Tracers (featuring Emmy The Great)
10. Warmer Than Fire
Saturday, January 6, 2018
Song: "Put Yer Money Where Yer Mouth Is"
Album: "Standing On The Shoulder Of Giants"
Place Of Origin: Manchester, England
Years Active: 1991 - 2009
WHAT I THINK THE SONG IS ABOUT:
"Put Yer Money Where Yer Mouth Is" appears to be a song about standing behind your actions. If you say you're going to do something, then do it. If you believe in something, then stand behind it. No one lives forever so it's important to stand behind your beliefs and decisions with actions, not just words.
OASIS DISCOGRAPHY (Full length albums only):
1994 - Definitely Maybe (Creation Records)
1995 - (What's The Story) Morning Glory (Creation Records)
1997 - Be Here Now (Creation Records)
1998 - The Masterplan (Creation Records)
2000 - Standing On The Shoulders Of Giants (Big Brother Records)
2000 - Familiar To Millions (Big Brother Records)
2002 - Heathen Chemistry (Big Brother Records)
2005 - Don't Believe The Truth (Big Brother Records)
2008 - Dig Out Your Soul (Big Brother Records)
CURRENT STATUS OF OASIS:
Oasis formed as a band back in 1991 but it wasn't until lead singer, Liam Gallagher's brother Noel saw them play that he saw the band as a vehicle to get his own music out to the masses. When Noel joined the band, he became the defacto leader and songwriter. Fast forward to 1994, while the grunge movement was exploding in the United States, Britain was having their own resurgence in the world of pop/rock music. Oasis, along with Blur, would be at the forefront of this movement when they delivered their debut album, "Definitely Maybe". This album entered the U.K. charts at #1 within a week of it's release, making it the fastest selling debut album at that time in U.K. history. The roller coaster continued with their sophmore effort, 1995's "(What's The Story) Morning Glory". This album featured the band's first #1 single in the U.K., "Some Might Say" and on the heels of monster singles, "Wonderwall" and "Don't Look Back In Anger", has sold over 22 million units worldwide. Though the band was on top of the world in terms of success, the relationship between the two Gallagher brothers was beginning to disintergrate. The band's next album, "Be Here Now" was initially selling big, but sales died down quickly. As the 2000's began, Oasis began dealing with losing band members and the tension between Liam and Noel seemed to be getting worse. Noel was leaning on his bandmates to collaborate a little more and the albums "Standing On The Shoulders Of Giants", "Heathen Chemistry" and "Don't Believe The Truth" reflect that. In fact, "Standing On The Shoulders Of Giants" features the first cut penned by Liam Gallagher, "Little James". 2005's "Don't Believe The Truth" was a bit of a comeback record for Oasis. Behind the hit single "Lyla", this album has sold over 7 million units worldwide. Oasis would release one more full length studio effort in 2008, "Dig Out Your Soul". While touring in support of this album, a fight backstage between Liam and Noel would turn out to be the last call for Noel. On August 28, 2009 he announced to the world that he quit Oasis and could no longer work with his brother Liam. Noel has since created his solo band, Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds while Liam formed the short-lived band Beady Eye and is currently supporting his very first solo album. Oasis was a great band. Influenced heavily by The Beatles, you also hear some Stone Roses, Rolling Stones, The Jam and The Smiths influences in their sound as well. Noel had a knack for creating simple pop songs that sounded huge while his brother Liam had a nasally snarl and rock and roll star attitude that made him be one of the top frontmen in rock and roll. They say sometimes the hardest thing to do is work with family and this was very much true for Oasis. The tension and fights and arguments between the Gallagher brothers would be too much and eventually led to the downfall of the band. On the outside, the band was still achieving success as a headlining act, but on the inside they were imploding. While the new projects the Gallagher brothers are involved in are great, it's not Oasis. Here's hoping these two can come to some sort of peace with each other and they can resurrect one of the best bands in the business. Right now, however, that seems like a pipe dream for Oasis fans.
TEN OASIS SONGS YOU SHOULD CHECK OUT:
1. Live Forever
2. Morning Glory
3. Rock'n'Roll Star
6. Don't Look Back In Anger
7. Go Let It Out
9. Stop Crying Your Heart Out
10. All Around The World
Saturday, December 30, 2017
Artist: Alice In Chains w/ Gretchen Wilson
Appearance: "VH1 Rock Honors"
Place Of Origin: Seattle, Washington
Years Active: 1987 - present
WHAT I THINK THE SONG IS ABOUT:
"Barracuda" is an original song by the band Heart and can be found on their 1977 album "Little Queen". This is a cover version of the song by the band Alice In Chains with Gretchen Wilson on vocals. Ann Wilson, lead singer of Heart, has said that the song was about Heart's anger towards Mushroom Records attempted publicity stunt involving her and her sister Nancy in a made up incestuous affair. Alice In Chains, from Seattle as is Heart, has always had a deep respect and admiration for Heart, not only from their music, but also from the fact that the Wilson sisters championed the "grunge" bands right from the beginning. So Chains were the perfect band to pay tribute to Heart at the 2007 VH1 Rock Honors program. They couldn't have picked a better frontwoman to sing "Barracuda" either. I don't know much about new country music nor do I really care to know. What I do know is Gretchen Wilson has some pipes on her! Ann Wilson is not an easy cover for any singer, male or female, and Gretchen nailed the vocals on "Barracuda". This cover version does true justice to the original. Good to see Nancy Wilson join the band on stage as well.
ALICE IN CHAINS DISCOGRAPHY (Full length albums only):
1990 - Facelift (Columbia Records)
1992 - Dirt (Columbia Records)
1995 - Alice In Chains (Columbia Records)
1996 - MTV Unplugged (Columbia Records)
2000 - Live (Columbia Records)
2009 - Black Gives Way To Blue (Virgin/EMI Records)
2013 - The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here (Capitol Records)
CURRENT STATUS OF ALICE IN CHAINS:
Alice In Chains formed as a band back in 1987, the second band out of the "big 4" to come out of Seattle, just after Soundgarden and about the same time as Nirvana and just before Pearl Jam. Early on, they caught the ear of major label Columbia Records who signed the band to a record contract. 1990's "Facelift" was the band's debut and thanks to the song and video "Man In The Box", that album would eventually be certified double platinum. By the time 1992's "Dirt" dropped, the Seattle "grunge" explosion was in full force. "Dirt" fell right in line with Pearl Jam's "Ten", Nirvana's "Nevermind" and Soundgarden's "Badmotorfinger". It would become the band's highest selling album, certified 4X platinum! The singles "Would", "Rooster", "Them Bones" and "Angry Chair" were all over rock radio. In 1994, the band went into the studio bearing acoustic instruments and created the classic EP, "Jar Of Flies". In what Cantrell thought was just kind of a throw away turned out to become the first ever EP to debut at #1 on the Billboard 200 charts. That EP would be certified 3X platinum, spawning the classic songs "I Stay Away", "No Excuses", "Nutshell" and "Don't Follow". While Alice In Chains were on top of the world, addictions started to destroy the band within. Bassist Mike Starr was let go from the band after "Dirt" due to drug problems and replaced by Mike Inez. Guitarist Jerry Cantrell and drummer Sean Kinney were dealing with drug issues and depression, but no one was sinking deeper than lead singer Layne Staley. Heroin was beginning to take a hold of him. The band released "Alice In Chains" in 1995, their last studio full length album to feature Staley on vocals. On April 10, 1996, the band performed live for the first time in two and a half years for the acoustic MTV Unplugged, which would also be released as an album. The last live performance to feature Layne Staley on vocals would be on July 3, 1996 when the band opened for Kiss. At this point, Staley was in the grips of heroin addiction. When his fiancee Demri Parrott died, any hopes of Staley kicking his habit seemed to go out the window. The band managed to get Layne to contribute vocals to two songs, "Get Born Again" and "Died", in 1998 for a box set called "Music Bank", but that was pretty much the last time that Staley would be heard from publicly. He would become a recluse, basically locking himself in his condo and doing heroin. On April 5, 2002, Layne Staley died of a drug overdose. His body would be found two weeks later. Not disbanded, but already on a pretty long hiatus, it appeared that Alice In Chains would be no more. Staley's voice was so important and seemingly could not be replaced. In 2005, Cantrell, Inez and Kinney reunited with several guest vocalists for a benefit show in Seattle. One of those guest vocalists would be Comes With The Fall frontman William DuVall. DuVall toured with Cantrell on his solo tours and performed several Alice In Chains songs in those gigs. While he couldn't ever totally replace Staley, there was definitely a chemistry with he and Cantrell. Eventually, DuVall would be welcomed into Alice In Chains and in 2009, the band released their first studio album in 14 years, "Black Gives Way To Blue". This album debuted at #5 on the Billboard 200 charts and marked a successful return for Alice In Chains. Tragedy was never too far away from the band however, and on March 8, 2011, original bassist Mike Starr died of an overdose. The band's latest release would be 2013's "The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here". Alice In Chains is one of the most influential rock bands to come out of the 90's. While they are considered to be a grunge band, Alice In Chains had more of a metal feel to their music. Cantrell took pride in keeping metal elements in their music as that was his own major influence, Black Sabbath especially. It was such a huge loss to the music world when Layne Staley passed away. He was a major voice of a generation. The way he and Cantrell harmonized their vocals was so unique in that genre of music. Their sound was dark, brooding and heavy. Their lyrical content was heavy and brutally honest. Alice In Chains is just one of the best hard rock bands of all time. It's just as simple as that and it's great that they are still out there firing on all cylinders with William DuVall. As important as Staley was to this band, you cannot deny what Cantrell means to the band either. While I miss Staley, I'm always ready for new material from Cantrell and the rest of Chains.
TEN ALICE IN CHAINS SONGS YOU SHOULD CHECK OUT:
3. Man In The Box
4. Down In A Hole
5. No Excuses
6. Get Born Again
7. Them Bones
8. Angry Chair
10. Check My Brain
Saturday, December 23, 2017
Song: "My Mom Still Cleans My Room"
Album: "Life In General"
Place Of Origin: Bremerton, Washington
Years Active: 1992 - present
WHAT I THINK THE SONG IS ABOUT:
"My Mom Still Cleans My Room" appears to be a song about being misunderstood. The vocalist sometimes feels people don't accept him or think he's weird because he's wired a little bit different. He just wants to be accepted for who he is. That appears to be the overall theme of the song.
MXPX DISCOGRAPHY (Full length albums only):
1994 - Pokinatcha (Tooth & Nail Records)
1995 - Teenage Politics (Tooth & Nail Records)
1996 - Life In General (Tooth & Nail Records)
1998 - Let It Happen (Tooth & Nail Records)
1998 - Slowly Going The Way Of The Buffalo (A&M Records)
1999 - At The Show (Tooth & Nail Records)
2000 - The Ever Passing Moment (Tooth & Nail Records)
2003 - Before Everything & After (A&M Records)
2005 - Panic (SideOneDummy Records)
2006 - Let's Rock (SideOneDummy Records)
2007 - Secret Weapon (Tooth & Nail Records)
2009 - On The Cover II (Tooth & Nail Records)
2012 - Plans Within Plans (Rock City Recording Co.)
2014 - The Acoustic Collection (Rock City Recording Co.)
2017 - Left Coast Live (Rock City Recording Co.)
CURRENT STATUS OF MXPX:
MxPx formed as a band back in 1992 in Bremerton, Washington when all the members were 15 years old and still in high school. The band was originally called Magnified Plaid and featured Mike Herrera on bass and vocals, Yuri Ruley on drums and Andy Husted on guitar. Husted would depart the band after the release of their debut album, 1994's "Pokinatcha". "Pokinatcha began a relationship with Christian punk label Tooth & Nail which would last up to 2007. Tom Wisniewski, a good friend of Herrera's, would replace Husted on guitar and that line-up has been intact to the present day. In 1996, the band dropped "Life In General". With the hit song, "Chick Magnet", and it's accompanying video, MxPx began creating a niche for itself in the exploding pop punk and skate punk scene of the mid 90's. Major label A&M Records signed the band for the release of their 1998 album, "Slowly Going The Way Of The Buffalo". This album peaked at #99 on the Billboard 200 charts and has been certified gold. To me, this is the band's pinnacle. In my mind, "Slowly Going The Way Of The Buffalo" is MxPx's finest moment. But that's not to say they didn't have great material before that and would continue to drop high quality pop punk after that as well. 2000's "The Ever Passing Moment" featured the band's highest charting single, "Responsibility", which reached #24 on Billboard's Modern Rock charts. 2003's "Before Everything & After" would be the band's highest charting album, #51 on the Billboard 200. 2005's "Panic" featured the single "Heard That Sound" which also gained some popularity on alternative rock stations. And, 2007's "Secret Weapon" peaked at #1 on Billboard's Christian charts. After years of bouncing from Tooth & Nail to A&M Records and a short stint with SideOneDummy records, MxPx decided to release future material on their own label, Rock City Recording Company. 2012's "Plans Within Plans" would be the first full length studio album on their own label. After the release of this album, drummer Yuri Ruley decided that he was going to retire from touring but he would still be active when the band records future music. In 2015, chief songwriter Mike Herrera announced that he is totally distancing himself from the "Christian" label. While he still has personal beliefs, he no longer adheres to any form of organized religion. Most recently, the band released the live album, "Left Coast Live" in 2017. As of November 7, 2017, MxPx has officially announced that they are heading to the studio to record a new album with no tentative release date as of now. MxPx was kind of on that second wave of punk bands behind bands like Rancid, Offspring, Green Day and Bad Religion that really rejuvenated the punk scene. MxPx, along with No Use For A Name and Lagwagon and bands of that ilk, didn't quite get the pop of those other four bands, but that doesn't mean they weren't equally as great. When I think pop punk, MxPx is one of the first bands that comes to mind. They wrote great songs that were catchy and melodic but don't be fooled, they could amp it up when they had to. In fact, the band's first album, "Pokinatcha", was more hardcore than pop punk, as well as being probably their most religious effort. MxPx was considered a Christian punk band early on, but as the years went by, they distanced themselves from that label. Similar artists? If you enjoy bands like Slick Shoes, Green Day, Pulley, No Use For A Name or The Ataris, then you would probably enjoy the music of MxPx. Quite simply, MxPx is one of my favorite bands. Have been for a long time and I still get excited when I hear that they are working on new music so I got my fingers crossed for 2018!!
TEN MXPX SONGS YOU SHOULD CHECK OUT:
1. Secret Weapon
2. Under Lock And Key
3. Well Adjusted
4. Heard That Sound
5. Tomorrow's Another Day
7. Doing Time
8. Far Away
9. My Brain Is Hanging Upside Down (Ramones cover)
10. My Life Story
Saturday, December 16, 2017
Song: "Come And Get It"
Artist: The Beatles
Album: "Anthology 3"
Place Of Origin: Liverpool, England
Years Active: 1960 - 1970
WHAT I THINK THE SONG IS ABOUT:
"Come And Get It" appears to be about someone who is foolish with their money. He is almost generous to a fault and seems not to care when his riches will run dry. I guess you can look at it two ways. The guy is either the nicest, most generous person in the world or he is just the dumbest person in the world. Either way, he seems totally content with his actions. "Come And Get It" is a song that was written by Paul McCartney during The Beatles "Abbey Road" sessions. He gave the song to the band Badfinger and produced the track for them. This version I chose for my song of the week featured McCartney recording piano, maracas, drums and bass as well as double tracking the vocals. This unreleased version saw the light of day on The Beatles "Anthology: Vol. 3" in 1996.
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, December 9, 2017
Song: "Down On The World Again"
Artist: Social Distortion
Album: "White Light, White Heat, White Trash"
Place Of Origin: Fullerton, California
Years Active: 1978 - present
WHAT I THINK THE SONG IS ABOUT:
To use some key words the vocalist Mike Ness uses in "Down On The World Again", I can let you know just what he feels about the world and his place in it. He's "disillusioned". He's "relentless". He's been "forsaken". He's "disrespected". He's "resentful". He's "unforgiven" and he's "distorted". He just goes through life with a dark cloud over his head and through the rage and intensity of the song, you almost feel as if he's gonna snap!!
SOCIAL DISTORTION DISCOGRAPHY (Full length albums only):
1983 - Mommy's Little Monster (13th Floor Records)
1988 - Prison Bound (Restless Records)
1990 - Social Distortion (Epic Records)
1992 - Somewhere Between Heaven And Hell (Epic Records)
1995 - Mainliner: Wreckage From The Past (Time Bomb Records)
1996 - White Light, White Heat, White Trash (Epic Records)
1998 - Live At The Roxy (Time Bomb Records)
2004 - Sex, Love And Rock 'n' Roll (Time Bomb Records)
2011 - Hard Times And Nursery Rhymes (Epitaph Records)
CURRENT STATUS OF SOCIAL DISTORTION:
Social Distortion is an Orange County, California punk band that got it's start back in 1978. The constant in the band is chief songwriter and guitarist Mike Ness. The original incarnation of the band featured Rick Agnew, Frank Agnew and Casey Royer who would leave Social D. to help form the Adolescents. Around this time, Ness also met Dennis Danell. Danell was originally the bass player but very soon switched to guitar. Ness and Danell were the two constants in the band right up to Danell's death in 2000. Besides those two, the band has been basically a revolving door of members. Social Distortion's first release would be the single "Mainliner/Playpen" in 1981. The first full length album would be 1983's "Mommy's Little Monster". Following this album, Mike Ness began to develop a pretty serious drug habit. Finding himself in several rehabs and at times in jail, by 1985, he became serious to kick his habit and gain some control of his life and his musical career. 1988's "Prison Bound" began to show the influences Johnny Cash and The Rolling Stones had on Ness. The mixture of punk, country and blues began to be termed "cowpunk". Signed by major label Epic Records in 1989, Social D.'s self-titled aboum in 1990 really put the band on the map. The singles "Story Of My Life", "Ball And Chain" and the Johnny Cash cover "Ring Of Fire" became instant classics and really caught buzz on the college radio scene. 1992's "Somewhere Between Heaven And Hell" continued with that punk/rock-a-billy style but 1996's "White Light, White Heat, White Trash" would be Social Distortion's heaviest effort. This album brought the hammer and featured one of the band's biggest singles, "I Was Wrong". In what would be a recurring theme, the time between Social Distortion albums would start getting longer and longer. In the 8 years from the release of "White Light..." and 2004's "Sex, Love And Rock'n'Roll", Ness would release two solo, country/folk albums, a live Social D. record would be released and tragedy would strike the band when long time member Dennis Danell passed away on February 29, 2000. Many of the songs on "Sex, Love And Rock'n'Roll" were written about Danell including "Don't Take Me For Granted" which is just a total kick ass song. Again, it would take 7 years until their next record, 2011's "Hard Times And Nursery Rhymes". For this album, Social D. hooked up with long time, iconic punk rock label Epitaph Records. Though the band has long layoffs between albums lately, that doesn't mean that they are not putting themselves out there. Social Distortion is constantly touring and unlike most bands, they do not shy away from playing new material live, well before the songs see an official release. Ness has said that the band is very comfortable doing this as it let's him know what songs cause the best reactions from fans. The most recent news is that the band is in pre-production for a new album but a lot of the material is in it's infancy stage, so perhaps a new Social Distortion album in summer/fall of 2018? Social Distortion is really the innovators of the punk rock/punk-a-billy/cowpunk style. Their sound kind of covers many generations of music. Their base sound is punk rock, but you can hear elements of 50's rock and roll and country, 60's blues inspired rock, 70's glam rock, 80's hardcore punk and 90's more melodic punk. They mesh these styles so effortlessly in their sound. Social D. has become one of the better selling punk bands out there. They are accepted and respected by other musicians I believe because of their originality. They really don't sound like anyone else. Their sound is their own and that's pretty impressive in and of itself. Social D. makes great songs, great albums and are incredible when they perform live. In my mind, one of the best bands around, and not just punk bands, all genres. One of the best.
TEN SOCIAL DISTORTION SONGS YOU SHOULD CHECK OUT:
1. Story Of My Life
2. Machine Gun Blues
3. Prison Bound
4. I Was Wrong
5. Don't Take Me For Granted
6. California (Hustle and Flow)
7. Far Behind
8. Under My Thumb (Rolling Stones cover)
9. Ring Of Fire (Johnny Cash cover)
10. When She Begins
Saturday, December 2, 2017
Song: "I Saw What You Did And I Know Who You Are"
Artist: Local H
Album: "As Good As Dead"
Place Of Origin: Zion, Illinois
Years Active: 1987 - present
WHAT I THINK THE SONG IS ABOUT:
"I Saw What You Did And I Know Who You Are" is a song that appears to be about old wounds returning to the surface. Perhaps the life that the vocalist was trying to leave behind him is coming back into his present world and now he has to deal with situations that he thought he was done with and people he no longer wants to associate with. I think it's related to abuse, physical and mental.
LOCAL H DISCOGRAPHY (Full length albums only):
1995 - Ham Fisted (Island Records)
1996 - As Good As Dead (Island Records)
1998 - Pack Up The Cats (Island Records)
2002 - Here Comes The Zoo (Palm Pictures Records)
2004 - Whatever Happened To P.J. Soles (Studio E Records)
2004 - Alive '05 (Cleopatra Records)
2008 - Twelve Angry Months (Shout! Factory Records)
2012 - Hallelujah! I'm A Bum (Slimstyle Records)
2015 - Hey, Killer (G & P Records)
CURRENT STATUS OF LOCAL H:
Local H got its start back in 1987 when all the members were in high school. Early on, this was a full 4 piece band. In 1991, the band released their first EP, "Drum". By the time 1994 rolled around, Local H featured just Scott Lucas on guitar and Joe Daniels on drums. This did not stop major label Island Records from signing the duo to a record contract. In 1995, the band released their debut full length album "Ham Fisted". It was the band's second release however that would earn Local H some success. "As Good As Dead" would feature three Top 40 singles, "Eddie Vedder", "Fritz's Corner" and perhaps the band's biggest single, "Bound For The Floor". Local H was officially on board the alternative music train of the mid-90's. 1998's "Pack Up The Cats" fulfilled the band's contract with Island and the band would never see a major label again in their career. Despite not sticking with a label, Local H managed to continue to drop albums every couple of years. In 2004, the band released it's very first live album, "Alive '05". The album included one studio track, a cover of the Brittany Spears song "Toxic". This was surprisingly a successful single for the band. Along with the band's 8 studio albums and 1 live album, Local H has also released 7 EP's and 4 demo compilations. Some standouts are the 2003 "No Fun" EP, "Local H's Awesome Mix Tape 1" and "Local H's Awesome Mix Tape 2". The band's most recent release was 2015's "Hey, Killer". Local H was the duo rock band that was popular before The White Stripes became popular. They were part of that second wave of alternative rock/post grunge era bands that flooded the market after the Seattle bands exploded. Scott Lucas is basically the brain of the Local H machine. The band has featured three drummers, Joe Daniels (1987-1999), Brian St. Clair (1999-2013) and Ryan Harding (2013-present). As for sound, I'd say Local H has similarities to bands like Nirvana, Foo Fighters, Everclear, Silverchair and Smile Empty Soul. Though Local H's popularity has steadily waned since the year 2000, they have a pretty die hard fan base, especially in Chicago, which is basically thier hometown. They almost always play special shows in the Chicago area on Halloween and New Year's Eve. The Halloween shows usually involve the band playing an entire set of cover songs by a band of their choice. They've done a show as such bands as Kiss, Nirvana and Led Zeppelin to name a few. The New Year's Eve shows are mostly put together by the fans. They often vote for the setlist or vote for the band to play an album in it's entirety. Local H doesn't really blow you away but they are a pretty damn good band. They are also a very active band.
TEN LOCAL H SONGS YOU SHOULD CHECK OUT:
1. Fritz's Corner
2. California Songs
3. All The Kids Are Right
4. Bound For The Floor
5. Hands On The Bible
6. Toxic (Brittany Spears cover)
7. Team (Lorde cover)
8. Everyone Alive
9. All Right (Oh Yeah)
10. 24 Hour Break-up Session