Tuesday, December 15, 2015


     Primus was probably the most experimental, most peculiar, most weird of all the 90's bands.

     Listening to their songs, you almost automatically detect influences in their music from early punk works.

     And I mean, EARLY.

     The late 70's-mid 80's experimental hardcore punk sound. Personally, I certainly feel like they were heavily impacted by MDC, and The Melvins. 

     Honestly, I think that's what I love the most about their sound.

     Their songs are so raw, so experimental, so untamed. They are never bound by the average rules of musical melody. They play what they want, and they don't really give a shit about anybody who can't understand or appreciate them.

     Which, I suppose, really does kind of coincide with their message.

     Since their beginnings in 1991, they kind of just gave off this vibe to their fans of self acceptance, and even self comfortability. They had no problem with-- in fact, they promoted-- searching the deep, weird, bizarre depths of themselves. 

      And their music reflected it.

     I'm honestly shocked that I had never heard of or been told of them before I did/was.

      I actually own two of their albums: an older, more organic one (Pork Soda, 1992) and a newer, more recent one (Primus and the Chocolate Factory, 2014, an album in tribute to the wondrous talent of Gene Wilder). These records have, truthfully, completely broadened my understanding of and outlook on punk rock, as well as inspired me in a very big way.

"Oh, welcome to this world of fools, of pink champagne and swimming pools.
All you have to lose is your virginity.
Perhaps we'll have some fun tonight, so stick around and take a bite of life.
We don't need feebleness in this proximity.

Don't judge the boy by what you hear. The words are heard beyond the ear.
The heart and mind are focus for this conversation.
But be abound in mystery, for that so much you do to me.
For there are those who drown in adulation.

If I had a time for each time that I heard them preach,
Well I'd have wicked thoughts upon my brain.

Welcome to this world."

--Welcome to This World, from the album Pork Soda

"When I need relief, I spell it THC. Perhaps you know vaguely what I mean.
I sit back and smoke away huge chunks of memory
As I slowly inflict upon myself a full lobotomy.
Call it pointless.

--DMV, from the album Pork Soda

"I pull the blinds,
Then I take my clothes off;
Dance around the house like nature boy.
My genitalia and pectoral muscles aren't quite what I would like them to be,
But you don't see me.
No one can see me.

I pull the blinds,
For the sun glares off my tele and I find it quite so irritating.
I have my videos-- loads of Ren and Stimpy,
Bottom-- a bit of pornography.
But you don't see me.
Nobody sees me."

--Nature Boy, from the album Pork Soda

"I write between the lines. 
I deal with fantasy.
I report the facts.
Give them to me, please.

When I write, words flow
Like coins from a candy box.
Get out of my way--
I've got something to say.

Why don't I trample on your lawn today?
I'll take skies of blue, turn over old skies of gray.
I write between the lines.
I deal with fantasy.
I am the pressman.
Acknowledge me.

You build with a fountain pen.
You create with a memory stain.
You are the pressman.
Stand up straight, boy."

--The Pressman, from the album Pork Soda

"Hey, ho, Mr. Krinkle,
Have you heard the brand new sound?
It's a cross between Jimi Hendrix, Bocephus, Cher, and James Brown.
It's called "Heavy Hometown," New Wave, cold-filtered, low-calorie, dry.
C'mon, Mr. Krinkle, tell me why."

--Mr. Krinkle, from the album Pork Soda


     No fear to be themselves, no fear of society's disapproval, no fear of experimentation, of playing music literally based upon nothing but sheer self acceptance and honesty.

     I suppose that's why I respect that so much.

     Hats off to Primus, ladies and gentlemen.

Thanks for reading,

p.s. stay tuned for Green Day

Monday, December 14, 2015


     I'll say this much of Scott Weiland (S.T.P.'s leader singer).

     He lasted a lot longer than a lot of his fellow grunge-ites did.

     The power in the impact of Stone Temple Pilots is incredible. The weight of their rock-hard music and crushing vocals is flattening, destructive even. Darkness and depression permeate the lyrics of Scott Weiland. Feelings of confusion, want, inadequacy, hurt, pain, sorrow, broken-heartedness, and chaos are strongly empathized (and even emphasized) in Stone Temple Pilots. 

     And yet, simultaneously, a subtle sort of determination. Confidence. A refusal to give in, no matter how bad the pain gets.

     Scott's lyrics truly did reflect his character.

     The music of STP, as well as the poetry of Scott Weiland, delivered this sort of message of personal acceptance. To accept the challenges that were littered throughout all life by a sick, materialistic, ignorant society. To come to peace with, and gain an understanding of human nature. A determination to wrestle to find something real, beautiful, and true in a bleak world. A confidence in one's self, despite natural flaws.

     They encouraged their millions of worldwide fans to struggle with them. Because it was the only good kind of acceptance that there was.

     Human acceptance. Rather than societal acceptance.

     HOWEVER... they were honest about the prices of living something greater than a typical, ordinary life as well. Because they wanted to be HONEST. They had already seen through too many lies permeating their society, and they were too disgusted to lie just like the rest of the world. 

     So they told all. The cost of fame, the price of popularity, the loneliness and sorrow in living a lonely life in a big, sad world. The lacking, the missing pieces-- the scars made along the way.

     The dark, the depressing. The realistic. 

     And Scott fought all of that darkness. Every day. Even in himself. And still had the courage to sing all along the way.

     Like I said: he could say a whole lot more than his fellow early-alternative-artists can. 

     Their music-- and I daresay Scott's life-- was a crusade to find beauty and truth in all the ugly lies. To create a haven in a cruel world. To provide something real to a plastic culture. And they fought and fought and fought, and they never gave up.

     He never gave up.

     And their music came to be this perfect balance, this impeccable yin-yang of the most depressing... and the most beautiful.

     And with all the strength Scott had, he struggled through it for about 25 years just so he could let all the extraordinary people left in the world know that THEY ARE NOT ALONE.

     Even if he felt like he was the whole time.

     And the realistic beauty, the sacrifice that is Stone Temple Pilots will now forever be a fount of acceptance and honesty in a dark world.

Scott Weiland, may you truly rest in peace.

"Forward yesterday,
Makes me wanna stay.
What they said was real;
Makes me wanna steal.
Livin' under house--
Guess I'm livin, I'm a mouse.
All's I gots is time,
Got no reason, just a rhyme.

Take time for a wounded hand,
Cuz it likes to heal!
Take time for a wounded hand,
Cuz I like to steal!
Take time for a wounded hand, 
Cuz I like to heal, I like to steal...

I'm half the man I used to be--
This I feel as the dawn, it fades to gray.
I'm half the man I used to be--
This I feel as the dawn, it fades to gray.
I'm half the man I used to be--
This I feel as the dawn, it fades to gray.
I'm half the man I used to be--
This I feel as the dawn, it fades to gray.

Feelin uninspired...
Think I'll start a fire.
Everybody run--
Bobby's got a gun.
Think you're kinda neat,
Then she tells me I'm a creep.
Friends don't mean a thing;
Guess I'll leave it up to me.

Take time for a wounded hand,
Cuz it likes to heal!
Take time for a wounded hand,
Cuz I like to steal!
Take time for a wounded hand, 
Cuz I like to heal, I like to steal...

I'm half the man I used to be--
This I feel as the dawn, it fades to gray.
I'm half the man I used to be--
This I feel as the dawn, it fades to gray.
I'm half the man I used to be--
This I feel as the dawn, it fades to gray.
I'm half the man I used to be--
This I feel as the dawn, it fades to gray.

Take time for a wounded hand,
Cuz it likes to heal!
Take time for a wounded hand,
Cuz I like to steal!
Take time for a wounded hand, 
Cuz I like to heal, I like to steal...

I'm half the man I used to be--
This I feel as the dawn, it fades to gray.
I'm half the man I used to be--
This I feel as the dawn, it fades to gray.
I'm half the man I used to be--
This I feel as the dawn, it fades to gray.
I'm half the man I used to be--
This I feel as the dawn, it fades to gray.
Half the man I used to be..."

-- Creep, from the album Core

Thanks for reading,


p.s. stay tuned for Primus

Saturday, December 12, 2015


     It was Better Man that originally introduced me to Pearl Jam.

     I remember the day well. I was 14, a freshman, searching for new music, delving ever deeper (as usual) into everything there was to hear and experience from the wide world of alternative music.

     I had remembered hearing Better Man on the rock radio stations as a kid. Both of my parents seemed to like the song, and it's obvious aesthetically dark nature almost immediately reinserted itself into my evolving punk-rock-themed mind. I strolled into a local record store with a few bucks to spend, found Vitalogy (the album Better Man debuted on), and purchased it.

     That album would become one of the most influential records that I have ever had the pleasure of owning.

     I immediately fell in love with the brutal, intense power of Pearl Jam's songs. I felt as if I had found the Led Zeppelin of the 90's. The strength packed like a brick wall behind every song; the sincerity and energy in Eddie Vedder's voice; the deep, spiritual meanings behind the lyrics. The angry honesty.

     By the time I was 16, Pearl Jam had ascended to one of my most beloved bands and cherished records. I listened to them (along with Nirvana) pretty much on a daily basis. But the most beautiful, and enjoyable, aspect of absorbing and experiencing the powerhouse that is Pearl Jam... was the emotion.

     I remember the way I felt so angry, and yet so determined, focused, and centered when I listened to them. It made me want to think, to move, to walk, to sing, to scream along-- anything but keep sitting on my ass and doing nothing.

     I felt their songs so much... the activity, the anger, the energy, all of it. I felt the abandonment in Alive; the controlled, subdued, yet teeming life in Even Flow; the building anger with society in Jeremy; the urgency in State of Love and Trust. I lived the hope of Dissident; the thrashing energy of Spin the Black Circle; the chaotic confusion in Corduroy; the violation in Not For You; the depression and loss in Black. The melodic memory behind Daughter; the spiritual harmony within Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town; the bleakness in Immortality; the dying want and passion of Better Man. The rejection in Nothingman; the heartache in Last Kiss; the poignancy in Man of the Hour; the brilliant vocal ranges of Yellow Ledbetter.

     I felt so close to the band, as if they had drawn me in to this secret friendship, this mutual understanding of human emotionalism. They just had so much power, so much intensity and energy, so much... to say. To offer.

     In a lot of ways, Eddie Vedder became this musical parental figure to me. I looked up to him (and still do), the way a son looks up to his experienced, guiding father. I clung to his lyrics, his voice, his unforgettable, undeniable power. It was so raw, so starking. I treasured it. As all from their generation and on have.

     I am so indescribably thankful for them, as well as their messages. Their messages of the unfair limits placed upon human beings by the power-hungry in the outer world, and the fear within the mind. A deep, burning respect for truth-- meaning, definition, significance, and conscience. An angry empathy for those who don't conform to overbearing, apathetic, systematic thought.

     And encouragement! An encouragement to living a lfe of non-herd-conformity, of thought, of feeling, of definition!

     It is this very spirit of music, this raw, angry, empathetic encouragement, that is found in Pearl Jam, along with all other history-changing, aesthetic, beautiful, purposeful music.

     And it is what has made Pearl Jam immortal.

" 'Son,' she said,
'Have I got a little story for you.
What you thought was your daddy
Was nothing but a fool.
While you were sitting home alone at age 13,
Your real father was dyin.
Sorry you didn't see him,
But I'm glad we talked.'

Oh, I, oh I'm still alive.

Oh, she walks slowly
Across the young man's room
And she said, 'I'm ready
For you.'
I can't remember anything to this very day
'Cept the look... the look
You know where.
Now I can't see, so I just stare.

Ah, I, ah I'm still alive.

'Is something wrong?' she said.
'Well of course there is.'
'You're still alive.' she said.
'Oh, and do I deserve to be?!
Is that the question?
And if so, if so,
Who answers?
Who answers?!'

I, oh, oh, I'm still alive."

--Alive, from the album Ten

Thanks for reading,


p.s. stay tuned for an article in tribute to Scott Weiland:

Thursday, December 10, 2015


     I would love to write a eulogy expressing the sheer amount of love I have for and inspiration I derive from the incredible musical statement that is Nirvana. I would love to exalt them for the impact they are, even upon youth today (who may, I might add, not interpret the message as horribly as the generation from whom the music sprung). But I refuse to. The words I have for this amazingly influential band are far too many to keep it that superficial. 

     I remember I first began listening to Nirvana when I was twelve years old. In December of 2009, to be exact. My parents had just bought me what is to this very day still my most prized possession: my very first guitar.

     There are no words, dear reader, with which I can even begin to describe the impact that that guitar would come to have on my life.

     It was beautiful. ... to me anyways. From a more third-person point of view, in all honesty, it was a piece of shit. It was a Fender Stratocaster (typical right?). It had a jet-black paint job with a glossy protective layer of lacquer finish over the wood. The pick guard was a reflective, pearly white color, complete with three pick-ups, a 5-way selector switch, a volume dial, two tone dials, a whammy bar, and a string-through bridge. The brand-new strings felt so amazing on my (at the time) smooth fingertips. The fretboard was a dark rosewood, and felt so right to my left hand, like a was born to hold that one particular guitar... Complete with a small Fender Squier amp, a crappy little amp cable, a piece-of-shit strap that couldn't even really hold the guitar's weight, and a nice, convenient little pack of spare picks. The entire package, guitar and all, was only like $120. Definitely not top-notch quality, but... it worked. It was functional enough and efficient enough to learn on. And to me, it was the most gorgeous, most amazing thing in the entire world. 

     Over what is now 6 years of playing guitar, what skills I have developed were, for the most part, self-taught. However, for a short time (about a maybe 2-month long span, if that), I did take guitar lessons at the same shop that my parents had bought the guitar from.

     That guitar changed my life, and those few lessons opened up a whole new world.

     Before I got that guitar and began learning how to play it, I was just like every other 12-year-old on the face of the fucking planet. I listened to the stupid, shitty, talent-absent music that played on the radio's modern pop stations, under the delusion that it was good music. Don't get me wrong-- some of it was. ... occasionally. ... rarely. You know, like they'd occasionally play a good Kings of Leon song or something. But most of it was the early synthetic bullshit that now permeates our radio stations. But I didn't really know the difference-- I made the subconscious decision that (unfortunately) most adolescents make without even realizing it: I just assumed that, just because it was on the radio, it was pretty much the only good music around.

     Like I said. Those guitar lessons opened up a whole new world for me.

     Suddenly all these amazing, beautiful, unique, history-changing music was thrown at me from all directions, artists and bands that I had never even heard of, but were apparently "the real deal." Random names were brought up by my guitar tutors whenever they referenced "the good shit"-- Pearl Jam, Stone Temple Pilots, Primus, Weezer, Foo Fighters, Soundgarden, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Collective Soul, The Cranberries, Incubus, Bush, Green Day, The Offspring, Live, Creed, The Killers, Evanescence, 3 Doors Down, Metallica, MDC, Dead Kennedys, Bad Brains, The Dicks, Sublime, Chevelle, Cracker, Hootie and the Blowfish, Dave Matthews Band, Donots, Smashing Pumpkins, Guns n' Roses, Smash Mouth, Alice in Chains... and some of them I knew I had heard before. Being born in '97, I remembered hearing some of those names on the radio as a toddler, vaguely. Very vaguely. I remembered my mom and dad listening to them sometimes, saying that it was the music that they listened to as teenagers. But I had never really gotten into it. It was a whole new world.

     My experience with Nirvana began with one of those original guitar lessons that started it all. I was really making progress well for a beginner, and several of my tutors had already complimented me various times for my quick learning skills. I had progressed through tuning, reading tabs, and playing single notes, and now my teachers wanted to show me how to play something called "power chords." Apparently, these power chords showed up a lot in some kind of 90's music style that was called "alternative," or "grunge" or "punk." 

     My teacher pulled out a sheet of notebook paper that had some tabs written on it. He said, "These are the power chords to a song called Smells Like Teen Spirit. It was played by a band called Nirvana. Ever heard of them?" I shook my head. He laughed and said, "Bring that up to your mom when she picks you up tonight. Tell her to show you some Nirvana. If she grew up in the 90's, I'm sure she wouldn't mind." He then proceeded to show me how to play the song. It was pretty simple, just the same 4 chords played over and over again in different forms: F, A#, G#, C#.

     When the lesson ended and my mother picked me up, I brought up Nirvana and Smells Like Teen Spirit to her. I'll never forget the sheer look of shock on her face when she realized that I knew nothing about them. 


     "... no."

     "OH. MY. GOD." It was as if she thought she had failed as a parent or something. "YOU NEED TO KNOW WHO NIRVANA IS." 

     Within a month, I had all four of Nirvana's studio albums (Bleach, Nevermind, Incesticide, In Utero) and two of their live albums (Live from the Muddy Banks of Wishkah, MTV Unplugged in New York). I absolutely. Positively. Fell. In love with them.

     All day long, I would take my CD player with me everywhere, blaring Kurt Cobain in my head, soaking in his lyrics, admiring his tone, fully absorbing every last note and chord in my mind. I mean, ALL DAY LONG. In the mornings before school, I'd blare Blew, Floyd the Barber, About a Girl, School, Love Buzz, Paper Cuts, Negative Creep, Scoff, Swap Meet, and Mr. Moustache in my ears. I gave me the boost of energy and excitement and strength in the mornings, made me feel vamped up and eager. At the park, I'd slip away from my little brother and my mom and find a quite place to hide and listen to Smells Like Teen Spirit, In Bloom, Come As You Are, and Breed. On the way home, I'd refuse to listen to the shit my mom played on her 80's-90's-today radio station and privately jam out to Lithium, Polly, Territorial Pissings, Drain You, Lounge Act, and Stay Away. When we got home, I'd literally pace up and down my street all alone, soaking in On a Plain, Something in the Way, Dive, Sliver, Stain, Been A Son, and Turnaround. After dinner, I'd isolate myself in my room and turn Molly's Lips, Son of a Gun, Aneurysm, Serve the Servants, Scentless Apprentice, Heart-Shaped Box, Rape Me, Francis Farmer, and Dumb on my radio. After my bath, right before bed, I'd head bang one last time to Very Ape, Milk It, Pennyroyal Tea, Tourette's, and All Apologies. Nirvana truly became the soundtrack of my life. 

     To this day they still are.

     This sound, this incredible blend of Aberdeen rock-and-roll/Seattle underground punk/signature Kurt Cobain grunge is... so dynamic. So evolving. Their music truly did grow alongside the impact it had. Power. A dark, brutal energy of sheer honesty. RAWNESS.

     From their beginnings, you see in Nirvana this fascinating sound of an odd mixture between a Black-Sabbath-sounding musical style and a Creedence-Clearwater-Revival-sounding vocal style. Not to mention a starkingly strong underground 80's-90's punk rock punch.

     Singing ideas of humans fallen from their own graces, not realizing how capable they truly are in such a mainstream-conformity culture. The shame that came with being in any way different from "proper" society. Loneliness, and a hatred for how their experiences, their pains, their perceptions-- their enlightenment-- had set them apart. Malice of the established, the systematic, the thoughtless. The emotionless.


     Because, being such aficionados of high-energy, anger-filled melody, they needed emotion. They had no time for fucking apathy.

     And yet that message of mental freedom never really seemed to revelate upon the minds of their early fans. Unfortunately, human beings have a tendency to get caught up in the melody and not truly pursue the level of musical spirituality that is necessary to truly divine the emotions and meaning behind a song. So often we trade reason for rhyme. 

     There they were, all those early "fans"... they apathetically sang along, worshiping the very selfish, self-entitled spirit of teenage angst that Kurt Cobain so often condemned for being lazy, unproductive, and conformist.



     Nirvana did something that few bands, if any, had ever done: they created their own gospel of anger for society's condition. A gospel that few people can actually interpret efficiently, and understand.

     The anger, the hatred! The hatred for society! For the abandonment! The conformity, the close-mindedness! The lack of thought! The rejection, vanity! The... apathy.

"This is out of our reach, this is out of our reach, this is out of our reach, and it's grown!
This is getting to be, this is getting to be, this is getting to be drone!
I'm a negative creep, I'm a negative creep, I'm a negative creep, and I'm stoned!
I'm a negative creep, I'm a negative creep, I'm a negative creep, oh..."

-- Negative Creep, from the album Bleach

     The loss of humanity, of individuality, and empathy... the loss of wonder.

     This very anger builds into a sheer-- no, the sheerest form of contempt for a lack of understanding.

     Truly a name. NIRVANA.

     Kurt became such a worshiped teenage punk rock idol that he ascended (not by choice) to this role of adolescent messiah, offering nirvana in its rawest and most sincere form to those who would just at least try to understand.

     Freedom of the mind.

     Isn't that what punk rock's all about?

     They wanted their listeners to evolve with their music! Try to open their minds to a collective energy of understanding.

     But the apathy... was all that stood in the way.

"Underneath the bridge,
Tarp has sprung a leak,
And the animals I've trapped
Have all become my pets,
And I'm living off of grass
And the drippings from the ceiling,
But it's ok to eat fish,
Cuz they don't have any feeling.
Something in the way..."

-- Something in the Way, from the album Nevermind

     Enter... Smells Like Teen Spirit.

     In what is quite possibly the most history-changing song of all time, Kurt spends an entire five minutes using lyrics full of irony and satire to mock the fools who dance and sing to their own hypocrisy. He screams out his contempt for them in the chorus...

" 'Load up on guns! Bring your friends!
It's fun to lose and to pretend!
She's overbored and self-assured!
I know, I know a dirty word!'

'Hello, hello, hello, how low?'

'With the lights out,
It's less dangerous!
Here we are now!
Entertain us!
I feel stupid
And contagious!
Here we are now,
Entertain us!' "

--Smells Like Teen Spirit, from the album Nevermind

     It's almost as if he said, "Fuck all you hypocritical, ignorant sons of bitches who dance to enlightenment and sing to your own condemnation in your absolute apathy! You are everything wrong with society! You don't want definition, or freedom! You want cool, conformity, whatever's hip and pop on the radio! FUCK YOU ALL!"

     A rage for society. Those fans, the very ones the song is written about, they know all the words, proclaiming them loudly from their preppy cars on the way to their high-end jobs only to spend the day contemplating absolutely nothing but paychecks, bills, and when they might be gettin laid sometime this week. 

     In his own words,

"He's the one who likes
All our pretty songs and he
Likes to sing along and he
Likes to shoot his gun, but he
Knows not what it means,
Knows not what it means
When I say it!"

--In Bloom, from the album Nevermind

     They truly do riot on their records! Riot against viewing their message as a fashion, a style!

"As a trend,
As a friend,
As an old memory, ya...

--Come as You Are, from the album Nevermind

     This culture's hellbent mainstream-lined mentality to only accept the popular into our lives regardless of personal emotion or individual thought... From the time we are infants, we are delved into the deep, dark waters of materialism and taught to chase the dollar on the hook with what life you have left; naked, cold, abandoned, alone. It's as if all society sings to a living, breathing hymn of

" 'I don't care, I don't care, I don't care, I don't care, care anymore!
I don't mind, I don't mind, I don't mind, I don't mind, mind, don't have a mind!"

--Breed, from the album Nevermind

     And yet... somehow... in beautiful, dark, honest, poetic, raw energy of defiance... he still had the courage and the will to lift his lungs and his heart and scream out the YAAYAYA of Lithium in hopeful pride, and a refusal to give in to a society that tells you to fit a mold. He still, to this day, screams 

"I'm not gonna craaaack!!!"

--Lithium, from the album Nevermind

     In brilliant, illuminating refusal, he raised his fist to society and yelled with all that he had in him,


--Heart-Shaped Box, from the album In Utero

     Because he didn't want people to feel half-hearted calling his work "Nirvana." He wanted them to truly mean it when they called it that.

     Because that's all they ever were.

     "Our little group has always been and always will until the end."

--Smells Like Teen Spirit

"All in all is all we are."

--All Apologies, from the album In Utero

Thanks for reading,


p.s. stay tuned for Pearl Jam