Tag Archives: Metallica

My Top 40 at 40!

Recently, and by recently I mean yesterday February 2nd, which just happens to be my day of birth, a buddy of mine threw down the musical gauntlet.  I have briefly and succinctly paraphrased the challenge below:

Top 40 Artists of your life. Not simply a list of 40, but a ranking from 40 to 1. You have to do it. It must be done. It’s your personal Hall of Fame. This is your preference, your jukebox, regardless of genre or generation. This isn’t educational or time relevant. It’s YOUR Top 40 of all time.

This did indeed get the blood rushing and made my musical pants go a little crazy.  I started to brainstorm a list (and by brainstorm I mean immediately sat down and pounded out 40 names, clarified his initial challenge, perused my list again, and started typing the first sentence you read. 

The initial list was not a difficult as I thought.  The ranking of 1-40 took a little bit of time as did my annotations (those are in my tiny, little head) as to why the band/musician made the list.  The list that lies before you is organic in nature and I believe it to be fairly finite to the time that it was written.  The list is not to be likened to a doctoral thesis, packed with statistics that verify the respective placement, resourced with renowned critical fawning, or any type of research other than my ears and their time on earth. 

Be mindful of the fact that there are only 40 spots on this list.  I can tell you that there are probably some glaring omissions on this list.  Michael Jackson, Aretha Franklin, Bob Marley, Waylon, Willie, and the boys, did not make the list as well as a litany of other great, well deserving artists.  This list is completely subjective and the omission of anyone is not meant to be a form of disparagement.  It is quite simply a list of bands/musicians that I have loved over the years and also value their contributions to the musical world. 

The final piece of the musical puzzle for this list was really a late night revelation.  I realize it has only been a moment or two since you began reading this but I actually have been running the various scenarios of greatness in my head all night.  And then it hit me, the true measure of an artist’s greatness is my personal commitment to that particular artist. 

  •  How much of myself have I invested in the artists? 
  • What percentage of their catalog do I own? 
  • Would I take the time to see them live if the following were aligned:
    • They are still alive
    • They band is still together
    • The venue was geographically conducive to seeing them live
    • The cost of the ticket did not require me selling my 1st born child.  Although at 15 years of age and being really good at being 15 I would be willing to barter for a really good show right now.

Oddly enough, this revelation did not greatly alter my original list, there were a few additions and subtractions of artists and then the harrowing process of ranking them, with reason, was underway. 

No musicians were harmed in this list.  Of course, egos might be slightly bruised if they ever happen to stumble upon this little read blog and realize their spot on or omission to the list.

So, I give to you my Top 40 at 40!

  1. The Beatles
  2. Bob Dylan
  3. Bruce Springsteen
  4. The Rolling Stones
  5. Led Zeppelin
  6. The Who
  7. Pink Floyd
  8. Tom Petty
  9. The Eagles
  10. Eric Clapton
  11. Elton John
  12. Jimi Hendrix
  13. The Doors
  14. U2
  15. Metallica
  16. Pearl Jam
  17. Van Morrison
  18. Billy Joel
  19. R.E.M.
  20. Rush
  21. Lynryd Skynyrd
  22. Simon & Garfunkel
  23. John Mellencamp
  24. Stevie Ray Vaughan
  25. Prince
  26. Nirvana
  27. Uncle Tupelo
  28. Eminem
  29. Nine Inch Nails
  30. Beck
  31. The Dave Matthews Band
  32. Rage Against the Machine
  33. Robert Earl Keen
  34. N.W.A
  35. The Black Crowes
  36. The Beastie Boys
  37. The White Stripes
  38. Ryan Adams
  39. Ben Harper
  40. Joe Purdy

 

Great music awaits!


The Sweet Spot!

As I’ve gotten older, I find myself with more time to listen to music than when I was younger.  Part of this is due to the advent of portable music players, the evolution of digital files, and the technology that allows music to be played on computers.  The stability of a job provides the disposable income for concerts, an excessive catalog of music, and multiple playing options. 

The afore mentioned job also allows me time to listen to music.  When I am in my office, music is constantly playing.  The sanctuary of my truck is also a musical haven. The drive to work, the drive home, and the many miles that I drive weekly all afford another level of listening.  This is also the opportunity that I have to expose my children to music that is in fact played with instruments and songs written by genuine artists.

When I was younger and finding my musical way, I would delve into an album or artist and listen with relentless pursuit.  I would listen to songs, albums, and said artist almost exclusively until the next sonic epiphany.  These neurotic bouts of musical exclusivity could last days, weeks, or even months.  Looking back, it seems that the level of musical monogamy did indeed lend itself to my lifelong love affair with music.  As fleeting as some of those love fests might have been, they allowed a wide range of music to enter my live and much like all past loves, left a mark. 

At times, I revert back to the halcyon days of my formative years and roll the windows down and embarrass my kids with a litany of musical gems while singing and doing the obligatory air guitar or drums.  While my musical tastes have expanded, I still have a passion for the music of my youth.  The bombastic guitars and drums of Metallica always make my musical pants go crazy.  The southern drawl of Tom Petty makes me smile and remember old friends and good times.  Springsteen is still “The Boss” and makes me appreciate the importance of lyrics. 

As I discover new music, I do not seem to be searching for an exact musical type whereas before, I would strictly be looking for alternative music, heavy metal, or some other genre specific music that I heard on some commercial driven radio station.  I’ve come to appreciate the country landscape to some degree and am a huge fan of the burgeoning Texas music scene.  I actively pursue the independent artists and do not subject myself to the pandering of FM pop stations.  By the time the artists I like make it to the radio, I am on to the next thing. 

While each generation has their musical sins, looking back, I feel like I was in the sweet spot of music.  Old enough to appreciate the contributions of Dylan, Hendrix, and others of their ilk, young enough to have grown up with Tom Petty, Springsteen, Journey, Foreigner, Fleetwood Mac, and all the other great artists, and fortunate enough to be part of the musical revolution that brought Pearl Jam, The Beastie Boys, Nirvana, and a myriad of other artist who changed the musical landscape of my generation.

The classic rock of yesterday is now ancient and the music of my childhood is now played on the oldies station.  While it makes me feel a little older, I do not begrudge the process.  I am just glad that I was part of it.

 Great music awaits!


Tune In Tuesday: 6/29/10

Welcome back for yet another installment of Tune In Tuesday

Music’s connectivity varies by person but I believe that there is some resonating emotional cord that is struck when we are truly touched by the music.  While I appreciate the complexity of the instrumentation, I tend to gravitate to the lyrical aspect of music.  While this is not always etched in granite, it holds about 90% of the time.

Today I am going to go back a few years and highlight some albums that are indelibly etched in my fabric for various and sundry reasons.

Under the Table and Dreaming

Dave Matthews Band

This was the first studio album from Dave and the band and was a really musically liberating sound.  The combination of guitar, bass, violin, saxophone and drums just sounded so fresh in the early 90’s.  The vibe from the music was so upbeat that you couldn’t help but move while listening to it. 

This album was in heavy rotation during college and began a twenty year relationship with the band.  I’ve seen them live several times and own all their studio albums as well as the majority of the live albums. 

Key Tracks: The Best of What’s Around, Typical Situation, Jimi Thing, Ants Marching, What Would You Say

Singles (Soundtrack)

Various Artists

This is the best soundtrack to come out in the 90’s and may very well be the greatest soundtrack of all times.  I realize that is a really bold claim and I’m ok with that.  I’m a rebel!

This album captured Soundgarden, Pearl Jam, Alice In Chains, and Smashing Pumpkins on one album before they reached the collective conscience of the country.  The album went platinum and really caught the buzz of the Seattle grunge scene.  In addition to the great songs from the soon to be huge bands, there were several key tracks from stalwart Seattle bands such as Mudhoney and Mother Love Bone.

Key Tracks: Drown, Chloe Dance/Crown of Thorns, State of Love and Trust, Breath, Birth Ritual, Would

And Justice for All

Metallica

This was my heavy metal musical baptism and bible in the latter part of my high school years.  I was really into classic rock and when this album came out I could not get enough.  The guttural growls of James Hetfield, the relentless drumming of Lars, and just the all out anger of the sound was so intoxicating.  As a recalcitrant teen, this was my anthem.  As I’ve gotten older, I have learned to appreciate the level of skill that they possess as a band of musician and how they helped define the genre.

Key Tracks:  Dyers Eve, One, The Shortest Straw, Blackened

Green

R.E.M.

Green was R.E.M.’s sixth album but was their major label debut.  This album was also the debut of Peter Buck’s mandolin which would help define the band’s sound on subsequent albums.  The album had such a different sound from their previous albums.  Stipe’s singing is more deliberate and clear and the lyrics run a range of emotions. 

Key Tracks:  Stand, You Are the Everything, World Leader Pretend, Orange Crush, I Remember California

Full Moon fever

Tom Petty

This was Petty’s first venture into solo territory even though he had collaborations with his Heartbreakers and a Wilbury or two.  The album has a cleaner almost crisp sound compared to some of the earlier Heartbreakers albums.  Helmed by Jeff Lynne (Traveling Wilbury’s, Electric Light Orchestra) the album is solid with no real weak tracks. 

Key Tracks: Runnin Down a Dream, Free Fallin’, Love Is a Long Road, I Won’t Back Down,

Joshua Tree

U2

This is my all time favorite U2 album.  They had not quite blown up into the biggest rock band in the world but were well on their way.  Each track is unyielding in musical bliss and twenty plus years later, it plays like a greatest hits album.  The album is sonically heavier than their previous albums and is their foray into the influence of the blues. 

Key Tracks: With Or Without You, Running To Stand Still, I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For, Trip Through Your Wires

Great music awaits!


You should be listening to The Black Keys!

The Black Keys are the amazing bluesy, rocking dynamic duo of Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney.  They formed in 2001 in Akron, Ohio and have been compared to another bluesy power duo known by the name The White Stripes.

Their debut album, The Big Come Up, was released on 2002 and followed up with Thickfreakness in 2003.  2004 saw the release of Rubber Factory.

Much like other artist of today, The Black Keys music has gained commercial recognition from T.V. shows, commercial advertising, and the silver screen. 

 T.V. Shows:

  • The O.C.
  • Big Love
  • Rescue Me
  • Dexter
  • Sons of Anarchy
  • One Tree Hill
  • Gossip Girl
  • Entourage
  • Friday Night Lights

 Advertisements:

  • Sony Ericsson
  • Victoria’s Secret
  • American Express

Movies:

  • Cloverfield
  • School of Rock
  • Zombie Land
  • Black Snake Moan
  • RocknRolla

Their fourth album, Magic Potion, was released in 2006 along with the EP Chulahoma.  In 2007 they released the Danger Mouse produced Attack & Release.  This was the first album that they released that was produced in an actual studio.

The Black Keys Discography:

  • The Big Come Up
  • Thickfreakness
  • The Moan (EP)
  • Rubber factory
  • Magic Potion
  • Chulahoma (EP)
  • Attack & Release
  • Brothers (Set to release May 2010)

The boys have toured with bands such as Pearl Jam, Beck, and Radiohead.  In addition to both critical and commercial success, they have quite a few fans that are in the business.  Robert Plant (Led Zeppelin), Josh Homme (Them Crooked Vultures & Queens of the Stone Age), Thom Yorke (Radiohead), Billy Gibbons (ZZ Top), and Kirk Hammett (Metallica) have all gone on record extolling the greatness of The Black Keys.

Top 5 The Black Keys Songs:

  1. Oceans& Streams (Attack & Release)
  2. Set You Free (Thickfreakness)
  3. Girl Is On My Mind (Rubber Factory)
  4. I Got Mine (Attack & Release)
  5. Strange Times (Attack & Release)

Musically, there is a raw, emotional connectivity that is heavily influenced by the blues.  The amazing thing about the group is how much sound they can produce between the two of them. 

Check out The Black Keys at www.theblackkeys.com.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=qHeF2lFO3IQ

www.youtube.com/watch?v=0nWJ-e9pLSs&feature=related

 Great music awaits!


Missed and Must See Concerts!

So, this week has focused on music in a variety of, genres, decades, degrees of greatness and what some might call an assault to the auditory senses.  To wrap up this fine week of blogging, I am going to take my writing cue from some of the responses to the Concert Blog.

Over the course of my musical life, I’ve been extremely fortunate to have had the opportunity to see all of the shows I’ve seen.  In addition to that, I’ve had the ability to create a personal library of considerable size in both CD and digital format.  However, being a music devotee, I want more.  I want more CD’s, more digital files, and more opportunity to catch live acts.  I look back at the missed opportunities to see some amazing shows and kick myself for being too lazy, too late, or at times even too responsible to attend certain shows.

Today we are going to talk about concerts in both past and future terms.  Confused yet?  Good, me either.  I will keep this in a Top 10 format and will list the concerts that I missed or at least wished I had the opportunity to see and I will also list the concerts that I want to see before I am unceremoniously taken from this lovely thing some call life.

Top 10 missed opportunities:

  1. Pink Floyd Momentary Lapse of Reason Tour
  2. U2 Joshua Tree Tour
  3. Guns N Roses & Metallica (I realize that tour was plagued with problems but at long as I am dreaming, if I had attended, it would have been a flawless, musical love fest with duel encores)
  4. Bruce Springsteen Born in the USA Tour (I’ve seen Bruce on several occasions but this tour was sort of a revival and they went all out and played monster sets (3-4 hours).)
  5. Uncle Tupelo (This band was such a tinder box of musical genius that there was no conceivable way for it continue.  I’ve seen both bands from the former temperamental leaders (Jeff’s Wilco & Jay’s Son Volt) and would have loved to catch them early.)
  6. Led Zeppelin Reunion (This was never an option or an opportunity but man what a treat that would have been.)
  7. The Black Crowes (I had free tickets at Will Call for an early show they did in Dallas when they opened up for ZZ Top.  I never made it to the show for various and sundry reasons.  Looking back none of the reasons were reasonably worth what I missed.)
  8. 2002 Austin City Limits Music Festival (This was the inaugural musical voyage for ACL and it had a great lineup of bands on the rise as well as the ARC Angels reunion show.)
  9. Farm Aid 1 1985 (A great event with a stellar line up.  Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash, Tom Petty, Neil Young, Billy Joel, John Mellencamp, Willie Nelson, Roy Orbison, B.B. King, Waylon Jennings, to name a few.)
  10.  Nirvana (Just to be part of that bit of musical history.)

Top 10 Must See Acts:

  1. My Morning Jacket (Amazing live shows and wicked cool music)
  2. Red Hot Chili Peppers (I just dig them)
  3. Neil Young (Musical icon)
  4. U2 (They are awesome)
  5. John Mellencamp (Great catalog even when he was Johnny Cougar, John Cougar, and John Cougar Mellencamp)
  6. Phish (Ultimate Jam band that took the torch from the Grateful Dead)
  7. Paul McCartney (Come on, he is a friggin’ Beatle)
  8. Lyle Lovett (I like all his music even the song from the Stuart Little soundtrack and well, he was married to Julia Roberts!)
  9. Counting Crows (I realize that despite their latest release, they are in the twilight (or beyond) of their career but I really dig their live albums and think they would be fun to see live)
  10. The Eagles (I am a huge fan and begrudgingly have never seen them.  In my defense, their exorbitant ticket price is one key factor to this dilemma.)

So dear reader, who is on your concert list?

 Great music awaits!


Concerts

We hear a song, purchase/download some music; it raises our awareness of the band and then we become a fan.  The concert is the culmination of our musical inclinations.  It is the holy grail of the musical experience.  At least, in our mind, it is. 

The concert is the musical equivalent of craps (the game of chance, not Jack in the Box 2 for $1 greasy tacos passing through your bowels)

Some nights go like this:

You purchase your ticket with the expectation that it will be musical bliss and a night to remember.  You get there, fight the crowd, listen to the mediocre, at best, opening act, and wait impatiently for the headlining show.   After what seems like an eternity, out stumbles the drunk/high lead singer, forgets the words to your favorite song, becomes enraged at the crowds displeasure and walks of the stage giving you the double fisted one finger salute. 

While other nights go like this:

You show up at some little dive barbeque joint and begin to think the show has been canceled because there are only four cars in the parking lot.  You go in, order some food and a beer, take you pick of the abundantly available tables and notice two chairs on the stage and a couple of guitars.  You take a seat, sip your bear and out strolls the singer and his buddy and the play for several hours, come sit down and thank you for coming to the show and take your request and play it before the night is over.

I’ve regaled you with some stories of concerts from my past and touted the greatness of Austin City Limits Music Festival but today, I’m going to chronologically list the concerts, to the best of my recollection, I’ve attended over the years.

Year Band
1983 Quiet Riot
Interesting Facts
7th grade, first concert to attend and broke my ankle that afternoon after being chased by a large classmate who took off his belt and began swinging it at me.  I left the hospital on crutches and planned on going to concert while my mother drove along beside me screaming at me to get in the car.  Being 12 and disabled, mom won and I missed the concert.  I did, however, get the t shirt as a consolation prize from my buddy who I gave the ticket to.
1985 Def Leppard
Interesting Facts
My first official concert that I actually got to attend.  Reunion Arena in Dallas, TX.  Oddly enough, I do not remember much about the concert other than it kicked much 14 year old musical butt.
1985-1989 Tom Petty

Stevie Nicks

Elton John

Don Henley

White Snake

Tesla

The Cult

Metallica

Interesting Facts
This period was the high school years and while there are funny stories, time has blurred the lines a bit.

  • One concert I went to with a group of girls and as soon as we got to Starplex Amphitheater, they all had to go to the rest room.  So, they opened the passenger door and all took turns squatting in the parking lot under the shroud of secrecy that was the afore mentioned door.  Don’t worry ladies; your identity is safe with me.
  • Another concert had some of the above mentioned girls and on the way home we got lost and drove around through an amazing fog which we likened to the moors, a Sherlock Holmes reference at the time, and eventually made it home.  Some of attendees were really upset with the turn of events.
  • White Snake concert we bought tickets from scalpers and got totally ripped off but thought we were so cool because we were seeing White Snake.
  • Metallica was an amazing show and the first time I had seen mosh pits and thoroughly enjoyed the frantic pace of the music.  Some fans really enjoyed the show and started lighting the lawn on fire and once security came out, the fire just seemed to move to another location.

 

1989-1992 Travis Tritt

Shenandoah

Various country acts at Billy Bobs

Interesting Facts
Some of my buddies were really in to country music and I would often tag along because I had nothing else to do and wanted to make some new female acquaintances. The Shenandoah concert was particularly memorable, not because the concert was good, in fact, I never actually saw them.  I got kicked out of the bar because I was 18 and using a fake ID to buy beer.  My buddies, of course, stayed and watched the show.  The crushing event of the night was that the girl I took to the show also stayed inside and I sat alone in the back of my friend’s truck for several hours.  The night was not a total loss, because I drank all of the beer in the cooler while sitting in the parking lot of Billy Bob’s.
1993-1995 Lots of local acts in the musical mecca of Denton, TX

Rush

Interesting Facts
The Rush show stands out for two reasons:To procure the tickets for this concert, my buddy and I left Denton very, very early on a Saturday morning after a very, very, late Friday night to go to Lewisville Mall to get tickets.  We arrived way too early and drove to Braums and got a double order of biscuits and gravy.  While this might not read as funny as it was, we were way hung over and those biscuits and gravy were the magic elixir that restored our health. Night of the concert we pick up our dates, have dinner and head to Dallas.  There is mild drinking, as colleges kids are known to do, and before you know it, we are on the floor of Reunion Arena basking in the glory of Rush.  On the way home there is some conversation of the concert and the girl that I took begins to nod off a bit and then suddenly hurls into and on the door.  We stop and ask if she is ok and she looks at us as if nothing happened and denies what is clearly on her chin, clothes, seat, floor, and of course door.  We get home she gets out like nothing happened.
1995-2005 The Dave Matthews BandMetallica

Linkin Park

Beastie Boys

Pat Green

Willie Nelson

Jack Johnson

Bob Dylan

Bruce Springsteen

Beck

G. Love & Special Sauce

Merle Haggard

Tori Amos

Korn

Chevelle

Robert Earl Keen

Interesting Facts
All pretty good shows and some artist like Dave Matthews and Pat Green I’ve seen multiple times.  The one stand out concert story is this:A group of folks went to see Willie Nelson at Lone Star Park which is an outdoor horse track.  His stage was set back a bit and there were risers and bleachers that elevated the fans to better see the stage.  I am walking up, wearing loose cargo shorts and minding my own business, when I feel something moving up my leg and heading north central.  I look down and there is an older woman with her hand up my shorts grabbing my junk.  I jump up and swat at her as if she is some form of annoying insect and she looks up, smiles with what teeth she has left and says “Oh, excuse me” as if she had accidently bumped into me as were passing on a sidewalk.  She then turned and walked away as if nothing had happened.
2006-Present Pearl JamBen Harper

Foo Fighters

Tom Petty

Beck

G. Love & Special Sauce

Wilco

Son Volt

Drive-By Truckers

State Radio

Brett Dennen

Bruce Springsteen

B-52’s

Robert Plant & Allison Krause

Joe Purdy

Cross Canadian Ragweed

The Killers

The Tragically Hip

The Eli Young Band

Pete Yorn

Bob Schneider

James McMurtry

Kris Kristofferson

Merle Haggard

Damien RiceDonovan Frankenreiter

Arcade Fire

The Shins

Okkervil River

Mason Jennings

The Black Keys

Ray LaMontagne

Queens of the Stone Age

Bob Dylan

Willie Nelson

Van Morrison

The Toadies

The Killers

John Mayer

Steve Earle

Bjork

Iron & Wine

Walt Wilkins

The Dead Weather

The Raconteurs

Lucinda Williams

Erin Ivey

Amos Lee

Interesting Facts
The majority of these artists have been seen at the Austin City Limits Music Festival which is an annual pilgrimage for me.  Some artist I have seen both at ACL and their own headlining tour.

So, there you have it, a little stroll down concert memory lane.  Let me know about some of your favorite or at least memorable concert experiences and who is a must see when they roll through town.

Great music awaits!