February 9, 2010
Welcome to another edition of Brook Pridemore’s The Nineties-ist. This edition discusses 2000, a revealing moment at a Cracker concert on the right way for bands to treat their fans, and Metallica’s bold example of how not to. For earlier installments, go here.
Because I had seen them open for the Spin Doctors, at the young and impressionable age of fifteen, I’ve always been a bigger-than-average fan of the 90s one-hit wonders band, Cracker. Still recording albums almost twenty years after their eponymous debut, Cracker is as good an example as any of a band of hard-workin’ dudes content to play to their small but hardcore following. The hit(s) dried up, but Johnny Hickman’s flamboyant country-blues electric guitar and David Lowery’s biting cynicism remain intact.
In Summer 2000, I got to check out Cracker at the 7th House in Pontiac, MI. It was my fourth or fifth time seeing the band, (like I said, I’ve always been a fan). Plus, tickets were always cheap. Before the show, some people were mistreated by the venue’s management, and word got back to Cracker before they hit the stage.
Come show time, Lowery, Hickman and Co. hit the stage and basically went through the motions: the lows weren’t low, and the highs weren’t high. The notes were all there, but one could tell the group was totally phoning it in. About thirty minutes into the show, Lowery finally broke the silence and said something like, “I was really pissed off when I got up here tonight. It’s got nothing to do with you guys: I heard through the grapevine that some people were mistreated by the management. I’m here to let you know: you don’t have to come to a place that treats you like shit (even if we’re playing).” Cracker then ditched the set list and took requests for the next two hours. What started out as kind of routine ended up being one of the best shows I’d seen to that point.
More on #17: 2000
December 12, 2009
Welcome to another edition of Brook Pridemore’s The Nineties-ist. This edition discusses 1996, Mr. Pridemore personally insulting a Monkee, the fuck-ups involving the 1996 Lollapalooza festival, and the torture and slaying of animals at Marilyn Manson concerts. For earlier installments, go here.
In July of 1996, I called Mickey Dolenz a fucking liar. Waiting in line for an autograph of the Monkees’ Greatest Hits CD I’d just purchased, I became incensed over a soundbite I’d heard from Dolenz a few years previous. Dolenz (in my memory) had said something like, “I don’t understand all the hoopla about the Monkees. The Monkees were talentless.” As I approached the Prefab Four’s drummer that evening, I brought up the soundbite (which, admittedly, may have been a product of my imagination) and told him I thought he’d belied the catalog of songs in the band’s repertoire and the Monkees’ cultural staying power through the years.
I was the oldest fan in attendance, who wasn’t a parent ushering in sons and daughters. When Dolenz denied having said such a thing, I said, “You’re a fucking liar,” grabbed my newly-autographed CD, and stomped off, leaving at least a couple of bewildered kids and one washed up pop star in my wake.
I take little pride (besides the anecdote) in having wrecked Mickey Dolenz’s evening, and no satisfaction at all in having ruined the night for anyone seeking autographs. And while my borderline-Trekkie rebuking of Dolenz’ offhandedly delivered callous comment doesn’t really fit into the greater cultural landscape of 1996, it seems important to let the reader know that your narrator’s manic obsession with twelve tones arranged in varying patterns runs deeper than Lake Superior.
Possibly a greater crime committed against seventeen year old rock fans across the country was the 1996 Lollapalooza Festival. The traveling “alternative” rock festival, which had served an unhip suburban kid like me his first exposure to bands like the Coctails and Brainiac only a year before, had lost their founder, Perry Farrell, to other projects. Not surprisingly (though still disappointing), the festival’s new organizers eschewed a lot of its’ grassroots leanings, scuttling past eclectic lineups for the likes of the mainstream Metallica, Soundgarden, the Ramones and Rancid.
More on #13: 1996
September 26, 2009
Welcome again to another edition of Brook Pridemore’s The Nineties-ist. This edition discusses 1986, Detroit Rock City, Black Flag, the Dead Kennedys, and Tipper Gore being quite the bitch. For earlier installments, go here.
For the sake of disclosure, I was born in Detroit, MI. I lived in the city proper until I was about ten years old when my family, the beneficiaries of a small inheritance, moved to the distant suburb of Waterford. We were close enough to the city to reasonably claim Detroit as home, but far removed from the harsh realities of Motor City life in the 80s (abundant crack houses, “white flight,” etc.). Waterford is an unremarkable, working class town. Until recently, I joked that, after 1984 Detroit Tigers’ right fielder Kirk Gibson, that I was the second-most famous graduate of Waterford Kettering High School: turns out that Trevor Strnad, lead singer of The Black Dahlia Murder and one of my high school contemporaries, was just on the cover of Revolver magazine and Myspace’s front page last week, making him second-most famous. I’m not bitter; third place still gets a medal.
Strnad’s ascent to the upper echelons of metal is fitting, as Detroit is a HARD ROCK town. With due respect to the unstoppable groove of Berry Gordy’s MoTown, the Detroit music legacy is by and large one of big rock sounds, some of its most famous exports being Ted Nugent, The Stooges, The MC5 and the White Stripes. Pop metal group KISS were right on the mark with their 1976 single “Detroit Rock City.” Even Detroit’s rap scene, most recently spearheaded by Eminem and Insane Clown Posse, but also including nearly every name in the horrorcore genre, bears nothing in common with the peace and love sounds of early 90s stars like De La Soul, nor the fun, accesible hooks of pioneers like Run DMC. Nay, Detroit is a gritty town with a gritty sound.
Growing up in a cultural wasteland like Waterford, then, there were few contemporaries with which to cut my musical teeth, none of whom were interested in the quirky pop music that spoke to me. An early disciple of They Might Be Giants, the Violent Femmes and the Dead Milkmen, I found myself with no alternative but to gamely try and hang with the handful of other musicians in Waterford, almost all of them metalheads. None of the bands I joined could agree on a sound, and nearly all of them broke up before we got to play even one show. The last band I dallied with consisted of myself, the bassist of Waterford’s first-ever (and possibly only) ska band and the rhythm section of the reigning local metal group, famous among our mutual friends for being able to play any song in the Metallica catalog. My main role in this band was to play rhythm guitar and never go near the microphone, under any circumstances. Again, for the sake of disclosure, nearly everyone who heard me sing before the age of 18 told me not to bother trying to be a singer, that I was talentless at best. Thanks for the encouragement, guys.
More on #3: 1986
Michael Jackson’s Death Officially Ruled Homicide [Rolling Stone]
Official Nirvana Live At Reading CD/DVD Due Out November 3 [Pitchfork]
The Doors’ Final Four New York Concerts To Be Released In Six-Disc Set [Rolling Stone]
Get The Deets On New Beck/Charlotte Gainsbourg Album [Pitchfork]
Blackalicious’ Gift Of Gab To Drop Solo LP, Escape to Mars [Pitchfork]
Listen To Previously Undiscovered Elliott Smith Song, “Grand Mal” [Pitchfork]
And, For Something To Think About After An Unusually Pitchfork-Heavy News Day: Buddyhead Gives Pitchfork’s “Top 500 Tracks Of The 2000s” A 0.0 [Prefix]
compiled by Erin Sheehy
October 31, 2008
2008 | E/M Ventures
Sadly, Metallica’s last release, St. Anger, sounded more like it was influenced by the bands that they themselves influenced. But with their latest release, Death Magnetic, Metallica returns to the songwriting formula that made them so progressive in the 80’s, and which, for better or for worse, paved the way for future “metal bands.” But returning to form has its pros and cons.
If the sole purpose of the album was merely “to rock” I could certainly give it an “A,” but getting down to the musical and lyrical elements of each song, four are worth mentioning, two have their moments, and the other four are so mediocre that even producer Rick Rubin couldn’t save them. One major complaint I have is that the best moments musically on Death Magnetic sound ripped off from previous albums. There’s too much, “Hey that’s cool but wait, isn’t that a riff from ‘Master of Puppets’?” Second, Lars Ulrich’s drumming sounds particularly offbeat on more than one song, most noticeably on “That Was Just Your Life,” which is unfortunate because it’s the first on the record, and also one of the better tracks.
More on Record Review: Death Magnetic
August 29, 2008
In the habit of sharing music on your website? Be careful. You could be arrested.
27 year old Kevin Cogill was arrested at his home on Wednesday for posting nine unreleased tracks from the long awaited, decade-in-the-making Guns N’ Roses album, Chinese Democracy (pictured) on his blog, Antiquiet. For this violation of federal copyright laws, Cogill’s bail is set at $10,000.
Prosecutors believe Cogill’s actions could mean a “significant” financial loss for GN’R; Antiquiet received so much traffic after the songs were posted that it actually crashed.
Although the pre-release streaming of Viva la Vida didn’t bother Coldplay, Guns N’ Roses and hard-rock peers Metallica are having a hard time adapting to the modern age. Seems that the cobwebs are blurring their vision.