Foo Fighters “The Colour and the Shape”


(20 May 1997, Capitol)

I’m not a baseball fan, so pardon me if I screw up this analogy.

Foo Fighters’ debut was at least a triple play. It could be almost be said it was a home run, but I don’t think it quite made it over the fence. It was good. Hell, it was great. But there was something missing. It wasn’t quite a perfect album.

But as the old saying goes, you have as long as you need to write your first album. Dave Grohl had years to compile the songs on that album. The band had a considerably shorter time period to write the follow-up. Could they deliver? What were they going to do in their next at bat?

I’d have to say The Colour and the Shape is a grand slam. This was the album that catapulted Foo Fighters into the stratosphere. Before this album, you could expect to hear one Foos song on the radio for every ten Nirvana plays. Now you’re lucky to hear one Nirvana track for every twenty from the Foo Fighters.

They’re no longer “that band with the drummer from Nirvana.” Foo Fighters are now “the biggest fucking rock band in the world.” I’m not saying that every song on The Colour and the Shape is great, but they all flow together so well that even the throwaway tunes work in the context of the album to make it great.

“Monkey Wrench” was the perfect lead single. That hummable, descending guitar line and poppy melodies mix perfectly. It’s just heavy enough to appeal to metalheads, but light enough to bounce around to. “My Hero” is one of those songs where I like the video more than the actual song, but it’s still a great one. Those goofy guitar turnarounds at the end of the chorus make it all worth it for me. How do you listen to it and not play air guitar to those licks?

And how do you follow up something like “Big Me,” which is as close to a perfect love song as I’ve ever heard and puts a smile on my face nearly every time I hear it? With a song that the rest of the human population feels that way about! I can’t help but wonder how many children were born because of the song “Everlong.”

If you take the time to look past the singles there’s still great stuff. I’m not a fan of some of the lighter fare. “Doll” and “Walking After You” are a little too light for me. They remind me of a bag of potato chips – mostly air.  Stuff like “See You” and “New Way Home” are a lot better. Fun, simple rockers that get the feet tapping, but it’s the raunchy rockers that get my blood pumping.

I love “Hey, Johnny Park.” The main riff is just pure brilliance. I’m not sure if I heard this many years ago and it stuck in my head. It sounded familiar when I got my copy recently, but maybe it’s just one of those riffs that is so catchy I can’t remember a time when it wasn’t in my head.

“The Colour and the Shape” might be my favorite Foo Fighters song. When you hear the tunes “Times Like These” and “Best of You” it’s easy to forget that Dave Grohl cut his teeth playing in punk bands. When you hear the screams and noise of the title track it’s front and center.

The best thing about The Colour and the Shape is that it sounds like a group effort. Grohl already proved he could write and record an album on his own with Foo Fighters and the Late! cassette he released while still with Nirvana, but he doesn’t seem like the kind of guy who needs absolute control like Trent Reznor or Prince.

Utilizing the whole band turned out to be a good decision. This was the album that led to sold out arenas and a quarter billion dollar net worth. Sometimes all it takes is four guys in a room jamming to come up with a masterpiece.

 

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Liebster Award


Liebster AwardA few weeks ago I received a Liebster Award from the guys over at Stuff and That. I thought that was pretty awesome. I’ve never won a writing award before. Thanks a lot guys!

Then I realized that I actually had to do stuff to accept the award. I had to answer questions, come up with a few questions of my own and then send it on to eleven other people. At first I was a little disappointed, but I have to say it’s been pretty fun.

Plus it’s always nice to have an extra post to do.

The Rules:

1. Thank and link to the person who nominated you and answer the 11 questions they’ve written for you.

2. Nominate 11 different people and give them 11 questions to answer.

Here are my answers:

  1. Pitch Your Dream Movie. Actors, directors, plot, whatever. (special thanks to filmsCinefor coming up with that one) – I’d probably want to make my own movie. I’ve written one screenplay about a guy who thinks he might be a werewolf, but he’s not sure. It would be awesome if I could get David Fincher to direct.
  2. Most/Least Favourite Movie – Favorite is probably the Shawshank Redemption. Least favorite is Requiem for a Dream.
  3. Most/Least Favourite Game – Lately I’ve been getting really into Free Cell. My least favorite game is probably dating.
  4. Most/Least Favourite Band – It’s hard to pick a favorite because I like so many different things. Historically I’ve always said either Alice in Chains or Nine Inch Nails, but recently the Descendents are becoming my favorite.
  5. How, or why, did you get into blogging? And what are your favourite aspects of it? I couldn’t get a job as a writer anywhere else. I’ve always loved writing. I’d love to be a world famous novelist, but that’s about as realistic a goal as being a rock star. So, I blog. The best part is getting feedback from other writers and feeling like I’m part of a community.
  6. Last crime you committed? – Well, I do have driving privileges for work and to get groceries, etc. but I abuse the hell out of them. And since I wasn’t caught for the last major crime I committed I’ll just say driving without a license.
  7. Dream supergroup?

  1. Favourite book?Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
  2. Favourite hobbies beside blogging and doing what you blog about? – Reading. Watching Movies. Working Out.
  3.  Favourite thing about Stuff And That? (give us praise) – Very in depth reviews.
  4. Least favourite thing about Stuff And That? (tell us we’re crap) – Length. I’m a big fan of posts under 1000 words.

My Questions for you:

  1. Did you go to college? What was your major?
  2. Have you ever been arrested? For What?
  3. Favorite and Least Favorite Band?
  4. Biggest Celebrity Crush?
  5. What is the airborne velocity of an unladen swallow?
  6. When was the last time you went to the hospital? For what?
  7. Who’s your favorite superhero?
  8. What’s your day job?
  9. What’s your dream job?
  10. Where would you most like to visit?
  11. If you had the chance and the time machine, would you kill baby Hitler?
  12. What’s the first thing you would do if you became independently wealthy?

And the nominees are:

Mike Ladano

1537

Stephen1001

sourgirlohio

keepsmealive

J. at Resurrection Songs

Heavy Metal OVERLOAD

Vinyl CONNECTION

Boppin’s Blog

Tangled Up In Music

Metal Odyssey

I hope you all have as much fun with this as I did. Thanks for writing great blogs and and giving me stuff to read everyday. I hope we keep this community going for at least another four years!

The Best Band?


supergroups!

Now that I’ve completed my “Best Drummers/Bassists/Guitarists/Singers” project let me tell you why I dislike the “pick 4 musicians to form your dream super group” game.

If I take the top spots from all of the lists I’ve come up with over the past month what you’d have is a band with Dave Grohl on drums, No bass player, Dave Gilmore on Guitar and Leonard Cohen singing.

The point I wanted to make there is that just because a musician is great in a certain band doesn’t mean they will be great in any band.

I gave Grohl props for being versatile and playing with many different groups, but could you imagine him jamming with Dave Gilmore? I’m not sure that heavy punk hitting would mesh well with the classic rock stylings of Pink Floyd. And then to throw Cohen in there… well now we’re just talking about a disaster. (Although I do have to admit it sounds interesting).

diamond Dave and Sammy HagarIt’s strange the how different bands can sound with the inclusion/exclusion of just one member. Would Nevermind have been such a hit if Nirvana hadn’t replaced Chad Channing with Dave Grohl? Van Halen and Van Hagar are literally two completely different bands despite being 3/4 the same. So are Rage Against the Machine and Audioslave.

And what the hell happened to Korn? They were a pretty rocking heavy metal group and then they lost their guitarist and drummer and all of the sudden they’re like a techno thing.

While most musicians do pretty well in most groups it’s still pretty interesting to think of how they’d interact. the question isn’t “which 4 musicians would be the best,” so much as it’s “what would these 4 musician sound like together?”

I wish there was an antonym for the term supergroup. I know it’s meant to convey anytime a few musicians who are already successful get together, but there should be a term that we use when they get together and it’s really awful. Like chickenfootgroup.

 

More Stupid Lists:

The Best Singers

The Best Guitarists

The Best Bassists

The Best Drummers

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.

Dave Grohl is the Chuck Norris of Rock


Dave Grohl can play guitar with his goatee.

Dave Grohl can play guitar with his goatee.

Have you ever seen all of those ridiculous Chuck Norris fact? Stuff like ‘Chuck Norris can blow bubbles with beef jerky’ or ‘Chuck Norris doesn’t wear a watch, he decides what time it is.’

Well I bet you didn’t know there’s a whole slew of them about Dave Grohl also. (Seriously, this is a thing. I definitely didn’t just make it up.)

Dave Grohl was born in Warren, OH.

Dave Grohl was born in West Virginia.

Dave Grohl was born in a log cabin made out of drumsticks.

Dave Grohl can play a left handed guitar upside down in the right handed position.

Dave Grohl can kill a man with rock.

Dave Grohl taught Chuck Norris to play bass.

Dave Grohls DNA is the same as that of Lemmy Kilmister’s warts

Dave Grohl was the original lead guitarist for Metallica, after he was kicked out in 1983

Dave Grohl sometimes pretends to be an otter

Dave Grohl sometimes pretends to be an otter

he formed Megadeth.

Dave Grohl’s parents had to change their name because people kept threatening to be adopted by them so they could be raised like Dave Grohl.

Dave Grohl sometimes dresses up like a nameless ghoul and performs with Ghost.

Dave Grohl holds the world record for largest drumsticks.

Dave Grohl holds the world record for largest nostrils.

The Dos Equis guy only ever listens to Probot.

The Pope kisses Dave Grohl’s ring

Dave Grohl

Dave Grohl’s beard trimmings have more talent than Godsmack and Three Days Grace put together.

Dave Grohl vs. Courtney LoveDave Grohl sent a letter to straight edge pioneer Ian MacKaye that was so profound MacKaye questioned his existence while embarking on three week bender fueled by alcohol, drugs and casual, premarital sex.

Buzz Osbourne from the Melvins is the only person in the world who doesn’t like Dave Grohl. Except for my neighbor Steve, but Steve is an asshole.

Courtney Love is the only person in the world Dave Grohl doesn’t like, which proves she is more detestable than Yoko Ono.

 

 

 

 

Foo Fighters – Self Titled


foo_fighters_album_coverPlatinum Anniversary Albums

(Capitol/Roswell Records 4 July 1995 )

It seems weird to look back and realize that in 20 years the only Foo Fighters album I’ve owned is their self titled debut. I remember picking this up in lieu of a patriotic souvenir on my 8th grade trip to Washington DC along with Korn. I meant to get The Color and the Shape, but never got around to it. Plus, with the Foos being the biggest band in rock at the moment there is almost something inherently ‘uncool’ about them. I mean, to be as popular as they are there must be something wrong with them right?

As far as I can tell, no. The Foo Fighters are an uncommon instance of a band being great and really popular at the same time. This hasn’t happened a lot in my experience, but somehow they’ve managed to pull it off.

The first three songs on Foo Fighters were also their first three singles. I’ve always loved the way the album opens, that’s the sound of an electric guitar being plugged in if you didn’t know, and then it’s off to the races. “This Is A Call” is one of those rock songs with occasional quiet parts, but the quiet parts in that song rock harder than the heavy parts in some other songs. “Big Me” is one of those great songs that manages to put a smile on my face any time I hear it. It’s just so upbeat and bouncy. I almost want to put a smiley face emoji here to describe it.

🙂

“I’ll Stick Around” and “Alone + Easy Target” both seem somewhat stock to me now. They’re still good songs, but there’s nothing that really sticks out about them.

A lot of the other songs feature great singalong choruses and interesting guitar parts that you wouldn’t expect from the drummer of a rock band. I”m guessing this blew a lot of minds when it first appeared in ’95. I remember an acquaintance saying, “Dave Grohl should just give up. He’s never going to be as big as Kurt Cobain.” I think it’s safe to say he can eat those words by now.

“Weenie Beenie” and “Wattershed” surprise me by being more hardcore punk than I ever thought possible from the eternally affable Grohl, but he can scream with the best of them. During the chorus of “Good Grief” he just screams ‘I hate it.’ “Oh, George” features one of my all time favorite guitar solos. It’s not flashy at all, but that’s precisely the reason I love it. It serves the song instead of the guitarists ego.

If you’re not familiar with “For All The Cows” you need to remedy that right now. Something about the riff and clean chords makes this one of the best Foo Fighters songs ever. (Well, at least in my limited experience.)

 

Both “X-Static” and “Exhausted” are great slow rockers that would be great closers, but it was “Exhausted” that won the draw and gets to end the album. I’m glad I didn’t have to choose between them.

I suppose the reason I’m still a fan of the Foo Fighters even though they’re the biggest rock band in the world and sell out massive stadiums is that unlike most other rock bands there is never a sense that this is about money for them. Some bands (Kiss, Metallica, Taylor Swift) can really turn me off by saying how much they want to make a profit, but Dave Grohl didn’t need any cash when he recorded this album. He’d already been the drummer for the biggest rock band on the planet so there was no reason to go out and be the singer for the next one.

But by keeping it fun and focusing on having a good time he managed to do just that.

 

On a side note, I’ve had a short science fiction story published in the magazine ‘Robbed of Sleep.’ If you’d like to check it out here’s a Kindle Link and here’s one for a Print Edition. If you’re curious about what my short fiction is like check out my other blog The Sewer. 

 

For more Platinum Anniversary Albums:

Clutch – Self Titled

Filter – Short Bus

Mad Season – Above

 

Weezer – The Blue Album

Soundgarden – Superunknown

Original Motion Picture Soundtrack “The Crow”

The Summer Nationals Tour 2014 

Nine Inch Nails “With Teeth”


Nine_Inch_Nails_With_Teeth_Standard(3 May 2005/ Nothing, Interscope)

[Halo 19]

I can still remember the first time I heard With Teeth because I made it to one of the listening parties held before the album came out. It seems kind of silly today that we hopped in the car and drove 90 miles to listen to a record at a concert venue, but after the six year wait since The Fragile and the fact that there really wasn’t much else to do it makes perfect sense. It doesn’t seem like doing that kind of promotion would be successful now that we have Pandora, Spotify, Last FM and who knows how many other venues for artists to get their music out there, but if there was another chance today I’d probably go. It’s fun to get out and be around like minded people with similar tastes in music.

The other thing I’ve taken away from that listening party is the first time I heard “All The Love In The World.” It’s a quiet track at the beginning; mostly just bass and turntables. But when the line “No one’s heard a single word I’ve said” came on I had to laugh because it was the first line I was able to make out. Of course, the song picks up speed with percussion, guitars and layered, double tracked vocals, but even a decade later I still remember that.

If you ask me, this is the last really good Nine Inch Nails album. Every other song on it is a masterpiece and the ones in between aren’t chopped liver either. “You Know What You Are?” features some of the patented Reznor rage with him screaming “Don’t you fucking know what you are?” The first single, “The Hand That Feeds,” was the first time I’d heard NIN take on outside problems instead of the crippling depression and self loathing that characterized the first three albums.

 

My favorite track is definitely “Everyday Is Exactly The Same.” I guess something about the song really appealed to me (and still does) as a lower-middle-class drone tirelessly plugging away 40 hours a week. The awesome bass line is another major draw. I can’t believe I hadn’t seen the video before embedding it in this post, but I suppose the fact that it is really dull and features a subquality mix of the song explains my missing it. “Only” is a synthy pseudo-rap with some insane drums and a singalong chorus. I’m sure the David Fincher directed video didn’t hurt it’s popularity.

I still like all of the other tunes on the album, but these 4 have always been my favorites. Probably because they’re more upbeat and rocking than some of the other songs. The best thing about With Teeth as opposed to other NIN albums is that with Dave Grohl’s involvement and the copious use of guitar and bass it sounds more like a real band. I don’t mean to suggest that masterpieces such as Broken or The Downward Spiral were made by a pretend band, but With Teeth sounds a lot less like it was created by one guy in a little studio.

Another favorite aspect of the album is when the songs reference back to earlier works. “Only” features the lyrics “Well the tiniest little dot caught my eye…” echoing a similar line in Pretty Hate Machine‘s “Down In It.” “Sunspots” has Reznor saying “nothing can stop me now” from The Downward Spiral.

With Teeth Reznor PictureI’m still up in the air as to whether “Right Where It Belongs” is a better album closer than “Hurt.” I suppose it would be best to say they were both perfect closers for their respective albums. “Right Where It Belongs” is definitely in my top 5 NIN’s songs. Something about Trent Reznor at a keyboard with a simple melody and a simple lyric is better to me than all of the bells and whistles (and arranging, performance, production, engineering, 5.1 surround mix, sound design, all instrumentals & instrumentation) all over the rest of the album.

Maybe there are so many great closers to NIN albums because Reznor knows that in the end – it’s all about the song.

The Best Ohioan Rockers


Ohio seems to have had more than its fair share of infamous people. We’ve been home to Jeffrey Dahmer, Charles Manson, Anthony Sowell, Ariel Castro and Bill Watterson to name a few. But before you write us off as a state where only really, really hideous serial killers and extremely talented cartoonists come from, may I direct your attention to some of the great rock bands to hail from the heart of it all:

Wild Cherry – Funk you Pennsylvania! We’ve got these guys!

 

Gilby Clarke and Steven Adler – But I don’t think they went to LA together though.

Kim Deal – Yeah, that chick from the Pixies is from Dayton! Suck it Massachusetts!

Just in case Lebron James didn't do enough to make you think all Ohioans were assholes.

Just in case Lebron James didn’t do enough to make you think all Ohioans were assholes.

Mushroomhead – These guys ended up on my list of Most Overrated Bands because I swear people in Ohio would buy bottled shit if they thought it came out of one of these guys’ asses, but before their albums started having really pretentious names (Savior Sorrow) or names like English Pubs (the Righteous and the Butterfly) they were a pretty good band.

Marilyn Manson – The band was formed in South Florida, but the dude is from about 20 minutes north of where I live. I’ve met several people who said they were in high school with him and kicked his ass. Or had their groceries bagged by him.

The Black Keys

Hhipsters don't always come from Ohio... but we sure have a helluva lot of them

Hipsters don’t always come from Ohio… but we sure have a helluva lot of them

 

Joe Walsh – He was always one of my favorite Eagles… well, he was the only one I could really tell apart from any of the others.

Mobile Deathcamp – These guys are a kick-ass group of speed metallers from Toledo. Their biggest claim to fame is that their leader portrayed Beefcake the Mighty in GWAR for a while, but they’re definitely worth checking out in their own right. I mean, they made it higher on this list than The Black Keys.

Chimaira – Remember back in the early to mid 00s when NWOAHM (New Wave of American Heavy Metal) was all the rage? Yeah, nobody else does either. (Except for Shadows Fall, God Forbid and these guys.) These guys were always one of my favorites from that era, not just because they came from Cleveland, but because they had a keyboard player (like most other metal bands in Cleveland).

Dave Grohl – born in Warren but moved to Virginia when he was really young.

Devo – People always say that Devo were way ahead of their time, but when I listen to them I hear a pretty typical new wave band. Albeit a very strange one.

Reznor 90sNine Inch Nails – Yes, haha. The greatest band in the world is from my state. Suck it rest of the world. Suck it long and suck it hard!

This was a rather difficult list to narrow down to 10. If you’d like a more comprehensive list of musicians from the great state of Ohio, may I direct you to the Wikipedia page. I was really surprised by some of the names I found on the list.