Roll or Hit?


I love how the line ‘Let’s roll another joint’ is changed to ‘Let’s hit another joint’ in the radio edit of Tom Petty’s ‘You Don’t Know How It Feels.’

That totally changes it into something I can sing with my grandmother.

 

 

Advertisements

What if…

Image


This is my 200th post!

There are plenty of magazines about sex and a few about Rock and Roll, but there aren’t many drug magazines. What if High Times wasn’t the only drug magazine on the market? What would a new drug magazine look like? What would they cover?

cocaine aficianado

Mad Season – Above


above-Mad Season

Platinum Anniversary Album Series

(14 March 1995 Columbia)

This post is not about the Matchbox Twenty album Mad Season, but about the grunge super group Mad Season.

I seem to remember liking the album Above a lot more when I was younger than I do today. That could be due to a number of things. The most probable is just a change in musical taste.

Of course, I believe I also got this album before the passing of singer Layne Staley. I think the opener “Wake Up” is probably the best song he ever penned. It’s a slow number with Staley telling someone to wake up from the struggles and pitfalls of drug addiction. The line “slow suicide’s no way to go” is made even more poignant by the fact that slow suicide is just the way Staley met his death. Heroin overdoses have killed far to many rockers people over the years, including the bands bassist John Baker Saunders, but I think the story of one of rocks biggest stars of the 90’s becoming a recluse and poisoning himself over a decade until his body couldn’t take any more abuse is perhaps the saddest story in rock.

 

Mad Season began when Pearl Jam guitarist Mike McCready met Saunders in rehab. They recruited drummer Barrett Martin from Screaming Trees to start a side project and thought it would be good for Staley to spend some time with sober friends. The results are a much more mellow and bluesy record than any of them produced with their main bands.

This isn’t really a big rock record. It’s more of a laid back coffee shop record. There’s a bit of distorted guitar on songs like “X-Ray Mind,” “Lifeless Dead,” and “I Don’t Know Anything,” but the band really shines on the clean ballads like “River of Deceit” and “Artificial Red.” There’s just something about McCready’s clean jangly guitar work mixing with the heartfelt lyrics Staley wrote that produces a heartfelt vibe. When you hear the words “my pain is self chosen” on “River of Deceit” it’s hard not to feel something. It can be hard to feel sorry for the death of a heroin addict. Once you go down that road there aren’t too many options left, but I think Staley knew that by the time he made this record.

600full-mad-seasonScreaming Tree’s front man Mark Lanegan guests on the songs “I’m Above” and “Long Gone Day,” but the Staley/Lanegan vocal harmonies don’t really hold a candle anywhere near the Staley/Cantrell team. “I’m Above” also suffers from some weak guitar tone from McCready. The saving grace of “Long Gone Day” is the saxophone. The saxophone is not heard nearly enough in rock music anymore.

I recently read a list of the top “drug” songs in rock and the entire Dirt album was at the top of the list. I’m sure more than a few parents would make the argument that Dirt was a glamorization of heroin and drug culture, but Above is the exact opposite.

This definitely isn’t an album for a hard rocking good time, but if you’re looking for something to chill out to on the way to or from an AA meeting I’m not sure you could do any better.

 

For more Platinum Anniversary Albums:

Weezer – The Blue Album

Soundgarden – Superunknown

Original Motion Picture Soundtrack “The Crow”

The Summer Nationals Tour 2014 

Marilyn Manson- Portrait of an American Family

Korn-Korn

Hole – Live Through This

ATCGW 15


Interview RecorderThe Post Treatment Interview

Now that things have settled down in the Ockym’s Razyr camp and everything is getting back to normal, I thought it was time to sit down for a one-on-one chat with the man of the hour: bassist Matt Vance.

The Audible Stew: So the last time I saw you was as you were leaving the intervention. Did you head straight up to rehab from there?

Matt Vance: No. Actually, I left the intervention in a blind rage and went out and got drunk.

AS: Really? They just let you leave?

MV: No, I had to sneak out a window. But then I went to the bar and got hammered. Just falling down, pissing-on-myself drunk. Then I ran into a mailbox… or was it a telephone pole? I think I ran over a mailbox and then a telephone pole.

AS: Wow. So was that what convinced you to enter treatment?

MV: Actually it was the judge that convinced me to enter treatment. When your choice is a year in jail or two months in treatment it’s pretty much a no brainer. Plus, my dad had already paid for rehab.

AS: You were only sentenced to two months up there? But you stayed for about a year.

MV: Yeah, things were going pretty well. I took a long hard look at where my life was heading while I was down here and decided that it was really going nowhere. So I decided to stay up there and try to be useful for a while.

AS: So what was life like?

MV: It was pretty cool. You start out on lock down and not really able to go anywhere, but after the first two months when you go all the way through the program you’re allowed free rein. I managed to get a job and a…

AS: Wait. What? Did you just say you got a job?

MV: Yeah, man. I got a job and a…

AS: Where did you get a job? You haven’t worked in the entire time I’ve known you.

MV: I worked at a Wendy’s up there. I made my way up to assistant manager in only 6 months. Plus I had a…

AS: Hold on (pause). I’m just going to need a minute to let that sink in. OK. I’m back. Well, it sounds like you were doing pretty well up there. What made you move back?

MV: Things just started going south. My girlfriend broke up with me…

Vance's Alleged Girlfriend

Vance’s Alleged Girlfriend

AS: WHAT!? Holy crap! You had a girlfriend too?

MV: Yeah, that’s what I was trying to tell you. I had a girlfriend and a job. Things were going pretty well.

AS: What was wrong with her? Was she an amputee? No, that couldn’t be it. I’ve known plenty of attractive amputees…

MV: She was a recovering heroin addict.

AS: OK. Now it makes sense. I’m still not sure anyone else is going to believe this. Have you told any of the other guys?

MV: Yeah, they had a hard time believing it too. They weren’t as big of dicks as you though. I don’t see what the big deal is. I met this girl up there, I got a good job, I got sober.

AS: So how long have you been sober?

MV: Going on 13 months.

AS: Cool. Congratulations. It’s like a whole new you. Are you feeling good?

MV: Yeah, I talked to the guys about getting the band going again and I think I’m ready. I was in a pretty dark place before I came down here. Lindsay dumped me for some other guy. I was passed over for a promotion. It just seemed like the time was ripe for change.

AS: Well, we’ve covered a lot of ground in this interview Matt. It feels like I’m talking to a different person than I met all those years ago. I wish you luck in your future endeavors.

MV: Thanks man. I’m feeling strong and I’m confident I’m going to stay sober for a long time.

 

Top Posts of Ockym’s Razyr

Part 11 The Christmas Party

Part 3 The Road Trip

Part 2 The Jam Room

Part 10 The Other Interview

Anything That Can Go Wrong 14


2011-05-05-BONUS-COMIC-InterventionThe Intervention

It’s been over a year since I’ve written about the Ockym’s Razyr. Things were always bad with the band. They were always volatile. I think Don Henley said in an Eagles documentary that any great band is always five minutes from breaking up and they were no different.

It was a little surprising what did it though.

The last time bassist Matt Vance departed the band (Part 6) he was replaced. With someone. I can’t remember who, but it was someone. This time that didn’t happen and the band dissolved.

The intervention wasn’t a pretty sight. Most of the band members showed up at his parents house to tell him it was time to get  his life straightened out.

“We’re worried about you Matthew,” his dad said. “Your mother and I found a powder on the bathroom sink so we know you’ve been snorting drugs.”

“But that was just Vicodin. It’s nothing. I got them from Mom.”

“Well, when I gave them to you I thought you would take them orally like a normal person. Not nasally like a… like a… like a drug addict!” His mother broke down in tears.

“Is that all you’re worried about? I’m sorry. I’ll stop snorting the pills.”

“Your behavior at practice has gotten a little erratic,” singer Adam Gillis said.

“I thought you guys liked that. I thought that was my role in the band… to be the kooky alcoholic guy.”

“Well, we like that. But we’re just worried about what you’re doing to yourself.”

“But you guys drink too. I think I saw you pass out and piss yourself last week, Eric.”

“Hey, I’m not on trial here.” guitarist Eric Shawn defended himself.

“We all just want what’s best for you, son.”

“But I have to drink. It’s the only thing about me anyone likes. I don’t have a job. I don’t have a girlfriend. My only talent is that I can play the intro to ‘N.I.B’ really well.”

“I don’t know about all that, Matt.” Gillis’ girlfriend Kelly opined during a brief lull in texting.

“Well, I can play ‘Blister in the Sun’ really well.”

“That’s not a talent son,” his father said. “Everyone can do that. Your mother can do that.”

Mrs. Vance continued crying

“Dude,” Adam said. “I saw the post on Facebook about trying to score some dog antibiotics.”

“That was a joke… I wasn’t really going to take them.”

“Why the hell would you take dog antibiotics?” Eric wondered aloud. “Will those get you high?”

“That’s what I’ve heard.”

This is not the treatment center Matt spent a year in.

This is not the treatment center Matt spent a year in.

Mrs. Vance cried louder.

“OK. So what do you suggest I do?”

“We’ve booked you a room at a very nice treatment facility in Cleveland.”

“Ohmygod,” Matt said. “This is really happening.”

“Don’t worry about the band,” Gillis said. “We’ll still be here when you get back.”

But in all actuality, Ockym’s Razyr wasn’t around when Vance returned last month. After searching for a new bass player for a month, the band decided to venture on without a bass player for a while, but the sound wasn’t right.

So when Matt Vance called up Adam Gillis to see about practicing, it began a whole new chapter in the drama of America’s least favorite pretend band.

 

*Author’s note* Dog Antibiotics will not get you high. At least I don’t think they will. Please consult a veterinarian before using/abusing any prescription medication designed for animal use.

Top Posts of Ockym’s Razyr

Part 11 The Christmas Party

Part 3 The Road Trip

Part 2 The Jam Room

Part 10 The Other Interview