Ten for Tuesday: 1990 July 13, 2010Posted by Matt in top ten.
Tags: alice in chains, Black Crowes, Firehouse, Garth Brooks, Jane's Addiction, MC Hammer, Megadeth, Nelson, Pantera, Pixies, Poison, public enemy, Sonic Youth, top ten, Uncle Tupelo, Vanilla Ice
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Are you ready for a new series of sorts? Welcome to the top ten time machine.
Today I thought that we could take a step back in time for our list, a leap of 20 years in the past to 1990. In 1990, I was 13 years old, in the seventh grade at Beebe Junior High, and already had one of the largest cassette tape collections of any of my friends. To commemorate this year bridging the gap between the big hair of the 80’s and the sullenness of the 90’s, we will be taking a look at the music released during that 365 day period. Later on I’ll do the same with movies.
Top 10 Albums Released in 1990
10. Alice in Chains – Facelift
A precursor of the grungy early 90’s, Jerry Cantrell’s sludge-rock guitar riffs fill up whatever space is left over from Layne Staley’s growling vocals. Though this work is not up to the same level as 1992’s Dirt, it is still good and contains some of their best known songs like “Man in the Box” and “Bleed the Freak.”
9. The Black Crowes – Shake Your Money Maker
Chris Robinson’s band takes the hazy, reverb-drenched rock sounds of times past to a new era, channeling the Stones and countless others in their rumble to the top. Over the past twenty years, the Crowes have proven themselves to be among the standard-bearers of the classic rock sound and that is no more evident than on this work, with songs like “She Talks to Angels” and a great cover of “Hard to Handle.”
8. Pixies – Bossanova
When music historians look back at the most important bands of alternative rock, one of the names high on the list will no doubt be the Pixies. Their stamp is all over the boom of bands in the early 90’s and you can see why on this work with tunes like “Velouria” and “Dig for Fire.
7. Pantera – Cowboys from Hell
Dude, when it comes to metal guitar there was nobody like the late Dimebag Darrell. This album still amazes me today and there is a good possibility I’ll be listening to it any time you come by my house when I’m working out. “Cemetary Gates” may very well be my favorite heavy song of all time.
6. Megadeth – Rust in Peace
Dave Mustaine is the king of making metal with a social conscious, and that is no clearer than it is on Rust in Peace, which may be the magnum opus of a long and fruitful career. I had the chance to see them perform this entire album live last year and believe me, it is still awesome.
5. Garth Brooks – No Fences
How can you possible be a country music fan in the South and not mention this album when talking about the early 90’s? You could not avoid this 20 years ago, but with songs like “Friends in Low Places,” and “The Thunder Rolls,” why would you have wanted to?
4. Sonic Youth – Goo
Another band that will no doubt appear on the aforementioned list of the most important bands of alternative rock, Sonic Youth blew it out of the water with this, their follow-up to 1988’s classic Daydream Nation. With loud guitars, curiously strange tunings, and great songs like “Kool Thing” and “Dirty Boots,” the bands influence goes far beyond album sales.
3. Uncle Tupelo – No Depression
Some movements are started with bombastic writings and some with angry mobs and pitchforks – Uncle Tupelo mixed a together a banjo with a distorted guitar and created a genre, alt-country. The dual genius of Jay Farrar (Son Volt) and Jeff Tweedy (Wilco) was destined not to last, but at least we got great songs like “Graveyard Shift” and “No Depression” out of it.
2. Jane’s Addiction – Ritual de lo Habitual
It is a shame that the career of Jane’s Addiction was so short and tempestuous, but the small amount of music they did release was so incredible and so far beyond its time, that it’s almost a good thing they weren’t around to disappoint. “Stop” is one of the best opening tracks ever.
1. Public Enemy – Fear of a Black Planet
Forget the cartoonish reality television star that Flavor Flav has become in recent years, 20 years ago he and Chuck D set an incredibly high bar in the world of rap music, one that few have reached in the two decades since. “Fight the Power” still gets me riled up today.
In addition to that, here are five albums released in 1990 that I owned back then, but wish I could say I didn’t.
5. Poison – Flesh and Blood
This was the point where Posion first tried to transition, at least partly, from being a good times hair band of the 80’s to something more serious. No thanks, it makes me want to pull out Look What the Cat Dragged In again…
4. Firehouse – Firehouse
Yes, I did own this piece of garbage. In my defense, though, I was only 13 or 14 at the time!
3. MC Hammer – Please Hammer Don’t Hurt ‘Em
Seriously, everybody within a few years of my age owned this one in 1990, so leave me alone while I try to make myself forget it…
2. Nelson – After the Rain
Why did I own Nelson? I have no idea, except that maybe the girls in junior high liked them.
And, of course, number 1 has to be…
1. Vanilla Ice – To the Extreme
Wow, this was so bad it was beyond comprehension, but again, who didn’t own it in 1990? Yeah, that’s what I thought.
Next: Movies in 1990
Rusting in Peace March 24, 2010Posted by Matt in music, concerts.
Tags: concert, Memphis, Minglewood Hall, Megadeth, Rust in Peace, Testament, Exodus, Dave Mustaine
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Last night I had the opportunity to witness live one of the greatest metal bands to ever grace a stage – Megadeth. The band itself was born back in the early 1980’s by Dave Mustaine, who had just been kicked out of another seminal metal band, Metallica. Mustaine has served as lead vocalist, guitarist, and principle songwriter for the band for over a quarter century, churning out some of the best metal riffs ever composed to go along with his trademark growl.
When I arrived at Minglewood Hall, one of Memphis’s newest and nicest venues, I was greeted by a long, long line. After waiting for a good 30 minutes and missing about half of the first opening band, Exodus, I finally made my way through the doors and into the building. The inner sanctum of Minglewood consists of two bars along opposing walls, a stage on one end, and a large floor for standing crowds. 1980’s thrash metal middleweights Exodus were blazing through a set of loud and aggressive songs I didn’t know, so I made my way closer to the stage, being careful to avoid the mosh pit at all costs. I couldn’t help but laugh a bit at the way I kept out of the masses of sweaty, sometimes shirtless, males pushing each other around while the music blasted out in front of them. I remembered 15 years ago when I attended that Pantera show (as well as many others) and how I would have been right in the middle of the melee. I guess age does bring some measure of wisdom after all.
I retreated to the bar and grabbed a drink after the band finished and while the crew for the next group, Testament, readied the stage. Testament is another thrash metal band whose genesis came about in the 1980’s, and, though I had heard of them before, I didn’t know much of anything about them. It turns out that last night they followed Megadeth’s lead and also took on one of their complete albums, Legacy, which in some circles is recognized as a classic. Their set lasted around 45 minutes and mainly consisted of machine gun guitar riffs and yelling, but I found it to be a pretty good precursor of what was to come. If I had known some of the songs it might have been even better, but it was enjoyable nevertheless.
By the time the stage was set for the main act of the night, Megadeth, the room had filled up nicely – I would guess that there were at least 1,000 people and the crowd may have even approached the 1,500 person capacity. There was an interesting mix of people, from young people looking at the enduring music before their time to older blue collar men with fond memories of their 1980’s teen years, some of whom were even parents bringing their own children along to see a band of their youth. I would estimate the crowd to have been about 75-80% male, creating a cloud of testosterone that enveloped the entire floor.
When Dave Mustaine appeared on the stage along with the other band members, which included another founding member, bassist David Ellefson, the first thing he did was to chide some parents in front of the stage for bringing their young children with them. He said, “Look, I wouldn’t let my kids be in this area and I don’t want them to get hurt,” so he took them over the wall separating the floor from the stage and placed them somewhere safer to view the show. Once that was out of the way, the band tore into their set, opening with a song that I was not as familiar with (“She-Wolf”) but which rocked the house. Dave and the band were in rare form, tearing through intricate and impossibly fast riffs while the crowd pushed and writhed before them. Soon we were one big, sweaty mass of human flesh, swaying about and banging head to the music. As the first song started, I noticed a small-statured guy a few yards away bump into the girlfriend of a big guy that looked as though he bench-pressed pickup trucks for a living. Naturally, the big guy didn’t take too kindly to this and, without saying much of anything (at least nothing that can be printed on here), he took the little guy down – right there in the middle of everyone. The fight was broken up almost as quickly as it was started, but I was sure to make a note to myself not to mess with anybody.
The band was unfazed, though, and rocked through two more tunes, the classic about the late Cliff Burton, “In My Darkest Hour,” and the killer opener of the Countdown to Extinction album, “Skin O’ My Teeth.” Once those were finished, Dave retreated to the side for a moment to take a drink of water, before again approaching the microphone. “Now,” he growled, his long red hair flowing about him like a lion’s mane, “it’s time to get down to business. Tonight we’re gonna play one of the greatest ****ing albums ever! Rust in Peace!” The crowd went crazy and soon the familiar opening riff of “Holy Wars…the Punishment Due” pummeled the crowd, whipping them into a frenzy. There is a good reason why this particular album is considered one of the must-have classics of the metal genre – every song is killer and the whole thing flows into one incredible masterpiece. I won’t go through every song they played, but below is a list of the nine tunes that make up the album. During its course the band didn’t stop for breaks or for much in the way of talking, they just rocked.
Holy Wars…The Punishment Due
Take No Prisoners
Foison was the Cure
Tornado of Souls
Rust In Peace…Polaris
As they finished the last notes of “Polaris,” the final song of the set, Dave stepped to mike again, “That’s it. Rust in peace,” and the band exited the area. Of course we knew that the concert wasn’t over yet, so the crowd continued to yell and scream, eventually settling on a cadence of “Meg-a-deth Meg-a-deth,” before the four band members again appeared from the back.
“Thank you,” Dave began, before launching into a story about some member (or perhaps a leader) of their fan club, who was dying and in hospice care. According to him, they had just found out before the show started. “I’d like to ask that you all join me in a moment of silence,” he said and he bowed his head. The crowd quieted a bit and then, when they saw that he wasn’t joking, the chattered died down to nothing and the crowd, with their long, sweaty hair and black leather, fell silent. But the tranquility didn’t last long, for you know that there always has to be somebody, some drunken idiot who breaks the ordained moment of remembrance.
“Megadeth rocksshh!” the unseen voice slurred out loud, above everyone.
A look of anger flashed across Mustaine’s face as he looked back at the crowd, the adoring fans from all around and, amid a string of unprintable profanities aimed at the loudmouth, he told everyone that they had his permission to punch the guy in the face.
“This next song’s dedicated to the ****** who said that. It’s called, “Skullcrusher.” Soon the band was again ripping through another number that led into the next one, which I also didn’t know as well, “Trust.” As the final heavy notes died away, Mustaine again stepped away for a drink, and as he stepped back into the spotlight, a familiar few choral notes blasted over the speakers and he ripped into the big, nasty, and well-known “Symphony of Destruction” opening riff. The crowd was tired, but still loud and boisterous and moving about, as they sang at top of their lungs, sweat-drenched and happy. Mustaine growled out the last refrains:
Just like the Pied Piper
Led rats through the streets
We dance like marionettes,
Swaying to the Symphony…
Swaying to the Symphony…
And the band walked off the stage.
But the recorded music over the loudspeakers that always marks the end of a concert had not yet started, nor had the lights come on, so we knew that the show was not over. Again the crowd yelled and screamed and stomped, “Meg-a-deth Meg-a-deth!” until the band walked out one last time.
“Thank you again,” Dave said before again retreating into the shadows on the side of the stage. This time Ellefson stepped to the forefront and began one of the most well-known bass riffs in metal history – the opener to the classic, “Peace Sells.”
As the guitars kicked in, Mustain again stepped up and began the question and answer lyrics that we all know so well, “What do you mean I don’t believe in God? / Talk to him every day. / What do you mean I don’t support your system? / I go to court when I have to,” and so forth, until he reached that well known chorus and everyone joined in, yelling as loud as their stretched to the limit vocal chords could handle.
If there’s a new way
I’ll be the first in line
But, it better work this time.
It was one of those transcendent moments in metal music, one in which everyone joins together as one entity in a show of defiance and angst, one that is both empowering and rebellious. And as the song progressed into the bridge refrain, “Peace sells, but who’s buyin’” it was obvious that this night was a special one indeed. At the end of the final encore selection, the band again broke into the final piece of “Holy Wars,” and Mustaine introduced the band, taking special care to point out the presence of longtime bandmate and sometimes enemy, Ellefson.
With a, “Thank you, Memphis,” he was gone. Hot, sweaty, tired, and nearly deaf, the rest of us made our way into the parking lot, excitedly and loudly talking (it’s hard to hear when your ears are ringing that badly over the show). It was a truly great experience.
You know, sometimes I think I’m getting too old for always wanting to go to concerts. I mean, I’m in my 30’s with small kids, a white collar office job and a house in the suburbs, but then experiences like this take place and I realize that there is far too much great music out there to quit now.
Maybe when I’m 40…..nahhh
Free Music Friday – More Rust January 29, 2010Posted by Matt in free music friday.
Tags: Holy Wars, Megadeth, video
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In honor of my discovery earlier this week that Megadeth would be playing one of their Rust in Peace 20th Anniversary shows in Memphis this March, here is a video of the song Holy Wars from that album. Enjoy.
Still Rusting in Peace January 26, 2010Posted by Matt in concerts.
Tags: concert, Memphis, Minglewood Hall, Megadeth, Rust in Peace
I just received an email update from one of the newest concert venues in Memphis, Minglewood Hall, regarding an upcoming show and I have to say I am intrigued.
To begin, I know that I’ve mentioned before that I have a soft spot for heavy metal music. I started coming of age in the late 80′s-early 90′s and that was one genre that I latched onto. It was a good time for that type of music because several bands were hitting their commerical peak and I listened to most of them – Metallica, Pantera, Megadeth, and others.
Well, the upcoming concert, on Tuesday, March 23, is none other than the heavy riffs and intelligent lyrics of Dave Mustain and Megadeth. Not only that, to commemorate the 20th anniversary of Rust in Peace, they will be playing the entire album. Yeah, you heard that right – Megadeth playing the entire Rust in Peace album live. How cool is that?