Music News

Days of Beer and Promos

I often picture myself lying naked in my trailer with the worst records imaginable spread across the floor around me. Empty beer bottles everywhere. I see myself lying there dead with a Limp Bizkit jewel case next to my head. There's also a couple of REO Speedwagon reissues. The new ones from Bone Thugs-n-Harmony and Insane Clown Posse. Sade, Michael Speaks and the Ally McBeal Christmas record are there, too. Just the worst shit you could ever think of. There would be promo pictures as well. Horrible mugs scattered about. Like the Offspring, Don Henley, Beanie Sigel, perhaps. Those fat twerps in Papa Roach.

Man, that's no way to go.

It's almost Thanksgiving and what've I got? I ask myself this because I think it's important to look around you every once in a while and take inventory. It keeps the suicide bone from twitching. Besides, you've got to know where you stand. Or, rather, you've got to know that you have somewhere to stand. Y'know what I mean?

I'm well stocked with beer and smokes. I have soup, some rye bread, food for my cat and a refrigerator to keep all the shit in. If you think about it, that's a fortune.

Today, I got a bunch more promo crap from the mailman, which I plan to sift through later when I'm good and lit. It's funny, each week I get a mountain of discs from the labels, most of which I promptly trade in. Lots of free stuff there, y'know, free money.

All the dimwits that I knew back in high school have bought houses, boats, SUVs, and roomfuls of computer crap. They've moved up. At least that's how they explain it to me.

I figure I've got just enough to be grateful for. I figure that to be grateful for anything is, in itself, a good thing. The thought of perishing with Limp Bizkit next to my head just doesn't do it for me. Happy Thanksgiving.

Obligatory Reviews

Limp Bizkit
Chocolate Starfish and the Hot Dog Flavored Water

"We won't ever give a fuck until you give a fuck about me and my generation," bellows Limp front man Fred Durst on "My Generation," a song that adopts the Who's iconic sentiment of youthful outsiderism. But when coming from a fat, balding, 29-year-old millionaire record exec like Durst, the sentiment is, oh, just a bit subverted. Nowhere in the song (or on the record) is there the naive sparkle of intelligent youths coming to understand the world around them. Instead, we get a guy whose bumbling articulations become marketable excesses (the word "fuck" is used no less than 46 times in the opening track "Hot Dog") and a band of self-regarding dorks too busy whining about themselves to notice what insufferable bores they are.

Chocolate Starfish and the Hot Dog Flavored Water is clot with pricey production hooks, stone-faced electronica, likely guest stars (Scott Weiland, DMX, Method Man), and the rap/metal din of rich white solipsists who've successfully passed themselves off as antihero radicals to the kids of America.

Durst blows much breath on this record telling us he don't give a fuck.

Durst doesn't care; neither should you.

Calling the Wild
(Koch Records)

Doro is the once-fetching blonde who fronted the popular Düsseldorf band Warlock. This is Doro's fifth, or, perhaps, sixth solo record, I can't recall. Her voice remains almost defiantly reminiscent of 1980s Sunset Strip ingénue Lita Ford, and the material on Calling the Wild is as winning as a fetid pair of old leather trousers. It's that fuzzy dweedle-dee dweedle-dee dweedle-dee sound German heavy-metal bands were always so damn fond of. She even tosses in a cover of Billy Idol's "White Wedding," which sounds even more loathsome than the original. In all, could anything be worse? Probably not.

Vapor Transmission

New Order's "Blue Monday" gave the archly mannered Orgy a shot at pop stardom that was nicely wrapped in ribbons and bows. Gold records to hang on the walls, even. So to parlay said hit tune into a "career," all the band had to do was make a second album that had songs with some hooks and a bit of staying power. Did they? Shit no.

Blips and blurps of early Ultravox and Eno-era Bowie without any of the sparkling melody, subtlety or humor does not a decent pop record make. First rule of pop: Never make a record that leaves your mouth tasting like unflavored Jell-O.

Besides, anyone using the words "Euro" and "Fashion" sequentially in a lyric line ("Saving Faces") should have his head shaved, be forced to wear horrible shorts and a baseball cap, and thrown to Limp Bizkit's road crew.

Really, the title of the album captures it best. It is, after all, a halfway clever euphemism for flatulence. In the end, it proves the band deserves a gold star for honesty, if nothing else.

Sammy Hagar
Ten 13
(Cabo Wabo/Beyond)

Another balls-sack-driven piece of shit featuring songs that offer doomsday Pollyanna-isms ("Serious Juju"), toss in chicks-as-cars metaphors ("Let Sally Drive"), define real love ("Deeper Kind of Love") and inform us of the importance of partying ("Ten 13"). Sammy's appeal is that he is resolutely average; he shouts and struts to an exhausted soundtrack of weary barre chords that at their most rocking sound like polite beer brawls. Just where is the redneck rampage? The courage of the fearless rock 'n' roll star? In all, Ten 13 is entertainment value on a par with a rerun of The McLaughlin Group.

Capitol Punishment: The Megadeth Years

What is essentially a greatest-hits package (with two new songs, "Kill the King" and "Dread & the Fugitive Mind"), Capitol Punishment settles Megadeth's contractual obligations to Capitol Records. Watch for the band's minor-label debut sometime early next year.

Megadeth represents for me a homespun charm. The sound of the band defines a certain desolation, a futility that transcends geography, Sunday at dusk if you will. The boorish minor chord riffing and furrowed brow earnestness of tunes like "Holy Wars" and "Peace Sells (But Who's Buying)" will invariably place me in the Arizona hell I know all too well. The hell of the trailer; of living from hand to mouth; of neighbors settling arguments by beating the crap out of each other; of people who can't accept authority; of round-the-clock trysts with the law over pedestrian predicaments; of a lack of personal discipline and self-esteem; of booze, drugs and too much porn . . .

In other words, a crap collection of songs.

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Bill Blake