The Best Drummers


drum-2I’m not a huge fan of the “Name Four Musicians to Form Your Dream Super Group” game. I usually just rattle off the members of Alice in Chains or Tool. Sometimes it’s fun to pick a trio or quintet and add or subtract a member, but that was never my game.

I do really enjoy “Best of…” lists though. And I thought it would be a good idea to do some for this blog. That’s not because I’m running out of ideas or anything. I swear I’m not. I’ve got tons of ideas. Make sure you check in next week when I do this with Bass Players.

 

Brooks Wackerman (Bad Religion, Suicidal Tendencies) – Wackerman lands on this list not only because of his awesome chops and stamina, but also for his great last name. It’s like his ancestors knew that someday one of their brood would become the drummer for a great punk band so they picked the coolest surname they could think of.

Frank Beard (ZZ Top) – Yet again, here is a man who’s name is as great as his ability to keep a beat. He gets bonus points for being the guy without a beard but having the name beard. God, will that ever get old?

Jimmy Chamberlain (The Smashing Pumpkins) – The best of the pumpkins if you want my opinion. And you must or you wouldn’t be reading this.

sexy drum machineMax Weinberg (E Street Band, Meat Loaf, Max Weinberg 7) – I had to add someone to make this list ten names. He was the most obvious choice.

A Drum Machine (Too Many To Name) – I was in a band with one of these for a while and I have a ton of praise for these guys. He was always on time (both for and during practice), never got too drunk to play, never had girlfriend drama and never threatened to quit. Aside from his lack of stage presence and sleeping with my old lady he was perfect.

Tommy Ramone/Marky Ramone (The Ramones) – I’m not sure if the trophy should go to Tommy for inventing the Ramones’ drum beat or to Marky for perfecting it.

Raymond Herrera (Fear Factory) – I’ll just let his feet do the talking:

 

Tim ‘Herb’ Alexander (Primus) – Both he and Larry LaLonde are pure geniuses just for being able to work with Les Claypool.

Sean Kinney (Alice in Chains, Jerry Cantrell) – Do you know anyone else who could come up with those great intros to “Angry Chair” and “No Excuses”? I don’t.

Neil Peart (Rush) – I’m honestly not a huge fan of Rush. I like them, but I can’t say I love them. Still, Neil deserves a spot on this list.

Dave Grohl (Nirvana, Foo Fighters, Queens of the Stone Age, Nine Inch Nails, Probot, Scream) – I read him saying in an interview once that he is completely overrated as a drummer. And that may be true. He isn’t flashy, over the top or as machine gun fast as some other guys. But he has been very prolific as a timekeeper and has a knack for playing beats that accentuate the song without overpowering it. Sorry dude, you may be the best drummer ever.

BREAKING: Slipknot wins Republican Nomination at Iowa Caucuses


pg-38-slipknot-1Des Moine – In a bizarre turn of events the Iowa nu-metal band, Slipknot has been named the state Republican Party’s choice for the nomination to President.

“At this point we’re really just pulling names out of a hat,” said local Republican Robert Alcorn. “I saw a poll the other day that said Nickelback was in third place in this race. As long as it’s not them or Trump, I’m happy.”

The Donald was less than pleased with the news, citing the fact that most members of the band don’t even live in Iowa any longer and also use satanic imagery on their albums and in their stage show.

“As long as their not Muslims or gay, I don’t care if they worship the devil,” said 83-year-old Dana White. “Trump seems like a nice man, but I think if we play that music on the border those pepper bellies will keep to their side of the fence.”

Perhaps the people most shocked by this news were the 9 members of Slipknot.

“What?” asked percussionist Shawn Crahan. “How the hell did that happen?”

It appears that the Republican Party is in such disarray and so full of hatred that the only way to connect is through angry shouted lyrics with hooks like “People = Shit” and “I Push My Fingers Into My Eyes.”

“How the hell would that even work?” asked singer Corey Taylor. “Would we all be president? Or would just one of us be president and then the rest of up fill cabinet positions?”

“I want to be head of the FBI” said a visibly drunk Mick Thompson while rubbing the scar from where his brother stabbed him in the head last March

It appears that if Slipknot wins the nomination then Stone Sour will be their choice for vice president.

 

January Review


Dues to circumstances beyond my control January turned into a month of tributes. I had meant to do a few posts on Lemmy, but that expanded into posts on Bowie and Glenn Frey also. About halfway through I realized that I had a common theme going and I decided that my last post of the month should commemorate it. I also didn’t even touch on a few other musicians like Blowfly, Paul Kantner or Jimmy Bain.

I was going to post the Tenacious D song “Tribute” because I couldn’t think of anything better, but then I did think of a better song as a send off for all those we lost in January.

Good luck not getting this stuck in your head.

Lemmy Resumes Roadie Duties for Hendrix


Lemmy               The Afterlife- Upon his recent passing, Motorhead leader Lemmy Kilmister was surprised by the lack of viable employment to be found in the great hereafter.

“I got up here and they told me I had to find a job,” said the recently deceased bassist/singer of the popular metal group. “Well shit, The only job I ever really had was playing in bands and as it turns out not too many people are into Motorhead around here. We appealed to a lot of the younger crowd and I guess not many of our fans have died yet.”

It was during an ill fated Motordead show with former band mate Phil ‘Philthy Animal’ Taylor at CBGB’s that Kilmister ran into his former employer Jimi Hendrix, who was all too happy to offer him a job.

“Yeah man, I’ve been up here for a while playing with all sorts of different cats and keeping everything groovy, but I’ve been getting real tired of some of these cats who move my amps around. You know in heaven we have some pretty awesome gear and I don’t want just any asshole carrying my stuff around. You’d think they only let good people in here, but you’d be surprised.”

heavenly Jimi HendrixKilmister was all to happy for the gig. “It was great to see my old mate again. He remembered me from the huge warts on me face. Now I’ve got all the money I need to buy afterlife whiskey and cigarettes. They’re not cheap up here, mate.”

Occasionally the pair will get together for jam sessions which have produced great versions of “Louie Louie” and “Wild Thing.” They plan to form a proper super group once they find a permanent drummer.

“We were really hoping to get Ginger Baker,” said Hendrix. “But unfortunately he hasn’t died yet. We’re hoping for him to croak soon. That cat really doesn’t look like he has much time left.”

The group plans to release their debut album on Eric Clapton’s Bushbranch Records just as soon as the former Cream drummer kicks the bucket.

David Bowie “The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars”


ZiggyStardustAt some point during my high school years I came upon my parents’ collection of vinyl tucked away in a closet. So I did what any young man in my situation would do: I went to the flea market and bought a record player. I can’t remember all of the titles but there were about a dozen. The Rocky Horror Picture Show Soundtrack, Deep Purple’s Purple Passages, Alice Cooper’s From the Inside, Space Oddity, The Door’s LA Woman and a CCR Greatest Hits. A few were just sleeves with no records inside. At the time I was really disappointing to not be able to listen to Lace & Whiskey or Diamond Dogs, but they did make cool wall art.

Of course I can still remember my favorite of my parents’ old record: Pink Floyd’s The Wall. I listened to that album all the time. My high school years consisted mostly of smoking pot and listening to that album. But I also spent a lot of time listening to my second favorite of those albums: Ziggy Stardust.

When it comes to David Bowie I’m more of a greatest hits fan than a hardcore fan. Changesbowie was replaced in my collection only recently by the 2 disc Best of Bowie. And honestly, I could do without a few of the big hits. I’ve never been too keen on “Fashion” or “Let’s Dance.” I’ve listened to a few of his albums (Hunky Dory, Station to Station, Heathen) but never felt the need to buy any. Except for Ziggy Stardust. Something about that album has always spoken to me on some Sci-Fi nerd level.

 

I’m guessing most of my interest has to do with the Sci-Fi connection. That’s probably part of my interest in Fear Factory and GWAR too, but Bowie managed to mix that imagery and persona with really good pop rock music. It’s like if Captain Kirk were a rock star (and not just a pretend one like William Shatner).

“Five Years” has to be one of the best openers I’ve ever heard. Something about the way the piano chimes in and then builds up to the ‘Five Years, my brain hurts a lot’ pumps me up and gets me excited for the rest of the album. “Moonage Daydream” is my favorite love song ever. I’ll know if I ever meet the right girl because she’ll agree to have this be the song we first dance to at our wedding. I always think of the John Carpenter/Jeff Bridges film of the same name when I hear “Starman,” though neither has anything to do with the other. Boy that’s a catchy feel good tune though. It’s crazy to think that it’s still popular enough to make an appearance in a big budget movie like The Martian. 

Bowie with Eyepatch

I think this is from the ‘Rebel, Rebel’ video shoot, but it still looks pretty cool.

I find it weird that the concept album includes a cover. I’ve never seen that before, but “It Ain’t Easy” is a good side closer and who am I to question Bowie?

I quickly discovered that the cool thing about vinyl was listening to one side over and over without having to rewind like a cassette tape. I listened to side two much more than one. This is one of the few albums I know of that ends stronger than it begins. “Lady Stardust” is a good side opener. It has a nice mellow vibe to lull me in and get me unconsciously singing along so my coworkers start laughing at me. The title track is the best of this side. I love that main guitar riff and Mick Ronson’s lead work over the bare acoustic track is magical. Very few guitar players could come up with something that great.

I’ve never understood where “Suffragette City” fit in with the story. Maybe I should look into the lyrics a little deeper. And how can you end any better than “Rock ‘n’ Roll Suicide.” That’s an album closer if I ever heard one. The only problem with it is how much it leaves me wanting more. I’m listening to Diamond Dogs as I type this and I think that’s about as good as I’m going to get.

One of the coolest things about Ziggy Stardust is that while I’ve heard the album on Vinyl, CD and digital it always sounds the same. I’m not sure If I’ve just never heard a remastered version or it the grooves and pops are so embedded in my mind that I can’t hear it any other way.

The good thing is, that I don’t really want to hear it any other way.

 

Peaceful Easy Feeling


I was saddened to read that Glenn Frey of the Eagles passed away. I was also surprised to not see any tributes to him here on WordPress. This is the first rock star to pass away recently that hasn’t sent my whole social media feed into an uproar.

Is it because we’re all just burnt out on the rock star death thing? I mean, Scott Weiland, Lemmy, Bowie. I think we’re living in a golden age of rock star deaths.

Is it because people don’t like the Eagles? They are that mellow sounding Avacado rock that I usually detest, but I think mom brainwashed me into liking them by playing them way too much during my formative years.

Is it because all of the more recent Eagles music is horrible and doesn’t come close to capturing the brilliance of their 70’s work?

Or is it just that people don’t know?

 

Motorhead “The Best of”


The_Best_Of_MotorheadThe first time I listened to this Motorhead Greatest Hits album I did not like it. I bought it at FYE when they were doing a “Buy 1 used CD get 1 50% off.” Because they don’t have the greatest selection of used CDs, and because I liked “Ace of Spades” and “Brave New World” but had a complete ignorance of any other songs by the band, I went ahead and got it. Then I uploaded it to my MP3 player and let the tunes fly.

I don’t want to say I hated it, but listening at work was obviously not the correct venue for this album. We’re only allowed one earbud in at a time for safety reasons and I really couldn’t give the tunes the proper attention while coiling rubber products into boxes.

But before I sold it back I wanted to give it one more spin. This time in my car. THAT, my friends, is the correct place to listen to Motorhead. The sound of Motorhead isn’t really anything groundbreaking. They’re a pretty typical heavy blues-based rock band with a few punk tendencies. But somehow their music smells like used motor oil, cigarettes and stale beer. The perfect place to listen to them would be in your garage under the hood of some really cool car. Barring that listen to them while you work on your 1999 Ford Taurus.

Upon first listen most songs sound the same, but after a few road trips I can now tell about 43% of the songs from each other. “Bomber” has a great catchy lyric that I can almost make out. “Please Don’t Touch” is my favorite track because hearing Lemmy in the role of sex symbol makes me feel that there is a chance for all dirty young punks out there. Plus it contains the great line “Oh I remember the first time I took her to a cheap motel, Well I woke up drunk, you know I felt like Eskimo Nell.” If that isn’t brilliance I don’t know what is. “No Class” starts off with a “Tush” type riff. Then they go into the Kingsmen’s song “Louie Louie.” That might not be the song I least expect to hear from a heavy metal band, but it’s pretty close.

 

For some inexplicable reason “Iron Horse” is nowhere near as big a motorcycle anthem as Bon Jovi’s “Dead or Alive,” but I’m sure any respectable biker would choose Iron over Steel. This collection contains two versions of the song “Motorhead” one by Motorhead and one by Lemmy’s previous band Hawkwind. I prefer the latter version, if only because it includes some violin. The fiddle is sorely missed in rock music.

Disc 2 contains great tracks also. I like the Girlschool version of “Bomber.” I wouldn’t say it’s better than the original, but it’s neat to hear that track on a greatest hits album. I know he’s referring to noted child psychologist Dr. Benjamin Spock in “Doctor Rock,” but I can’t help but think of a certain Leonard Nimoy character during the song.

Right around “Deaf Forever” and “Orgasmatron” they deploy some very eighties sounding drum tones. Nothing else changes but the sounds of the skins, and even though the tones are a little dated now, it serves to liven up the second disc. “Eat the Rich” is one of Motorhead’s most perfect songs ever. The master of the double entendre outdid himself with “Sittin’ here in a hired tuxedo, You wanna see my bacon torpedo!” The only thing that could make that song any better would be a remix with lines from Burgess Meredith in Grumpier Old Men saying “You wanna ride my bony macaroni?”

 

I’m not a big fan of their cover of the Sex Pistols’ “God Save The Queen.” It’s a good try, but it falls flat for me. Motorhead were a weird band in that they appealed to both punk and metal kids when that was a very uncommon thing. I read an interview with Lemmy where he said he felt Motorhead had more in common with bands like the Ramones and the Damned than metal bands. I don’t really hear that much, Motorhead is definitely a metal band, but it sounds like they were inspired by a lot of the 50’s rock and doo-wop that also inspired the Ramones. They just took it in a different direction.

I have very few complaints about this record after several listens. I don’t think it’s necessary to have a live and studio version of “The Chase Is Better Than The Catch,” but that’s a minor detail. Honestly, my biggest bitch is that my car stereo sucks so I can’t crank it up while cruising down the highway.

And while I have 97.63% praise for this collection, I do hope to be replacing it sometime soon. This was put out in 2000 which means I’m missing the last 15 years of Motorhead in my collection. I’d gladly pay for an updated collection. Any one know of any good ones?