Saturday, March 28, 2009

Green monkeys should take a balsam specific

Another sickly Green Monkey, his flesh riddled with fakery, covered with it, if you will. Bwahahahaha, sorry.

"You unfunny bastard."

Now I'm supposed to explain why I chose these cover songs.

The short version: 'cause they're cool.

The long version:

Metallica, The Small Hours. Originally performed by NWOBHM band Holocaust -- good luck using that name now, you'd have the ADL pitching a hissyfit tent in about five seconds -- this was one of the songs recorded for the 1987 cheapo EP Garage Days Re-revisited, used to break in Jason Newsted after the tragic death of bass god Cliff Burton. Why this paean to the post-midnight dead zone? The supremely eerie intro, neo-doom riffery and lines such as "don't step into the demon's lair," sung with ridiculously ominous bravado, made for much joyful banging of teenage heads.

Mott the Hoople, Sweet Jane. I know that it's de rigeur to say that Hendrix's version of All Along the Watchtower is the best rock and/or roll cover version in existence, but hell, this incredibly hooky, jangled Velvet Underground track, helmed here by the vocals of Mr. Ian Fucking Hunter -- check out that murderously cool vocal/guitar lick buildup swirling around 3:00 -- courageously challenges that notion.

Celtic Frost, Mexican Radio. What the fuck is the band who recorded Morbid Tales and To Mega Therion, two Cyclopean slabs of proto-black/death metal, whose riffs are still stolen twenty years later, doing recording a Wall of Voodoo new wave rave up? Thrown Into the Pandemonium indeed I was, though talking like Yoda I did not, even in my surprise that was great. Hey, works it did. Ask, you should not, for busy I am stuffing my face with barbecued iguana.

Cheap Trick, California Man. Aside from the handful of corporate-approved tracks allowed on commercial radio, I wasn't all that familiar with the Trick growing up: Nintendo, cases of carbonated beverages, soccer practice, oodles of thrashy devil worship and Penthouse Letter-worthy daydreams about the girl with the long brown hair can cut into a punk ass kid's time. Anyway, once I aged gracefully and realized that the boys from Rockford rocked as I imagine a Ford does to Toby Keith and the Ford Truck Man Army®, I was awarded additional happiness by the rock and/or roll gods. This Roy Wood track, recorded by The Move, led me to check out that band and all their British goodness.

The White Stripes, Stop Breaking Down. For an intellectually neanderthal metalhead such as myself, the blues are best when powered by one million eight zillion watt amps turned up to eleven. This is what Jack and Meg White do with this Robert Johnson burner. Bonus points from yours truly since it's about a good man torn down. Hear that, sometimes-better half? I think I'm the one who feels broken down.

"Good thing Mrs. Graves doesn't read this."

No shit.

Faith No More, Easy. These lunatics were good, got Mike Patton in the band and became great, recorded an album that everyone loved with video hits on MTV, followed up with their finest work -- frankly, a musical pillar of the 1990s, may your flesh be gnawed off by Bill Frist's dead cats if you don't agree -- threw everyone for a loop, then followed that up with this North American EP containing a Dead Kennedys cover (Let's Lynch the Landlord) , the theme from Midnight Cowboy which was lifted from the aforementioned Angel Dust, a fucked up original (Das Schutzenfest) and a surprisingly excellent cover of this Commodores tune. And of course, who can ever forget the accompanying video full of wannabe Rudy!s?


afeatheradrift said...

If you say so. I've been sorta miffed ever since you dissed my journey post. "sniff, sniff."

MRMacrum said...

Interesting. Especially White Stripes. Jack knows his way around a guitar, that's for sure. If you want another great blues tune but written by Jack - "Ball & Biscuit" off "Elephant" turned up to wow might just do the trick.

Betty C. said...

Once again, you bring up a band I haven't thought about in ages -- Cheap Trick.

I thought it was greatly agreed that "Hallelujah" by Jeff Buckley was the best rock cover song ever. But maybe it's not really rock. The original sure isn't.

Utah Savage said...

God man, you really know how to make a woman feel old. Really old. I'm now officially afraid to listen to your music posts. They almost alway make my ears bleed. And they always make me feel old, you bastard.

Randal Graves said...

afeather, I was well grounded on the side of all things good and decent in slagging Journey.

mrmacrum, now that's a loud tune.

betty, you should go listen to Cheap Trick right now. Come on, go listen!

utah, old? All the Young Dudes came out in '72. I wasn't even born yet. I think for my next music-themed post I'm going to pontificate about stuff post millennium.

Chef Cthulhu said...

All great choices, man. Especially the Sweet Jane cover. Completely agree with your putting it head to head with Hendrix.

And Garage Days...what an awesome EP.

susan said...

I definitely agree with you about Ian Hunter. Great musician.

Randal Graves said...

chef, that's a great track, and Mott was, and is, criminally underrated.

Forgetting the songs for a moment, I think back to Load and Reload and how they spent millions for that muddy, shit sound, when Garage Days, for probably a few hundred bucks (okay, thousands, but who's counting), a six pack and a sandwich sounds like a metal release should.

susan, I was so happy when they announced that Hoople reunion, then crushed when it was only some London dates. At least they're recording it for a DVD.

Distributorcap said...

um cheap trick.......

i withhold commentaires

darkblack said...

Cheap Trick, the great impuzzlerator for Radio PD's coast to coast..."Are they Rock? Pop? New bloody Wave, whatever that is?" Hey, 12-string bass gives three times the big bottom, mothaf*cka!

And of course I expect a Ohio shoutout for the man who wrote Cleveland Rocks...Isn't there a state law that Ian Hunter must be lowered from the flagpole and folded properly at sunset?

Hmmm, greatest rock covers...Well, scratch Van Halen, they never amounted to much ;) ...How about the uncensored version of These Boots by Megadeth, or Astronomy Domine by Voivod?


Betty C. said...

Definitely scratch Van Halen for defiling "You Really Got Me" by the Kinks...which reminds me that one great cover is the Pretenders' version of "Stop Your Sobbing." I actually prefer it to the original -- so no, I am not against the concept of Kinks cover songs in general, just that one in particular...

Bubs said...

Great covers! Stop Breaking Down is one of my favorites, but I love everything the White Stripes have done. And I am embarrassed, living with a wife and daughter who adore Mott the Hoople and all things 70's glam rock, that I had no idea they ever covered Sweet Jane.

Oh well.

Tom Harper said...

Van Halen, yeah! I hadn't thought of them until I saw Betty C's comment. I loved their version of Linda Ronstadt's "You're No Good."

Also Green Day's version of Working Class Hero (even though I can't stand Green Day or any of those other "neopunk" groups).

That Godawful "Bang a Gong" by T-Rex -- somebody did a dynamite cover of that song around '84 or '85. It hardly got any airplay but it really rocked.

Randal Graves said...

dcap, it would be a great name for a band full of DC politicos, no?

darkblack, frankly, I think we should have a statue of the man downtown.

Great covers suggestions, but I figured the VH was so obvious. ;-)

betty, defiling? I like to think of it as powering it up with atomic guitar. In fact, I should do a post praising that VH cover. ;-)

bubs, you should be ashamed of yourself. You should be sentenced to 30 days of Hoople.

tom, don't forget Where Have All the Good Times Gone as well! And Big Bad Bill.

Ugh, I had completely erased that horrible T Rex cover from my mind until your comment, you bastard.

Betty C. said...

This is war! If Dave Davies's guitar isn't atomic enough for you I...I...I...well, did you ever even see the Kinks in the 80s? Have you ever even seen them at all? Have you even lived?

Beach Bum said...

Cheap Trick wasn't that bad, At least they were better than Survivor who never could recover from "Eye of the Tiger".

Randal Graves said...

betty, I knew that'd get your blood boiling. I like the Kinks, but EVH circa 1978? Now that was raw sonic power!

BB, wasn't bad? Please ignore their mid-to-late 80s brain crap and check out their first five albums. Now that was quality songwriting!

Tom Harper said...

I hate to start a war here, but I'm pretty sure that was Jimmy Page doing the guitar solo on the Kinks' version of You Really Got Me. I know he did the guitar leads on some of those early records by the Kinks and other British Invasion bands; and I think You Really Got Me was one of them.

If I wasn't so lazy I'd use the google.

Tom Harper said...

It's me again. Forget what I said. I googled it; it's an urban legend. Dave Davies was indeed the lead guitarist on that song.

darkblack said...

Rick Nielson was on a par with Billy Gibbons as a tone merchant in the mid-70's. Never mind anything after Dream Police, but it wasn't their fault.
I'm an '80's survivor, and I remember just enough (barring any statute of limitations, of course) to say the whole musical entertainment thing took a big shit then...well, at least the parts I didn't like.


Splotchy said...

Mamma mia, you guys make me feel slow with your speediness.

I'll hopefully have the full mix published tomorrow.

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