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Alright, my blog titles suck. I admit it. At least I’m posting! I’ve gone in so many directions with my music posts here on HC, but I don’t think I’ve covered the 90’s as much. Obviously, the 80’s, decade of wasteful excess, is my favorite decade overall for music, but there’s a huge fondness for the 90’s with me. It’s during that decade that I suffered, as many of us do, the pitfalls of young adulthood. Young love, broken love, undying adulation of libations, smoking more than the proverbial, audacious claims of youth gone wild and surviving it, no sleep til Brooklyn Decker, and other claims of superior existence. Back then, you could sleep a few hours a night, and reawaken rejuvenated and ready to drink shitloads of Zima and watch MTV, because hey, that Matt Pinhead guy was hosting 120 Minutes back in those days (not to mention MTV stood for Music Television and not Margarine Television). With those heady days of youth, thereby followed some shit storms. Life is inevitable in that regard. 1995 was a year of great consternation; I was working 70 hours a week and getting paid for 50 (oh, those habits continue onward), drinking, partying, eating pizza and crap every day, dressing in badly mismatched clothing, and buying records by the caseload out at Rolling Stone Records in Norridge. Sadly, those stores and that format of music is going, going, almost gone (although enjoying a long welcomed resurgence). 1995 brought me my first heartache; the ex decided to dump me for Jesus. He joined the military and found God and lost the girl. I went out drinking with our mutual friends and we ended up at Rolling Stone Records. Originally, I remember really wanting to find a copy of Live’s “Throwing Copper” on vinyl, but instead, the bright cover of Garbage’s debut album caught my eye. At this point, I hadn’t been exposed to Garbage extensively- I had seen and enjoyed their debut single “Vow”. I really sympathized with “Only Happy When It Rains”, because seriously, when dumped by the first love, who wouldn’t agree with that song? The video for “Queer” really caught my attention, because it was strange, although it wasn’t my favorite song of the lot that had been released as singles. Then- in early 1996, MTV premiered the video for “Stupid Girl”, the 4th single released off the album. This is one of those songs that no matter how late and wherever I am, it gets cranked. A song that I instantly- and still- identify with so strongly that it just made Shirley Manson even more of a goddess in my eyes. They released “Milk” last, I believe, but I didn’t love that song. Overall, as a debut album, amazing. I found a copy and brought it home in early 1996. Things were going well for me in the record trade, and here I had a new band to look forward to. The album helped me get past the heartbreak and rebuild my broken tower.

Then in October, my mom died. I had to rebuild again. So I went off the grid and tried to get myself back together. Humpty Dumpty, therapy, tons of booze, tons of writing angry poems and songs, and working way too much. 7 months after my mom died, I got myself into a relationship with someone who was verbally and physically abusive, an alcoholic, and a drug addict to boot. When grieving, things get wonky. I quit going to therapy and decided to “save” this guy from himself. For the all-encompassing redemption of love can do that, said the grieving maternal instinct (mine, not his). By far, the stupidest thing I have ever done, and I stayed put for 2 years before I finally snapped and left. In the meantime, before I got smart, I got lucky and spotted a copy of Garbage’s Version 2.0 in a record bin at Discount Records in Midlothian. I had next to no money but I didn’t care- bought the motherfucker, and all I had heard at that point was “Push It”, which is another top 5 favorite of mine. The rest didn’t disappoint either, from “Special” to “When I Grow Up”. More importantly, this album signaled another great departure for me; getting out of quicksand that likely would have killed me, to open, fresh air on neutral ground. Again, this is an album that I could blast and not once did it fail to put a smile on my face, a spring in my step, another bullet in the torture chamber. Their next album just didn’t capture me, it’s likely given another listen, I may rescind that statement, but I didn’t find much on it the first 10 times I listened to Beautiful Garbage, and besides, that post isn’t allowed because that was on the cusp of 2000, and therefore, would not be eligible for this “Vinyl of the 90’s” that I have just started.

Overall, I couldn’t make a higher recommendation than the first two albums from Garbage. Not only are they eclectic, but a band of talented producers and musicians, led by the mighty Scottish whip known as Shirley Manson, that crafted infectious and catchy melodies that burned your airwaves alive through the mid 90’s. If you fail to at least give it a chance, well, you’re missing out on some truly dynamite music.

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A couple of weeks (months, euro-span years?) ago I posted about crappy records in my collection. Truthfully, to get my friend and HC founder Dave to post on here. So, I have been pondering on where to go next with HC posts that I contribute. I really had fun writing about some of the horrid crap I found in my vinyl collection. Those were full-length albums. I haven’t, however, written about 45’s that I have in my possession. And yes, if you go to Instagram back in December/January/February, you will see a great number of pictures that I had posted of some of the weird shit I found. Well, friends, it’s MAY and I haven’t followed up with anything new, either on Instagram or elsewhere. So guess what? My new idea was to go through my 45’s and see what absolute crap I had. I’ll do just five today, but oh boy, I have enough refuse in my collection to post several more entries. Maybe another one next month, and then another in July? I may even have more for August. It matters not, as long as you write about these thankless joys that keep on giving!

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1. “I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing”, Aerosmith (from the Armageddon soundtrack):
I have NO fucking idea why this is in my record collection. Although, I have a theory and it involves the second idiot (His name in the book is “The Poor Man’s Scott Weiland”) I was with for several years. I think it may have been his, or in some misbegotten attempt at romance that didn’t involve Busch beer, Budweiser shorts, or fucking his best friend’s girlfriend, he may have gifted me with it. 1996-1999 are dark years in my life, first my mother’s death and then directly following it up with the worst mistake I have ever made in the “game of love”, #2 (in more ways than one). Regardless, there it was in one of my 45 crates that I moved to my friend’s house. I had just done a video post on Youtube for the still-evolving book channel connected with my blog, and it was on Joe Perry’s excellent memoir ROCKS.. I had compared his book to Steven Tyler’s book, and threw Tyler’s book- AND THIS SONG- into The I&M Canal with cement shoes. In other words, I really do NOT like this song at all. I didn’t like it in the movie, I didn’t like it on the radio, I certainly didn’t like finding it in my vinyl crate. So I’m going to throw this one into the category of “Things My Stupid Exes Gave Me”. And into a fire. A burning, smoldering garbage can on fire!

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2. <strong>”And We Danced”, The Hooters:
Again, no idea why I own this. I do remember my mom liking this song, so there’s a chance it may have been one of hers, but hers all had her name on them. Blasphemy, writing on these labels; but she did it. LOL. And now that I no longer have her here, seeing that handwriting (especially on all of my Duran and Pet Shop Boys 45’s) brings back fond memories. Little things, friends. Anyway, this song annoyed me when I was a kid and it played at EVERY single dance. And if you grew up in the 80’s, you know what I’m talking about. Elementary schools had a dance every other week, it seemed. And because you were attending that school, you had to go. No matter how awkward or geeky you were in elementary school, you had to go. With or without someone as your “date”. My elementary school didn’t care if you were solitaire or the school whore. This damn song- every single dance had it, along with “Last Dance” by Donna Summer and every single graduation had “Celebration” by Kool & The Gang. Now, I won’t bitch about Kool because they’re one of my favorite bands, and I won’t really bitch about Donna Summer because she was fabulous, but The Hooters? Oh, I can bitch about the Hooters. I have, thanks to Jeffro Radio, actually heard some other songs by The Hooters that I LIKE, but that song…well, I didn’t like it then, I don’t like it now, and I don’t think I will ever like it. So why, pray tell, do I OWN the 45? There has to be some temporary insanity plea I can cop to, in regardless to owning this. I mean, look at the sleeve with the rugged hunks that were The Hooters on it. Is that a keytar??? Can a geekier bunch be found? By the way, consider Ms. Geek and her best friend Misti in 1985: (I’m on the right, Misti on the left):
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Would YOU have taken that awkward girl on the right to the class dance? I forgive you, friends, for your honesty. Anyway, this songs SUCKS. Read the lyrics. Do it.
http://www.metrolyrics.com/and-we-danced-lyrics-hooters.html.
I’ll kept running into the Macklemore song with the same name. THOSE lyrics are priceless. And I like them more.. this, well, I still don’t know why it’s here. I know I’m going to try to give it away. Maybe I’ll wrap it up and give it to someone that I detest. Yeah, that’s not a bad idea. Anyway, it does blow, and it needs to go.

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3. Undercover of the Night, The Rolling Stones:
I can’t think of any reason for owning this, besides the fact that I am a Rolling Stones fan. There was one point when I was young and I saved up my allowance to buy any and all vinyl that were by favorite artists. I LOVE the Stones almost as much as I love The Beatles and the Doors, so maybe I justified it by buying the 45 for this? I’m pretty sure that changed when Misti and I saw the video for this song on “Night Tracks”. I can remember the conversation went like this: “What the hell is going on here?” “No idea. Wait, maybe it’ll get better”. 2 minutes later… “Still no idea what this crap is, Georgette”. “Me, either, Misti. That’s some time in our lives we’ll never get back”. I mean, I love Keith Richards as much as the next person, but there is no real good riff in this song. There’s no good…anything. No idea why I own it, but I’m ashamed to say this is the same Rolling Stones who brought me numerous songs that rocked. This just sucks!
The video, in case you need indigestion….

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4. Strut, Sheena Easton:
I’m not a huge fan of Sheena Easton, although I do like quite a few of her songs. She didn’t make a huge impact on me the way Cyndi Lauper, Pat Benatar, and Madonna did. She was in the secondary female singers that rocked the 80’s Brigade. And I HATED this song. Still not a fan of it, although I can tolerate it now. I used to run screaming at the television whenever the video came on MV50 or Night Tracks; such was my dislike. There was no strong hook to the song, nor a catchy chorus. (Chaka Khan and Teena Marie she wasn’t). I have NO idea why I own this crap, but you can bet I’m going to try to sell it to Half Price Books next time I go in. EEK. Even the video… I would rather eat a bottle of ketchup (and you KNOW I hate ketchup) than ever have to watch that again.

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5. Bad Medicine, Bon Jovi:
Well, contrary to what most people who know me believe, I actually do NOT hate Bon Jovi. I own some of their vinyl and their CD’s. I think most of my intense dislike boils down to certain songs being played on heavy rotation to the point of puke intoxication. This was a 45 that I think I got for my birthday from Zappa, except it was definitely on the gag gift spectrum. I still own it, because I’m one of those people who can’t get rid of gifts (not to the point that I’m a hoarder, but.. just can’t do it) from people. The song is cheesy and awful, and the video? Well, judge for yourself. I am NOT happy that I still have this piece of crap, but since I don’t believe in throwing out gifts given to you by people, I’m stuck with it. It doesn’t mean I have to like it, or listen to it! So instead, I’ll designate it as one of the five not jive 45’s I own. Oh, and that video? Consider yourself warned (the only saving grace is Mr. Sam Kinison).

So..until your next dance into the vinyl moonlight..

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I think it’s hilarious…Dave just said he had a great idea for a blog post on here. It was NOT the same idea I had, so I hope he takes a cue from mine and tries to find an artist who would fit in this category. His idea is far better (so I’ll likely try to find something along that line), but this one idea has been knocking around in my head for a few days now, so why NOT actually post some new blogs on the HC? I should, Dave should, should anyone else? The answer would be yes! Join us at the Hive Collective. You must. You must.

So anyway, the newest thoughts on this blog are that there need to be new areas to dive into the vinyl. Not just favorites, but some that are not (the last two posts). Dive a little deeper into the artist, the music, the mania surrounding the music, and those who are collectors of that vinyl. I easily have multiple artists where I own more than 10 records of their catalog (Duran Duran, INXS, Boy George, MJ,Wham!/George Michael, Elton, Billy, Prince), so why not find some more of the bad as well as the good? Fair is fair, and not every artist has great music all the time. Dave was just talking about artists with albums today at work, but I’m saying no more because it directly relates to his next blog post here. So my idea is this- I’m going to pick one artist at random, and list the best and worst 5 records I have from that artist in my personal record collection. Another thing- the vinyl profiled doesn’t need to be one size- if it’s a 33″, a 45″, anything goes here at Hannibal Collector!

So, after deep thought, I decided that I really wanted to dive into R.E.M.’s catalog today. This is brought on by a moody Sunday at the casa, where I wrote multiple bitchy blog posts that got deleted the moment I woke up this morning and realized my bitch (female) nature had taken ahold of me yesterday. The only thing that made me feel a thousand percent better yesterday afternoon was R.E.M. In particular, one album. Whenever I listen to New Adventures In Hi-Fi, something happens to me. I get inspired. It picks me up, it lets me down, it throws me into a spin-cycle of emotions. When my mom got sick and up until and again after her death, this was the one album that kept me going through. I’m not sure why, likely because it’s such a roller coaster album all the way through (my opinion), and that fit perfectly with the waterslide that were my emotions at that painful time. It STILL manages to mess my shit up, and yet I will stand by and say I think it’s in my top 3 REM albums. And we know how many albums REM had in their career….then I began flashing back to other REM albums, and I went hunting for some vinyl. Then I turned on the record player and spun some Stipe (oh boy, THAT sounds wrong!), and felt better. Then I found some other R.E.M. that had me shaking my head going “Why do I own this?” (shades of the other blog posts previously on the HC). So, from that- comes this:

G’s Top 5 R.E.M. Vinyl:

1. NEW ADVENTURES IN HI-FI: For exactly the reasons listed in the paragraph above, and for the emotional tumult I am currently sliding around in. Thanks to the Lords of Athens for keeping me up in arms! Favorite Stipe lyric: From “Bittersweet Me“: “I’d sooner shoot my leg off than get caught in this”- perfectly described the 2nd relationship! Favorite songs: All, except for one lone wolf: E-Bow The Letter, with Patti Smith. I don’t have a personal bone to pick with Patti Smith. In fact, I do enjoy some of her work. HOWEVER, this song just drones on and on and on. It isn’t my favorite, but over time, I have adjusted. A song like “Leave”? Incredible, and still one of my all-time favorites. Overall, I love this album top to bottom. 220px-R_E_M__-_New_Adventures_in_Hi-Fi

2. MONSTER: Well, this beauty came out in 1994. The year of Biceps For Jesus. A lot of crazy going down. We had lost our generation’s voice, Kurt Cobain. Seattle was in full grunge mode. Hair metal was quietly dying in a pool of melting Aqua Net at a honky tonk in Allentown, PA. And this loud, crackling guitar riff on MTV at 2am in the morning on a Thursday night in Oak Park, IL, changed my opinion of R.E.M. forever. I had always counted on them as a band that delivered albums that brought out the deep, reflective sides of all corners of this parallelogram known as life. It was always a smooth, mellow ride. This song? “What’s The Frequency, Kenneth?” sounded like NOTHING I had ever heard out of R.E.M. before. The video? Equally hypnotic. You had to know that Peter Buck could roll like a motherfucker with that guitar, and I think this was his first chance to let loose all the way through. I can NEVER listen to this album enough..even now. Not a crappy song on it, and it reminds me of a far happier time in my life, and really, there can’t be enough of those albums that do it for you. R_E_M__-_Monster

3. OUT OF TIME-Another stellar album. This one doesn’t have a bad song on it, either! My personal favorite is “Texarkana”. Not sure why, it just had me from the second I heard it, and I thought nothing of playing it again and again, to the point that Jenny Z. begged me never to hear it again. I plead guilty. This one brought worldwide acclaim in 1991 (year of my high school graduation. Good grief!) with a catchy little ditty called “Losing My Religion”. The boys, unwilling pop stars who just wanted to make music, found themselves all over MTV’s hourly rotation and everywhere else. 1991? I was having the time of my life. Good memories, and a great soundtrack to it with Out of Time.220px-R_E_M__-_Out_of_Time

4. REVEAL– This, their twelfth album, was released in 2001. That year, in G’s world, involved her beloved Crown Books folding into Biblepalooza Books, and falling head over heels in love with a weenie tot. Yes, a human being, but I’ll call him a weenie tot (an upgrade from what I usually call him). So there was some horror (at the impending doom of innumerable neverending Paula Deen cookbooks at work) and there was optimism (at the impending doom of #3, which was up and down and all around on my tracks for the better part of ten years). The album was played a ridiculous amount, and it never failed to lift my spirits. Even now? I can still spin that vinyl and I’m singing and dancing along like a fool. Just a good album, start to finish. And the video for “Imitation of Life” is pretty entertaining, all these years later. R_E_M__-_Reveal

5. ACCELERATE: Album #14 came out in March, 2008. I don’t remember much except that #3 was on its last run down my tracks, and I was OBSESSED with playing Duran Duran’s Red Carpet Massacre, which came out in November, 2007. However, one listen to Supernatural Superserious, the first single, on WXRT, and I had to have the album. Right away, there was some energy here, which was a vast improvement from the bucket of piss album before (Around The Sun) this one. “Man Sized Wreath”, “Living Well is the Best Revenge“, and “Hollow Man” are all favorites, but really, a great album top to bottom. A great album cover design, and Jacknife Lee brought out something in them that I hadn’t heard in sonic form since “Monster“. A pleasant surprise. 220px-R_E_M__-_Accelerate

G’s Bottom Of The Heap R.E.M. Vinyl:

1. Around The Sun:: I have no earthly idea what was going on with Stipe & Co in 2003/2004 when they were making this drivel. It could NOT have been good. I got this on vinyl as a gift from Weenie Tot. I think it was found at a dive record store somewhere, but it was nicely adorned with the $2.00 sticker still on it. First I was pissed because the motherfucker couldn’t even take the sticker off, then I was pissed because once I opened it and played it, I felt like the $2.00 he wasted on it could’ve gone toward a bottle of something or a pack of smokes. I can’t even identify a single song on it that I enjoyed. I remembered hearing “Leaving New York” and thinking that I wished the clones that were playing R.E.M. would get vaporized in a field of magnolias, back into the awesome trio they usually were. There’s nothing to save this one. The band does NOT play any songs off of it, and Peter Buck has freely admitted that it’s unlistenable and that the band were clearly not happy with the material, and it showed. Give the boys points for honesty. So, friends, if you see this album in a record bin, RUN! 220px-R_E_M__-_Around_the_Sun

2. UP- I used to defend this album because it had one or two really good songs on it. However, I have come to realize over the years that it’s just not that good. I wouldn’t call it absolute shite (see above) because there are at least three songs on it that don’t suck, but overall, a very disappointing release from the boys. For the record, the songs I enjoy are “Diminished“, “Lotus“, and “At My Most Beautiful“, which goes to show that despite an album worth of weird filler and downtrodden electronic beats and drum machines (first album without Bill Berry), that the band can still produce some quality. The cover design blows, the album sounds muted and then completely mono in parts, and there is no discernible thread throughout. I’m going to blame Nigel Goodrich for this, because he engineered the album. Goodrich? Bush’s record producer. Say no more.
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3. Automatic For The People– I’m going to take major shit for this one. It’s not that I don’t love parts of it, but as a whole, it doesn’t move mountains for me. It barely moves an anthill, actually. I will likely get nasty postal mail from Mr. Rich Snyder, because I know he loves this album. I did, too, the 100 million times I heard it in 1992/1993/eternity. The problem was, it just didn’t resonate much with me. I can listen to it now and see more value in it; yet, it’s largely ignored in my collection. I will see it and keep flipping through. It’s not personal, or maybe it is, but a lot of it is just there. Or maybe I just felt as an album it was played so much that it was overplayed for me for life. What did I like? “The Sidewinder Sleeps Tonite”(a song many of my friends mock, but I love it because it’s different and it’s FUN!), “Everybody Hurts“(a song I still love, but if I hear it start, I do groan aloud), and “Man On The Moon”. Overall, though? I can do without. R_E_M__-_Automatic_for_the_People

4. Dead Letter Office– I picked this up at Beautiful Day Records in Lagrange, which I had spoken of often on this blog. A good number of my vinyl came from that little slice of heaven. This was when I was going through my major R.E.M. discovery stage. Anything that I saw with their name on it I got… including this. I was excited because it was ‘rarities, B-sides, demos”, and I liked hearing rare stuff from a band that I held in high regard. The cover did little for my libido, but R.E.M. covers usually dont’, anyway. I listened to it once, I listened to it twice, and I put it away, with no effect on me whatsoever. Years went by, I moved several times when Love came a callin’ and then Love went a fallin’, and whenever I unpacked it, I had to listen to it again. Like granite on a marble countertop orgy, nothing. Nothing. At. All. Yesterday, I put it on again. And again, Nothing. At. All. Avoid. At. All. Costs. 220px-R_E_M__-_Dead_Letter_Office

5. Document- This one is known primarily for being Stipe’s political album on the misrepresentation of what was going on with the political shenanigans of one Ronald Reagan. Your big hit was “The One I Love“, a song that got them some major notice, but really the only standalone track on this album. I love Stipe’s lyrics and I love R.E.M., but I connect more with the emotive side of the band, rather than the political side of the band. Listened to it again to be fair, but was bored after Side 1 and turned it off. Even age can’t bring wisdom to my liking this album. R_E_M__-_Document

So, overall, I love, love, love more than despise the R.E.M. in my vinyl collection. And I have all their albums on vinyl. I don’t own any 45’s by them, because I believe they are one of those bands that are solid start to finish on multiple albums, so I didn’t waste a lot of time buying their singles on 45, simply because I wanted the entire album. Great band, great albums, only a few dim spots in their night sky, and you really can’t argue with that, can you?

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I could apologize for the picture above, but I’m frightened and giggling like a fool. Another thing I don’t pretend to understand- why own and buy vinyl when you don’t have a record player? But that’s not why I’m here.
I also will try to post more on here; not sure what the founder of this great blog is up to these days. I mean, he’s my friend and I work with him, but he doesn’t appear on here too often. Which is a damn shame, because he’s got great opinions on vinyl.
I have to explain better. I got a NEW record player for my birthday from my friend, “House of Style Brother” Dylan. The other one came to an unfortunate end. I wept. Because I really loved that old stereo system with the double cassette and 5 CD-disc player model. Yep, it still had a double cassette player. The thing was smoking when I went to turn it on one day, and then it just Stopped. Dead. In. My. Tracks. Sorry, I’m referencing a Duran Duran B-side. Anyway, he got me a small carry along model that I can pack up and bring with me. Believe me, I’ve thought about bringing it to the store! Anyhow, I also thought it a cool idea to take pictures of random 45’s and vinyl that I found when I was bringing out the vinyl to play on the nifty record player, and post them on Instagram. And my followers had a lot of cool things to stay. Jurkones even offered to buy my Eddy Grant “Electric Avenue” 45 from me. (Sorry, dude, I can’t part with it.) I also was quite appalled to find a number of vinyl that I own that made my stomach churn like the fiery kiln of Martha Stewart’s Pottery Barn. Spring cleaning is in full force here at Casa de Coan, and I found even more revolting records. So here’s a top 10 of the worst vinyl I found so far- don’t worry, friends, I have another 28 crates to go through, and 14 in John M’s basement in Mundelein, from when I moved here in 2011. Here’s the rundown of the first 10 vinyl records/45’s that I found that made me shriek out loud. PS- These are in no order of suck, either. They’re all equally appalling.

1. All Out of Love- Air Supply.- The only explanation I have for this is that it HAD to be my mom’s 45 and got mixed in the move. Her 45’s and vinyl always had “Karen” written on them, in case anyone would ever have thought my 7 year old self would wish to sway and croon along with one of the higher charting duos in 70’s and 80’s music. Uh, no. I just don’t get it. I know, she tried real hard to get me and my brother into Air Supply. I remember we both liked the Bee-Gees, any of the soul she played, and Carl Douglas’ “Kung Fu Fighting”, which was my brother’s favorite of all songs, if I recall. She also tried with the Captain and Tennille (which I was telling Dave about the other day because the Captain and Tennille popped up in his trivia round. I think?), to no avail. I remember liking Heart, the Monkees, ALL disco except that swinehoond KC, Three Dog Night, and Billy and Elton- even then! I never got Air Supply. I used to hear the beginning of that cheesy mid-tempo trying to up-tempo start, and I would beg to take a nap. Then, as now, I’m not fond of naps. I would BEG TO TAKE A NAP. My mom wouldn’t play records if one of us wanted to take a nap. I learned quickly how to side-step that landmine. Of course, she figured it out and played it MORE. I love my mama, rest her soul, but I will never love the Air Supply. So, Air Supply and I will never dance the tango of love. If I ever have to hear it again, I fear I may set a Packers flag on fire. Take it to the bank.

2. Don’t Forget Me When I’m Gone- Glass Tiger– Oh, Glass Tiger, I think you may have overstayed your welcome in my vinyl closet when I heard that song “Someday“. Not a fan of that, not a fan of this, not a fan of their first album. I’m not sure why I found this in my vinyl collection, unless it was a gift from my grandma, who liked to buy vinyl for us, or a friend. Or a misguided choice from my mom. There were a lot of bands/singers we disagreed about with her, as well as many that we agree upon. All records were played in our house. Respect for all those who owned records/45’s. I honestly do not remember buying this ever, because I didn’t care for Glass Tiger. If I wanted music like this, I preferred Level 42. Seriously. Glass Tiger seemed like lukewarm version of cream soda. And you all know what I think of cream soda.

3. Theme from Moonlighting- Al Jarreau– I do, unfortunately, know why I own this. I always had an affinity for ABC television shows. Moonlighting was one of my favorites. And not just because it was funny or I coveted Cybil Shepherd’s over hair sprayed helmet head. No, people, I had a crush on Bruce Willis. Beth F and I used to have entire conversations at BAM about our shared crush over Bruce Willis. With, or without hair. Yes, people, Bruce Willis once had hair. And a cheesy show. Which I adored. In true fashion, the young fangirl (before being a fangirl was even a thing) bought anything and everything associated with Moonlighting or Bruce Willis. Including the official soundtrack album, on cassette. And this 45, which I found at K-Mart and my mom got for me (she also watched Moonlighting). I tried, kids, really, I did. I put it on the new record player. It is not in good shape, from years of playing it (or 2 seasons, which is all the show lasted, if I’m remembering right). I made it about 20 seconds and my skin was crawling. Bye, bye, Al Jarreau. It’s a damn good thing that not all of our childhood favorites make it to the adult list. Yikes!

4. Bad Medicine- Bon Jovi-— I do not like Bon Jovi. Rather, I like a few songs- Livin’ On A Prayer and Wanted (Dead or Alive). This has to be one where any liking I had of Jon Bon Jovi went south. Although, as I have noted in other posts, the minute he went from being the rocker in the ripped jeans, fringe jacket, and tri-colored mullet rocker hair to getting it chopped off, highlighted, and dressing in gold lame (on that pretentious box set, like he was Elvis!) suits, along with the shorn locks went what little vestiges of talent may have been there. “Your love is like bad medicine, bad medicine is what I need”. Apparently, I need this shit ass 45 as well. Don’t worry, you don’t have to dispose of it, I already did it. Yuck. No idea why I owned this or where it came from, but I should have a cleansing done over my vinyl collection to remove the Bon Jovi Ju Ju.

5. The Lady In Red- Chris DeBurgh= Someone picked this song in the much-heralded 80’s March Madness bracket at the store last March… (Andrew? Was it you?) and I loudly scarfed and make farting noises when that was revealed. Imagine my horrified yelp when I found it in one of my vinyl crates. I did not like the song in the 80’s and I do not like it now. In the true spirit of age bringing wisdom and all that crap, I put it on the new player and listened. And cringed. And talked back to the crooning sap on the record. Ugh. No thanks. I can think of nicer romantic songs from the 80’s, if I were to ever engage in such a discussion with friends of mine equally obsessed by that decade. This one is for the shit pile.

6. Games- New Kids On The Block-– Well, I wonder if this is Shannon’s (my sister) old 45. SHE was obsessed with them the way I was with Duran. I did like NKOTB, but I actually liked their last album the best. “Tonight” and “Step By Step” are pretty solid for a group that was getting ready to disband. “Games” is a song that is best described as tepid crap trying to be rap. Boston style. Annoying, clichéd, lame. Like drinking a cup of tea peppered with pure cane sugar and manure. No thanks.

7. One Night In Bangkok- Murray Head-– Remember this gem from the Broadway musical “Chess”? No? That’s ok, I never meant to bring back bad memories from the Golden Decade. This little Broadway musical and concept album had roots in that the dudes in ABBA were behind it, along with Tim Rice, later known largely for “The Lion King”. Now that you have that useless information, why do I own this 45? I must have had it years before I met Heidi, my best friend. She’s STILL obsessed with that song. I never quite got it and never quite got it. I think my brother and I used to make fun of the title because, naturally, we turned it into something dirty. So, I guess that’s good for memories, eh? But really, I do not like this and would definitely throw a M-80 at the motherfucker singing in the video (swarmy bastage).

8. Strut- Sheena Easton– Now remember, I am not a huge fan of Sheena Easton. I like some of her songs and I love the song with Prince, but this is song sucks. Hated it then, hate it now. I have matured a bit. I used to sing “Slut” instead of “Strut”. I. Just. Hate. It.

9. Total Eclipse Of The Heart- Bonnie Tyler- Well, you had to know at some point this was going to make an appearance. My dislike of this started way before Biceps For Jesus adopted it as his anthem and further killed any potential inkling of like. The video? Even in a decade known for excess, this one was WAY over the top in the ludicrous tent. I don’t remember whom did what, but there are several fabulous parodies of it on Youtube. Check them out, so much better than the song. I think this one may have been a 45 my mom coveted but somehow it ended up mixed in with my stuff. Not a fan, kids. Not a fan.

10. Kokomo- Beach Boys-– I know I’m going to get shit for this one. From one of the worst Tom Cruise movies every made, the bile-inducing COCKTAIL, this is a low point for the Beach Boys. I know a ton of people who love to crank this song at parties and I hear it a lot in the summertime, at the beaches, at the horse stables, you get the idea. I love the Beach Boys, and I’m sure that Richie and I will have a spirited discussion about my dissing of this. I just don’t like it. I don’t think the boys would have done it if they hadn’t been…well…brainwashed. I’m blaming Tom Cruise and his Merry Brand of Scientologists for the Beach Boys doing this. Ugh.

Would you fucking believe that as I was writing this post, “All Out Of Love” came on the radio? Yeah, of course. Talk about the universe (or the great beyond) sending a mixed message. So… I hope you enjoyed some of the revolting records in my collection.

News Of The World: Queen (Albums I Grew Up With)

Posted: August 17, 2014 by generationgbooks in Uncategorized

 

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Not too long ago, there was the long-fought about, long-drawn out, 80’s bracket at the bookstore. This was something we did as March Madness was unfurling- our own form of it, I suppose. Anyway, there was some suppressed outrage at my voting over a Queen song (I honestly do not recall which one. I’m sure the boys will remind me) in favor of another song. I love Queen. I grew up with them. My mom was a huge fan, and had the 8-tracks to prove it. My dad had that shitty Dodge Aspen that he drove around for a couple of years, until, like a typical Dodge, it laid a giant turd. That Aspen had an 8-track player in it, believe it or not (this was early 80’s, when 8-tracks were losing credibility fast). This was one of the few 8-tracks that was always in there. I’m pretty sure my dad wishes he could have gouged his eyes out, so often was this album played in that car. It only brings joyous memories, and good vibes. And it is a fantastic album, to boot.

My mom owned this album on vinyl as well. Unfortunately, it was one of many albums that were in crates in that leaky closet in the Willow Springs cottage where we grew up. That leak kept getting worse and worse, and one day, upon discovering that some of her albums were ruined, my mom just threw all of them out. All of her vinyl. The ones that were left went with us to the other house, and were disposed of when we moved and my brother got rid of what was left. (I think it was my brother, there were a lot of us moving that house, so maybe it wasn’t). Regardless, her copy of this was long warped, due to that leak. I remember how upset she was, but not so much because she just ran out to the car, got the 8-track, and popped it into the player in the house. I liked the vinyl. My brother loved the cover because of the robot on it. I thought there were scary dudes on the cover, until I got old enough to recognize that it was the members of Queen. Still, a pretty great cover for an album released in 1977, year of disco and Roxy Music’s almost nude model album covers.

Obviously, you have the double barrel leadoff of “We Are The Champions” and “We Will Rock You”. Once you amble past that one-two punch, you have stand alone cuts “Get Down, Make Love” (a favorite even before the lyrics meant anything and before NIN’s excellent cover of it), “Spread Your Wings” (another favorite of mine), “It’s Late”, and “All Dead, All Dead”. As a whole, track to track, it’s solid. I was too young to form legitimate favorites until I was older, but I can play it all the way through, and enjoy the whole thing. There aren’t a lot of albums in my lifetime that I can make that claim about. How did I finally get my hands on my own vinyl copy of it? I was with Jen down at the Virgin Mobile store downtown (same place that I found the rare Culture Club box set), and they had it in a clearance bin. I remember saying “Are they mad?” before grabbing it and putting it in a killer midget clutch so no one else got it. Jen grimaced, as she’s not a huge Queen fan, and went trolling for Gary Numan albums. I got it for $4.00 and it’s brand new. I love the cover and the gatefold design is pretty sweet. Definitely an album that stands the test of time. So much that I realized I don’t own it on CD, so I had to order one online. Pretty sure that’s going to the bookstore. You’re welcome, coworkers.

When great bands write stupid songs: Get On Your Boots

Posted: June 28, 2014 by generationgbooks in Music
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U2 have always been one of my favorite bands. Just because I join the ranks of the rational folks who now belittle Bono and his political bucking bronco that he can’t get off of, does not mean that I don’t still appreciate that he and his band have brought so many great songs and memories to the masses. They are a great band, although I can’t say that of anything that they have released in the past ten years. Ten years is a long time. This bit of music that I’m writing about? I believe that’s when reality sunk its fangs into me and I realized that the suck had set in. I am not alone in questioning whether Bono is so busy mingling with the free world that he quit concentrating on his craft. I think it’s obvious, and if you go back and examine timelines, it all began, in ridiculous earnest, around the time that How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb came out. U2 hasn’t delivered a solid album in over a decade. In a thousand years I never would have expected the following song to ever be written, much less recorded, AND released as the first single off of a new U2 album. What’s the problem, you say? Let’s take a look.

Future needs a big kiss
Winds blow with a twist
Never seen a move like this
Can you see it too

Maybe the first four lines were written after watching Step Up, the Channing Tatum/Jenna Dewan movie from 2006? If you’re watching the movie, then yes, you are seeing it too. The future didn’t need a big kiss, though, as Tatum and Dewan spent a good portion of that movie sucking face. Winds blowing with a twist? Maybe Bono witnessed a juice tornado in the Serengeti?

Night is falling everywhere
Rockets hit the funfair
Satan loves a bomb scare
But it won’t scare you

Night does indeed fall everywhere. Rockets hit the funfair? Where is this funfair that is being held at night? If it’s in a country in the Middle East and they’re holding a funfair at night, when rebels and terrorists usually strike more, then they’re kind of asking for it? Satan loves a bomb scare. But it won’t scare you. Well, if you’re a human being, a fucking bomb scare would scare the shit out of you. Maybe this is a Johnny Mnemonic type situation? Therefore, they aren’t scared? I was plenty scared by these lyrics. The chorus? Oh yeah, that chorus.

Hey…Sexy Boots
Get on your Boots
Yeah…

What the fuck? Sexy boots? There’s a chance that a bomb is going off somewhere and you’re worried about seeing some girl put on sexy boots? Why would you identify a girl’s attractiveness by her boots? I can see if she’s stripping in a club somewhere and wearing next to nothing but thigh high boots, but in a potential war zone? On the battlefield? In a war torn field? In God’s Country? Makes no damn sense. Unless Bono means a man, and then we have a whole different dynamic, but one that still makes no sense. It also makes no sense, if he’s trying to set the scene to that of a battle zone. Who cares about seeing some bitch in sexy boots if you might step on a landmine and be blown to bits at any time? Make love, not war is taking it a bit far. Then the obligatory “Yeah”… you need to assert what you just said? Not very sure of yourself, War Zone Lothario.

Free me from the dark dream
Candy bars, ice cream
All the kids are screaming but the ghosts aren’t real

Free me from a dark dream of candy bars and ice cream? No way, Jose. I would remain in that dream forever. Unless he means dark chocolate? I would never leave! Is this Bono’s way of saying he likes milk chocolate, not dark chocolate? What does dreaming of chocolate have to do with anything? All the kids are screaming but the ghosts aren’t real. Kids might be screaming for candy bars and ice cream, but that’s not something bad, usually. The ghosts? Maybe they’re having dreams of the ghosts in Pac-Man? That would scare anyone who grew up inside the 1980’s Pac-Man universe (hand raised). The ghosts of the dentist hovering nearby with a drill to stop them from eating all that sugar? The ghosts of Boo-Berry cereal? Cereal and war and boots. Makes perfect sense to..well, U2.

Here’s what you gotta be
Love & community
Laughter is eternity if the joy is real

If you stand together, united in your hatred of dark chocolate, you will laugh forever. If the rockets don’t get you first. Nice message there, Bono Vox.

You don’t know how beautiful
You don’t know how beautiful
You are…
You don’t know
You get it do you
You don’t know
How beautiful you are…

Singing to the boots, the woman, or the candy bars and ice cream? No clear answers. Just a lot of worshipful questions masquerading as declarations. You don’t know. But you are. You don’t know. You get it don’t you? You don’t know. This is madness! How can any girl understand that back talk?

If someones into blowing up
We’re into growing up

I would hope you want to live and not be blown up.

Women are the future
All the big revelations
I’ve gotta submarine
You’ve got gasoline
I don’t wanna talk about wars between nations
Not right now

Women are the future- of big revelations. Like the commonly known; we’re all insane. I’ve gotta submarine, you’ve got gasoline. Come-on line? Kinky talk of mortar shells; I’m turned on, aren’t you? EEK! He doesn’t want to talk about wars between nations, not right now. Because he’d rather be discussing how women are insane and then lobbing gratuitous grenades of a supposedly sensual nature at the person wearing the boots. Nothing says sexy times like talk of submarines, gasoline, and a bomb scare.

Sexy Boots
Get on your Boots
Yeah…
Foxy boots

Whoa! Whoa! Stop the presses, Vicki Vale! Sexy just turned into foxy. Foxy Cleopatra? Foxy Brown? Boots..not babes. Go figure that out.

You don’t know how beautiful
You don’t know how beautiful
You are…
Sexy Boots
I don’t wanna talk about wars

You keep saying it, yet you keep singing these words. And likening sensual delights to warfare.

Let me in the sound
Let me in the sound
Let me in the sound
My God I’m going down
I don’t wanna drown now
Let me in the sound

That’s a lot of pleas to be let into the Sound. The Sound of Music? Already cast. Sound & Vision, one of the highlight’s of David Bowie’s 1977 masterpiece, Low? I wish we could all travel back in time to be in there, but alas, not happening. The Sound And The Fury, the classic novel by William Faulkner? Well, the lack of imaginative narrative in that novel does echo the narrative of this song, so perhaps. In context with the lyrics following, I will vote for Long Island Sound. Not to mention, it separates Long Island from Connecticut. I could see him swimming to save the Connecticut Chippies, an elitist group of Gulfstream obsessed yuppies. Couldn’t you? And yes, Bono, if you swim for the Chippies, you are likely going to drown. Of course he doesn’t want to drown now, because how can he jet all over the globe, saving millions from suffering without milk chocolate? And foxy boots? He can’t, yet he begs to be let into Long Island Sound, which may lead to his drowning. What the fuck, Bono? What the fuck?

Let me in the sound
Let me in the sound
Let me in the sound
Get on your Boots
Get on your Boots
Yeah…

I guess the narrator of the piece wants to drown. While watching this girl get on her sexy, no, foxy boots. I hope he isn’t singing this while putting on his sexy, no, foxy boots, because that will definitely result in him drowning. In the sound. In the sound. In the sound. I have no fucking idea.

U2, as I stated, one of my favorite bands. Until the past ten years. No Line on The Horizon is absolute shit. I liked Magnificent for about five minutes, but that, too, did pass. I had Matt Foo make a copy for me, because I refused to pay for the album based on this monstrosity of a song. I love vinyl and music, and I love U2 unequivocally, before the last decade. This song? According to multiple Google sources, it was inspired by Bono taking his family to France and seeing warplanes overhead. Did you get any of that from the lyrics cited above? I certainly didn’t. I witnessed a bunch of nonsensical lyrics coming from a band that brought us earth-shattering songs like “With Or Without You”, “You’re So Cruel”, “All I Want Is You”, among others. Listen to the earlier U2 and then listen to the last ten years. It’s enough to make you want to cry. Or drown. In the sound.

Going Down with The Gutter Twins and Saturnalia

Posted: June 7, 2014 by generationgbooks in Music
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The Afghan Whigs hold a special place in my heart of musical hearts. No, it doesn’t just involve that swaggering, chain-smoking lead singer Greg Dulli (I like them tall, dark, and troubled). It doesn’t involve any one time period in my life or one particularly bad relationship, rather they are the one band that I listen to that embraces the dark, seedier side of things that hide in the bushes of one’s troubled subconscious. For every Duran Duran that litters that vinyl record player, there’s an Afghan Whig or a Greg Dulli side project that’s sitting in its plastic waiting to be unleashed. The Whigs never fail to stir up the creative side. Often they stir up dark, submerged memories that should be left thousands of feet underwater. Often, more often than not, they make me turn that radio up higher and try to figure out what makes Mr. Greg Dulli tick. More and more lately, I have turned to their records in an attempt to find my fountain of inspiration, which has left me arid in the middle of deserted cacti. Do To The Beast is incredible, by the way. Not just good, or okay. Incredible. It’s the type of record that should be played when you are sitting alone in the middle of the night, unable to sleep, unable to dream, unable to write, unable to be, well, anything. At least you’ll have one hell of a soundtrack to put some wrappers in your brain, things that may later give birth to incredible outbursts of creativity, or at least make you pay heed to what’s rustling around in the attic. This latest album has inspired me to head back into the catalog of Whigs and Co. material. I went on a mission to find all of the vinyl. First I found the CD for Saturnalia, then I went through two more boxes of stuff and found the vinyl. What the hell are the Gutter Twins? Well, friends, let me give you a small history lesson.

Also, not to shortlist the other talented part of The Gutter Twins, Mr. Mark Lanegan. Mark Lanegan spent sixteen years as lead singer and visionary of the band Screaming Trees. After the band ended in 2000, he went on his merry way, doing anything from solo records to guesting on prominent band albums (mostly Queens of the Stone Age), to side projects with notable musicians. He and Dulli began this collaboration in 2003. I have a lot of Lanegan’s music as well, solo and Screaming Trees, and he doesn’t disappoint. Put the two together and albums like Saturnalia are born. The duo worked on it over the next five years, and it finally found its release on March 4, 2008 (time of Pisces. Go figure the dark, brooding nature of parts of this album).

Sadly, I didn’t connect with Saturnalia until August of 2008. Duran Duran’s Red Carpet Massacre had been released in November of 2007, and distractions of that nature took a while for me to get past. I was also, to great regret, re-igniting that long snuffed out torch known as the ten-year error in judgment. I was, for the second time in my ten years loving the wrong individual, “The Other Woman”. No, the romper room fruit plate gifting fool wasn’t married, but was in a committed relationship with one woman, and carrying on with me behind her back. Am I proud of both lapses in judgment? No, definitely not. However, you don’t learn to move on and past things if you aren’t shat upon repeatedly by the same bird of prey. I finally woke the fuck up, and when it did happen, it was ugly. And the soundtrack to this happenstance? The Gutter Twins Saturnalia.

As I have said with previous albums, it’s hard for me to pick favorites on some of the vinyl I own. This would be one of those occurrences. The time, nor the place, really matter because every single time I listen to it, a new bevy of emotions threaten to consume me as Mount Vesuvius did Pompeii. It doesn’t matter what sort of mood you’re in when you put this record on, or what sort of calamity may have befallen you on that day, but you’re going down when you put this record on. It’s a cathartic experience. It’s one that should be experienced, repeatedly. It’s worth owning the vinyl, the CD, and if it exists (I am not certain if it does), on cassette. Because that’s how you roll with music you really love; any and all formats are appreciated and should be owned.

About that vinyl. I got it on Alabamazon from an independent seller for $14.02. It came in the mail trashed. I filed a complaint and got a refund. I couldn’t play the fucking thing; it was scratched worse than Clinton’s nut sack after Lewinsky got done. The second vinyl I ordered came in pristine condition, but broken. In two. Thanks, UPS, you can suck it. We had a UPS driver in Willow Springs who liked to throw any and all boxes on top of the staircase. I lost plenty of vinyl over the years from that fucker. The third time was, thankfully, the charm. I finally gave up on ordering it online, and I hit Musicland in Chicago Ridge Mall looking for it. Steven Joseph of the Mataros Mafioso (LCP) was managing it, and gave me the old stink eye when I told him I was looking for that on vinyl. That motherfucker wouldn’t order a jazz record if you asked him, unless you gave a shout out to his favorite “singer” of all time, Ms. Sheryl Crow. I waxed some bullshit about how “Everyday Is A Winding Road” changed my karmic outlook toward world peace and manure piles, and he ordered it. Since it was a “special order”, it took almost a month to come in, but the rejoicing was mine when I picked it up. I believe a special celebration was in store that evening: me, myself, the gentlemen Lanegan and Dulli, and a bottle of Southern Comfort. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Synchronicity by The Police

Posted: April 25, 2014 by generationgbooks in Music
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I really cannot stand Sting. That disclaimer should be put out there right away, in case I make some comment of him in this post that gives away the fact that he is offal. And awful. But I guess the lesson here at least for me was that even the most offal artists are sometimes capable of putting out truly fantastic music. The fact remains that high tensions and divided nations within bands often yield undeniable genius (witness Fleetwood Mac and the tumult that brought us Rumours) in the sonic temple. Such is the case with 1983’s Synchronicity by The Police.

Synchronicity was released in June of 1983. It was a heady time in music and pop culture, at least for me. I was 10, and impressionable. The impression that Every Breath You Take had on me was instant. Instant dislike. Likely, as you have read me referencing many times before, due to my mom overplaying the hell out of the song. She told me that it was a love song. That made me dislike it more. I remember one conversation where she said it would make a great “wedding song.” If you are marrying one of my exes, maybe. I just didn’t dig the moody vibe. It does get under your skin and in your subconscious, and it was a smash for The Police, but I could still live the rest of my life without that song. However, it wouldn’t have been a great album without it. This is such a unique album from start to finish, and the sum is greater than the parts, but you can’t argue with the staying power that Every Breath You Take has. The next single, Wrapped Around Your Finger, was more instant. Love at first listen. The video- even better. Sting dancing and doing whatever fucking stu-rate (stupid karate) move he was doing (disclaimer: I am not dissing karate, just Sting doing karate), among all the candles. I can’t tell you the number of times that my brother and I yelled at the TV “Set yourself on fire”. I love the song. Synchronicity II was next released, and if there is a favorite on this album, this is it. The video rocks is awesome (and again, hopes for Sting to fall to his demise were oft heard in suburban Willow Springs). The last single released was King Of Pain. Another favorite. I don’t think they did a video for that one, which is unfortunate for I would love to see what His Stingness came up with for that. Start to finish, a fantastic album, even with the oddity that was “Mother”. That’s a song that gets true eyebrow raising at the store when it comes on. I would recommend listening to that one at a much lower volume. Stung’s shrieking is right up there with Yoko’s primal screaming in all of her solo work. If the United States ever needs to drive armed forces out in a crisis situation, they can bookend “Mother” and all of Yoko’s “singing” to do the trick.

Synchronicity was inspired by Arthur Koestler’s book The Roots of Coincedence. Jung’s Synchronicity is a reference point for Koestler’s book. Sting, of course, was the one reading these doorstops of philosophy, and that’s what influenced the entire album. The Roots of Coincedence is a work that relies heavily on parapsychology, telekinesis, and extra sensory perception. In other words, my final term paper for my high school psychology class (and the only thing that saved me from a resounding “D” in the course). Of course I was going to like an album based around some of these themes. Of course, I didn’t know all of that back story for jack shit when I was 10, but it’s never too late to figure it out when you’re in your thirties. Interesting to also know that Schwing was inspired by another work the Koestler did earlier in The Police’s span, and that brought about Ghost In The Machine, their album before Synchronicity. Isn’t your life more enriched by knowing that? Mine neither, but it did spin a great album.

Let’s talk about the vinyl. I acquired it sometime in 1988, when Nerfy (first job knob) and I took a trip through downtown Lagrange, and I found Beautiful Day RecordsThat place was wholly responsible for my vinyl addiction. Nerfy thought he could make up missing our first dinner date to watch a Packers game by taking me “out on the town”. For those familiar, downtown Lagrange is NOT “out on the town”. But to a couple of 15 year olds, I guess it was alright. That’s how I discovered Beautiful Day. He was pissed because I was in there over two hours, while he wanted to go check out the toy store and the sports memorabilia. (Note: ever get stuck in a sports jersey shop for three hours with someone who almost pops a boner over a Don Majkowski jersey? Not recommended for the faint of heart). I was thrilled with the acquisition (the album, not the Packer fan). The cover shots are more in-depth, and it has a great gatefold sleeve. You get the complete lyrics also. I have the original one that I bought with Nerfy, and then I have the other one I picked up for $2.00 at the Chicagoland Record Show. The original one is a little sad for all the wear and tear I have put it through, so I keep the other one in plastic. It’s one of the few albums I do have two copies of, but it’s completely worth it. 

Is There Something I Should Know? Duran Duran 12″ Single

Posted: March 17, 2014 by generationgbooks in Music
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I think every post I’ve done for Hannibal Collector has been about albums in their entirety. Since nothing makes me more happy than to write about Duran Duran and my writing seems to be stuck in a stall somewhere with Sarah Jessica Parker, well, it’s time to write about Duran Duran. And a vinyl 12″ single, as they were called in the good old days of vinyl across the land. These days, they have this bastard called the Internet. More on that another time, another blog.

I should clarify right off the bat, despite my obsession with Duran Duran, that I can objectively say that there are songs in their catalog that I don’t care for, just as there are ones that I cannot do without listening to on a regular basis. “Is There Something I Should Know?” is one of those songs. It’s also another song that has an interesting history attached to it.

Duran Duran’s first album was released in 1981. This song was not on it. I know; I own the original on vinyl. The original 1981 release has a drudgy song called “To The Shore”. “To The Shore”, for those unfamiliar, is a song that even Simon LeBon cannot remember what or whom he was writing about. My confused 10-year old self hated it on first listen, second listen, third listen. As I got older and moodier, I liked it a tad bit more. However, it is definitely and should definitely be a B-side, not an album track.  I used to fast forward through it on cassette. My mom hated it as much as I did. Then came MV50. One morning before school, after my brother and I were grooving to Eddy Grant’s video for “Electric Avenue” and trying to figure out how he got his hair like that (we were 10 and 9, remember), I heard a drum beat and “Please Please Tell Me Now”. My first viewing of that video. Immediate. Love at first listen. Then…confusion. What album was this song on? I had the two that were out, and this excellent song was on neither. Time for some homework. 

MTV had immediately jumped on the video, as they had jumped on the videos for “Hungry Like The Wolf” and “Rio” the year before. Of course, I had no idea, as we did not have MTV. Several of my classmates did, however, and gave me the 411. The VJ’s were saying it was on their first album Duran Duran. I ran home from school at the end of the day and checked both the cassette and the record, and neither had that song. “To The Shore”, unfortunately, had not majestically vanished and been replaced with “Is There Something I Should Know?”. What the fuck was going on? My little scattered 10-year old brain could not figure out this puzzle. Even MV50 when they played the video, had “Duran Duran” listed as the album the song was on. My mom and I decided that a trip to K-Mart and Venture was in the cards. I had amazing luck with Venture and Duran Duran of any kind. We went over and I yelled. There it was–but it was a whole new cover! What sort of fresh hell was this?

For the record, the original 1981 release of Duran Duran (with “To The Shore”):

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The re-released 1983 Duran Duran (with “Is There Something I Should Know?):

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You can see why I was confused. I flipped it and looked at the song list- my prayers to the Duran gods had been answered- “To The Shore” had been replaced with “Is There Something I Should Know?”. I told my mom that the dumb song was gone and the one that was in the video was on there. That was enough. She bought it for me, allowance notwithstanding. We went home and I just kept playing it over and over. It is an infinitely better song, and it worked so much better with the context and flow of the album than “To The Shore”. I don’t think it would have fit well on “Rio” , and Capitol obviously agreed, so they tossed it on this album. Or maybe, maybe, maybe, they knew it would revive interest and sales in the first album, since Rio was a runaway smash. Who knows? I was just glad that the sludge song (I was doing parodies then. I had renamed it and re-wrote it as “To The Sludge”, as I was living in Willow Springs at the time, and sludge, unfortunately, was a consequence of living there) was gone. So I saved up my allowance and got the cassette of this reissue and then the 45 single of it. Why wasn’t I satisfied with just the one album? Die hard Duranies buy everything, format-wise if you can. Not to mention, prices back then- a steal. These days, it’ll set you back one or two utility bills, for most of us who are home owners and the breadwinners. That’s why I’m so glad I have so much vinyl from my glory days of childhood. It’s definitely an investment worth making.

Now that the history of what happened with the re-issue and the covers has been explained, onto the 12″ single. Heidi and I had been attending the Chicagoland Record Collectors show in Hillside for years, and I got ahold of a cassette titled “Duran Duran Rare Mixes”. There was, on this record, a mix of “Is There Something I Should Know?” called The Monster Mix. We popped it in the cassette player and cranked it. Love at first listen again. I love and hate mixes. I used to feel the original song had enough power that it should not be messed with. Then I started hearing mixes that churned out a whole new dynamic to so many of the songs that I did love, that I had to revise my earlier scorn of them. The same is true with Duran Duran. Some of them are fantastic (what Nile Rodgers did to “The Reflex” from the original on Seven and The Ragged Tiger, he should win the prize), and some are not (“The Violence Of Summer” mixes are a bit too much for me). This one was fantastic. It took another seven or eight trips, some with Heidi, some with Jennie, some with Disco Chuck, before I finally found the 12″ single. There was the original, the Monster Mix, and add to it the b-side of “Faith In This Colour”, both the slow and the fast versions. (Fast version is better, in my opinion), and you have a win all around. I remember paying more than I could afford, but sometimes its so worth it to spend the little extra to have something that gives you so much joy. In a moment of irony that could only shackle itself to me these days, the original release of the song was March 19, 1983- so we are two days away from the 31st anniversary of the release. I can’t think of a more fitting way to commemorate the occasion.

Stay Hungry with Twisted Sister!

Posted: February 20, 2014 by generationgbooks in Books, Music
Tags: ,

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This past week, I jumped ahead on my spring cleaning and went through more of my closet. Not only did I find the Phil Collins Greatest hits that I had been looking for, and some other gems (Emelie Sande, Whitesnake’s Greatest Hits, and Erasure’s Pop: The First 20 Hits), but I found this! My vinyl of Stay Hungry by Twisted Sister! No blog post is a blog post without my incessant rambling on the subject, so let’s go to the tape and give some background.

I wasn’t always a Twisted Sister or Dee Snider fan. In fact, thanks to Jen, for many years, I detested them. That’s right. Detested. Sometimes you’re so enamored of one band or movement (in my case, Duran Duran and New Wave) that you overlook or under appreciate fantastic other genres or bands that are right in front of you. That was the case with Twisted Sister. My brother and I used to cackle madly anything we saw the video for “We’re Not Gonna Take It” on MV50. My brother loved Twisted Sister from the start, I thought it was a great video, and I liked the song, but nothing (I repeat, nothing) could take me away from that sunny beach with those five Birmingham lads singing that catchy “Her name is Rio, and she dances on the sand.” That included Dee’s righteous anthem and the rest of Stay Hungry. I realize, many years later, that I can love more than one type of music, and thankfully, I found out how fucking awesome Twisted Sister was before it was too late. My other best friend Jennie was obsessed with Dee and Twisted Sister (she may have been a bit more obsessed over Jay Jay French, to be honest) but it all ended back at The Temple of Twisted Sister.  She overplayed the crap out of this vinyl and that helped contribute to my being so against the album for many years. As I said, thankfully, I saw reason, and got ahold of a copy. I have never looked back.

The cliche goes “The third time’s the charm”, and in this case, correct. Stay Hungry is Twisted Sister’s 3rd album, and the one that broke them. No doubt a lot of that goes hand in hand with the wild popularity of the birth of music video and the rolling out of the medium that embraced it, a little old cable channel known as MTV.  And, as previously mentioned, the video for “We’re Not Gonna Take It.”  The video for “I Wanna Rock” got wide airplay as well, and was equally entertaining. I had never, until those videos, seen anyone who looked or sounded like Dee. Friends of mine are quick to nitpick and say that I said that about Boy George, which is true, but he was an altogether different form of music than what Twisted Sister had coming out of stereo speakers. I really think that as much diversity as there was with music in the early 80’s, that Twisted Sister was a huge precursor to that genre known as heavy metal, except it went (shudder ahead of time. I hate this word) mainstream. Those songs helped blaze a welcome path to bring Twisted Sister into the homes of many a young kid listening to radio in those days, not to mention MTV’s influence on the pop culture populace.

The album, overall, an enjoyable and solid listen start to finish. If I had to pick a favorite, it would have to be “Burn In Hell” (and that was BEFORE Pee- Wee’s Big Adventure). Only one song doesn’t stick in my ribs as satisfying as a three bean burrito, and that song is “The Price”. I am not altogether certain why it doesn’t stick with me as much as the rest of the album. Maybe because I used to (still do) view Stay Hungry as a call to arms, and a “power ballad”(I hate that term as well, but it’s the only one that I can cull from the killing floor this morning) really didn’t fit well with the rest of that album’s feel. Overall, though, an awesome sonic experience that I will recommend to all. Vinyl? I have the nice version of it still unopened, and then I have the rat-tatted vinyl edition which is NOT in good shape, but still plays on the old Victrola. I love the mono quality of the songs when playing the vinyl, as opposed to the remastered edition that came out in 2009. Something so magical about the vinyl recordings that can’t be duplicated in any other delivery.  Addendum to this paragraph: If you want to make a pronouncement on the quality of recordings on vinyl vs. compact discs, make sure you have an actual record player that you play vinyl on, so you can honestly compare the two without seeming like a puffed up Google bot. (Apologies for that last sentence, but I’ve had my fill of people speaking of some sort of authority when they don’t even own said record player.)

Overall, it’s a fine album that stands the test of time and highly worth the purchase price. Since I’m here, I’d also like to recommend you further your Twisted Sister adventure and pick up and read Dee’s entertaining memoir, Shut Up And Give Me The Mic.

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It’s as outrageous as you would hope, but also intelligent, funny, and in parts, heartwarming. His story of upbringing, his love of music and Twisted Sister’s often tumultous ride into and out of the metal music scene, as well as his love for his wife of many years and time as a devoted father, makes this anything but the ordinary biography. Completely worth the read.