Tag Archives: Nine Inch Nails

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!


You should be listening to A Perfect Circle!

A Perfect Circle is the ever changing heavy metal/hard/alternative rock group that was formed in 1999 by Tool’s Maynard James Keenan and guitar tech to the rock stars Billy Howerdel.  Howerdel’s resume includes bands such as Faith No More, Fishbone, Guns N’ Roses, Smashing Pumpkins, Nine Inch Nails, and most fortuitously Tool.  It is through his work with Tool that he approached Keenan with his music and Keenan offered up his vocals in the event that Howerdel ever formed a band.

Fortunately for us, dear reader, that little venture came to fruition and has provided us with three excellent albums.  In 1999, the band comprised of Howerdel, Keenan, female bassist Paz Lenchantin, who later left to help Billy Corrigan create the forgettable Zwan.  Tim Alexander, formerly of Primus briefly handled the drums and was replaced by Josh Freese. Troy Van Leeuwen rounded out the band on guitar.  Easy to see why A Perfect Circle was bestowed with the over used and oft times kiss of death title of “Super Group”. 

Mer de Noms (translates to Sea of Names) was the debut album for A Perfect Circle and was released in 2000.  The album entered billboard charts at #4 and stayed on the charts for consecutive 51 weeks.  The album yielded three singles: Judith, 3 Libras, and The Hollow.

Their follow up album, Thirteenth Step, was released in 2003 and reach #2 on the billboard chart.  Shortly after the release, both Paz and Troy left to pursue other musical interest.  As mentioned Paz left to help create Zwan and Troy left to tour with Queens of the Stone Age.  In an ironic twist of fate, James Iha, formerly of Billy Corrigan’s Smashing Pumpkins replaced Troy on guitar.  Jeordie White a.k.a Twiggy Ramirez (bassist for Marilyn Manson) replaced Paz.

They quickly released eMotive, their third album, in 2004. The album is basically a cover album of political and protest songs.  There are two original songs on the twelve track disc.  The covers include John Lennon’s “Imagine”, Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On”, Depeche Mode’s “People Are People”, and Joni Mitchell’s “Fiddle and the Drum”.

A Perfect Circle Discography:

  • Mer de Noms
  • Thirteenth Step
  • eMotive

It appears that Howerdel was an apt pupil while working with the upper echelon of rock music geniuses.  Whether it is the musical theatrics of Smashing Pumpkins or the distortion of Nine Inch Nails Howerdel knows how to texture the music and get the most out of the accomplished musicians that make the band.  With Maynard’s vocals, A Perfect Circle is reminiscent of Tool, especially on Mer de Noms as it is darker and more bombastic while Thirteenth Step seem to be more melodic.

Top 5 Perfect Circle Songs:

  1. What’s Going On (eMotive)
  2. The Hollow (Mer de Noms)
  3. Weak and Powerless (Thirteenth Step)
  4. Judith (Mer de Noms)
  5. Blue (Thirteenth Step)

The bands last performance was in 2004 and it appears that they are on a lengthy hiatus with rumors of both their demise and resurrection surfacing over the years.  We may not have realized, ten years ago, how much we needed A Perfect Circle to broaden the musical landscape, but I think it is safe to say that we could certainly use them now given the auto tuned vocals and saccharine musical confections that pass for music today.

Check out A Perfect Circle at www.aperfectcircle.com.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=352RjUV_f1U

www.youtube.com/watch?v=uXlKkzjkheg

www.youtube.com/watch?v=O5xuY3OFHvA&feature=related

Great music awaits!


Under the Covers: Cover songs you should be listening to

Some songs are so great that everyone wants to sing them and add their own unique style.  Some do it to pay homage to an artist, others feel a certain connection to the song and/or artist, and yet others are just looking to be the next American Idol.

The cover tune is the metaphorical equivalent of making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.  Anyone can do it but not everyone does it right.   To make it right, PB&J requires lightly toasted bread, an abundance of peanut butter on both slices of the bread, and a generous slathering of jelly.  I’m a grape or raspberry fan myself. 

So, let’s get under the covers:

  • “Masters of War”                       Pearl Jam
    • Original Artist                   Bob Dylan
  • “War Pigs”                                  Faith No More
    • Original Artist                   Black Sabbath
  • “Hurt”                                          Johnny Cash
    • Original Artist                   Nine Inch Nails
  • “Hard to Handle”                        The Black Crowes
    • Original Artist                   Ottis Redding
  • “Chimes of Freedom”                 Bruce Springsteen
    • Original Artist                   Bob Dylan
  • “Cortez the Killer”                      The Dave Matthews Band
    • Original Artist                   Neil Young
  • “Billie Jean”                                 Chris Cornell
    • Original Artist                   Michael Jackson
  • “Paradise”                                   Pat Green
    • Original Artist                   John Prine
  • “Hard Sun”                                 Eddie Vedder
    • Original Artist                   Indio
  • “Play it All Night Long”             Drive-By Truckers
    • Original Artist                   Warren Zevon
  • “Climbing up the Walls”            Erin Ivey
    • Original Artist                   Radiohead
  • “Rocket Man”                             My Morning Jacket
    • Original Artist                   Elton John
  • “Such Great Heights”                 Iron & Wine
    • Original Artist                   The Postal Service
  • “Hallelujah”                                 Jeff Buckley
    • Original Artist                   Leonard Cohe
  • “Little Wing”                               Stevie Ray Vaughan
    • Original Artist                   Jimi Hendrix
  • “Lungs”                                       Lyle Lovett
    • Original Artist                   Townes Van Zandt
  • “Breadfan”                                  Metallica
    • Original Artist                   Budgie
  • “Badfish”                                     Jack Johnson
    • Original Artist                   Sublime
  • “Hey Ya”                                     Obadiah Parker
    • Original Artist                   Outkast
  • Love Reign O’er Me                   Pearl Jam
    • Original Artist                   The Who
  • “The Ghost of Tom Joad”          Rage Against the Machine
    • Original Artist                   Bruce Springsteen
  • “Levelland”                                 Robert Earl Keen
    • Original Artist                   James McMurtry
  • I’ve Got to Know                         Son Volt
    • Original Artist                   Woody Guthrie
  • “Signs”                                         Tesla
    • Original Artist                   “Five Man Electrical Band
  • “Ruby’s Two Sad Daughters”   Pat Green
    • Original Artist                   Walt Wilkins

So, now that I have lit the candle of thought of great cover songs; let me know some of your favorites.

Great music awaits!