Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Tuesday Tuneage
Killing Joke - "Requiem"

The graffiti in a stall of one of my high school's bathrooms said: "Killing Joke. LA punk/metal." Turns out Killing Joke were not from Los Angeles, nor were they punk (metal, sure you could make the argument.) I thought about them off and on during the ensuing years, but never ventured out and bought their music ... even though Alan Moore and Batman (and Metallica too, covering Killing Joke's "The Wait") suggested that I should. A friend took me to a Killing Joke show at First Avenue in the mid-nineties, it was a solid show from what I recall. But what I seem to equally remember about that night is that Stabbing Westward opened, and I swear in my early zine days I wrote that some radio hit they had "sounded exactly like Def Leppard," but I can't find proof of it now. (Meaning there is the possiblity that I am thinking of *a second* industrial band that sounded like Def Lep!)

So anyway, for some reason a couple of weeks ago I bought Killing Joke's debut album - with the riveting "Requiem" as the leadoff track - thereby proving that factually-inaccurate high school bathroom graffiti can get to you thirty years later. Who knew?

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Tuesday Tuneage
The Rolling Stones - "Please Go Home"

When I was twenty-one and living with my parents post-college, I came across a copy of The Rolling Stones' Between The Buttons at some chain - Musicland, maybe - on Wayzata Boulevard near Ridgedale. It was a German pressing, and with it being a Stones album from the sixties, I snapped it up. I gave it a spin or two, but with no blues-rock raveup like "Street Fighting Man," "Jumpin' Jack Flash," or "Brown Sugar" on it, I quickly filed it away, both in my vinyl crates and in my mind: This album was no Beggars Banquet or Let It Bleed, it was more akin to the crappy Their Satanic Majesties Request - just another Stones sixties experiment gone wrong. Or so I thought.

A couple of weeks ago while flipping through my vinyl, I pulled Their Satanic Majesties Request and decided to give it a spin. While I was at it, I pulled Between The Buttons also. But while Majesties still largely stinks, Between The Buttons was a revelation. Sure, it didn't have the blues-raunch associated with classic Stones, but this wasn't the flimsy attempt at folk rock I had thought it was. This was a first-class collection of great songs, one after the other ... "Yesterday's Papers," "Cool, Calm, And Collected," and (especially) "All Sold Out." And I've been playing this LP over and over since. (The AllMusic review sums the album up best.)

My German pressing is the UK version of Between The Buttons. The USA version includes the hits "Ruby Tuesday" and "Let's Spend The Night Together" and kicks "Back Street Girl" and "Please Go Home" off its edition. Good thing I got the UK version, as if I had the USA edition I would have been thinking: "Oh, that's that mediocre album except for the two hits" all these years. But now that I get this album, I'm loving its collection of non-hits. And "Please Go Home" is a must-listen for anybody who loves those old Rolling Stones songs you never hear on oldies or classic rock radio. It's a psychedelic take on their fantastic Bo Diddley stance, better than any of the acid experiments of Their Satanic Majesties Request, and over in three minutes, fourteen seconds. So while the twenty-one-year old me was pretty clueless (and not just in regards to old Stones albums), I'd like to thank him all these years later for grabbing the gem that is Between The Buttons at that almost-forgotten chain store. Rock on, Minnetonka.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Tuesday Tuneage
The Rivingtons - "Papa-Oom-Mow-Mow"

The hardest of rock, all without guitar histrionics, and one of the most purely fun songs you are going to hear. And one of these days I gotta find a way to poke Songwriter fetishists by sneaking a "The Rivingtons? Oh man ... awesome lyrics!" into a conversation.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Tuesday Tuneage
Joe Walsh - "Rocky Mountain Way"

Last summer while drinking more than one Surly Furious with my college buddy Bob, we started playing a parlor game. It was a "where would you live?" game. I believe (it's a little fuzzy - have you ever had several Surlys?) the questions included:

1) If you had to leave the Twin Cities and Minnesota, which city would you move to?

2) Would you rather live on the East Coast or West Coast?

3) Would you rather live in New York or Los Angeles?

My answers were:

1) Denver. You can see the Rocky Mountains, and they're breathtaking. There's no mosquitos and no humidity in the summer. I could bring beer and chips over to my brother's place on Saturdays and watch college football on his much-larger TV. They have a great college hockey program at Denver University, who is a big rival of my UND team, and living in Denver would mean getting to watch WCHA games. Plus it's the home of Modern Drunkard. And let's not forget the incredible Denver Sandwich, which you can get in any city but surely must be at its best here.

2) West Coast. While it's unlikely I will ever leave Minneapolis, I recently thought that it would be somewhat worthwhile to keep my streak of having never lived east of the Mississipi River. When I look at my place in America, I consider myself a Westerner. I also don't refer to the East as "back East", as I've never been there. I refer to it as "out East." (Furthest East for me? A day-long business trip to Cincinnati in the early nineties.) I've been to Oregon - to visit the aformentioned Bob twenty years ago or so - and it's beautiful. Any locale in northern California, Oregon, or Washington would be preferred to the East Coast. I'll take the threat of an earthquake and falling into the Pacific over the possibility of falling into the East Coast Bias.

3) Los Angeles. Maybe it's that I've been watching a lot of Entourage and Curb Your Enthusiasm reruns on WGN. Maybe it's the Charles Bukowski thing. Maybe it's Steve Erickson's Amnesiascope. Maybe it's that I recently finished yet another reading of Joan Didion's The White Album. Maybe I'm intrigued by the idea of sports games starting two hours behind when I'm used to them starting. (With all the UND home hockey games now on Fox College Sports, what better way to start a weekend then a Sioux hockey game dropping the puck at 5:30 p.m. on a Friday?) Ah hell - who am I kidding? It's mostly because Midwestern people seem more fascinated with New York than Los Angeles and I'm not fascinated with New York City, never have been. Los Angeles doesn't excite me that much either, but going east seems to be going against some age-old instinct I have as a Westerner. Heeding Horace Greeley's timeless advice, I would head west.

As for "Rocky Mountain Way," its riffing and production evoke for me the wide spaces of the West. Plus I first heard it while living in the Denver suburbs in the shadow of those Rocky Mountains. I never tire of it.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Tuesday Tuneage
The Flamingos - "I Only Have Eyes For You"

In The Heart of Rock & Soul, Dave Marsh calls this tune "one of rock's continuing marvels." All I would add is that it's haunting and eerie and makes me so glad I looked into the iTunes Store and found their iTunes Essentials: Doo Wop.

(Local footnote: The Flamingos are the same group that forced Minneapolis heroes Flamingo to change their name to The Flamin' Oh's!)