Saturday, November 18, 2017

Song Of The Week: 11/19/17







Song: "Twist And Shout"

Artist: The Beatles

Album: "Please Please Me"

Year: 1963

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
5. Revolution
6. Don't Let Me Down
7. A Day In The Life
8. Rain
9. Strawberry Fields Forever
10. Paperback Writer

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Song Of The Week: 11/12/17







Song: "Flaming Youth"

Artist: Kiss

Album: "Destroyer"

Year: 1976

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:

1. Deuce
2. Detroit Rock City
3. Parasite
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 Of The Week: 11/5/17







Song: "I Hate Myself And Want To Die"

Artist: Nirvana

Album: "Pennyroyal Tea" single

Year: 1994

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
3. School
4. You Know You're Right
5. Where Did You Sleep Last Night (Leadbelly cover)
6. Lithium
7. Polly
8. Aneurysm
9. About A Girl
10. Serve The Servants

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Song Of The Week: 10/29/17







Song: "Chemical Upgrade"

Artist: Tony Sly

Album: "Tony Sly/Joey Cape" split 7"

Year: 2010

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)
6. Amends
7. Liver Let Die
8. Devonshire And Crown
9. Capo, 4th Fret
10. Hey God

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Song Of The Week: 10/22/17







Song: "Having A Blast"

Artist: Green Day

Album: "Dookie"

Year: 1994

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:

1. J.A.R.
2. 2,000 Light Years Away
3. Suffocate
4. Going To Pasalacqua
5. Nice Guys Finish Last
6. Minority
7. Geek Stink Breath
8. Still Breathing
9. X-Kid
10. Coming Clean

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Song Of The Week: 10/15/17







Song: "You Need A Hug"

Artist: The Ataris

Album: "End Is Forever"

Year: 2001

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 Of The Week: 10/8/17







Song: "Father Son Picnic"

Artist: Slick Shoes

Album: "Rusty"

Year: 1997

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
3. Angel
4. Feeble
5. Alone
6. Darko
7. East On Tracks
8. Joe's Sick
9. So Much More
10. Another Day

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Song Of The Week: 10/1/17







Song: "Alive"

Artist: Pearl Jam

Album: "Ten"

Year: 1991

Place Of Origin: Seattle, Washington

Years Active: 1990 - present



WHAT I THINK THE SONG IS ABOUT:

"Alive" is part autobiographical and part fiction. Pearl Jam vocalist Eddie Vedder has said that the first and third verse were based on the true story of his mother telling him that his stepfather was not his real father and that his real father had died. The second verse was the fictional part involving incest with his mother. "Alive" was the very first song that Eddie put lyrics to and the first song that Pearl Jam recorded as a band. It's part of the famous "Mamasan" trilogy, also including "Once" and "Footsteps", the three songs that were handed to Eddie on cassette by former Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Jack Irons. Pearl Jam had found their singer and the rest was history!. If you've seen the Pearl Jam VH1 Storytellers, Eddie tells a great story about "Alive", how the song had been a curse to him, with all the emotion of the news of his father and how he had to deal with it. But, he said over the years, the passion and energy that the crowd threw back to the band during "Alive" performances began to change the interpretation of the song. It became a celebration. The audience had lifted the curse!! Great story!! "Alive" is basically Pearl Jam's signature song. A definite anthem.

PEARL JAM DISCOGRAPHY (Full length albums only):

1991 - Ten (Epic Records)
1993 - VS (Epic Records)
1994 - Vitalogy (Epic Records)
1996 - No Code (Epic Records)
1998 - Yield (Epic Records)
1998 - Live On Two Legs (Epic Records)
2000 - Binaural (Epic Records)
2002 - Riot Act (Epic Records)
2003 - Lost Dogs (Epic Records)
2004 - Live At Benaroya Hall (BMG Records)
2006 - Pearl Jam (J Records)
2009 - Backspacer (Monkeywrench/Universal Music Group)
2011 - Live On Ten Legs (Universal Music Group)
2013 - Lightning Bolt (Monkeywrench Records)

CURRENT STATUS OF PEARL JAM:

Pearl Jam came from the ashes of Mother Love Bone and exploded on the Seattle music scene in 1990. The band's debut album "Ten" is a landmark album which has been certified diamond. What does that mean? It means that album has sold massively worldwide! It also propelled the band to superstardom, almost before they knew what had hit them. At the forefront of the grunge explosion of the early 90's, along with bands like Nirvana, Alice In Chains and Soundgarden, Pearl Jam kept the heat on with their next two releases, 1993's "VS" and 1994's "Vitalogy". The pressures of being that big, that fast began to weigh on the band, especially vocalist Eddie Vedder and the band made a conscious effort to start pulling back the reigns. No more videos and less media obligations. They also did a 180 on their next album, "No Code". This was a much softer, more experimental side of the band and really an effort to change it up musically. Battles with Ticketmaster and going into a shell of sorts began to alienate the band from some of it's fans. The band itself was having some inner struggles and wondering if they were even going to co-exist much longer. Luckily, 1998's "Yield" was a return to form for the band. It also marked a full band collaboration whereas Vedder really took over creative reigns on "Vitalogy" and "No Code". From this album on, every band member would contribute to all future Pearl Jam releases. The early 2000's were a bit of a weird time for the band. "Binaural" and "Riot Act" were both good albums but seemed to be lacking something. The band also began offerering their bootlegs from every show available at this time, beginning with the "Binaural" world tour. Their bootlegs continue to be offered through their website to this day. This period also marked the biggest tragedy that the band was a part of, the 2000 Roskilde tragedy where 9 of their fans were trampled to death during their performance. In 2006, the country was becoming more and more split over the actions of the Bush administration post-9/11. The scene was ripe for a band like Pearl Jam to get their creative juices flowing and write what is perhaps their most political album yet, the self-titled "Pearl Jam", sometimes referred to as "Avocado". This album was a breath of fresh air to me. Urgent and hard hitting, an album with a definitive purpose. 2009's "Backspacer" is probably the band's most positive and fun album. The band's most recent effort was 2013's "Lightning Bolt". This album proved that Pearl Jam is still relevant in an ever-evolving music scene. The band also has plans to release a live album/dvd in the fall of 2017 called "Let's Play Two", which chronicles the band's two performances at historic Wrigley Field in Chicago in 2016. Pearl Jam's sound is a culmination of a slew of influences from The Who, The Ramones, Kiss, Neil Young, Dead Kennedys, Pink Floyd and many, many more! Of the 4 major grunge bands to emerge from the early 90's, Pearl Jam's sound always commanded arena crowds. Their music is powerful. Their lyrics personal and emotional. They have influenced hundreds of rock bands who came after them. They are equally comfortable playing arena anthems ("Alive"), acoustic ballads ("Elderly Woman"), punk influenced hardcore ("Mind Your Manners") and groove laced stompers ("Evenflow"). The band takes more time between albums as they tend to focus more time on their growing families as well as keeping busy with solo and side projects, but they always get back together to tour all over the world and their shows are always epic and must see performances that rival Springsteen and the Grateful Dead. I'd say they are overdue for a new album. Perhaps the band will be inspired by their induction into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in 2017 or the current political turmoil in the United States and drop another aggressive album with a purpose!

TEN PEARL JAM SONGS YOU SHOULD CHECK OUT:

1. Alive
2. Release
3. Yellow Ledbetter
4. Corduroy
5. Rearviewmirror
6. Go
7. Given To Fly
8. Not For You
9. In My Tree
10. Light Years

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Song Of The Week: 9/24/17







Song: "Hooligan"

Artist: Kiss

Album: "Love Gun"

Year: 1977



IN MEMORIAM:

Scootchy!
(passed away on Saturday Sept. 23, 2017)



I never had to make a decision like I had to make tonight. To have the words "I have to put my pet to sleep" come out of my mouth really sucked. Pets are family. That's just how it is. And my cat Scootchy was my little buddy. Whenever I was trying to do something at my computer, here she comes, jumping on my desk wanting to be patted, getting right in the way of what you were trying to do. But once she stared at you with those eyes, your heart melted and all your attention focused on her. She was a nice piece of cat!! Almost nightly, when I went to brush my teeth, here she would come, jumping on the sink and annoying you, in a cute way! In fact, the picture I have of her on this blog post is her getting in the way of me brushing my teeth! She was a funny cat! I've had many animals but I never seemed to be as close to any as I was to Scootchy. I'm not a big show affection type person, but she had me wrapped around her little paw. As you can see, this post doesn't have a lot to do with my song of the week. I chose "Hooligan" by Kiss for a few reasons. One, it's sung by Peter Criss, The Cat!! And two, my little furry friend portrayed some hooligan type tendencies! Couches and desk chairs? She made quick work of those, so much so that all my furniture is covered in beach towels to hide the scratches!! Window screens? Good luck! Have any glassware up on counter tops? Nothing like being awakened at 3:30 in the morning to the sound of shattered glass and the little culprit goes buzzing by you at 100 miles per hour cuz she saw another cat outside!! So, I chose "Hooligan" with tongue firmly planted in cheek because, even though I held my little buddy as she took her last breath tonight, I will never forget the funny things Scootchy did. Some things were cute.. many things were devious!! She had a look about her when she was up to no good! So Scootchy, I'm going to miss you terribly. I will never forget you and how you made me laugh and smile. I'm sorry for having to make this decision tonight to let you go, but I couldn't see you struggling like you were. I couldn't see you struggle walking, not eating or not drinking. I hope you are somewhere in a better place and acting like your old playful self. I hope you forgive me for what I had to do. It is the last thing I ever wanted to do, but I am happy that I had to make this decision and no one else. When my time comes, I hope you are one of the first to greet me on the other side. I love you little buddy :(

Rest in peace:
Scootchy

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Song Of The Week: 9/17/17







Song: "Jumpin' Jack Flash"

Artist: The Rolling Stones

Album: "Jumpin' Jack Flash" single

Year: 1968

Place Of Origin: London, England

Years Active: 1962 - present



WHAT I THINK THE SONG IS ABOUT:

"Jumpin' Jack Flash", according to Stones' vocalist Mick Jagger, is about getting away from the acid induced state that the band had been in during their previous album, "Their Satanic Majesties Request". From taking a read of the lyrics, to me it appears to be about rising above an abusive past. Each verse paints a picture of someone that has endured pain and struggle and abuse and starvation, but the chorus gives you a sense that he has made it through it and is better for it and he is alright now. Though "Jumpin' Jack Flash" was recorded during the "Beggars Banquet" sessions, the band decided to release it as a stand alone single. The song is their most played song in concert and one of the band's biggest singles of all time!

THE ROLLING STONES DISCOGRAPHY (Full length albums only):

1964 - The Rolling Stones (London Records)
1964 - 12 x 5 (London Records)
1965 - The Rolling Stones, Now! (London Records)
1965 - Out Of Our Heads (London Records)
1965 - December's Children (And Everybody's) (London Records)
1966 - Aftermath (London Records)
1967 - Between The Buttons (London Records)
1967 - Their Satanic Majesties Request (London Records)
1968 - Beggars Banquet (London Records)
1969 - Let It Bleed (London Records)
1971 - Sticky Fingers (Rolling Stones Records)
1972 - Exile On Main St. (Rolling Stones Records)
1973 - Goats Head Soup (Rolling Stones Records)
1974 - It's Only Rock 'n Roll (Rolling Stones Records)
1976 - Black And Blue (Rolling Stones Records)
1978 - Some Girls (Rolling Stones Records)
1980 - Emotional Rescue (Rolling Stones Records)
1981 - Tattoo You (Rolling Stones Records)
1983 - Undercover (Rolling Stones Records)
1986 - Dirty Work (Rolling Stones Records)
1989 - Steel Wheels (Rolling Stones Records)
1994 - Voodoo Lounge (Virgin Records)
1997 - Bridges To Babylon (Virgin Records)
2005 - A Bigger Bang (Virgin Records)
2016 - Blue And Lonesome (Polydor Records)

The band has also released 23 official live albums which i'm not going to list here.

CURRENT STATUS OF THE ROLLING STONES:

When it comes to rock and roll, one of the most argued items is, who is better? The Beatles or The Stones? The Beatles were often perceived as the guys you wouldn't mind marrying your daughter. They wore suits, were clean and their music was almost, "happy". The Stones, on the other hand, were the guys you didn't want your daughter talking to. They were dirty. They were the wrong side of the tracks. The Beatles were heavily influenced by 50's rock and roll. Elvis Presley, Chuck Berry and Little Richard. The Stones were influenced by the blues, Muddy Waters, Robert Johnson and Willie Dixon. So, regardless of who you thought was or is better, both of these bands are at the pinnacle of rock and roll music, there's no questioning that. Also like The Beatles, The Stones first couple of albums featured mostly cover songs. Vocalist Mick Jagger and guitarist Keith Richards began working harder together to form their own musical compositions. "Heart Of Stone", one of their first originals to become a successful single, gave the duo added confidence that they could write hits. In 1965, the band released another orignal song, "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction", and the band was set to soar. Along with The Beatles and The Who, The Rolling Stones also rode the wave of the British Explosion and became household names in their own country as well as across the pond here in the States. The Stones went through a bit of a psychedelic phase in 1966 and 1967 for their albums "Aftermath", "Between The Buttons" and "Their Satanic Majesties Request", perhaps trying to follow what The Beatles were doing at that time. Luckily, the band decided to strip down and get back to their roots in 1968, starting a four album run in four years that is considered the "golden age" of The Stones' career. "Beggars Banquet", "Let It Bleed", "Sticky Fingers" and "Exile On Main St." is simply The Rolling Stones at their best, blues inspired rock and roll. The late 70's scene was shifting musically, with punk rock and disco but The Stones still remained relevant with their 1978 release, "Some Girls". With a shift to new wave in the 80's, this decade would prove to be the most tumultuous for The Stones. A rift between Jagger and Richards which had been bubbling in the late 70's really came to a head in the 80's. There was thoughts that the band was going to break up it got so bad. The two seemed to make amends by the end of the decade the band went on a record setting tour to support their album "Steel Wheels". By the 90's, the releases were a bit more sporadic. They did release two albums in that decade, 1994's "Voodoo Lounge" and 1997's "Bridges To Babylon". It was the touring that really set the bar for The Stones by this point however. In the mid 80's, The Rolling Stones were almost seen as an act that wore out it's welcome, who's time has passed. In the 90's and 2000's, they now became an act that you must see before you die! In 2016, the band released their latest album, "Blue And Lonesome", which is a blues covers album. With all of the members of the band in their mid 70's, they still do massive stadium tours and they plan on releasing an album of all original music, perhaps next year. The band still boasts original lead singer Mick Jagger, original guitarist Keith Richards and original drummer Charlie Watts. Original guitarist and founder Brian Jones left the band after "Beggars Banquet" and drowned to death in his swimming pool in 1969. He was replaced by Mick Taylor from 1969 till 1974 when he left the band. Ronnie Wood, of The Faces fame, joined the band in 1975 and he's remained with them to the present day. Original bassist Bill Wyman departed the band in 1993. As I said earlier, The Rolling Stones are one of the most influential rock and roll bands of all time. Mick Jagger is the consumate frontman and Keith Richards oozes rock and roll. Every decades top bands were probably influenced by The Stones to the present day. For the band's first three decades together, they were literally almost releasing new music every year! An astonishing feat, especially considering how many hit singles were involved in all those releases. Multi platinum selling albums, Rock and Roll Hall of Famers, one of the top touring acts of all time and one of the greatest rock and roll bands of all time. Nuff said!

TEN THE ROLLING STONES SONGS YOU SHOULD CHECK OUT:

1. Sympathy For The Devil
2. Honky Tonk Women
3. Gimme Shelter
4. You Can't Always Get What You Want
5. Brown Sugar
6. Jumpin' Jack Flash
7. Under My Thumb
8. Tumblin' Dice
9. Beast Of Burden
10. Angie

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Song Of The Week: 9/10/17







Song: "Rearviewmirror"

Artist: Pearl Jam

Album: "VS"

Year: 1993

Place Of Origin: Seattle, Washington

Years Active: 1990 - present



WHAT I THINK THE SONG IS ABOUT:

"Rearviewmirror" appears to be a song about breaking free from an abusive relationship. Pearl Jam vocalist Eddie Vedder has said that the song reminds him of driving in a car and getting as far away from a bad situation as possible. It's like putting the past in the rear view. The song is connected to the song "Daughter", which is also on "VS". But, in "Daughter", the victim closes the shades, hiding the abuse that she is enduring. In "Rearviewmirror", the victim raises the shades, sees the light, and escapes her abuser. Simply put, one of the best Pearl Jam songs of all time!!

PEARL JAM DISCOGRAPHY (Full length albums only):

1991 - Ten (Epic Records)
1993 - VS (Epic Records)
1994 - Vitalogy (Epic Records)
1996 - No Code (Epic Records)
1998 - Yield (Epic Records)
1998 - Live On Two Legs (Epic Records)
2000 - Binaural (Epic Records)
2002 - Riot Act (Epic Records)
2003 - Lost Dogs (Epic Records)
2004 - Live At Benaroya Hall (BMG Records)
2006 - Pearl Jam (J Records)
2009 - Backspacer (Monkeywrench/Universal Music Group)
2011 - Live On Ten Legs (Universal Music Group)
2013 - Lightning Bolt (Monkeywrench Records)

CURRENT STATUS OF PEARL JAM:

Pearl Jam came from the ashes of Mother Love Bone and exploded on the Seattle music scene in 1990. The band's debut album "Ten" is a landmark album which has been certified diamond. What does that mean? It means that album has sold massively worldwide! It also propelled the band to superstardom, almost before they knew what had hit them. At the forefront of the grunge explosion of the early 90's, along with bands like Nirvana, Alice In Chains and Soundgarden, Pearl Jam kept the heat on with their next two releases, 1993's "VS" and 1994's "Vitalogy". The pressures of being that big, that fast began to weigh on the band, especially vocalist Eddie Vedder and the band made a conscious effort to start pulling back the reigns. No more videos and less media obligations. They also did a 180 on their next album, "No Code". This was a much softer, more experimental side of the band and really an effort to change it up musically. Battles with Ticketmaster and going into a shell of sorts began to alienate the band from some of it's fans. The band itself was having some inner struggles and wondering if they were even going to co-exist much longer. Luckily, 1998's "Yield" was a return to form for the band. It also marked a full band collaboration whereas Vedder really took over creative reigns on "Vitalogy" and "No Code". From this album on, every band member would contribute to all future Pearl Jam releases. The early 2000's were a bit of a weird time for the band. "Binaural" and "Riot Act" were both good albums but seemed to be lacking something. The band also began offerering their bootlegs from every show available at this time, beginning with the "Binaural" world tour. Their bootlegs continue to be offered through their website to this day. This period also marked the biggest tragedy that the band was a part of, the 2000 Roskilde tragedy where 9 of their fans were trampled to death during their performance. In 2006, the country was becoming more and more split over the actions of the Bush administration post-9/11. The scene was ripe for a band like Pearl Jam to get their creative juices flowing and write what is perhaps their most political album yet, the self-titled "Pearl Jam", sometimes referred to as "Avocado". This album was a breath of fresh air to me. Urgent and hard hitting, an album with a definitive purpose. 2009's "Backspacer" is probably the band's most positive and fun album. The band's most recent effort was 2013's "Lightning Bolt". This album proved that Pearl Jam is still relevant in an ever-evolving music scene. The band also has plans to release a live album/dvd in the fall of 2017 called "Let's Play Two", which chronicles the band's two performances at historic Wrigley Field in Chicago in 2016. Pearl Jam's sound is a culmination of a slew of influences from The Who, The Ramones, Kiss, Neil Young, Dead Kennedys, Pink Floyd and many, many more! Of the 4 major grunge bands to emerge from the early 90's, Pearl Jam's sound always commanded arena crowds. Their music is powerful. Their lyrics personal and emotional. They have influenced hundreds of rock bands who came after them. They are equally comfortable playing arena anthems ("Alive"), acoustic ballads ("Elderly Woman"), punk influenced hardcore ("Mind Your Manners") and groove laced stompers ("Evenflow"). The band takes more time between albums as they tend to focus more time on their growing families as well as keeping busy with solo and side projects, but they always get back together to tour all over the world and their shows are always epic and must see performances that rival Springsteen and the Grateful Dead. I'd say they are overdue for a new album. Perhaps the band will be inspired by their induction into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in 2017 or the current political turmoil in the United States and drop another aggressive album with a purpose!

TEN PEARL JAM SONGS YOU SHOULD CHECK OUT:

1. Alive
2. Release
3. Yellow Ledbetter
4. Corduroy
5. Rearviewmirror
6. Go
7. Given To Fly
8. Not For You
9. In My Tree
10. Light Years



Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Song Of The Week: 9/3/17







Song: "I Will Believe"

Artist: Oasis

Album: "Supersonic" CD-single

Year: 1994

Place Of Origin: Manchester, England

Years Active: 1991 - 2009



WHAT I THINK THE SONG IS ABOUT:

"I Will Believe" is a song that appears to be about trying to find yourself. Perhaps the vocalist has someone in his life that is keeping him down as well. Though he is in a rut, you sense his hope that one day he will find his peace of mind and believe he can break free of the things that hold him down. "I Will Believe" was actually recorded live in 1993 and appeared as a b-side on Oasis' 1994 cd-single "Supersonic".

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
4. Acquiesce
5. Lyla
6. Don't Look Back In Anger
7. Go Let It Out
8. Whatever
9. Stop Crying Your Heart Out
10. All Around The World

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Song Of The Week: 8/27/17







Song: "Junkhead"

Artist: Alice In Chains

Album: "Dirt"

Year: 1992

Place Of Origin: Seattle, Washington

Years Active: 1987 - present



WHAT I THINK THE SONG IS ABOUT:

"Junkhead" is a song that appears to take you into the mind of a drug addict. It's almost like the beginning phase of drug addiction. At first, the pleasure overshadows the pain. Alice In Chains vocalist Layne Staley has said himself that the drugs used to work for him, now they are working against him. "Junkhead" is the period when they are working for him. Of course, if you listen to the span of songs on "Dirt" from "Junkhead" to "Dirt" to "Godsmack" to "Hate To Feel" to "Angry Chair", you see the slow deterioration of the man from his addictions. The brutal honesty in Staley's lyrics would actually detail his own downfall from heroin. "Junkhead" is the inital high, the initial rush and it's seen as a beautiful thing. The later songs reveal the pain and hopelessness.

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:

1. Would
2. Nutshell
3. Man In The Box
4. Down In A Hole
5. No Excuses
6. Get Born Again
7. Them Bones
8. Angry Chair
9. Again
10. Check My Brain

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Song Of The Week: 8/20/17







Song: "Heroin Girl"

Artist: Everclear

Album: "Sparkle And Fade"

Year: 1995

Place Of Origin: Portland, Oregon

Years Active: 1991 - present



WHAT I THINK THE SONG IS ABOUT:

Been on a little Everclear kick lately! "Heroin Girl" is a fictional story that was inspired by true events that happened in Everclear lead singer Art Alexakis' life. When he was just 12 years old, his older brother died of a heroin overdose. He also lost a girlfriend, who was also addicted, to suicide. As a recovering addict himself, Alexakis describes the feelings of helplessness and isolation that comes with drug addiction. The character "Eshter" who helps the vocalist score drugs, winds up being found dead of an overdose at the end of the song. The line "I heard the policeman say just another overdose" was based on what a real cop said about Art's brother when his mother had to identify the body, obviously infuriating her.

EVERCLEAR DISCOGRAPHY (Full length albums only):

1993 - World Of Noise (Tim/Kerr Records)
1995 - Sparkle And Fade (Capitol Records)
1997 - So Much For The Afterglow (Capitol Records)
2000 - Songs From An American Movie Vol. 1: Learning How To Smile (Capitol Records)
2000 - Songs From An American Movie Vol. 2: Good Time For A Bad Attitude (Capitol Records)
2003 - Slow Motion Daydream (Capitol Records)
2006 - Welcome To The Drama Club (Eleven Seven Records)
2008 - The Vegas Years (Capitol Records)
2009 - In A Different Light (429 Records)
2011 - Return To Santa Monica (Cleopatra Records)
2011 - Extended Versions (Sony/BMG Records)
2012 - Invisible Stars (eOne Records)
2015 - Black Is The New Black (The End Records)

CURRENT STATUS OF EVERCLEAR:

Just after the grunge explosion of 1991 and 1992, there was another emerging alternative rock scene that was about to take off as well. Portland, Oregon's Everclear was one of the pioneers of this next phase of rock music. While their music was rooted in grunge/punk/garage rock, it would be the second single from their sophomore album, "Sparkle And Fade", that would really put Everclear on the musical map. "Santa Monica" was like the car moving upwards on a roller coaster. The band's next album, 1995's "So Much For The Afterglow" would prove to be that same car stopping at the top of the roller coaster. This would be Everclear's most successful album, going double platinum thanks to hit singles like "Everything To Everyone", "So Much For The Afterglow", "Father Of Mine" and "One Hit Wonder". The band's next album, 2000's "Songs From An American Movie Vol. 1", featured Everclear's highest charting single ever, "Wonderful". Now, however, the roller coaster car begins going down the hill. The band released "Songs From An American Movie Vol 2" just four months after Vol. 1 creating a bit of confusion among music buyers. Perhaps, it was an oversaturation. After the band released "Slow Motion Daydream" in 2003, their longtime relationship with major label Capitol Records ended and bassist Craig Montoya and drummer Greg Eklund decided to part ways with Everclear leaving frontman/guitarist Art Alexakis to ponder the future of the band. After doing a successful solo tour, many thought Alexakis might just go the solo route, but he would re-tool Everclear with new members and release "Welcome To The Drama Club" in 2006. It would be six more years till Everclear would release a proper studio album but in that time, they would put out a covers album, a few re-recorded albums and a live album. The band's most recent release was 2015's "Black Is The New Black". As I said earlier, Everclear was definitely at the forefront of the alternative rock scene in the mid-90's. Art Alexakis' songwriting is very clear, meaning that his lyrics are usually literal and not obscure. You can pretty much know what he is singing about without having to look really deep into the lyrics. While some of the themes may have been as dark as the earlier grunge bands, Everclear had a way of making even those types of songs appear "happier" for lack of a better term. They had a keen sense of creating a pop rock song, while giving it some bite with fuzzy distortion. I always looked at Everclear as kind of the Tom Petty of alternative rock. Simple songs. Catchy songs. While their popularity waned from the mid 2000's to the present day, the band has carried on, releasing music and touring. In fact, they've created their own summer tour called the "Summerland Tour" which features Everclear alongside other 90's alternative acts like Live, Sponge and Fastball. I actually would like to see Montoya and Eklund return to Everclear. I'm just not sure that will ever happen as they didn't leave on the best of terms. Still, Everclear is one of my favorite bands and I was really impressed with their latest album, "Black Is The New Black".

TEN EVERCLEAR SONGS YOU SHOULD CHECK OUT:

1. Heroin Girl
2. So Much For The Afterglow
3. Learning How To Smile
4. The Swing
5. Wonderful
6. Santa Monica
7. American Girl (Tom Petty cover)
8. Blackjack
9. Pocahontas (Neil Young cover)
10. Be Careful What You Ask For

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Song Of The Week: 8/13/17







Song: "Detroit"

Artist: Everclear

Album: "White Trash Hell" EP

Year: 1997

Place Of Origin: Portland, Oregon

Years Active: 1991 - present



WHAT I THINK THE SONG IS ABOUT:

There doesn't appear to be much to the lyrics of "Detroit". The vocalist is "dreaming of a Michigan girlfriend". In a way it seems he is wishing for something he can't have. Maybe, she is just made up in his own mind and he's just longing for something that's not real. Just a dream girl made up in his mind. "Detroit" was one of seven demos recorded during the "Sparkle And Fade" sessions in 1994 but it didn't see the light of day until 1997 when it was released on the EP "White Trash Hell".

EVERCLEAR DISCOGRAPHY (Full length albums only):

1993 - World Of Noise (Tim/Kerr Records)
1995 - Sparkle And Fade (Capitol Records)
1997 - So Much For The Afterglow (Capitol Records)
2000 - Songs From An American Movie Vol. 1: Learning How To Smile (Capitol Records)
2000 - Songs From An American Movie Vol. 2: Good Time For A Bad Attitude (Capitol Records)
2003 - Slow Motion Daydream (Capitol Records)
2006 - Welcome To The Drama Club (Eleven Seven Records)
2008 - The Vegas Years (Capitol Records)
2009 - In A Different Light (429 Records)
2011 - Return To Santa Monica (Cleopatra Records)
2011 - Extended Versions (Sony/BMG Records)
2012 - Invisible Stars (eOne Records)
2015 - Black Is The New Black (The End Records)

CURRENT STATUS OF EVERCLEAR:

Just after the grunge explosion of 1991 and 1992, there was another emerging alternative rock scene that was about to take off as well. Portland, Oregon's Everclear was one of the pioneers of this next phase of rock music. While their music was rooted in grunge/punk/garage rock, it would be the second single from their sophomore album, "Sparkle And Fade", that would really put Everclear on the musical map. "Santa Monica" was like the car moving upwards on a roller coaster. The band's next album, 1995's "So Much For The Afterglow" would prove to be that same car stopping at the top of the roller coaster. This would be Everclear's most successful album, going double platinum thanks to hit singles like "Everything To Everyone", "So Much For The Afterglow", "Father Of Mine" and "One Hit Wonder". The band's next album, 2000's "Songs From An American Movie Vol. 1", featured Everclear's highest charting single ever, "Wonderful". Now, however, the roller coaster car begins going down the hill. The band released "Songs From An American Movie Vol 2" just four months after Vol. 1 creating a bit of confusion among music buyers. Perhaps, it was an oversaturation. After the band released "Slow Motion Daydream" in 2003, their longtime relationship with major label Capitol Records ended and bassist Craig Montoya and drummer Greg Eklund decided to part ways with Everclear leaving frontman/guitarist Art Alexakis to ponder the future of the band. After doing a successful solo tour, many thought Alexakis might just go the solo route, but he would re-tool Everclear with new members and release "Welcome To The Drama Club" in 2006. It would be six more years till Everclear would release a proper studio album but in that time, they would put out a covers album, a few re-recorded albums and a live album. The band's most recent release was 2015's "Black Is The New Black". As I said earlier, Everclear was definitely at the forefront of the alternative rock scene in the mid-90's. Art Alexakis' songwriting is very clear, meaning that his lyrics are usually literal and not obscure. You can pretty much know what he is singing about without having to look really deep into the lyrics. While some of the themes may have been as dark as the earlier grunge bands, Everclear had a way of making even those types of songs appear "happier" for lack of a better term. They had a keen sense of creating a pop rock song, while giving it some bite with fuzzy distortion. I always looked at Everclear as kind of the Tom Petty of alternative rock. Simple songs. Catchy songs. While their popularity waned from the mid 2000's to the present day, the band has carried on, releasing music and touring. In fact, they've created their own summer tour called the "Summerland Tour" which features Everclear alongside other 90's alternative acts like Live, Sponge and Fastball. I actually would like to see Montoya and Eklund return to Everclear. I'm just not sure that will ever happen as they didn't leave on the best of terms. Still, Everclear is one of my favorite bands and I was really impressed with their latest album, "Black Is The New Black".

TEN EVERCLEAR SONGS YOU SHOULD CHECK OUT:

1. Heroin Girl
2. So Much For The Afterglow
3. Learning How To Smile
4. The Swing
5. Wonderful
6. Santa Monica
7. American Girl (Tom Petty cover)
8. Blackjack
9. Pocahontas (Neil Young cover)
10. Be Careful What You Ask For

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Song Of The Week: 8/6/17







Song: "Black Hole Sun" (acoustic version)

Artist: Soundgarden

Album: Unknown ?

Year: Unknown ?

Place Of Origin: Seattle, Washington

Years Active: 1984 - 2017



WHAT I THINK THE SONG IS ABOUT:

Chris Cornell has stated that the lyrics of "Black Hole Sun" were really him just playing with words and piecing them into something that he was happy with. He didn't really have a meaning to them when he wrote the song. But, as I read the lyrics, I get a sense that he was thinking about dishonest people and backstabbing people. Perhaps, he's just so fed up in a world that's filled with snakes and cunning people that he wishes for it to be wiped out! The original version of "Black Hole Sun" appears on Soundgarden's 1994 epic release, "Superunknown". This version is an acoustic version that sounds like it was recorded in a studio but I don't think it is on any of the band's releases. Could very well be just a Chris Cornell solo recording also. Not sure when this version was recorded.

SOUNDGARDEN DISCOGRAPHY (Full length albums only):

1988 - Ultramega OK (SST Records)
1989 - Louder Than Love (A&M Records)
1991 - Badmotorfinger (A&M Records)
1994 - Superunknown (A&M Records)
1996 - Down On The Upside (A&M Records)
2011 - Live On I-5 (A&M Records)
2012 - King Animal (Republic Records)
2014 - Echo Of Miles: Scattered Tracks Across The Path (A&M Records)

CURRENT STATUS OF SOUNDGARDEN:

When you think of the very beginnings of "grunge" music, this is one of the bands that should immediately come to mind. Before Alice In Chains, before Nirvana and before Pearl Jam, there was Soundgarden. Formed in 1984, Soundgarden along with the bands Green River, Skin Yard, Malfunkshun, The U-Men and The Melvins laid the foundation of the Seattle sound in the form of the 1986 compilation, "Deep Six". Soundgarden would be one of the first bands to sign with underground Seattle label Sub Pop as well. Not to be outdone, or "outshined" if you will, the boys in Soundgarden would be the first grunge band to sign with a major label as their second full length album, "Louder Than Love", was distributed by A&M Records, which the band would have a career spanning relationship with. Now to the good stuff! 1991. Pearl Jam has "Ten". Nirvana blows up with "Nevermind". Laying in the weeds with "Badmotorfinger" is the mighty Soundgarden!! Though they didn't blow up right away like Nirvana and Pearl Jam, their music could not be denied. They were a part of the legendary Lollapalooza '92 line-up, along with Pearl Jam, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Ministry and the Seattle sound was God! 1994. Soundgarden releases one of the best albums of all time. I didn't stutter. All time!! "Superunknown" with songs like "Spoonman", "Superunknown", "The Day I Tried To Live", "My Wave" and the biggest single in the band's career, "Black Hole Sun", the band was catapulted to multi-platinum status and Grammy Award winning artists. Their 1996 follow up album, "Down On The Upside" wasn't as criticaly acclaimed as "Superunknown", nor as successful, but even among growning tensions within Soundgarden, this album was a killer album. The tensions proved to be too much for the band however and in 1997, the guys decided to break up. In the next 13 years, all of the band members focused on other projects, most notably, Cornell doing some solo stuff then hooking up with the guys from Rage Against The Machine to form Audioslave. Drummer Matt Cameron joined Pearl Jam as an official member while guitarist Kim Thayil and bassist Ben Shepherd also kept busy doing their own thing. Much to the delight of their fans, in 2010, Soundgarden announced they were reuniting and headlining select festivals. 2012 saw the band release their first studio full length album in 16 years, "King Animal". This band still had it's teeth no doubt! In 2014, Soundgarden released "Echo Of Miles", a career spanning, three disc album containing most of the band's b-sides and rare tracks. In 2016, rumors were that the guys had about six songs pretty much complete and were working on more in hopes of having a new album out possibly in late 2017 or early 2018. Fast forward to May 18, 2017. After performing a show in Detroit, Michigan with Soundgarden, lead singer Chris Cornell retreated to his hotel room where he committed suicide by hanging. Though Cornell had fought with addiction and depression in his life, he seemed like he was in a really good place. He loved his family. He loved making music. He had so much talent and so much more to give. It's still a bit unreal to know that he is gone. He's one of the most powerful lead singers of any genre, period. He was that good. From his lyrics, you could tell their was a lot of dark in there. Maybe so much that he couldn't get it all out. Soundgarden will go down as one of the most influential and one of the all around best bands of all time. I believe that the early 90's Seattle sound is the last rock music to come out that felt like it changed the world. I'm pretty sure that Soundgarden will no longer exist as a band. Cornell meant way too much to just throw another lead singer in there. Plus, who could they find to replace him? No one has that guy's pipes. Maybe they do something like Nirvana did at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and get some singers to perform with them one last time cuz this band will definitely get in, in fact, they should already be in. I'm hoping the band has a few new songs in the can that surface at some point because we all need more Cornell!!

TEN SOUNDGARDEN SONGS YOU SHOULD CHECK OUT:

1. Outshined
2. Fell On Black Days
3. Rusty Cage
4. Pretty Noose
5. Black Hole Sun
6. Slaves And Bulldozers
7. Burden In My Hand
8. By Crooked Steps
9. Bleed Together
10. Birth Ritual