Monday, July 9, 2018

Thursday, July 5, 2018

No Lives Matter

No Lives Matter

  1. Black Flag, "Rise Above"
  2. Bikini Kill, "Double Dare Ya"
  3. Anthrax and Public Enemy, "Bring the Noise"
  4. Living Colour, "Cult of Personality"
  5. Sepultura, "Refuse/Resist"
  6. Suicidal Tendencies, "Send Me Your Money"
  7. Ministry, "Thieves"
  8. Time Zone, "World Destruction"
  9. Nine Inch Nails, "The Hand That Feeds"
  10. Saul Williams, "List of Demands (Reparations)"
  11. Discharge, "Protest and Survive"
  12. Bad Brains, "Banned in D.C."
  13.  Faith No More, "War Pigs"
  14. Motörhead, "God Save the Queen"
  15. Body Count, "No Lives Matter"
  16. Revocation, "Pestilence Reigns"
  17. A Tribe Called Quest, "We the People..."
  18. Rage Against the Machine, "The Ghost of Tom Joad"
  19. Sinéad O'Connor, "Black Boys on Mopeds"
  20. David Bowie and Trent Reznor, "I'm Afraid of Americans"

For DMS.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

A Pace That Kills

A Pace That Kills
  1. Jenny Lewis & the Watson Twins, "Run Devil Run"
  2. Van Halen, "Runnin' with the Devil"
  3. The Replacements, "Run It"
  4. Converge, "Runaway"
  5. The Modern Lovers, "Roadrunnner"
  6. Django Reinhardt, "Runnin' Wild"
  7. Elvis Presley, "Run On"
  8. Bruce Springsteen, "Born to Run"
  9. The Coasters, "Run Red Run"
  10. Daikaiju, "Laser Runner"
  11. Le Tigre, "Let's Run"
  12. Bo Diddley, "Road Runner"
  13. Creedence Clearwater Revival, "Run Through the Jungle"
  14. Sly & the Family Stone, "Runnin' Away"
  15. Tom Petty, "Runnin' Down a Dream"
  16. Link Wray & the Wraymen, "Run Chicken Run"
  17. The Velvet Underground, "Run Run Run"
  18. Kyuss, "Freedom Run"
  19. Curtis Mayfield, "Little Child Runnin' Wild"
  20. Pink Floyd, "Run Like Hell"
  21. The Pharcyde, "Runnin'"
  22. Iron Maiden, "Run to the Hills"
For ALN.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Bo Knows

Bo Knows
  1. Bo Diddley, "Bo Diddley"
  2. U2, "Desire"
  3. Buddy Holly, "Not Fade Away"
  4. Led Zeppelin, "Custard Pie"
  5. Dr. John, "Iko Iko"
  6. The Rolling Stones, "Please Go Home"
  7. George Michael, "Faith"
  8. Elvis Presley, "(Marie's the Name of) His Latest Flame"
  9. The Magnetic Fields, "I'm Sorry I Love You"
  10. Bruce Springsteen, "She's the One"
  11. Johnny Otis, "Willie and the Hand Jive"
  12. The Clash, "Rudie Can't Fail"
  13. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, "American Girl"
  14. The Who, "Magic Bus"
  15. The Supremes, "When the Lovelight Starts Shining Through His Eyes"
  16. Jefferson Airplane, "She Has Funny Cars"
  17. The Stooges, "1969"
  18. Guns N' Roses, "Mr. Brownstone"
  19. The Go-Go's, "How Much More"
  20. Them, "Mystic Eyes"
  21. Ace Frehley, "New York Groove"
  22. Primal Scream, "Movin' on Up"
Happy Mother's Day, 2016. Guess the theme.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Rodney Speed

Rodney was a janitor at the BB King Blues Club, whom I worked with in my short stint there. For my first few days there, I only knew him as the guy who listened to music on his headphones while he swept, working to the rhythm of whatever tune was quietly escaping into the outside world, and sometimes humming and mumbling along to it. One day, I made out the Beach Boys' "Sloop John B."

"Rodney, are you listening to Pet Sounds?" I asked.

He took off his headphones.

"Pet Sounds by the Beach Boys is out of the greatest albums of all time," he said. "For the 40th anniversary, they remastered it in mono and in stereo. And they added a DVD."

"That's great!"

We talked about music nearly every day after that. I found out he'd worked in venues all over New York City, including CBGB, and we mourned Hilly Kristal together. I'd always ask him about what he was listening to, and whether it was R&B or punk or classic rock or blues or jazz, he could tell you anything about it.

One day I walked in hurriedly and past Rodney, as always, on his headphones. "Hey Rodney."

Rodney took his headphones off. "I had a really bad day, so this morning I'm listening to Manowar, Warriors of the World, and now I feel like I'm bulletproof."

I stopped in my tracks. "Rodney, you listen to Manowar?"

"I love metal, anytime I have a bad day it makes me feel like Superman. I especially like stuff from Megaforce Records, like Manowar, Anthrax and Me-tal-lic-a. This kind of music makes me want to hit somebody. Figuratively! Just hit somebody figuratively."

"Me too." I smiled.

For Rodney Speed, 1962-2016.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Scott Weiland

In 1996, MTV was running a short making-of documentary on Tiny Music... Songs from the Vatican Gift Shop, the upcoming third album by Stone Temple Pilots. The show gave more or less equal time to all four members, but the standout was the lead singer. With bright orange hair that almost didn't look dyed, a stylish goatee and sunken but alert eyes, he effortlessly drew the camera to him even when soon-to-be-standard hard rock riffs performed by his bandmates next to him. He danced like no one I had ever seen. He had an ongoing history of drug abuse (he's troubled!) and being dismissed by mainstream media critics (he's misunderstood!). And for a generation of kids reaching the age where they understood why adults liked Han Solo more than Luke Skywalker, Scott Weiland looked like the coolest man in the world.

Timing had something to do with it, and Weiland wouldn't be getting the respects he's getting this week if the media weren't being taken over by people who reached adolescence in the '90s. But timing was also Weiland's curse. STP's debut arrived right on the coattails of Nirvana and Pearl Jam, and critics were quick to bash them as copycats, even though they'd been playing grunge for years before Core in 1992. Yet they also arrived too soon, before anyone had any idea how bland and numerous the neo-grunge also-rans would get--it took countless Collective Souls and Seven Mary Threes for tastemakers to realize, whether or not they'd admit it, that maybe STP weren't so bad after all. Five years earlier or later, Stone Temple Pilots would have been hailed as rock saviors. Instead, they received the brunt of critics trying to prove how cool they were by pretending someone else wasn't.

A lot of the blame was thrown on Weiland, too handsome and ripped to portray the outsider he claimed to be. He sounded like a bully and a rapist in "Sex Type Thing", one of the most chilling portrayals of sexual assault in rock music. His baritone warble echoed Eddie Vedder's and Kurt Cobain's. Elitists turned up their noses for the same reasons they dismissed Led Zeppelin in the 70s--a bunch of cock-rock yahoos, ripping off better artists, with grudgingly infectious hooks. But the records kept selling, the hits stayed on the radio, and most amazingly, STP followed Weiland's lead into weirdness, getting trickier and lovelier with every step. The lush tones and arrangements of Tiny Music reflected the dream-pop of Weiland's lifelong hero, David Bowie, and the underrated No. 4 and Shangri-La Dee Da branched out into artsy cabaret and lounge-rock, amidst some of the band's heaviest songs. Weiland's solo 12 Bar Blues would be on Pitchfork best-of lists if it had Wayne Coyne's name and face on the cover. But of course, what he did best was rock, and did he ever do that--"Vasoline," "Wicked Garden," "Big Bang Baby", "Lady Picture Show," "Sour Girl", "Creep", "Big Empty", "Unglued", both versions of "Plush" and of course the perfect "Interstate Love Song" will dominate the airwaves for as long as there's radio and streaming. They deserve to.

Weiland was no genius. His lyrics were average, and his stint in Velvet Revolver underscored the differences between great rock stars and transcendent ones. But in that humanity lies much of his appeal. STP didn't need a superhuman, they needed a guy, and as far as rock frontmen go, Scott Weiland was one of the best.

Last weekend, I sang "Interstate Love Song" at karaoke, to a bar full of Gen Xers. It didn't surprise me that the song connected--anyone born between 1975 and 1985 knows all the words, and loves it enough to overlook the vocal limitations of whomever's delivering. But I remembered, as anyone who sings STP karaoke does, how much room Scott Weiland carved out with a few octaves. His vocals soar and roar in the melodies, but never get too far out of anyone's range. Scott Weiland looked great and sang better, but his real talent was making everyone who sang along feel, for at least three and a half minutes, that we too, could be Stone Temple Pilots.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015