Monthly Archives: April 2014

Tomorrow’s Annual Xtortion

Swiped taxed from Ed Driscoll, ReasonTV busts out a jam –

For those who kick it old skool and the only Pharrell you know is the guy who played BJ on M*A*S*H…

The Low Rider Is Revving In The Drive

Listen and compare basslines –

There’s even some similarity between the opening drum rolls.

Actual video here, I used the other one because this version skips over the opening drums.

I was something of a Thompson Twins fan when I was in junior high. I had the records Side Kicks and Into The Gap (on vinyl), and I think I had some 12″ remix album of “In the Name Of Love.” While I didn’t collect clippings or anything like that, I did read pieces about them in music magazines when I was in a store. I was rather into New Wave thanks to MTV.

I pretty much lost interest in the band not too long afterward, partly because their new single “Lay Your Hands On Me” sucked, and whatever residual interest I had in checking out their new album was likely snuffed by this. I suspect that it also helped kill their careers as well.

One Day My Plane Leaves

 I'll never know / How far to go /  To reach that place

Crying rhymes for the dying times
If it’s time to die there’s nothing you can do
– Second Coming with Layne Staley, “It’s Coming After”

Kurt Cobain wasn’t the only musician from the early 90’s “Seattle Scene” to die at a young age.
In 2002, eight years after Cobain’s death, Layne Staley of Alice In Chains died, after years and
years of drug abuse.

Like Kurt, no one knows the exact date of his death for certain, and like Kurt, his death was
ruled to have happened on April 5. I’ve always wondered if the coroner or whoever chose that date
for some kind of symbolic reason.

Very much unlike Kurt, however, Layne didn’t suddenly and shockingly die at the height of his fame. Rather, everyone knew he was heading for a pine box for a number of years before it finally happened. A good number of his lyrics even seemed to evidence that Layne himself knew this. But while he was here, his voice coupled with Jerry Cantrell’s nuclear-blast music brought a heavy, sludgy, dark sound not like anything up to that point.

Layne had a couple of side projects, one of which was occasionally guest-singing with the band Second Coming. Another better known one was collaborating with members of Pearl Jam and Screaming Trees in the supergroup-of-sorts Mad Season. Anyone who knew Layne (aka “The Voice Of Doom”) only from AIC and thought his sole talent was screaming was thoroughly disabused of that notion.

From 1995, a full seven years before his death, but it sounded like he knew it was already over, didn’t he?

Layne could also play drums and was (I’m speculating here) a bit of  “Benny Hill” fan.

According to Wikipedia, “At Alice in Chains’ last concert with Staley on July 3, 1996, they
closed with ‘Man in the Box.'” How disturbingly appropriate.

Title is from this song, lyrics and music entirely by Layne as well as playing rhythm guitar… loudness warning, but it’s awesome –

Buy Our Album! We’re Nirvana!

Our little group has always been
And always will until the end

It’s 20 years today since Kurt Cobain died. There’s still argument over whether it was a suicide or not.

I didn’t get into Nirvana’s music right off the bat, but I did like “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” and once I dived into alternative music, they were right up there. They were one of those bands where I hated some of there songs and loved others … not a lot of middle ground. At first, I thought they were going to be the next fad, maybe be a big name band. Like everyone else, I had NO idea just how big they were gonna be. I don’t think I’ve seen anything else quite like it in my lifetime.

People just could not get enough of that song. It was everywhere. I think it inspired more people to pick up guitars than anyone since the Beatles, or maybe even since Elvis.

I wasn’t one of them. I had wanted to play music since before that, and didnt pick up guitar until well after Kurt was dead. But Nirvana was definitely a strong influence. Some of the first songs I learned to play on guitar were Nirvana tunes. Let’s face it – solos aside, a lot of them aren’t that difficult once you master power and barre chords. They are, however, teriffically arranged power and barre chords.

Reportedly, Kurt claimed that he knew he had “made it” when Weird Al Yankovic parodied one of his songs. To hear Al himself tell it

For whatever reason, my manager tried and tried and said he couldn’t get through [to Nirvana]. He contacted them again and again and they never got back to him. So he said, “If you want to do this parody, it’s on you. You’ve gotta talk to the band.” A friend of mine was in the cast of Saturday Night Live [UHF co-star Victoria Jackson]. I told her, if you ever get Kurt Cobain alone in a room, put him on the phone, because I’d love to talk to him — and she did! Directly! He was sweet and he got it in like five seconds and said, “Of course you can do a parody.” The famous quote from him was, “Is it going to be a song about food?” because at that point that’s primarily what I was known for. And I said, “Well, no, it’s going to be a song about how nobody can understand your lyrics.” And he said, “Oh, sure, of course, that’s funny.”

Yankovic also stated –

It was exceptionally hard shortly after Kurt passed. It was still my biggest hit at the time, and I couldn’t not do it because the fans would want to hear it, but at the same time, it was uncomfortable for me, especially. So for a long time after Kurt passed, I would always preface my performance of the song by doing a somber dedication to Kurt in his memory. The hardest one was doing Seattle, because I didn’t know if I should be doing that song in Seattle at the time. I didn’t know how people would take it. I asked a lot of journalists there, “Should I do this? Should I not do this?” And almost unanimously they said, “You should do this. It would be cathartic.” And it actually went over extremely well.

I don’t remember where I was when I found out Kurt had died or anything like that. I’m not a hardcore fan keeping vigils or whatever. But I have always been a bit fascinated by him and the band, and sometimes pick up the odd and random bit or piece of history I trip across.