Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Top 25 Ever?

Andrew asked that the other Dying Contributors post their top 25 favorite bands ever on the blog, just to kind of see what everyone is into and be able to see their tastes evolve and grow. The problem with such a subjective thing as that is I can't differentiate between bands I just happen to love and bands that I respect immensely (and also enjoy, of course) because of their importance and impact. It's a tough spot, especially when the numbers get higher than Best Ever, Top 3, Top 5, Top 10... just exponentially more difficult to weed out my current tastes versus past-loves that perhaps had been forgotten.

Pretty cool idea though, and God knows I love lists of just about anything, but I didn't feel that The Dying Machine was necessarily the place for it.

So here it is...

- Nirvana
- Cursed
- Unbroken
- Reversal of Man
- The Stooges/Iggy Pop
- Entombed
- Bad Brains
- Black Sabbath


I could write my wife's list more easily than my own.

I can never decide this kind of shit! I told you.

Listen, I fell for At the Gates long before I heard Entombed, and it was only because I got so into Slaughter of the Soul that I was able to dig on Clandestine and Wolverine Blues. Doesn't that say something about the importance of At the Gates in my developing taste for metal? Sure, but by the same logic I could say I got into Nirvana by liking Aerosmith in elementary school, and that's too embarrassing to possibly be true. Right?

Were it not for Black Flag, there would not be American hardcore, yet I enjoy Minor Threat more. Which band was more important? Flag. If I had to get a band tattoo tomorrow, which band would I get (between the two?) Bars. (Nevermind that I have a Black Sheep tattoo already). More importantly, which band do I listen to more often at this point? Flag. Totally.

So why do I feel like I'm lying if I put Minor Threat on the list instead of Black Flag? I love Hank as much as I do Ian. I've sen them both talk, I enjoy what they have to say and the manner in which they present their ideas. I've seen them both in their younger days (on video), and while I've watched the Fugazi DVD more times than I can count, I saw Rollins band once and was considerably unimpressed once the hits had been rolled out. I'm still straight edge, I'm vegetarian, I'm non-confrontational, and I don't like lifting weights. I arguably have more in common with Mr. MacKaye than Mr. Garfield (not to say that similarity breeds fondness). I literally and physically am unable to determine which band I simply "love" more. You could hook me up to a lie detector test and ask me and I would either pass saying both of their names, or fail no matter what.

I love Sabbath. They were more important in the development of legitimate "Metal" than Zeppelin were, and I think their musicianship more closely precedes the D.I.Y and Garage-Band ethos I embrace while Led Zeppelin from the beginning were Gods among men. Small venues never had the opportunity to hold Plant, Page, Jones, and Bonham, whereas even supposed metal-heads fail to recognize Bill Ward or Geezer Butler's names. Kids actually believe Ozzy was playing solos if you tell them as much. (The general public doesn't know shit about music - but that's another rant altogether.) But who did I listen to through all of grade school? Who was in my headphones when I was learning how to play drums? Whose records did I own on CD, Vinyl, and Cassette at the same time? All Zeppelin.

Where the fuck was Sabbath during all of this? Wallowing in the land of B-Sides, goddamnit! Because only "Iron Man," War Pigs," "Paranoid," "NIB," and later shit like "Sabbath Bloody Sabbbath" (with its shitty vocal production) get played on the fucking radio! So hundreds of thousands of white trash families and jocks horde amphitheaters to see a black dot on a stage (or a derelict on a giant monitor) that could possibly resemble the once formidable Oz, and probably never hear roll from the fingers of the Giant that is Bill Ward. They cheer when they hear "Children of the Grave," or "Hole in the Sky," but because that's what you do when you pay $100 for orchestra seats (or $40 for lawn, and $10 for each beer). They won't recognize the Ainsley Dunbar cover, nor will they notice when Iommi goes out of tune for a scale during "Lord of the Sout," because they've probably never heard the freaking song! The band will play an encore no matter how mediocre the set is, and there will likely be multiple standing ovations throughout the evening. All because they know Sabbath is supposed to be BIG. They're important, you know? 

And Zeppelin? Well, the same game, but a higher ticket price! Thrown the son of your drummer on a throne and take it from there, boys! The possible genetic relaying of talent will carry you through your seventies! Sad, sad, sad... but still, as frequently as I rock the first five Sabbath albums, I spent my formative years with the first five by Zeppelin. And I would feel wrong.... if put them ahead of Sabbath. But I'd feel like I was doing wrong by Sabbath to allow the forefathers of glam, hair metal, and all things excess on the same list as them (let's not act like I'm pretending Sabbath were a bunch of straight-laced dudes walking the straight and narrow, now... I'm just rambling to some degree.) Anyhow - the Stones are worse. I thank God John and George are dead. Not Keith Moon though. I wish that fucker was still wild and out.

Okay... back on track.


Nirvana is my favorite band.

By loving Zeppelin and Aerosmith first, I was able to hear Nirvana and know the Truth when it Spoke to me. This was Music, and it was a Good, and Joyful thing (except it was often Sad, Angry, and Terrible! Which is brilliant! It ought to be!) By loving Nirvana, I was able to love The Pixies, The Melvins, Sonic Youth, and so many other bands that I went in search of over the years. I realized in time that I enjoyed the attitude of their music, not just the fast drumming or angry lyrics. I was able to dodge nu-metal, whiny pop-punk, and watered down would-be grunge because of the foundations laid before their attempted infiltrations. Mom and Dad raised me on The Doors, Zeppelin, T. Rex, The Police, and Bowie. Dad introduced me to Devo, The Talking Heads, and Television when I was getting into punk. Mom gave me all of her Zeppelin and Bolan vinyl. My brother got her old acoustic guitar. I started playing Dads drums. Things were decent.

I got into "weird" "alternative" stuff, like Radiohead, Bjork, and Beck, but longed for Sonic Youth, Black Flag, and the Dead Kennedys. Without an income, I couldn't buy their albums, and I didn't know where to start anyhow - most of them had so many. I got Daydream Nation used on cassette one summer and wore out three copies over the years. I heard the live NOFX album in a friends' car, then found out they had songs on the Fat Wreck and Epitaph comps that were less than $5 each. After a while I realized there was a scene even below this, and had to find a way to hear these fucking bands.

When I first went to the Ruritan, I had no idea whether Jawbreaker was a band everybody knew, or the best kept secret in punk rock. I liked Weezer a LOT, and there was a band with an amazing name playing in town the next week (Planes Mistaken for Stars!). There was a kid in a Screeching Weasel shirt! I liked this place!

Fast forward a few church shows. (Not much fun if you're pro-choice - I decided to stick to swim meets and listening to Sonic Youth and NOFX on my headphones). Then, I made some friends with a similar conundrum. Here's this other kid in my school who isn't particularly cool or popular or whatever. We both like Nirvana and Sonic Youth a lot, but also Minor Threat. He starts a shitty punk band, I start hanging out with him. He asks me to drum for his next shitty punk band, so I do. We turn into a bunch of shitty hardcore bands, and years later, here I am.

It doesn't mean a thing, really. What I like, or why. Or how I got into that, or from here to there. But I'm glad I did, I suppose. I passed up a full ride to a school with a 3% acceptance rate so I could join a band. I quit the team that was paying for my scholarship largely because I wanted to see a band play . I've interrupted the physical act of Love to flip over records, and even worse, to tell her to "listen to this part." My daughter was conceived to We Are the Romans, and I revel in that knowledge.

Maybe I just like "albums" more than I like bands? it's easier to love a record than a catalogue.

Maybe I should have just listed two more fucking bands and shut my mouth for the night...

Too late now.

1 comment:

andrew aircraft said...

Stop talking shit on Zep and make a goddamned list already.