Thanks for the reminder, Mary. It still sounds fresh! That’s why it’s hard to believe it’s this old, not because I’m senile.
Who doesn’t love this record? If you bought it right when it was released you were probably a hipster, maybe you still are, even in your 40s. That’s because this was the major label debut for Jane’s Addiction and pretty much only fans of their first record were waiting for it to hit. At the time my brother and I had record store and a number of our regulars were excited to get their hands on Nothing’s Shocking. I know I was, being a hipster and all. The album opening pretty ditty “Up the Beach” was the perfect spacey, ethereal set up for the flat out rocking “Ocean Size” that followed it. The rest of the album is just as good, and of course it also contains what I suppose was their biggest hit, the studio version of “Jane Says.”
And check out that ticket stub. I got to see Jane’s Addiction a couple months later, with Iggy freakin’ Pop(!) for a whopping ten bucks. Yeah, I remember that too. It was a great show and the crowd was definitely there for both bands. Navarro’s shredding was even more impressive in person. No rock star silliness, just full on rocking. And it was good. Amen.
I don’t know where I got T.V. Sky (1992) by The Young Gods, but it’s always been a favorite. These guys can be called “industrial” but the sound on this record is really more hard rock or metal with plenty of sampling, loops and tricky time signatures. I love the whole thing, even the 20 minute Doors-y “Summer Eyes.” My favorite is the album opener, “Our House.” The lyrics sound like something from Sesame Street, maybe because these guys are ESL. But they’re perfect juxtaposed with the minimal and ultra-heavy jackhammer riff that finally kicks in for the last minute of the song, after two minutes of almost ambient loops, with when singer Franz Treichler yells “Hey Friends!”
Another great song is “The Night Dance.” Listen for the deft sampling and looping of Guns and Roses’ “Welcome to the Jungle” guitar riff.
Fans include The Edge (U2) and David Bowie.(?) Those geezers are cooler than I thought.
From the looks of it they’ve gone acoustic more recently. You can check the acoustic version of “Our House” at the Young Gods’ MySpace page.
Our house… is a house… that moves…
Just like the ocean, just like the ocean, just like the ocean
If you wanna come by
It’s easy to find, it’s easy to find
It’s front of the sky, it’s in front of the sky
I was thinking this record was on the Delicious Vinyl label, but this is the original release which came out on Rick Rubin’s Def American. Turns out Delicious signed Masters of Reality and re-released their eponymous debut a couple years later. It’s better than I remember. There’s a weird vintage rock and roll vibe, but that’s how it sounded 20 years ago when it was new. It reminds me of Cream with a dash of Queens of The Stone Age. And there are in fact real connections to those bands. Ginger Baker would later play with the group, and singer Chris Goss has a side band with Queens front man Josh Homme.
Delicious Vinyl has one of the coolest logos of all time, but I dig the industrial looking Def American graphic on the liner pictured below.
That’s one cool dude on the cover. And speaking of cool dudes, this album was a birthday present from my Dad, a/k/a “Mr. Cool.” Just ask my Mom. I had some singles, you know, vinyl seven inches, that I had accumulated, but this was my very first full length album. That’s right, the first of thousands of records. And I can’t think of a better album or artist to start a record collection. I’m eternally grateful for my father pointing me in the right music direction. I liked Hendrix from what I heard on the radio, but this record was not something I asked for. It was his idea.
For me, Hendrix brings together everything I love most about music. Art, innovation, guitar mastery, blues, funk, acid rock, and the moments of cathartic heaviness that I just need to survive. Smash Hits by the Jimi Hendrix Experience is one of the most played records I own, and the vinyl shows the wear and tear. But it still sounds great. I did a decent job maintaining it for a 13 year old.
My favorite from this collection is a song I think was less of a hit than the others, “Stone Free.”
Acquired: 1989 – At a record I owned with my brother
Here’s another record that’s really “for fans only.” I only have it because I was running a record store with my brother when it came out. I’m a big fan of Jane’s Addiction and even I don’t want to keep The Shocking E.P. As you can see from the cover it’s a “limited edition” and I’ll tell you why. The only thing “shocking” is Perry Farrell’s larger than life face on the cover. There’s another pic on the back of the whole band, you know, for fans. The only non-album cut is “Had a Dad – Live!” and it’s pretty forgettable. “Mountain Song” and certainly “Jane Says” are rock classics, but all of us fans already have those tracks. This is an import from Englandia.
I want to be in The Hives! The suits alone are enough incentive for me, but the music on The Black and White Album makes the dream of band membership irresistible. I like all their records but this is the best one yet. The Hives have that essence rare that reminds me of The Fleshtones: familiar but fresh, fun but not dumb, and always rocking even when the music is low key. At times this record is more punk than punk rock and more funky than funk. I can’t get enough of it. I’m probably playing it, in its entirety, at least five times a day. It’s hard to pick favorites but one standout is the fast rocking “Won’t Be Long.” It has a glockenspiel riff that is a perfect layer of icing atop a multilayer rock and roll cake, like the recorder solo in “Wild Thing” by The Troggs.
Everyone’s a loser in the modern world
Look at all the sad and gloomy little boys and girls
I know all you got is troubles all you got is woes
Shake the chips off your shoulders here’s how it
Acquired: 2005 – Another one I got from Bob Bobala
Fastway was a hard rock/metal super group with members from MotÃ¶rhead, Humble Pie, and UFO. Believe it or not, the then-unknown singer Dave King went on to found Flogging Molly. Believe it.
I have always loved the song “Say What You Will” but I never got around to getting the album. Bob Bob’s record collection to the rescue again. (I guess it’s just the luck of the draw but it seems like his old records are popping up more than my own lately.) Some of the songs are highly mediocre, but when they’re good they’re great. Another favorite is “Another Day.” Included with Bob’s copy of Fastway is a one-sided 7 inch with a Zeppelin-style dirge titled “Far Far From Home.” I don’t know what the story is with that song, but I dig it.
And so begins my favorite ZZ Top song, “Waitin’ for the Bus.” Growing up I loved hearing it on the radio. All the AOR stations would also play “Jesus Just Left Chicago” right after it. That’s also how the songs are ordered on this best of. It’s hard to believe ZZ Top had a “best of” out in 1977. Also, after non-stop listening to this compilation over the last couple days I’m amazed how funky these cats are, or at least were. There are many other great ones here: “Tush”, “La Grange”, “Heard it on the X” etc. They’re still rocking live shows with these tunes, but their later period work doesn’t really compare.
To my everlasting regret I never have been able to find their records. And I do want records. Whenever I’m in a proper record store I always head right to the Zs, but no soap. At least I scored this one from my friend Bob when he moved West.
I found a great, recent video of ZZ Top playing “Waitin'” and “Jesus” live. Check it out below. Billy Gibbons has such a huge, nasty tone. I read a long time ago that he uses something like an old silver dollar for a pick. Once I started watching these videos I couldn’t stop. After about six I said to myself “you’re spending too much time on music.” I know, that’s crazy talk.
I was surprised to read this went Gold. Not because it isn’t excellent, it truly is, but when I got it Jane’s Addiction were not well-known. Surely all these sales came after the success of their major label debut, Nothing’s Shocking. But this self-titled live album is their real debut. I believe my friend Ron Spencer first played this record for me. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. How could these guys be so original, smart, and maybe a little weird and still rock so hard? Perry Farrell does not have a typical rock and roll voice, and he often uses all those effects, but he is incredibly intense. I can’t imagine a different voice sounding so right. And the impressive guitar heroics of David Navarro have never had a better home.
Most of the shredding is on side one. When I heard the opening bass line for “Whores” for the first time in a long while I got goose bumps. They eventually turn things upside down with some semi-acoustic songs. The best known is “Jane Says”, and this version is better to me than the later studio hit. Being real men, they throw in some great covers: “Rock & Roll” by The Velvet Underground and “Sympathy” by The Rolling Stones, with nary a pause in between.
Etched is the vinyl margins:
Side 1 – “It used to be secrets! I couldn’t give them away”
Side 2 – What made you look here?
Acquired: 1987 – When I worked at Mother’s Records
Hey, I know I’ve been slacking, especially on the records. But it was my birthday this weekend, and if you’re ever going to be slack that’s the time.
The Nosedive EP by Gaye Bykers on Acid only has three songs, but they are all excellent. The Grebo-metallic-psyshedelic-dance track “Nosedive Karma” is my favorite. That’s also the song that singer Mary Mary got me to sing the chorus on when I saw them at the 9:30 Club way back. The flip has “Don’t Be Human Eric – Let’s Be Frank” and “Delerium.”
Want to know what it's like to have brain surgery? Well here's the long version of my experience. Complete with pictures and videos! Read all about the Brain Surgery Experience.
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