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Monthly Archives: February 2012

Thoughts… Today’s Music

Sometimes (more like ALL the time) I feel like I was born in the wrong decade and am growing up in the wrong time in history. Well, as far as music goes. There are things I am thankful for. I love being able to wear pants, offensive band shirts, a lot of makeup, and straightening my hair. The technology is great, too. But it’s not at the same time. With all the iPods (not trashing iPods, because I think they’re great… to an extent), it’s harder for people to just listen to stuff on the radio like, even as recent as the Nineties. iPods are selfish. You see an ad on the TV about some shitty new artist and it says “Available on iTunes”. Not the radio. iTunes. Back in the day, it used to be that whatever came out, came out. Everyone knew a few songs they heard on the radio, and then they’d go out and buy the record. People were exploring new music by going to certain clubs and bars and trading records and tapes. None of that now. Any asshole can come up with a song and then it’ll get on MTV. Anything that’s catchy. It’s always been like that, but this is just getting out of hand.

I like music from so many different movements and eras, that I can’t quite think of what time period I’d most enjoy living in.

Possibly the Nineties, since that seems the easiest, but I was alreadyliving in the Nineties (b. 1992). Sometimes I wish I lived in the late Sixties when all the folk and hard rock stuff was popular. Sometimes I wish I lived in the early Seventies when people decided the hippie movement was too soft and needed something heavier. Aaaand sometimes I wish I lived in the early Eighties when heavy metal was getting serious. Of course, I’m talking about living in the US, and I’m ignoring all the political issues and wars.

But sometimes I think, would I even like the same music I like now, if I lived in the time period where those genres and bands were flourishing? Would I *really* like to live in San Francisco in the early Eighties where the Bay Area thrash metal bands were gaining success? As much as I love that music now, I’m not sure I would have dug that whole scene. Maybe I would have thought it was dangerous and violent and would be scared to walk past a metal club. Of course this is without prior knowledge of how important this scene would become in music history.

Another time period I have always thought about living in would be the late Sixties. Not because of that flower power weirdness, but because some of the greatest rock bands ever came out of that era. You got Crosby, Stills & Nash, Cream, Buffalo Springfield, the Byrds, the Flying Burrito Brothers, Zeppelin, etc. Those are a few different genres of music, but would I have still loved all of them?

Since everything was pretty new, I wonder if I would just attach myself to one type of music because I thought the scene was safe, or if I’d still be open-minded. Hell, maybe I would have had the same attitude then as I do now, which is that everything sucks and I want something old school. The CSN crowd were hippies and such, and I don’t think I’d really dig the whole counter-culture, so I might not like CSN at all.

Then there’s the early Nineties… all those metal bands were still around and getting even bigger. Then comes “grunge”. Considering my uncle has been friends with Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, and Mudhoney since the Eighties, I think I’d dig living in Seattle when “alternative” rock was starting to become popular. But this is mainly because I’d actually KNOW those bands instead of just knowing the music and the scene. There were the “big four” of grunge, Nirvana, Soundgarden, Pearl Jam, and Alice in Chains (who I adore), and then the smaller bands like Mudhoney and Screaming Trees, both of which are ridiculously important to rock history.

I’m thankful that I’m a young girl in this period of time, but something still bothers me… the music. What has happened? I know I’m not with the times, and I never have been, but there has to be a heavy rock uprising again. It’s like people have gotten tired of the standard blues or rock track. There’s nothing special about computerized music. There’s nothing special about a little twat who got famous from YouTube. People need to earn respect from the public by playing their asses off in clubs for six years and then, possibly getting a record contract. People need to work. I’m so sick and tired of all these little kids getting famous from playing some shitty ass guitar song on YouTube and suddenly getting signed. I don’t care how talented they are. Work is what makes a band a band.

Or what about all those artists you read about where they were a little lanky kid who dug the guitar, but couldn’t get what they needed in his shitty white suburban neighborhood, so they decide to go down to the black part of town (“across the tracks”), go into some blues club and discover a big black magical guitar genius? I’ve heard the same story a million times, but it’s what makes good music. I’ve read that about Stephen Stills, Keith Richards, John Fogerty, Duane Allman, and so on – and those are all damn fine guitar players.

What I do know, is that rock and roll is not a phase. A genre of music that has been around that long and has a billion and one different sub-genres is something special. Same goes for heavy metal. Heavy metal is still going strong. Doesn’t mean it’s any good, but it’s still a huge part of music today. I’m so glad people still appreciate the basic rock instruments. I’m also glad that bands and artists (some of which I actually don’t like) are still coming out with music, no matter how shit it is.

Van Halen just came out with a new album. It’s horrible, but it’s still VAN HALEN. Foo Fighters are still going strong, as much as I don’t like them, but I love Dave Grohl and I love that they’re playing rock. Metallica came out with a new album a few years ago, which is fantastic. So did Anthrax and Megadeth, Tom Petty and Bruce Springsteen. And of course, BLACK SABBATH and ALICE IN CHAINS.

The problem is that a lot of those bands aren’t directed towards kids anymore. Other than the metal. Tom Petty? Your average kid does not listen to Tom Petty. Or Bruce Springsteen. They are in the “now” but not to the youth. Regardless, I am thankful for all those artists and bands that continue to put out music, be it good or horrible. It’s a step in the right direction.

“Long live rock and roll!” – ‘Overblown’ by Mudhoney

Favorite Rock/Metal Guitarists

*Not in order

1. Kirk Hammett – Metallica

2. Joe Walsh – James Gang/Eagles/solo

3. Dickey Betts – The Allman Brothers Band

4. Dimebag Darrell – Pantera/Damageplan

5. Billy Gibbons – ZZ Top

6. James Hetfield – Metallica

7. Eric Clapton – Cream/The Yardbirds/solo

8. Duane Allman – The Allman Brothers Band

9. Frank Zappa

10. Tom Morello – Rage Against the Machine

11. Stephen Stills – Buffalo Springfield/Crosby, Stills & Nash/solo

12. Jerry Cantrell – Alice in Chains, solo

13. John Fogerty – Creedence Clearwater Revival

14. George Harrison

15. Tony Iommi – Black Sabbath

16. Ritchie Blackmore – Deep Purple/Rainbow

17. Eddie Van Halen – Van Halen

18. Mark Knopfler – Dire Straits

19. Randy Rhoads – Ozzy/Quiet Riot

20. Andy Summers – The Police

21. Robbie Robertson – The Band/solo

22. Mick Jones – The Clash

23. Kim Thayil – Soundgarden

24. Dan Spitz – Anthrax

Favorite Frontmen of Rock

*Not in order

1. Bruce Springsteen

2. James Hetfield – Metallica

3. Alice Cooper

4. David Lee Roth – Van Halen

5. Eddie Vedder – Pearl Jam

6. Stephen Stills – Buffalo Springfield/Crosby, Stills & Nash

7. Gram Parsons – The Flying Burrito Brothers

8. Bruce Dickinson – Iron Maiden

9. Robert Plant – Led Zeppelin

10. Anthony Kiedis – Red Hot Chili Peppers

11. Rob Halford – Judas Priest

12. David Crosby – The Byrds/Crosby, Stills & Nash

13. Johnny Rotten – Sex Pistols

14. Perry Farrell – Jane’s Addiction

15. Layne Staley – Alice in Chains

16. Joe Strummer – The Clash

17. Frank Zappa

18. Ian Gillan – Deep Purple

19. Eric Burdon – The Animals

20. Ian Astbury – The Cult

21. Ronnie James Dio – Rainbow/Black Sabbath/Dio

22. Neil Young

23. Henry Rollins – Black Flag/Rollins Band

24. Chris Cornell – Soundgarden

25. Phil Anselmo – Pantera

26. Dave Grohl – Foo Fighters

27. Glenn Danzig – Misfits/Danzig/Samhain

28. John Fogerty – Creedence Clearwater Revival

29. Lemmy – Motorhead

30. Les Claypool – Primus

31. Tom Petty

32. Roger McGuinn – The Byrds

33. Iggy Pop – The Stooges

Top 20 Greatest Country Rock Songs

1. Heart of Gold – Neil Young

2. Take it Easy – Eagles

3. The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down – The Band

4. Teach Your Children – Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young

5. Christine’s Tune – The Flying Burrito Brothers

6. One Hundred Years From Now – The Byrds

7. Bad Moon Rising – Creedence Clearwater Revival

8. Sin City – The Flying Burrito Brothers

9. Outlaw Man – Eagles

10. Lookin’ Out My Back Door – Creedence Clearwater Revival

11. Wasn’t Born to Follow – The Byrds

12. Hickory Wind – The Byrds (Gram Parsons)

13. Six Days on the Road – The Flying Burrito Brothers

14. Go and Say Goodbye – Buffalo Springfield

15. One Hundred Years From Now – Gram Parsons

16. Lodi – Creedence Clearwater Revival

17. Hot Burrito #1 – The Flying Burrito Brothers

18. Old Man – Neil Young

19. Out of My Mind – Buffalo Springfield

20. Already Gone – Eagles

Top 20 Greatest Folk-Rock Songs

This is my personal list. These are favorites, AND what I think are the “greatest”.

1. Mr. Tambourine Man – The Byrds

2. Bluebird – Buffalo Springfield

3. Marrakesh Express – Crosby, Stills & Nash

4. Turn! Turn! Turn! – The Byrds

5. Mr. Soul – Buffalo Springfield

6. California Dreamin’ – The Mamas and the Papas

7. Woodstock – Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young

8. For What It’s Worth – Buffalo Springfield

9. Love the One You’re With – Stephen Stills

10. Summer in the City – Lovin’ Spoonful

11. My Back Pages – The Byrds

12. Suite: Judy Blue Eyes – Crosby, Stills & Nash

13. So You Want to Be a Rock’n’Roll Star – The Byrds

14. Wooden Ships – Crosby, Stills & Nash

15. House of the Rising Sun – The Animals

16. I’ll Feel a Whole Lot Better – The Byrds

17. Carry On – Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young

18. Questions – Buffalo Springfield

19. You Don’t Have to Cry – Crosby, Stills & Nash

20. Ballad of Easy Rider – The Byrds

Thoughts… Metallica and the Metal Scene/Culture

Where the fuck do I begin… Metallica has been a huge part of my life since I was a kid. I don’t ever remember “finding out” about Metallica. It’s one of those things like where most kids, ever since the Seventies, didn’t “find out” Jimi Hendrix died, they just *knew* he was dead, like it was cemented into their brain at birth. As cliche as this is, I can’t imagine what my life would have been like if it weren’t for Metallica. Would I be into mainstream pop music like Britney Spears, or other terrifying women like that? I have to give thanks to having older brothers. If I didn’t have older brothers, I couldn’t even imagine myself being here today. Another influence would definitely be my mother. I was hearing hard rock when I was a child, one of my first favorite songs being “Clampdown” by the Clash. So, why am I still such a devoted fan, for almost fifteen years straight?

It seems a little weird that such a young kid could already like so many kinds of music. I wasn’t with the times, and I guess I’m still not. You can call that sad because I was/am missing out on such “great” music, but I like it just the way it is. And who knows, if I was around back when Metallica was new to the scene, maybe I wouldn’t have even liked them, because I wouldn’t have liked the metal scene. The “scene” in music, to me, is definitely important. I love Metallica, Pantera, Anthrax, Alice in Chains, Iron Maiden, etc, but the fans… that’s a different story. Metal history is so important, and maybe I would have thought the same for the metal scene that I do with the music scene nowadays. Maybe I would have thought that they were a  bunch of rowdy and frightening people that liked to beat the shit out of other people for no reason, or maybe I would be attracted to it because it was dangerous…

Hell, my taste in music is all over the place. I absolutely love Crosby, Stills & Nash and a lot of great music came out of that era, but at the same time, that’s when Black Sabbath came out. That’s also when Led Zeppelin became popular. Led Zeppelin is more mainstream than Crosby, Stills & Nash and Black Sabbath, but that’s not the point. If I was around in the Sixties, would I be in the Sixties hippie counter-culture listening to CSN and the Grateful Dead, or would I be one of the people who despised that culture, and was looking for something heavier, like Black Sabbath? I assume the people who were attracted to Black Sabbath went all-out on the new heavy band. They had never heard anything like it, and so they immediately wanted to identify with it, creating a fan base that was and is so incredibly loyal and devoted. That can be a good thing, but it can also be a scary thing.

Of course everyone knows “Paranoid” and “Iron Man”. People who don’t even know a thing about Black Sabbath know “Iron Man” by the first note, but what would it have been like back then? “Iron Man” really is a cool song, despite having heard it for nineteen years straight, I almost dislike the song… back to Metallica.

You can criticize Metallica all you want, what with the “selling out” and the whole Napster deal, but people forget that they are SO huge and important when it comes to heavy metal music. What Black Sabbath left, Metallica picked up and carried on. In 1986, Metallica had just released Master of Puppets which is considered one of the best albums of all time, and one, if not THE, most important thrash metal album of all time. At the end of Metallica’s opening set for Ozzy in 1986, fans said “No” to Ozzy, wanting Metallica to continue to play. This is OZZY OSBOURNE, and the fans went haywire and started to get violent because Metallica’s set was over. Metallica became one of the biggest bands in music history, without help from radio and MTV. In 1988, Metallica released the political …And Justice for All, and one of their most famous songs, “One” was starting to catch on, being on radio and MTV, their first music video ever.

I remember one of my first favorite songs being “Orion”. I was on a fishing trip to this lake right beside a nuclear power plant, the cooling towers in plain sight, with my dad, my brothers, and a few of my neighbors. This is when I really started getting into Metallica. I was in the second grade, and in the car on the way back, I started humming the interlude to “Orion”, and the reaction I got was like something out of a movie. Everyone just stopped what they were doing and looked at me in amazement. Remember, I was about six years old and this was back when the Spice Girls and Britney Spears were ridiculously popular. I noticed that everyone was looking at me, so I stopped. My brother told me to hum the song again and I was embarrassed, because I didn’t want to admit that I liked something that I had learned from my brother. I hummed it again, stopped, and looked out the window with rosey-red cheeks, acting like it didn’t happen. Apparently this was big news because my dad and brothers ended up telling my mom when we got back, and she was astonished as well. I’ve talked to her about it since, and she told me that she thought it was great that I was into some complex music at such a young age, but also that she knew what she was in for: another Metallica-obsessed kid.

At the time, I had liked a few Clash songs, a few Pogues songs, and that was it. Maybe a few Tom Jones songs, and whatever I heard on the local classic rock radio station, but that was it. Other than that, Metallica was the only band that existed to me. My mom and I remember me saying that Metallica was the only good band on the planet, when I was in the fourth grade. I eventually branched out into the typical junior high fascination with ACDC and Guns N’ Roses, but that was while I was still in elementary school. Once I actually entered junior high, I couldn’t stand either of those bands, and it was all about Metallica again. There were a few embarrassing artists and bands that I liked, including Eminem and Good Charlotte, but that was a quick phase. I have to admit though, even though I was into Eminem, I was into old school Eminem, and early Nineties hip hop. I still am a fan of a lot of that stuff, like NWA and Public Enemy, but it’s more for nostalgia.

James Hetfield has one of the most powerful vocals on this goddamn planet. I still can’t believe that after Kill ‘Em All came out, they were still looking for a lead singer. Hetfield’s voice is so ridiculously perfect for thrash metal. He is one of the few vocalists where throughout his career, his voice actually matured. Some people say that’s just him getting older and trying to have a more mainstream type vocal, but it’s natural. His vocals just seem to get heavier and heavier as the years go by, and I think it’s great. Of course, everyone (including myself) wishes he could still hit the high screeching notes he did back in the early Eighties, but would those vocals make any sense in ANY song off the Black Album? Or even …And Justice for All for that matter. His vocals on Justice are probably my favorite. They are so fucking heavy, it’s absolutely brilliant. Justice also has some of Metallica’s best riffs and solos as well, and, just like every Metallica fan on the Earth, it lacks bass. It’s true that Justice would be a better album if the bass had been turned up, but all in all, it’s a fan-fucking-tastic album. It is so intricate that it makes me teary-eyed just thinking about it. Master of Puppets is considered a musical masterpiece, but Justice deserves some hailing as well. Forgetting the fucking bass issue, you can’t listen to that album without feeling like everything good has happened to you within that amount of time. Absolutely brilliant.

Favorite Songs of Each Album

Kill ‘Em All (1983)

1. (Anesthesia) Pulling Teeth
2. Jump in the Fire
3. The Four Horsemen
4. No Remorse
5. Hit the Lights
6. Seek & Destroy

Ride the Lightning (1984)

1. Fight Fire with Fire
2. Ride the Lightning
3. For Whom the Bell Tolls
4. Fade to Black
5. Trapped Under Ice
6. Escape
7. Creeping Death
8. The Call of Ktulu
(Yes, that is the entire album)

Master of Puppets (1986)

1. Disposable Heroes
2. Master of Puppets
3. Orion
4. The Thing That Should Not Be
5. Welcome Home (Sanitarium)
6. Damage, Inc.

…And Justice for All (1988)

1. Blackened
2. …And Justice for All
3. Eye of the Beholder
4. One
5. The Shortest Straw
6. Harvester of Sorrow
7. The Frayed Ends of Sanity
8. To Live is to Die
9. Dyers Eve

Metallica (1991)

1. Nothing Else Matters
2. Sad But True
3. Holier Than Thou
4. The Unforgiven
5. Wherever I May Roam
6. Of Wolf and Man
7. My Friend of Misery
8. The Struggle Within

Load (1996)

1. The House Jack Built
2. Hero of the Day
3. Bleeding Me
4. Cure

Reload (1997)

1. Devil’s Dance
2. The Unforgiven II
3. Low Man’s Lyric

Garage Inc. (1998)

1. Am I Evil? (Diamond Head)
2. Blitzkrieg (Blitzkrieg)
3. Turn the Page (Bob Seger)
4. Die, Die My Darling (Misfits)
5. Tuesday’s Gone (Lynyrd Skynyrd)
6. The More I See (Discharge)
7. Helpless (Diamond Head)
8. The Small Hours (Holocaust)
9. The Wait (Killing Joke)
10. Crash Course in Brain Surgery (Budgie)
11. Last Caress/Green Hell (Misfits)
12. Breadfan (Budgie)
13. The Prince (Diamond Head)
14. Stone Cold Crazy (Queen)
15. So What? (Anti-Nowhere League)
16. Overkill (Motorhead)
17. Killing Time (Sweet Savage)

And the whole S&M album is absolutely brilliant. The San Francisco Symphony is one of the best things to walk into Metallica’s career. Absolute perfection.

Top Heavy Metal Albums of All-Time

I like a lot of heavy metal bands that are almost mandatory to like (Metallica, Judas Priest, Black Sabbath, etc), but then there are a lot of metal bands that are a bit weird (White Zombie, Soundgarden, etc), and some of those aren’t even considered “metal”. But this is a list of albums  not artists.

P.S. Anyone who says Louder Than Love by Soundgarden isn’t Sabbath-esque, you’re an idiot.

1. Kill ‘Em All (1983) – Metallica

2. Paranoid (1970) – Black Sabbath

3. Master of Puppets (1986) – Metallica

4. Black Sabbath (1970) – Black Sabbath

5. Ride the Lightning (1984) – Metallica

6. Master of Reality (1971) – Black Sabbath

7. British Steel (1980) – Judas Priest

8. Peace Sells… But Who’s Buying? (1986) – Megadeth

9. …And Justice for All (1988) – Metallica

10. Van Halen (1979) – Van Halen

11. Ace of Spades (1980) – Motorhead

12. Cowboys from Hell (1990) – Pantera

13. Metallica (1991) – Metallica

14. 1984 (1984) – Van Halen

15. Lightning to the Nations (1980) – Diamond Head

16. Vulgar Display of Power (1992) – Pantera

17. Louder Than Love (1989) – Soundgarden

18. Dirt (1992) – Alice in Chains

19. La Sexorcisto (1992) – White Zombie

20. Far Beyond Driven (1994) – Pantera

21. Facelift (1990) – Alice in Chains

22. The Number of the Beast (1982) – Iron Maiden