Welcome to The Saturday Swindle Sheet. This week’s column is brought to you by the new Mountain Dew Pitch Black. It’s like Mountain Dew, with a twist of black grape. While it’s not as obnoxious as the Taco Bell-exclusive Baja Blast, it’s still sort of a strange-tasting concoction. Try it once, and then try it again with gin.
I apologize for the truancy of my column. I have gotten absolutely nothing done this week on account of being sicker than a dog since Wednesday night. I haven’t done anything but sleep for the past three days, but I figured I should probably get up and crank out the best column that is humanly possible. So, without further ado, 50 Cent looks like radical Shiite cleric Moqtada Al-Sadrâ€¦
You know how we do it. Read all of our music columns du jour, which I have likened to some of my favorite soupsâ€¦
Broccoli Cheddar (in a bread bowl)
Menudo and Crawfish Gumbo did not make appearance this week. I guess whatever I have has been going aroundâ€¦
NEWS TO USE
The state of Illinois has filed a lawsuit againt the Dave Matthews Band for an August 8th incident in which the band’s tour bus reportedly dumped over 800 pounds of sewage from their septic tank and down through the metal grating of the Kinzie Street Bridge. The entire contents of the septic tank were more than likely intended to drop into the Chicago River, but instead landed on a tour boat that was filled with over 100 people. While the driver of the bus has said that he was not involved in the incident, the city of Chicago has surveillance footage showing a bus that closely resembles the band’s tour bus going over the bridge; at almost the same exact time that the boat was reportedly showered with human waste. When asked how it feels to be showered with human waste, one the tour boat’s passengers said, “Hey, it could have been worse. It could have been the Limp Bizkit tour bus showering us with their music.”
Singer Lou Rawls will receive an honorary doctorate from Ohio’s historically black Wilberforce University at an upcoming performance at the nearby Fraze Pavilion. Rawls has raised over $200 million for the United Negro College Fund with his yearly telethons. “Although I never went to college, I’ve been extremely fortunate to receive a number of honorary doctorates,” Rawls said in a recent interview. “It always gives me a feeling of accomplishment to know that I’ve been able to help others.” In an EXCLUSIVE interview with The Saturday Swindle Sheet, Wilberforce University president Floyd H. Flake said, “Lou Rawls is responsible for more funds and resources for historically black colleges and universities than anyone alive. Lou has carried out his mission for African-American higher education with untiring passion and he is owed an inestimable debt of gratitude, unlike Ja Rule, who is owed a kick in the head for sucking, as well as making those damn condom-looking panty hose hats popular.”
BITS â€˜N’ PIECES
Britney Spears has announced that her fiancÃ©, Kevin Federline, will appear in the upcoming video for “My Prerogative,” although it is more than likely that nobody will notice or care.
AC/DC’s Brain Johnson and Cliff Williams will be part of a benefit concert for victims of Hurricane Charley. The concert, which is scheduled for September 10th, will not include Angus and Malcolm because they will not be able to make it in from New Zealand in time.
A judge issued an arrest warrant for Krayzie Bone (nÃ© Anthony Henderson), of Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, this past Wednesday after he was a no-show at a scheduled hearing in Cincinnati in which he was to face charges of felony non-support to dependents. The rapper owes amounts in excess of $30,000 in child support, and if convicted, he could face a maximum of 2 years in jail.
Lil Jon f*cking sucks. No, really, he does. He has absolutely no redeeming qualities. He is quite possibly the most useless human being save for Fred Durst.
MTV pulled Beenie Man from a scheduled roster of performers for a concert that was to coincide with Sunday’s Video Music Awards. The decision came after much scrutiny from gay rights activists, who oppose Beenie Man because of his past anti-gay lyrics.
For those of you who can’t wait to hear Korn’s cover of Cameo’s “Word Up,” the band’s greatest hits compilation, which was slated for an October 19th release, has been pushed up to October 5th.
Kevin Miller, the drummer of Fuel, has left the band, amid a plethora of issues with the other band members, including a shocked statement that alleges that singer Brett Scallions lip-syncs! Oh shit! 50 Cent looks like the guy from Milli Vanilli that’s still alive.
Jay-Z and R. Kelly will open the Best of Both Worlds Tour in Chicago on September 30th. The tour was originally supposed to coincide with the release of the 2002 album, but got shelved due to R. Kelly’s penchant for urinating on 14-year-olds.
THE LATE NIGHT JUKEBOX
This week’s featured contributor is Jed Shaffer, from InsidePulse’s wrestling contingentâ€¦
I tried not to go with the “show how cool I am and name a bunch of people you don’t know” angle, but if there’s someone there you don’t know, sorryâ€”my tastes run weird. If there is an angle to his, it’s that nighttime is the prime time for writing, and one needs the proper music for the time and setting; AC/DC and Slayer just doesn’t match with half-past-midnight, ya know? These are in no particular order â€¦ I just wrote â€˜em down.
The Doors â€“ “Hyacinth House”
(From the album: L.A. Woman)
One of The Doors (I disremember which) once said that this was probably the saddest lyric Morrison ever wrote. I wouldn’t go that far, but it’s definitely a song of longing and resignation and wanting to escape a situation. And, probably its best feature is that it’s Morrison’s most honest lyric, while retaining his natural poetry spirit. An unbeatable combination, and an overlooked gem.
Syd Barrett â€“ “Opel”
(From the album: Wouldn’t You Miss Me? The Best Of Syd Barrett)
Without argument, the best post-Floyd song Syd wrote. Floyd biographer Nicholas Schafner wrote that during the recording of Syd’s first album, this song seemed most special to Syd â€¦ only for him to abandon it and not release it, almost “as if it were too good for Syd’s fragile mind”. The first time I heard it, I understood what that meant.
Pearl Jam â€“ “All Or None”
(From the album: Riot Act)
One way I know a song has truly latched onto me is that I listen to it and demand a certain part of it continue. The guitar at the end of this song makes me feel that â€¦ that I could listen to those guitars howl for an hour and not get tired of it. Also, I feel compelled to say this song defends Pearl Jam’s continued existence. Most of the hangers-on left after Ten, and only the strongest fans have followed them since. I’ve seen â€˜em twice, had not one complaint, and consider every album of theirs a ***1/2 minimum. If you still have this anti-grunge knee-jerk reaction to PJ, let it go already and check â€˜em out again. It’s worth it, I promise.
The Smashing Pumpkins â€“ “Porcelina Of The Vast Oceans”
(From the album: Mellon Collie And The Infinite Sadness
This album is one of those magical discs everyone has: the one that crystallizes a time or place in your life that you forever can recall as if it were minutes ago and inches away whenever you hit play. For me, it’s being 18, my first love (Kelly), rage and confusion and depression and angst. Not necessarily a fun time, but those times led me to grow to who I am now â€¦ and this song’s album is one of a couple that provided the soundtrack. This song, containing none of that angst or hatred or confusion, is just a pretty little fluff of 9 minutes, a semi-Floydian bit that floats like feather in an updraft. Grunge’s last stand, this was, and what a stand it was.
Oasis â€“ “Champagne Supernova”
(From the album: (What’s The Story) Morning Glory?
Another “soundtrack to my life” albums, from the same time period as the Pumpkins. “Wonderwall” may be a lot catchier and moodier, but “Champagne Supernova”, like the Pumpkins song above, has a dreamy, ethereal quality that outshines. I’ve never been able to put my finger on it, but its magic is what it is, in the simplest of terms. Oasis may get dumped on for being Beatles rip-offs, but Aeroshit and Lenny Crapitz have made overlong careers out of aping more talented people and you don’t hear them getting called for it â€¦ Oasis gets nailed just because they admit they’re Beatles clones. Kinda unfair, if you ask me.
Radiohead â€“ “Lucky”
(From the album: OK Computer)
From one of the best albums of all time (one of only three or four albums I consider to be perfect) comes one of their all-time best songs. There were rumors when OK Computer was released that they were going to shoot a video for every song. I lament the fact that it didn’t, because this song demanded one. Really, I can’t come up with enough creative ways to praise Radiohead or this song. Let’s just put it this way: Rolling Stone called this album “the Dark Side Of The Moon for Generation-X”. Have I sold you on it yet?
Alice In Chains â€“ “Frogs”
(From the album: Alice In Chains)
The week Layne Stayley died, so did Lisa “Left-Eye” Lopez. Where I live (Detroit), the paper put Lopez’ death on the front page, while Stayley’s passing was scuttled off to the Hollywood gossip and got a squib-like four line notice. I ranted to the newspaper’s editor with a vicious letter, questioning their integrity over giving this stupid bitch a Queen’s send-off when she was nothing more then a loud-mouthed, half-assed Diana Ross wannabe, let alone treating the death of Stayley as a throwaway bit. This song is proof of whose musical legacy will leave an impact â€¦ listen to Stayley’s tortured, pained voice, his cutting lyrics, and then listen to such insipid piles of excrement like “Ain’t 2 Proud 2 Beg”. Drug addict? Yes. Self-inflicted death and a pathetic waste? Yes and yes
again. Doesn’t detract from the fact he was a songwriting god, and had a one-of-a-kind voice that will be remembered for generations to come.
Faith No More â€“ “A Small Victory”
(From the album: Angel Dust)
When FNM hit big with “Epic”, I hated them. Loathed them. Three years later, FNM released Angel Dust, a sharp left turn from the slick, radio-friendly disc that was The Real Thing, and for some reason, I found myself drawn to them. Their style was darker, their lyrics more hostile, and their overall tone was almost evil. I remember hearing this song and thinking “this will blow up bigger then â€˜Epic'”. I was way off (the album, despite critical raves, was all but ignored by MTV and the fans), but it’s still a better song, by far, and has bar none of one of the 5 best videos of all time. If all you’ve ever experienced from FNM is “Epic”, go thee out and pick up the three albums that came after it and be awakened to one of the most innovative bands in music history.
Come â€“ “Arrive”
(From the album: Don’t Ask Don’t Tell)
Probably the most overtly depressing song on this album, and another “soundtrack of my youth”. I heard about Come for the first time in Guitar World, reading the review of their â€˜94 masterpiece Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell; the reviewer made mention of how the album’s 10 songs dealt mostly with love and loss (or love lost), and lead singer Thalia Zedek’s struggles with heroin. His closing statement to punctuate the four-star rating was something to the effect of “when you’re finished listening to this album, you’ll either feel cleansed or ready to kill”. So I picked it up, and found a true overlooked gem. This song, the album’s closer, is so strong and harrowing, it could be my wedding day and I could win the lottery simultaneously, and this song will reduce me to tears. For a song to be that powerful says something.
Roger Waters â€“ “Each Small Candle
(From the album: In The Flesh)
The first verse was a poem written by a prisoner in a South American torture prison, and hauntinglyâ€”but wonderfullyâ€”underscores the song’s message of hope. Normally, smiley-happy “We Are The World” shit makes my stomach turn faster then three-day old Taco Bell, but this one touched me for some reason. Oh, and to brag â€¦ I happened to be there in Portland, Oregon, when this was recorded. It was one of the best concerts I’ve ever been to, and this was the one-song encore. After he sang the final line (“Each small candle light a corner of the dark”), he blew out a candle in his hand, and all the lights went shut off, leaving us in the dark. An obvious ploy, but so effective. Imagine it when you listen to it.
Pink Floyd â€“ “Comfortably Numb”
(From the album: P.U.L.S.E)
Yeah, like I’m gonna mention the mighty Floyd a few times and not include this song. Naturally, the studio version on The Wall is where newbies start, but if you wanna hear it played with true emotion, the live version from P.U.L.S.E. is the best (and all you anal-retentive Roger=Floyd “purists” can just skip ahead, cause I’m a consumer of all things Floyd). The live version is twice as haunting and ominous as the studio version, and the five-minute guitar solo is all the evidence anyone needs to prove why Dave Gilmour is the best guitarist alive. Yes, I just said he is the best guitarist alive. Listen to this and prove me wrong.
Nirvana â€“ “Where Did You Sleep Last Night?”
(From the album: Unplugged In New York)
Unplugged In New York was the album that saved Nirvana for me. After Kurt’s death (please, call it a death â€¦ anyone who examines the evidence can see it wasn’t suicide), I was very disillusioned, for I assumed it was a suicide, and my heart was broken. I felt he had betrayed his fans and his family, and for the better part of a year, I refused to even acknowledge their presence. Then I heard the first two singles from Unplugged on the radio (“About A Girl” and “The Man Who Sold The World”) and was immediately reminded of why I loved Nirvana: because their music was amazing, and here was a document proving just how amazing they could be. For thirteen songs, Kurt sang in hushed whispers and low growls, with no retakes and no revisions, treating it just like a concert. After all that, they finished with this, and the Cobain scream finally came out, and stabbed everyone in the heart with its icy, crystalline beauty. After the song was over, Kurt walked off stage, and producers begged him for an encore. His response was; “No way, I can’t top that.” The producers realized he was right. When you hear this, you will too.
fugazi â€“ “Argument”
(From the album: The Argument)
fugazi (usually done in lower-case) is so hard to quantify that my attempt to do so will make them sound like pure noise, but here goes â€¦ they’re punk plus jazz plus prog plus metal plus emo plus straight edge. Really, like Faith No More, fugazi is not any one genre â€¦ they’re their own genre, and no matter what form their song takes, it always kicks ass.
Corrosion Of Conformity â€“ “Pearls Before Swine”
(From the album: Deliverance)
Another band that’s been overlooked and shit upon by radio and MTV, and they’re every far more deserving then some of the other bands who dare to lay claim to the title of “metal” these days. The song (off an album that is in my ultra-rare “perfect” category) is a slow Sabbath-meets-Skynyrd dirge that chugs at this laconic, almost hypnotic pace until its blowout ending that will level you faster then chugging a gallon of Stoli. If this song had been pushed as a single/video, I guarantee COC would be on the throne Metallica so stupidly abdicated years ago as the premier metal band.
Chris Cornell â€“ “Like Suicide”
(From the album: S.F.W.: The Motion Picture Soundtrack)
Again, another song with two versions. The original is on Soundgarden’s Superunknown, but this version is so much better. It’s just Chris Cornell and an acoustic guitar, turning the song inside out and upside down. Not that the Soundgarden version is bad, but you listen to the acoustic version, and you get the feeling it’s how the song was meant to be.
Tool â€“ “Pushit”
(From the album: Salival)
Again, newbies should start with the studio version on Ã†nima, and you’ll experience a transcendent, eerie classic. But for the experienced, track down Salival for the ultimate version. Taped in Portland, Oregon (again, I was there), they “asked our permission” to rework the song, and turned it inside-out, into something so much more different, and yet so close in spirit to the original. Twin brothers from different mothers, as the saying goes. All I can say is that the song is so remarkable that, rather then smoking a joint or dropping a tab, you can turn down the lights, lay back on your bed and turn this on, and visit strange, magical vistas just as lush as you can ever imagine.
Thanks to Jed Shaffer for delivering his own spin on the greatest inter-writer feature to even appear in a Saturday music news column. You can send your questions and/or comments to Jed at email@example.com, and be sure to check out the latest edition of Re-Writing the Book.
FROM THE LABELS
According to the lovely Aisha Bell, the BT/Dan the Automator “United Beats of Peace” 5-date tour has been canceled, although nobody knows why.
ASTRALWERKS NEEDS INTERNS
Do you live in or near New York City or LA, have a passion for music, and can get course credit for internships? Astralwerks is looking for you! Click the above link for more info.
Ever wonder what makes me tick? No? Too bad. Here are some of the random songs that came up in the CD carousel as I wrote this week’s columnâ€¦
Len f/Biz Markie, “Beautiful Day”
Nine Inch Nails, “I’m Looking Forward to Joining You, Finally”
Lee “Scratch” Perry & the Upsetters, “Crab Yars”
Ghostface Killah, “Mighty Healthy”
Ben Harper and the Innocent Criminals, “The Woman in You”
Detroit Cobras, “Can’t Do Without You”
King Kooba, “California Suite”
Ivy, “I Get the Message”
The Bucketheads, “The Bomb! (These Sounds Fall Into My Mind)”
Nirvana, “Stay Away”
The Gil Evans Orchestra, “Sister Sadie”
THE MOST RIDICULOUS ITEM OF THE WEEK
Tommy Lee has signed a deal with NBC that will see him as the star of his own reality show. The program will show Lee’s progress as he attends college and more than likely does a lot of drugs, drinks a lot of beer, f*cks a lot of women, and rarely shows up to class on timeâ€”if at all. It sounds to me like any other frat boy’s college life, except Tommy Lee is much more obnoxious than any of them.
Enjoy your week. Stay tuned for Jeremy Botter on Monday. I’m Jeff Fernandez, and I love hip-hop like Madonna loves dick.