Friday Fives – great song, bad band edition

Reader, I am calling an audible here. These are the questions my editor gave me. I didn’t like them. Why? Well, it is its own tangent I will happily share. Then, I am taking a left turn and we’ll go music with today’s fives. The fives are about toy catalogs. I don’t know what that this, honest. I mean, I get the idea, but I didn’t have one. My assigning editor, Roy, has maybe ten years on me. Perhaps it’s a generational thing. I had a toy store, though. Great memories? Nope. Nothing but anger when I think of our toy store. When I was young, I loved building models. These things, plastic car and plane and boat replicas. I went crazy for these.

scalp mandala

I would make them super nice, and then paint them and just be all pleased with myself. When I made planes, I would hang them from the ceiling by thread.  When I made boats, I would make them sea worthy.  You do this with some bb’s for weight at the bottom and a bunch of glue.  They had to be sea worthy because every other Saturday we would flood the lawn with about 3 inches of water.  I know this sounds insane, but it was how we watered the lawn in Phoenix.  We had no sprinklers, but we had berms all around that would hold the water in place.  It looked exactly like this.  In fact, I bet my life this is our neighborhood, and this photo was taken withing a mile of our house.  We had about 30 orange trees on a tenth of an acre.  You paint them white to protect them from the sun.  Not sure if this link will translate, but here is the house in question.  So, every other Saturday I would take out the ships I made and float them on the lawn.  Then, of course, shoot them with my bb gun.

Best part about this toy store is that it was only a mile or so away… so I could get there on foot or bike. Didn’t need parents, just needed about $5. Why so bitter then? This lady bought the store, and she started changing the inventory. In short, she got rid of all the boy stuff and brought in stupid girl stuff. Doll stuff. I remember it was called ‘holly hobby’, and it destroyed my childhood. In just a few short months, all the models were gone. I went back to look and see if I remember this correctly, or if I was just being dramatic. Is there even such a thing as ‘holly hobby’? Given my admitted penchant for hyperbole and exaggeration… I should give a fresh look at the past. I googled ‘holly hobby’ and it was JUST how I remembered it. It was all true, and worse even than I remembered. I am going to give you the link to click on in just a second.

First, I want to put in your mind the ‘before’. This is the before. Cool, manly stuff. Mind you, I had no cable tv, no ipads, no tv in my room. This store was my lifeline. Once that lady moved in, she turned it into this. What is that shit? Is it clothes? Is it dolls? Is it clothes for dolls? Weirdest thing yet… I think it is just pictures of clothes for dolls. What the fuck is that? Did Phoenix suddenly have a glut of 50 year old childless women who collect cats? When I saw Roy’s questions below, it brought that back up. It’s been about 35 years, and a small craft store in a strip mall changed their inventory model. I am STILL pissed. I asked the lady to stock models. I told her I would pay her up front. She was not swayed. reSo, we took a different tact and I called an audible. I went poking around and found a really thoughtful question. Wow, we went a long way around the block when you consider we haven’t even started the fives yet.  See below –

What was the one toy you wanted more than anything as a kid, but never actually got?

What is a toy you used to play with as a kid, that was not actually a toy?

Did you cry crocodile tears when watching Toy Story 3?

What toys would you nominate for the Toy Hall Of Fame?

What about those holiday toy catalogs? Where they part of your holiday plans?

name 5 songs by bands you dislike

Creed > My Sacrifice

What’s not to like about this song. That riff is so bad ass. It is just a well written, well performed, and well sung song.

About the band – what’s to like? Scott Stapp is just a horrible person. He was marginal talent at best. Couldn’t even play and instrument, and became a collosal prick. You get to do that if you are Axl, maybe, but not a bunch of half wits who just got lucky. I feel kinda bad now. It turns out Stapp is nuts. Seriously nuts. Like publically said that the President is a secret member of Isis and tried to kill him. He was institutionalized so he would not commit suicide.

Scott hears phantom voices and has visions of people on fire. She says he’s also paranoid. He left a message with the dean of his kid’s school on November 10, warning that the school was about to become the target of an ISIS attack.

We didn’t know this 20 years ago. He was just a prick back then.  He also recently threatened to kill the president. I do like the guitarist, Tremonti.  Oh, and the bass player called Pearl Jam a bunch of Creed wannabe’s. Every song kinda sounds the same. Tremonti (the guitarist) uses this dropped D and super saturated sound that becomes awfully formulaic.  I really like his guitar choice, though.

 Kiss – Beth

 This song is great. It is so dumb, but it’s also beautiful. This was their biggest hit, can you believe that? I think it charted higher than ‘rock and roll all night’. You know that had to kill the band’s egos… that their biggest hit came from their drummer. I just strongly dislike their music. It isn’t about their overt commercialism. In fact, I respect Gene Simmons for being so upfront about their commercialism. Plus, it gave us this brilliant piece of snark. Here is how much I don’t like Kiss. I was trading hard drives of music with my buddies. We all met and brought our hard drives, with about 400 CDs each on them, and copied them to each other’s drives. Brad had 8 Kiss CDs on his hard drive. I had TONS of room on my hard drive, and I went in and deleted every singe Kiss album.

 Black Crowes – Hard to Handle

 I know it’s not cool to say, especially since I am a guitarist. This band is way overrated. Every song sounds the same to me, and I even saw them live. This is a very old song by Otis Redding. Here is how old we are talking, the Grateful Dead used to do this live, before I was even born. See that guy in the video? He was the original singer for the Dead, not Jerry Garcia. That was up until the Crowe’s version. After their version, there is no other. The Crowes just killed this version. No other version should be placed in the time capsule, not even the original.

 Lou Reed –Walk in the Wild Side

 Lou Reed is wildly, wildly overrated. I find his ‘music’ boring and pretentious and just shitty. For one thing, he doesn’t sing. I am not talking about Velvet Underground. I am talking about solo Lou Reed. He just talks, and it bores me to tears. He is like Patti Smith. All I hear is adoration, and how influential they were. I call shanigans!

This song, though, is just genius.  It is beautiful and catchy and weird as all fuck.  I think this put him on the map as a solo artist.

The Roots – You Got Me

I am not against the Roots.  Questlove is the bomb.  I read his autobiography.  Thing is, their music does nothing for me.  I am sure it’s great, I don’t know.  I have to admit I don’t care.  I am neither furrit, nor am I agin it.  The Roots are like the NFC in the NFL.  I know it exists, but I don’t pay attention.  This song, though, is just amazing and beautiful and perfect.  All credit to Erykah Badu, really.  Btw… that thing on her head… it’s a wig. Another interesting thing about her, she has kids with Andre 3000 from Outkast. Weird, huh  It’s about as subtle as Marge Simpson. Their singer, Tariq, calls himself ‘Black Thought’ as his stage name.  That is so badass it is unspeakable.

Rob Thomas & Carlos Santana – Smooth

I don’t like Rob Thomas or Matchbox 20.  It just sounds like it looks – white bread safe rock for white people.  Rob Thomas seems like a very nice guy.  He’ll take your daughter out, not bang her, and even have her home on time.  When he calls you sir, he means it out of respect… not because he is banging your daughter.  I get no passion from these guys.  In fact, if I had a daughter, when she turned 16 I would replace all her Cds with Matchbox 20 Cds.  No one is going out and getting pregnant listening to that stuff.

This song, though, is the bomb!  Maybe it’s because they have Carlos Santana, who I love.  Also, to give full credit, Rob Thomas wrote this song.  It’s a really great song, and it (re)introduced a whole new generation to Carlos Santana.  I love Santana.

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Friday Fives

iTunes Five

1. What song do you play the most?

‘All in All’ by Toad the Wet Sprocket.  It’s on ‘in Light Syrup’, and it will change your life.  Funny, it only made the outtake album after they broke up.  It is triumphant. Btw, in case you are a fan or casual listener… they are somewhat back together, and still gig as Toad.  I can’t say enough good things about this band.  They are under-rated, and under the radar.  Some of the best music of the ’90s.

2. What song do you play the least?

Anything by Kiss.  Oh my god do I hate Kiss.  Last year, Brian,  Ginther, and I all swapped hard drives to trade music.  Result?  I have, like, 6 Kiss albums.  I am pissed, and everyone is a suspect.  Even though my iPod is only 1/3rd full, I removed all the Kiss immediately.  Ok, I did keep Beth.  That song is dope, but don’t tell anyone I like it.  It’s like digging ‘Glee’.  Just keep that a secret, broseph!

Listening to Kiss is like taking a Bon Jovi album, and removing what little musicality there is.  Then, make sure it is poorly engineered.  After that, replace every single lyric with an overt reference to sex, as written by a 9 yeawr old.  Then, you have Kiss.  I’d rather listen to dance music, and that just hurt to type.

3. What’s the last song you added?

A lecture from Scott Berkun.  I am reading a really cool book from him right now.  Details over here.  But, that isn’t a song, is it?  So, the real question is what is the last music I bought.  Probably Brandi Carlile’s new disc.  Her album ‘the Story’ is amazing.  Five Stars.

4. What’s your favorite playlist?

* caution > monster tangent alert

I put together an annual Christmas Rock list, but I am really using Pandora for everything now.  I just discovered Pandora two days ago, and it is a game changer. I am not even using my iPod anymore.  I had heard about Pandora for years.  I knew it took your music and gave you similar music you would like.  Well, that idea kinda offended me.  See, I don’t need ANYONE telling me what I would like.  Plus, I have everything… so what can Pandora do for me?   didn’t need Pandora.  I thought it was beneath me as a master musicologist.  I was wrong.

Pandora just got loaded onto my Roku box (through Netflix) so I loaded it.  It asked me what I wanted and I said ‘Jerry Garcia’.  So, now is plays Jerry Garcia bootlegs, bluegrass band music, Grateful Dead (live and studio), Bobby Weir solo, the Allman Brothers, Van Morrison, early Dylan, the Band.  What can I say?  Oh, and it played the Beatles.  How the hell did they get the rights to the Beatles?  Seriously, that shit is better protected than Fort Knox.  I bought three of those Beatles re-master releases this fall, and I don’t think I am technically allowed to listen to them.   Apple records is kind of evil.  ‘All You Need is Love”?  My ass, these guys are more litigious than Scientology. Anyhow… it was 100% correct, and I didn’t have a LOT of this stuff.  It was right, I was wrong.  Go ahead and mark the day and date on that sentence.  You don’t get to see it often.

So, I loaded a Pearl Jam list (those are my two favorite bands, see).  It is possibly even better.  Even though I have everything studio album PJ has, Pandora plays their live cuts.  Remember, for the last ten years, Pearl Jam has released every single concert they have played.  So, there are thousands of soundboard bootlegs out there I could never collect.   Also, it picked similar bands I would like:  Stone Temple Pilots, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Smashing Pumpkins, and solo Eddie Vedder stuff.   Yeah, they are dead on with those.

Now, what is cool is that my new cell phone (the Palm Pre) also has Pandora on it.  So, at work and in my truck, I used to plug my iPod to listen to music.  No longer.  I plug my cell phone into my computer and truck speakers.  I stream the Pandora wherever I go.  When I get home, I throw Pandora on the home stereo system through the Roku.  This is the really good quality, because it beams it through the whole home theatre system.  Pandora does all this for free, too.  I was so smitten, though, that I bought the upgrade.

I also made some other stations:  Billy Joel, Johnny Cash, Metallica, and Bob Dylan.  However, the Jerry and Pearl Jam channels are so good… I haven’t been able to stray.  I listened to the Jerry Garcia channel for 9 hours at my desk yesterday, and did the same with Pearl Jam today.  On the PJ channel, they are even throwing down ‘Temple of the Dog’.  That is some deep catalogue dopeness.  Temple of the Dog is Pearl Jam playing with Soundgarden before either band formally existed.  It is disgusting good, find ‘Hunger Strike’.

5. What kind of iPod (or MP3 player) do you have?

My iPod is pretty new, but is a ‘classic’ design.  It is a 120 gig repository of yumminess.  To be fair, though, I really use my Palm Pre for almost everything.  I loaded about 12 really good albums on the memory card, and I have Pandora for everything else.

* seriously, I do NOT watch Glee.  Anyone who says otherwise gets punched straight in the babymaker.  Got it, buster?  Don’t even joke about that.