Friday, February 27, 2009

Apeshit Music Memes

Damn you, Randal and Briwei. DAMN YOU ALL TO HELL!

I'm not sure why I'm starting my meme posts with movie references lately, but if you don't like it then screw you, nobody's making you pay to read my drivel.

Once again, I have a double dose of memes to get through courtesy of the above mentioned bloggers in arms. Both deal with music, both required work and thought (though in different ways) and both are pretty darned cool. In fact, I had wanted to get them posted well before now, but as luck would have it I had an overflow of work into my personal time, and that took priority. So without further ado, I'll get on with it...


h/t Randal

The rule is simple: list the 15 most significant albums in your life. The concept bears repeating; there is a big difference between significant and favorite.

What I would REALLY like to do is draw something of a diagram showing where they "popped up" in my life and what the links may be between them, but I just don't have the chops to do that right now. So I'll just list them, as close to chronological order as I can. Hold tight cuz this is going all over the place...

1. Disco Duck Dance Party - Irwin the Disco Duck and the Wibble Wabble Singers and Orchestra. Yeah. The first album that I ever owned, when I was about six years old. Significant in that it represents a significant disadvantage from the get-go. Sort of like being born a crack baby. But this story has a good ending...

2. Skip ahead to sixth grade, around 1978/9. Mr. Templin's music class was sometimes fun, sometimes a pain in the ass. Mr. Templin was 20-something, a hothead and a perfectionist. Sing badly, he got mad. Don't pay attention because you're a pre-pubescent thinking about going to your friends house after school and raiding his dad's Penthouse collection, he got mad. On the other hand, he cared about music. The coolest thing he did was spend about three weeks worth of classes going through Mussorgsky, Pictures at an Exhibition - Misao Tomita and compare it to the original composition as a demonstration of what "modern" electronic music was capable of. It was the one cool thing he did all year. The rest of the time he was an ass. I haven't heard the album in the thirty years since, but I do still love Mussorgsky.

3. Heavy Metal Soundtrack - Various Artists. The movie came out the summer between middle- and high school. My friends were going to go see it; one of them had a cool mom who would buy their tickets, take them in and then leave. Being a good kid I asked if I could see the film with them and dealt with the "no". I should have said "Hey, can I go see a movie with Mark and Stephen?" But as they say:
"Evil will always triumph, because good is dumb." Well, if I couldn't see the movie I'd get the record. There is little on it that could be called metal - Black Sabbath's "The Mob Rules" is just about it. It was really my first intro to serious rock, I played the Hell out of it, and some of the artists on it would figure in future significant albums.

4. Scant months later, early in my Freshman year, I went and saw my first honest to Gawd rock concert: One on One - Cheap Trick. Cheap Trick had a track on the aforementioned Heavy Metal Soundtrack. There are MUCH BETTER Cheap Trick albums with much better songs out there and you don't need me to tell you what they are. But the show was awesome - I loved watching Rick Nielsen play his 5-necked guitar - and turned me on to the album and other music of theirs. And I can still hear them everytime I turn on the Colbert Report.

5. Rio - Duran Duran. Go ahead - snicker. Laugh. Ask me if I'm gay. Plenty of people did in high school. This guy who sat next to me in Algebra - Skippy as he was known - openly ridiculed me. Their videos had hot chicks. They were not overly talented, musically. Simon LeBon was not, nor will he ever be, an accomplished singer. But freshman and sophomore year I was heavy into them, and stayed interested in the band even after I had moved on to other genres.

6. Skippy may have openly ridiculed me, but he was a good guy. And as we were the two smah-test kids in Algebra II, our love of math bridged our musical differences. Now Skippy was something of a sick guy. He listened to bands like Venom and Slayer, and liked to talk about how uncomfortable his girlfriend got when he played them as mood music for getting laid. He also told me he'd set me right when it came to music. Well, early my Junior year, during "Flex Study" in the cafeteria, he let me listen to a song on his walkman. That song was Ride the Lightning - Metallica. To quote Randal,
The descending progression in the title track? .... Genius.
Hooked. Immediately. And yeah, I still have to crank that fucker, too. With "For Whom the Bell Tolls", "Creeping Death", and "The Call of Ktulu" it formed the gateway into an adolescence that was defined by metal appreciation. I had "Kill 'Em All" within a month, the "Am I Evil?" EP shortly thereafter, and the wait for "Master of Puppets" was agony. The floodgates had opened - Slayer, Venom, Wasp, Exodus, Possessed, Accept, Dio...awesome stuff. When Cliff Burton died and their tour was put on hold I threw away my Ozzie tickets...fuck that bloated old sod singing about shots in the dark, I was only going to see his opening act! Vindication would be mine in a headbanging orgy however, when they would come back as headliners on the "Puppets" tour, when my buds and I would successfully move from our ticketed seats to THE FRONT ROW in a pile of people six feet deep pressed up against the rail at the orchestra pit that separated us and the stage.

7. Spreading the Disease - Anthrax. The first speedmetal album I bought (after Metallica). Great, great, GREAT album. "Stand or Fall", "The Enemy", "Gung Ho", "Madhouse" - they just don't write 'em like that anymore, uh-uh-uh-uh-uh-uh-uh-UH. Thank you, Greg Kihn. MTV pissed me off by banning the "Madhouse" video because they felt it denigrated the mentally ill. How could it? They were all buying the fucking album and going to the show! But MTV had standards to uphold - ones that eventually led to reality shows about a bisexual whore making brainless fucks eat bull penises for a chance to sleep with her. The "moment" for me on this album was at the very end, right after "Gung Ho", when Scott Ian and company break into this beautiful piece:

But much, much harder. They were the first metal show I saw, in a hole in the wall in Providence called "The Living Room".

8. Powerslave - Iron Maiden.Not my favorite Maiden album by far, but it was my first. Being a kid who loved military history I dug the "Aces High" video, bought the album for the song, and that was it. Dickinson's vocal range, the harmonizing of the guitars, and epics like "The Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner" and other songs throughout their discography lay ahead. I bought all their albums - even the two with Paul Di'Anno on vocals. If you've never heard it, "Killers" is a ballsy song. Oh...and that "Heavy Metal" soundtrack? Nicko McBrain, Maiden's drummer, originally played for a French rock band named Trust, who had a track on it.

Okay! That takes me from my early years of being a snivelling wussy through full fledged head-banger in high school. Tomorrow I'll deal with college and adult life. I said these were a bit of work, and in the interest of keeping this from being a complete snoozer, I'll save the remaining paragraphs for tomorrow.


h/t Briwei

This "work" is much more artistic, as you will see.

Rules, lifted right from bri's page:

1 - Go to Wikipedia’s “random” page:

The first random Wikipedia article you get is the name of your band.

2 - Go to Quotations Page’s "random quotations":

The last four or five words of the very last quote on the page is the title of your album.

3 - Go to Flickr and click “explore last seven days”
The third picture, no matter what it is, will be your album cover.

It's nice to credit the photo source, but I lost the URL. So, whoever you are, thanks for the excellent picture! (This sentence is also lifted...but true! I tried going back through and finding it, but you can imagine how that turned out...IF, by some odd chance, you find this incredibly obscure and unworthy site, know that you took a great picture!)

4 - Use Photoshop or similar to put it together.

5 - Post your photo to your FB page with this text in the "caption" or "comment" and tag friends you’d like to join in.

Okay, so here are the results:

Band Name: The End of Medicine
Album Name: Neither Useful Nor Enjoyable

...and the album:

These guys are definitely late 70's / early 80's post-punk/new wave. Somewhere in the vicinity of The Tubes with some forays into Buggles-like synth-pop. It was their only album and it produced one hit, "Sex Placebo", that spent four weeks on the charts and topped out at number 22. The rest of the album was pretty forgettable, as was the rest of the band's career. In fact, a Rolling Stone review in 1981 declared "With the exception of their one catchy if mediocre single, Neither Useful Nor Enjoyable is a fair description of The End of Medicine's debut album."

1 comment:

Randal Graves said...

Excellent work, sir, and man, is Spreading the Disease underrated. I still think POT is their proverbial finest hour, but Belladonna was a HUGE improvement over Neil Turbin, and the songs were better as well.

Since we're on the subject of underrated, always glad to see a mention of Possessed. Seven Churches was so damn brutal for its day and will allow me to overlook Duran Duran. ;-)