A Quarter Century of Rock ‘N’ Roll Songs

Given my head is ringing from another extremely loud edition of American Falcon practice, I thought I’d take a stab at this music-related meme my friend Richard brought to my attention via a post on his blog. My friend Charles also posted one, which you can check out on his blog as well. I like this kind of thing, seeing what other people choose.

The meme is this: What 25 songs would you pick to describe your personal history with rock ‘n’ roll?

This is a tough one for me (as I’m sure it is for any hardcore music fan). What I decided to do is pick a meaningful song for every year going back the last 25 (including this year, which makes it 26). This decision omits most of my most formative songs, since I’m a child of the 70s and 80s, but I thought it would be more interesting this way. In compiling the list, I encountered songs that have hit me hard in the years since that I wasn’t aware of at the time, so in those cases I chose the songs that I remember had meaning to me in that particular year, as it was happening, if that makes sense. For example, Sleep’s Holy Mountain record came out in 1993, and I love that album . . . but Enigma, a band (and song) I can’t even remember when I heard last, gets the nod in my list because I listened to it then and it was a big deal. Suffice to say the exercise of putting this list together was quite a trip down memory lane. Anyway, enough of that. Dig this:

  1. Ramones — Don’t Bust My Chops (1989)
  2. Jane’s Addiction — Ain’t No Right (1990)
  3. R.E.M. — Losing My Religion (1991)
  4. Trevor Jones — The Kiss (Last of the Mohicans soundtrack)(1992)
  5. Enigma — Return to Innocence (1993)
  6. Sarah McLachlan — Possession (1994)
  7. Garbage — Only Happy When It Rains (1995)
  8. Tonic — If You Could Only See (1996)
  9. Ramones — We’re Outta Here (the entire album)(1997)
  10. Rob Zombie — Dragula (1998)
  11. Supersuckers — The Evil Powers of Rock n’ Roll (1999)
  12. Fu Manchu — Over the Edge (2000)
  13. Spirit Caravan — The Departure (Of Quetzalcoatl) (2001)
  14. Lazerwolfs — Elemental (2002)
  15. The White Stripes — Seven Nation Army (2003)
  16. Drive-By Truckers — Where the Devil Don’t Stay (2004)
  17. Witchcraft — Mr. Haze (2005)
  18. The Black Keys — Your Touch (2006)
  19. Ryan Bingham — Southside of Heaven (2007)
  20. The Mother Truckers — Dynamite (2008)
  21. Band of Skulls — Light of the Morning (2009)
  22. Katy Perry — California Gurls (2010)
  23. The Black Keys — Lonely Boy (2011)
  24. Heartless Bastards — The Arrow Killed the Beast (2012)
  25. Kadavar — Come Back Life (2013)
  26. Nikki Lane — Right Time (2014)


A Musical Event of Interest to Few Readers of This Blog

Buzzo-7Last week I was fortunate to publish an interview in the Independent with one of my favorites, Buzz Osbourne of the band (the) Melvins. He’s the guitar player/singer/primary songwriter for the band. I had interviewed him once before, back in 2008, when the band was touring behind their Nude With Boots record. The guy is a great interview, very smart, and endlessly quotable. The word counts on these articles don’t allow nearly enough.

This time around he is doing a solo acoustic tour. I have the CD, This Machine Kills Artists, dig it, and was very curious to see what it was like live. I was able to get on the guest list (one of the occasional, although rare, perks of the Indy freelance gig) with a +1, and Sid went with me.

The show was fantastic. Buzz totally changed my idea about what a lone guy playing an acoustic can do. No merely standing in front of the mic, or sitting in a chair . . . he was an energetic and constantly moving performer, just like in the fully amped up Melvins environment. It was a revelation. I liked it way more than I thought I would. The performance was HEAVY, and his stories between batches of songs were hilarious. There are plenty other people out there doing the singer/songwriter thing, and doing it well. But they ain’t doing it like Buzz is, which really shouldn’t be a surprise for anyone who knows anything about his musical history. I couldn’t have been more pleased.




Adam Faucett

Also of note was the dude who opened the show, a more traditional singer/songwriter from Arkansas named Adam Faucett. Man, he was fantastic too, delivering the kinds of goods Steve Earle thinks he does. A great and powerful voice and some gorgeous songwriting too. I was mightily impressed with his stuff. Bought his latest record on vinyl, a CD of his previous record, and tipped him an additional $10. I’ll be singing his praises to whomever will listen, believe me.

adam-5 adam-8

I’m happy that I got a few decent images out of it. The light at the Palace sucks, and I’m a shitty music photographer because I’d rather be rocking out than taking pictures, but it all worked out in the end. All in all, a pretty swell way to spend a Monday night in the Big City.




Seize the Day with Burning Might

spirit-caravan-tour-datesThe middle of last week I was in Texas and received a text from my kid. “Spirit Caravan is playing in Spokane on Sunday.” I almost didn’t believe him, but I looked into it. I knew they had reformed, and that they would be in the Northwest, but not particularly close. Spokane had indeed been added, and given that’s only three hours away, and it was an all ages show, the road trip was on.

Spirit Caravan is one of my favorite bands, though they broke up several years ago. Scott “Wino” Weinrich is a living legend to those of us into this kind of music. The last time the band had been through this part of the country (13 years ago!), not long before they broke up, I promoted and opened the show for them with my band, Lazerwolfs. I’d become friends with Wino; on a trip to Maryland a few years ago I saw his band at the time, The Hidden Hand, then spent the night and next day at his house. Over the years we’ve stayed in touch off and on, but I hadn’t talked to him since I saw him with Saint Vitus in San Francisco three or so years ago.


Long story short, it was a great night. The band killed. Sherman (SC’s bass player) was great to hang with and swap stories. This is a dude who loves the life of heavy music (and weed) that he’s devoted his life to. Hell, even Al, the merch guy, remembered our time together in Missoula so many years ago. It was good to reconnect with him as well. As for Henry, the drummer, this was his first tour with SC. He also drums for Saint Vitus. He’s a friendly guy, whose only complaint is that he’d only had a couple weeks to learn the tunes.

sc-5 sc-18


Most importantly, my boy and I got to hang out with Wino, and Sid was clearly thrilled. It’s a blessing to hang out with your idols sometimes, and it’s even better when they treat you kindly. That was really the point to me, as Sid was very young when he met Wino before. Now, as a young rocker himself playing a style of music that Wino is a pioneer of, it was a big moment for him.

Sid's face says it all
Sid’s face says it all


Here’s the song they closed with. It destroys me. It’s a cover of an Animals tune, recorded when Wino was in his band The Obsessed. The man has a soulful voice and one of the best set of hands in the world of guitar playing. Sweet riffs, and an ability to cut loose — like at the 3:20 mark — like few others. Hearing it live was something else.


At one point Wino was talking about his own children, and domestic issues, and other things guys — long in tooth and gray of beard as we are — tend to do when we get together. His oldest son, whom I’d met in Maryland as a toddler, is 13 now. “He’s really cool,” Wino said, with a smile. “He’s….” and he struggled with words, then he drew a circle with his finger, encompassing himself, Sid, and me, “He’s one of us.”


If you want to see a gallery on flickr of all these shots, dig it HERE. I’m pretty proud of them.


Gratitude Monday

Better late than never this week I guess.

I’ve been all over the place today with what I would post, but I just now revisited a link my kid sent me over the weekend. It’s the first demo he recorded with his band in their jam room. The band is called Swamp Ritual, and they are a Doom/Stoner Rock two-piece drums/bass outfit. I think they’re great, and I love this.

So what am I grateful for? As much as it worries me sometimes, I’m grateful the obnoxious mutant offspring has found something to be passionate about in his music. I hope it treats him well.


Sunday Evening Summer Music

The summer of 1983 was a big deal for me. It was the first summer my friends and I put a rock band together. It was also the summer that the album this song took to #1 came out, Metal Health, by Quiet Riot. They came to Missoula that summer, opening for Loverboy, and it seemed like we were the only ones in town who knew who they were. Everyone was shocked because lead singer Kevin DuBrow kept saying, “Fuck!” from the stage. Of course later that summer this video blew up on MTV. This from Wikipedia:

On August 27, 1983, Quiet Riot’s second single “Cum On Feel the Noize” was released. A cover of the 1973 hit by Slade, the single spent two weeks at No. 5 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in November 1983 and was the first heavy metal song to make the top 5 on that chart. The success of the single helped carry the album Metal Health to the top of Billboard album chart, making it the first American heavy metal debut album to ever reach No. 1 in the United States. On November 26, 1983 Quiet Riot became the first heavy metal band to have a top 5 hit and No. 1 album in the same week. Their success was aided in no small part by the “Cum On Feel the Noize” video’s heavy rotation on MTV. Metal Health displaced The Police’s Synchronicity at No. 1 and stayed there for just a week until Lionel Richie’s Can’t Slow Down took over the No. 1 spot.

I remember a few things about the day of that concert. I was sick, but went in that morning to get my photograph taken for my 4-H identification card for the upcoming fair. I recovered in time for the show. My friend Mike almost decided not to go because he was stressed out after having a near head-on collision with his mom on their driveway (it was a narrow one-way road with a blind corner). But we managed to make the show happen, and I can honestly say it had a profound impact, for better or worse, on our lives. Here’s the video.