Monday, August 11, 2008

Nurse the Hate: Five Records

I was talking to the semi legendary Robert Cornelius at the El Vez show about different records that define what kind of music the Whiskey Daredevils like to make. That’s always an open ended discussion, because frankly, I steal ideas from all over the place and mash them up together. However, when asked about what records (and I still like to call them records) are important to me, I came up with this quick list.

(In no particular order)

Jason and the Scorchers “Fervor”: I think this is out now as a package with their first two albums on one CD. This is what first showed that the honesty and heritage of country music was a great match with reckless rock n roll. I got into these guys listening to a double sided pre reecorded cassette while going on a road trip to Myrtle Beach when I was 19. I will always remember driving through Virginia countryside having my right arm out the passsenger side window with a can of beer in my left hand listening to “Hot Nights in Georgia”. We just listened to it over and over again. It’s an absolutely perfect record.

Dead Kennedys “Fresh Fruit For Rotting Vegetables”: As a teenager I listened to metal because a) it was the most aggressive music you could get in the 80s and b) I lived in Erie and wasn’t exposed to anything else. Then I saw the strange Dead Kennedys album in a secret back bin at the Millcreek Mall Record Den, and took a chance. It was one of two times in my life when it was like a light went off. Before I didn’t understand punk rock. I couldn’t make out the melodies through the noise. I didn’t get it. That all changed 10 seconds after “Kill the Poor” came on. Boom. It all made sense. I felt stupid for having bought those Iron Maiden records when this stuff was out there. It was funny and smart and aggressive and even a little subversive. I thought something was wrong with me because I couldn't stop listening to it. I still think this is the best punk rock record of all time.

Southern Culture on the Skids “Santo Sings” EP: The Cowslingers started playing shows to largely indifferent crowds in the early 1990s. Keith from the Penguin Pub told us about a band he thought we should play with next time they came through. He played us their first self released album on the sound system of the club prior to our rocking out the 12 people that had assembled there (probably by accident), and I was like “Whoa! What is this?”. We played with them the next month in Youngstown, and they were awesome. They were fun, entertaining, great on their instruments, and didn’t take themselves too seriously. They had just pressed a new 4 song seven inch with a Mexican wrestler on the cover that I bought for $4.00 and took home. It’s the best 7 inch I ever bought. Besides “Viva de la Santo”, there’s the first version of “Camel Walk” and two awesome instrumentals. This record shows you can goof around, embrace American junk culture and still rock your ass off. Estrus put this out on CD with extra tracks a few years back. Go get it.

Cracker “Cracker”: I always liked Camper Van Beethoven, but they sometimes got too “well read college in joke” for me. You just know that those guys could talk about the latest Chomsky book in depth, and maybe throw in some existential poetry references to boot. Still, the band is/was cool. Those pretend Eastern European folk songs are kind of funny, but ultimately I liked the stuff with David Lowery’s lyrics best. I was psyched when I heard about Cracker. When I saw them play, I was really psyched. Suddenly there was those smart ass cynical lyrics with some really badass country fried guitar playing behind it. The first record has some killer “country” tunes like “Mr Wrong” , and some smart/funny lyrics in “Happy Birthday”and “Doctor Bernice”. It’s probably sitting at a Record Exchange used bin for $5.00 right now. If I were you I’d spend my $5.00 on that instead of some shitty ham sub at Subway.

Shaver “Live at Olde Towne Tavern”: My friend The Enabler was always a big Shaver guy, but I didn’t get it. He just seemed like another country singer that put out over produced limp sounding records. The Enabler said “You really have to see him play live. He’s got his son playing guitar, and it’s…it’s…Well, I just drove 7 hours to see him last week.” Well, I’ll be damned he was right. The songs are all better than anything anybody else is writing, and Eddy Shaver’s guitar playing is Stevie Ray Vaughn meets Clarence White. Eddy since died of a drug overdose, and Billy Joe Shaver keeps on going. It’s what he does, and that comes through on the songs. This record is a great way to trick somebody into listening to country that doesn’t think they like country (like me). Perfect for those guitar wonk guys out there too.

Random Notes: I think it’s time the Indians have some straight talk with the fans about Travis Hafner. You mean to tell me that a guy goes on the DL in early May with a shoulder injury, cannot get his strength back to 75% despite 3 months of rest, and there is no definable cause to repair him via surgery? Oh, that sounds normal. This sounds like a degenerative condition that will end his baseball career. I hope I am wrong, but it looks like Hafner is done. This team needs to sign Adam Dunn in the off season, let him hit 54 Hrs and bat .234...Is it unpatriotic to say I could care less about the Olympics and I hope those cocky USA basketball guys lose to Argentina or Spain or Cameroon? If I see one more self important NBA player, it’s one too many…I love the under on the win totals for the Browns and Jets. Both teams are at 8 with heavy juice to take the under. The Browns schedule is murder and NO WAY will they stay as healthy as they did in 2007. Meanwhile the Jets added good ole Brett Favre to a team that won 4 games last year. (I don’t know if you heard about that. I guess ESPN covered it briefly.) Favre has not participated in the same workout regime he did in the 2007 off season, and has to learn a new offense. Plus, I think last year was an abberation. On top of that, Divisional rivals the Bills are improved, and New England is still at another level. I see the Jets and Browns at 7-9 tops...I saw the Foo Fighters a couple weeks ago. It was like going to see Ratt in the last 80s. What a bore…I’m not sure, but I think Ohio State Guy is already convinced This Is The Year. Again. Boy, do I hope USC wins on Sept 13 and we put that to bed early. I’m not in the mood to deal with the Scarlet Sweatshirt Khaki Army this year.


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