Revolve – Melvins

Artist as Rock & Roll Enthusiast (aka ARE) Post: 34

Just a quick post about the Melvins, one of my favorite bands. Certainly, one of my favorite bands to see in concert.

Tonight, I am seeing the in concert. First time in a while. However, it’ll be my sixth or seventh time seeing them overall. They’ve been around forever. Here are a couple of clips of “Revolve,” my favorite Melvins song (but only if you forced me to choose one). It’s still a concert stable. I look forward to hearing it in person tonight. Check out how old these videos are!

I’ll add to this post later. Gotta hit the road. Concert is in Knoxville.

Good Vibrations – The Beach Boys

Artist as Rock & Roll Enthusiast (aka ARE) Post: 33

Today is the peak, the pinnacle. The summer solstice. The longest day of the year. Also, the first day of summer which I why I am posting about this song from the Beach Boys. In my opinion, “Good Vibrations” encapsulates the sound of summer better than any other song. It is the Most Summer Song of all time.

Let’s get one thing straight. I do not like the Beach Boys, but I love “Good Vibrations.” As a piece of music, it is an absolute masterpiece. It’s a magical, three and a half minute, symphonic journey. It is far superior to anything else they’ve recorded.

I tried to link the song (in any form, by any artist) without success. Therefore, I present 20 seconds, with a view outside my art studio window. No big deal. Y’all know what this one sounds like anyhow.

Ever Lovin’ Man – The Dirtbombs

Artist as Rock & Roll Enthusiast (aka ARE) Post: 32

The Dirtbombs are a garage rock band based in Detroit. Vocalist and guitarist Mick Collins formed the Dirtbombs in 1992. They’re still around, even though they haven’t released new music in almost a decade. Their sound blends diverse influences such as punk rock and soul while featuring an unusual but awesome lineup of dual bass guitar, dual drums, and one guitar.

Over the years, the Dirtbombs have gained a reputation as being one of the best live acts around. I can vouch for this, having seen them twice. Once as an opening act and once as a headliner. Both concerts were in very small venues in Chicago.

The Dirtbombs sound varies from album to album. They’ve even released an album of their version of house music and an another of bubblegum pop. They’ve got albums full of original songs and a couple filled with covers. Their cover versions are typically stellar. This song is an original, it comes from their 2009 album, We Have You Surrounded. I love this song. It’s a short, simple, scorcher. A guy’s proclamation to be the best man he can for his woman.

Anecdotal notes involving the Dirtbombs:

I really like the Dirtbombs. Still have an old Dirtbombs t-shirt. It’s a great shirt too, I still wear it. It has a picture of Blacula on it.

When I saw them in concert, Mick Collins was wearing a shirt that said “Who the Fuck is Mick Collins?” Still, one of my favorite front man moments. He was making reference to the infamous Mick Jagger version of the shirt that Keith Richards wore (see image below), and he was also poking fun at himself and anyone that might not know that he is in fact, Mick Collins. What a magnificent move!

About 15 years ago, I was told by someone that actually knows the band (now an ex-friend of my ex-wife) that they’d be open to playing a backyard concert. Specifically, my backyard, and it wouldn’t cost much more than providing lodging and gas money. Unfortuantely, I didn’t have a backyard at the time. Now I do, so I may have to see if this is still an option. Hmmmm…

Never Lose That Feeling/Never Learn – Swervedriver

Artist as Rock & Roll Enthusiast (aka ARE) Post: 31

Whoa. This one is massive. That’s the best word to describe this Swervedriver song. Massive in length and massive in sound. In my opinion it’s a sonic masterpiece.

“Never Lose That Feeling/Never Learn” close out Mezcal Head, their second full length album. Mezcal Head is definitely one of my Top 20 albums of all time. Might be in the Top 10!. Check it out if you’ve never heard it. The entire album is stellar. THREE songs from this album, including this one, made my list of 500 favorite songs.

This song (or songs) is probably my favorite of the collection. “Never Lose That Feeling” charges out of the gate and never stops. At the 4:11 mark, without interruption, the song plunges into a deep, dramatic instrumental coda for the final 7:39 of the song. The song is almost twelve minutes long, yet the groove could go on forever. That’s how good the ride is.

I’ve seen Swervedriver in concert a few times over the years. I’ve also seen Adam Franklin (founding member, lyricist, lead singer, guitarist) in concert too, with one of his other projects, Magnetic Morning. That time, I met him before the gig. Chatted for a minute as well. Turns out he was a friend of friend of my good friend in Atlanta. That’s right. Way less than six degrees of separation.

I wasn’t able to post this song from YouTube, therefore I produced my own clip, from the mantle in my art studio. It’s just a minute or so, but it covers the transition I describe in the previous paragraph.

Massive.

Kiss The Sun – The Atomic Bitchwax

Artist as Rock & Roll Enthusiast (aka ARE) Post: 30

Did I ever tell you the story of how I missed the concert and got to have a conversation about it with a guy in the band afterward? It’s a great story. One day maybe, I’ll tell you the whole thing. All the hilarious details. In the meantime, here’s the important stuff. It happened in July of 2017. In Philadelphia, at a place called Kung Fu Necktie. The band was the Atomic Bitchwax. The guy was Chris Kosnik, who founded the band in 1992. I was bummed! I was traveling and was excited to see a band I really enjoy. Fortunately, I’ve seen them before at the Masquerade in Atlanta. Turns out missing the show would end up being a much better story.

Inspired again by what came up on shuffle, here is Kiss the Sun, my favorite song from the New Jersey based band, the Atomic Bitchwax (yeah, I love that name too). First up is a super cool live version of the song, filmed on a beach in Sardinia, Italy. The second video is the first studio version, from their self-titled debut album. Wish I could find the second studio version, from the Boxriff EP. I think it’s superior version. Couldn’t find it on YouTube. It must be the only song not to make it to YouTube yet. Those super thick riffs and hooks are ear candy. This song also appears on my list of 500 favorite songs. 

The Death of Coyote Woman – All Them Witches

Artist as Rock & Roll Enthusiast (aka ARE) Post: 27

Neo-psychedelic band All Them Witches have been one of my favorite bands since their formation in Nashville a decade ago. I’ve seen them in concert a few times too. Amazing live show. Last night I was supposed to see them again. Unfortunate circumstances arrived and I had to skip the concert. One day I will see them again. My consolation is playing them in the studio today. “The Death of Coyote Woman”, is probably my favorite song of theirs, they have so many good ones. This one appears on their second album, Lightning at the Door.

Running In Place – Taylor Hawkins & the Coattail Riders

Artist as Rock & Roll Enthusiast (aka ARE) Post: 26

The world lost a good one today. Taylor Hawkins was one of the most likable people in rock and roll. He is primarily known for being the drummer for the Foo Fighters. Less known is his side band, the Coattail Riders. Here is my favorite song from Taylor Hawkins and the Coattail Riders debut album. Running In Place is a difficult song to describe. Basically, it’s a complex pop song. There are a few twists and turns in its breezy six minutes. It also happens to be one of my 500 favorite songs (https://brettcalleroartist.com/2019/09/11/my-500-favorite-songs-at-50/). Give it a listen.

Backstabbers – Jesse Malin

Artist as Rock & Roll Enthusiast (aka ARE) Post: 25

Today I was driving when I heard this song for the very first time. I was immediately taken with it. I had that feeling, the one you get when you discover a new favorite song. This is definitely a favorite feeling of mine. Perhaps my favorite feeling of all.

I’ve played this song at least 20 times today. I don’t know much about the artist other than he’s worked with other people I’ve heard of. Lucinda Williams sings backup on this song too. It’s alright because this post isn’t about the artist or the song itself. This post is all about the moment of discovery. The feeling you get during those first few listens.

That’s all for now, I’m not gonna ramble about the moment. I’m gonna continue to experience it by listening to my newest favorite song again.

Celebration Day – Led Zeppelin

Artist as Rock & Roll Enthusiast (aka ARE) Post: 24

I’ve always loved this song. As a kid, I was sold within the first five seconds. It’s one of Led Zeppelin’s best and remains a favorite. I’d tell you where it ranks on my all-time Led Zeppelin list (yes, I did that) but unfortunately, I can’t locate my list at the moment.

This post is more about why this song came to mind, today. Today is the last day of the Trump Administration. That alone is a reason for celebration. This is the beginning of the end for him. Trump for jail. Beyond the title, the lyrics of the song came to mind. The third verse reminded me of what the future holds for Trump and the Trump brand.

This song was written in 1970, but like many lyrics of that time, they speak about our world today. Serving as another reminder that the more things change the more they stay the same. Real progress and true changes come at a glacial pace.

“Her face is cracked from smiling, all the fears that she’s been hiding, 
And it seems pretty soon everybody’s gonna know. 
And her voice is sore from shouting, cheering winners who are losing, 
And she worries if their days are few and soon they’ll have to go.
 

My, my, my, I’m so happy, I’m gonna join the band, 
We are gonna dance and sing in celebration, We are in the promised land.
 

She hears them talk of new ways to protect the home she lives in, 
Then she wonders what it’s all about when they break down the door.
Her name is Brown or White or Black, you know her very well, 
You hear her cries of mercy as the winners toll the bell. 

My, my, my, I’m so happy, I’m gonna join the band, 
We are gonna dance and sing in celebration, We are in the promised land. 

There is a train that leaves the station heading for your destination, 
But the price you pay to nowhere has increased a dollar more. 
Yes, it has! 
And if you walk you’re gonna get there though it takes a little longer, 
And when you see it in the distance you will wring your hands and moan.”

Peace Sells – Megadeth

Artist as Rock & Roll Enthusiast (aka ARE) Post: 23

This year is coming to an end and it’s gonna feel good to turn the page on 2020. Was 2020 our lowest point? Could we reach the nadir in 2021? Will the United States of America begin to rebound in 2021 and beyond? All of this passes through my mind at some point each and every day.

On more than one occasion, a particular song will come to mind too. “Peace Sells” by Megadeth. This thrash metal song was released way back in 1986. I’ll still hear it on the radio and it still cranks out of my stereo from time to time as well. It comes to mind because the lyrics are even more relevant now than they were when they were written by Dave Mustaine a few decades ago.

Its relevance is infinite.

I’ve been working from home today and I’ve been cranking the tunes all damn day. Alright, that’s true most days for me but today it all sounded so invigorating. The relevance of this song had a role in that. There’s more work to do, let’s do it.

On Fire – Van Halen

Artist as Rock & Roll Enthusiast (aka ARE) Post: 22

Seems to me, I have a backlog of music-related posts to make. The recent passing of Eddie Van Halen moves the band that takes his name to the top of that list of posts.

I’m not going to wax poetic about how brilliant a guitarist Eddie Van Halen was. Everyone knows he was a virtuoso that reinvented the instrument in ways unlike anyone else before or since. All rock fans have anecdotal moments centered around the virtuosity of Eddie Van Halen. My personal favorite is how the song “Eruption” instantly became the ultimate test for any aspiring guitarist. If you could play that you weren’t just good you were awesome. My mind goes back to that college dorm room with that guitar guy playing his attempt at that solo for the other dudes in the hall. It happened a lot. Usually followed by “Wish You Were Here” on acoustic, you know, to chill things out after the heat coming from that semi-blistering version of “Eruption.”

Instead, I want to reflect on my life at the time Eddie Van Halen came into my world. It was 1978 and I was nine years old. I was already starting to get into music. I had a record player of my own. I owned a few full-length albums. Bought them when going to neighborhood garage sales with my Mom. I had a few singles of my own too. Ultimately, Van Halen’s first releases were some of my very first albums on cassette tape.

When Van Halen’s debut came out, I heard it everywhere and like everyone else, it caught my ear. Never before had I heard any guitar like that. It was crunchy and fast but strangely smooth and slippery too. I have vivid memories of hearing that band in those days. Didn’t matter where I was, Van Halen was there too; the local recreation center, the swimming pool, the playground, the backseat of my Mom’s car, even coming from someone else’s car at a red light. Eventually, from my Walkman.

The gestalt present in their sound is unique. It’s simultaneously a cohesive unit and a single dominant force (Eddie Van Halen). Van Halen, Van Halen II and Fair Warning are my favorites. I could have chosen any song from the debut album. The album is that good. I decided to feature the song “On Fire” in my post for a few reasons. “On Fire” is the closing track and it’s a barnburner. It comes as advertised, three minutes of fire. It has remained one of my absolute favorite Van Halen tracks over all these years. Unlike many Van Halen songs, this song means business. It has a speed metal intensity and its purpose is to kick your ass. It’s not messing around. (“Mean Street” on Fair Warning is my all-time favorite Van Halen song for a similar reason). “On Fire” is good enough to close out their debut AND be an opening track in concert (see attached video).

To be fair, I started to lose interest in their music a couple of years into the Sammy Hagar era. That said, I can still listen to all the David Lee Roth albums with a smile on my face. That’s the secret ingredient and the true magic of Eddie Van Halen and the band Van Halen. They just wanted to put a smile on your face and that’s what they did best. Eddie Van Halen’s smile while playing guitar is my indelible, unforgettable memory of him.

Ain’t Got Nothing (To Go Wrong) – Dead Meadow

Artist as Rock & Roll Enthusiast (aka ARE) Post: 21

Today is my birthday. I’m 51. It’s the first day of my sixth decade. My day, year, and decade started with something that most would say is a minor serendipitous moment. However, I know otherwise. My higher power speaks through music. This was no accident.

I often wind down the day by listening to music in a lowly lit room. Last night was no exception. When I’m not in the mood for a specific artist or album, or a deep listening of something new to me, I’ll often hit shuffle on a vast playlist filled with hundreds of songs I know. That’s what I did last night.

At 11:59 (I looked at the clock) one of my absolute favorite songs came on. Ain’t Got Nothing (To Go Wrong) by Dead Meadow. Not only is this a favorite song, I consider it one of my theme songs. Only a handful of songs become theme songs to me. I’ve written about them before and will surely feature them again in my Artist as Rock & Roll Enthusiast posts. Typically for me, the music carries me through the song. That’s the case here as well. The guitar solo in this song is incredible. However, my personal relationship to the lyrics and their overall feel with the music, are for me, the elements that elevate a song to the highest level.

The moment midnight came and the calendar turned to the eleventh of September, my birthday, shuffle gave me this song. A piece of music with great personal importance to me. It wasn’t serendipity. It was meant to be. I wouldn’t have had my new sixth decade start any other way.

 

Lemon yellow sun up overhead today
What more is there that I could say then Lord, let it stay
I ain’t got nothing to go wrong today
No, not today

I’ve been up and down this street for quite some time
The gutters get filled, it takes all kind like fish on a line
The way that things go these days, I’m fine
Yeah, I’m doing fine

Good times come, they sure come slow
Why that may be I don’t know, just let it flow
All things in this world they come, they go
Yes, this much I know

If silence is golden then your words they’re lead
I can’t believe how that shit sticks in my head
The sun shines away, there’s nothing to say
People they talk anyway, they’re talking away

 

 

Idiots Rule

In a softball interview with Laura Ingraham, Trump claimed people came out of the dark shadows (racist trope) to Washington to disrupt his convention last Friday. He said people wearing black came on planes to Washington (more bigotry). Dark forces were at play.

Trump made the decision to move his speech to the White House a few weeks ago. Even though this is the same day many thousands of people were arriving for the 57th ANNUAL March on Washington.

Unless you’re a racist idiot like the president, you’ve already put two and two together. Their plans were on the calendar long before his.

Do you think he was told this might be a problem and ignored the advice? I’m wondering if anyone bothers to tell him things like this anymore. Then again, I also wonder if the dumbest of dumb shit happens because the most idiotic of loyalists are the only ones remaining in his inner circle.

No matter how you slice it, idiots rule.

September – Earth, Wind & Fire

Artist as Rock & Roll Enthusiast (aka ARE) Post: 20

Do you remember?

I know it’s been a shitty year all around but the best month of the year has arrived. September is my favorite month and not just because it’s my birthday month. We need this song. It’s pure joy. Celebrate!

The lesson of the song? Never let the lyric get in the way of the groove. Ba-dee-ya!

Zig Zag Wanderer – Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band

Artist as Rock & Roll Enthusiast (aka ARE) Post: 19

For various reasons, I have decided that this is one of my theme songs. I have a few of them, not too many. Zig Zag Wanderer, it rings true for me on many levels. This decision comes after many years of living life and many hours of listening to music. This is a decision made through experience. I even wrote about it here, in another post.

I am not even a huge fan of Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band even though I respect Don Van Vleet and his important contributions to music as an alternative rock pioneer and beyond. In fact, I had not even heard this song until I was around 35-40 years old, when I took a deep dive into early psychedelic rock.

You can jump you can holler
Never lose what I have found
Heaven’s free ‘cept for a dollar
You can zig you can zag
Whoa I’m gonna stay around gonna stay around

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Beatbox Rocker – Westbam

Artist as Rock & Roll Enthusiast (aka ARE) Post: 18

I know it seems like all hell is breaking loose in the United States. I know there’s bullshit flying around you in every direction. I know it seems like the virus is never going to leave us. I know you’re concerned for your safety and the safety of your loved ones.

I also know it’s Saturday night! Time to make some boogie down productions of your own. Time to get up, get up, get, get, get down with this techno electro classic. Seriously, I love this jam.

I’m beatbox rocker, and you dancing to my beat.

The South’s Too Fat to Rise Again – Nashville Pussy

Artist as Rock & Roll Enthusiast (aka ARE) Post: 17

Today’s message is simple and direct. In case you’ve forgotten…the South’s too fat to rise again.

W.M.A. – Pearl Jam

Artist as Rock & Roll Enthusiast (aka ARE) Post: 16

White. Male. American.

This song about police racism was released in 1993. It was inspired by an incident in which Eddie Vedder got into an altercation with a group of police officers who hassled his black friend but ignored him.

“He won the lottery by being born
Big hand slapped a white male American
Do no wrong so clean cut
Dirty his hands, it comes right off
Police man, police man, police man
Police stopped my brother again”

This song is now 27 years old. I’ve listened to it often over the years. Objectively it’s a pretty great song too. The tribal backbeat is hypnotic and it’s message is as vital as ever. Let’s listen to it like it’s brand new because the subject certainly isn’t old. #blacklivesmatter

Let The Good Times Roll – Little Beaver

Artist as Rock & Roll Enthusiast (aka ARE) Post: 15

I’m still gravitating toward my collection of funk soul classics during these times.

Let music help you rise above the bullshit blocking your way. Whatever get’s you through. This one works for me.

Never An Easy Way – Morcheeba

Artist as Rock & Roll Enthusiast (aka ARE) Post: 14

Heard this one shuffle this morning. It had been a while since I heard it. This song sounds best after midnight but today it was a morning song and once again I heard the right song at the right time.

The sound is bold and strong yet spacious and sparse. The lyrics are moody yet motivational.

It’s one of my personal anthems. Nothing else to say.