Smells Like Mushroomhead…

Marilyn_Manson_Smells_Like_Children_coverThere are a few albums from about 20 years ago that I like for a really odd reason. It’s not the segues, samples and interludes so much as the unique way a few artists chose to fill up space on their albums with ridiculous recordings.

I remember a friend in junior high telling me that if I wanted to buy a Marilyn Manson CD I should get Portrait of an American Family or Antichrist Superstar. He made sure to tell me not to get Smells Like Children. “It’s shit,” he said. “It’s just covers and remixes from the first album.” He was half right. It is covers and remixes, but it is far from shit.

Despite having 16 tracks Smells Like Children is an EP. The Wikipedia page has an interesting history of how it came to be. Apparently is was supposed to be a single for “Dope Hate,” but turned into something much, much more.

The highlight is obviously the covers. Their version of “Sweat Dreams” is what propelled them from Danzig opening act to a household name. Their versions of “I Put A Spell On You” and “Rock and Roll Nigger” aren’t half bad either. The remixes aren’t quite as good. I like the “Diary of A Dope Fiend” and I prefer “Kiddie Grinder” to its original version, but I’m not a huge fan of remixes and feel the rest fall flat.

The real treat is the unusual tracks that pepper the album. It starts with “The Hands of Small Children,” a creepy synth intro to “Diary.” “Shitty Chicken Gang Bang” is a great organ interlude that doesn’t really go anywhere. I love “Fuck Frankie,” which is just a recording of a woman repeating ‘Fuck Frankie’ in an orgasmic voice. I find “White Trash,” a remix of “Cake & Sodomy” by Tony Wiggins on an acoustic guitar to be absolutely brilliant. “Scabs, Guns and Peanut Butter” is a recording onto a tape player that’s been sped up, something I’ve done a few times myself.

But now that I realize how completely ridiculous all of this sounds I’m amazed by how well the amalgamated mess of material blends seamlessly together and makes a great listening experience. I’m not sure if that’s a testament to Trent Reznor’s unearthly production skills or if everyone involved was just taking that certain amount of drugs to make a masterpiece.

Tool AEnima gifAt the other end of the spectrum (by that I mean the “Respectable”) is Tool’s 1996 album AEnima (sic). Of course, being polished professional musicians without a noteworthy history of cocaine abuse, the weird shit on this album is referred to as “short segues or interludes that connect to longer songs.” It’s all crazy shit to me.

AEnima is far and away my favorite Tool album. The songs aren’t  the cookie cutter hard rock they released on Undertow and not way out in left field prog and they did after. They’re just the right combination of pop melodies and experiments to keep me entertained.

My favorite track on this album is “Die Eier Von Satan” a track that sounds like a recording of a Nazi rally but is really just a recipe. “Intermission” is a jaunty calliope sounding track not unlike “Shitty Chicken Gang Bang” and “(-) Ions” is nothing but static. “Message to Harry Manback” was always another favorite. Quiet piano plays while a man spews insults and threats at someone, occasionally in Italian.

I wish I knew why band no longer use segues, samples and interludes the way they used to. I really miss that. I suppose like anything else, it was something that was sort of in vogue for a minute and then it’s appeal faded away.

But not before Mushroomhead could place the greatest sample ever on their 1995 self titled album. I wish I knew what movie this was from, it sounds like it would be a great one.


What’s your favorite example of crazy shit on an album?


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.

Most Overrated Bands

Slayer – Slayer is so overrated that you hear people ask for them at every rock concert you’ve ever gone to or will go to even though they’re not there. I’ve been to 4 Ozzfests, none of which featured Slayer, and every one had some guy holding a Slayer banner yelling “SLAYER!!!”

Juggalos 4 life.

Juggalos 4 life.

Insane Clown Posse – There’s a time and a place for ICP; it’s called junior high school.

Mushroomhead – Just a heads up: If you’re ever in Northeast Ohio don’t mention Mushroomhead. If you do someone you don’t want to talk to will start a conversation with you about their Halloween show or how his or her band opened for them one time or how they were so much better back when they were a local act.

To read what the rest of the world thinks of them read the end of this or this

Tool – Don’t get me wrong, I love Tool. But I’m getting really fucking sick of my bass player doing the intro to “Sober” at EVERY! FUCKING! PRACTICE!

Any of Les Claypool’s Side Projects – All of Mike Patton’s side projects would have made it onto this list except I recently discovered that I enjoy Mr. Bungle.

Kanye West – Didn’t this dude release one song several years ago? Why do I keep hearing about him? What the hell is a ‘Yeezus’?

Psychostick – These guys might be the best band in the world, but I wouldn’t know. Their fans ruin them by constantly talking about how they’re the best band in the world.

Apparently now you're considered a musician to play the mixer.

Apparently now you’re considered a musician to play the mixer.

Dubstep – Whenever I come across someone who says, “I only listen to Dubstep” I always wonder what they listened to 2 years ago.

Miley Cyrus – Sure, she’s a marketing genius and we all hate her because she’s young, beautiful, rich and doesn’t have to wear clothes like the rest of us. But her music is pretty horrible. Good luck watching this without hitting mute:



Metallica – Personal opinion here – Metallica is not the greatest heavy metal band in the world. Scientific fact here – Metallica is not the heaviest metal band in the world. What Metallica is is the most bastard friendly metal band in the world. That’s why every douche-bag and twat-waffle I work with who wants me to think they’re cool is always going on about how much they love Metallica. Be different for God’s sake!