Yes, the Ramones tribute album that came out in 2003, featuring such heavy hitters as Metallica, Garbage, Green Day, and Pete Yorn. Picked up a copy for my birthday after a decade of not really listening to it.
– wish I could say I read / enjoyed Stephen King’s liner notes but it’s four center-aligned pages with no paragraph breaks and he uses the phrase “tuff titty” in line three
– the ratio of artists who perform the songs in the style of the Ramones to artists who perform the songs in “their own unique interpretation” breaks down roughly 40/60; this is fine, as I didn’t expect Rancid to add tuba to “Sheena IAPR” and I sure didn’t expect Marilyn Manson to just plug into a Marshall to play “The KKK Took My Baby Away” at its normal tempo
– the top gun here is Tom Waits’s repurposing of “Jackie & Judy” as greasy juke joint blues howl (which has extra glow b/c it feels like Tom’s thank you note for the brilliant cover of his own “I Don’t Want To Grow Up” the ‘Mones slapped on Adios Amigos); second best is any cut where the artist commits to the melodic genius of the source material (Rooney’s “Here Today, Gone Tomorrow,” the Eddie Vedder / Zeke stuff)
– how do you sexualize “Havana Affair?” I don’t know, but the Red Hot Chili Peppers found a way
– Rob Zombie’s “Blitzkrieg Bop” is just as awkward and ham-fisted as my memory suggested; speaking of precious moments, I remember VH-1 did a special on Johnny Ramone while he was co-producing this album and the cameras were a’rollin’ when this Zombie-fied version of “Bop” first hit his ears…Johnny’s face wore a perfect mix of deer-in-headlights confusion, faint disgust, and slight arousal
– Eddie Vedder’s decision to do “Daytime Dilemma (Dangers of Love)” with America’s best punk n’ roll band is why he’s Eddie Vedder; the Offspring’s decision to turn in a copy of “I Wanna Be Sedated” they recorded five years earlier for a Seth Green comedy is why they’re the Offspring
– I don’t think U2 could do a more “U2” version of “Beat On The Brat” but I won’t bust on them because I know Bono’s heart is in the right place when it comes to Da Bruddahs
– the inclusion of Kiss is curious, not just because they were contemporaries of the Ramones (and not part of some subsequent musical generation) but also because Johnny Ramone made a big point in his autobiography about how much he never liked the music of Peter, Paul, & the Demon; whatever the reason behind it (tax write-off?) Kiss transforms “Do You Remember Rock n’ Roll Radio?” into the Best Buy jingle you always knew it could be
– surprisingly, the tender rendition of “Something To Believe In” by the Pretenders is not the most recent thing that band has done; they had a record out in 2008!
– leave it to John Frusciante to turn “Today Your Love, Tomorrow The World” into a hippie hymnal (and a fucking good one at that)
– no photos of Richie Ramone in the booklet 😦
I posted a lot of stuff on the blog this year; the following pieces are those of which I am most proud.
Joe Flaherty Is Always Behind Us, Metaphorically Speaking
Awesome Ideas For Gremlins 3
Q: What’s The Worst Concert You’ve Ever Attended?
Q: What’s The Best Concert You’ve Ever Attended?
Area Man Has Opinion On Oscar-Nominated Short
Q: Why Don’t You Drink?
White Zombie’s Sean Yseult: The JG2Land Interview
“Duckman” Creator Everett Peck: The JG2Land Interview
Unsolicited Thoughts On This Video Of FLAG…
Unsolicited Thoughts On Marky Ramone’s Gelato Commercial
Jeff Hanneman: 1964-2013
The Force Will Be With You, Emma Greenway Horton, Always
Kid Gets Job, America Outraged
Thirty Years Of Jabba The Hutt’s Bitchy Admin Assist
Q: So, You’re A Writer…Like, What Do You Do All Day?
Unsolicited Thoughts On Racist Celebrity Chefgate
Today’s Mental Debates (Larry David Edition)
Unsolicited Maxwell’s Memories
Q: Have You No Rant On The Black Flag Lawsuit?
Area Man Shocked By Insignificant Cartoon Factoid
Unsolicited Thoughts / Notes On Everybody Loves Our Town
Liver Shunt And Butter Queens
Twenty Years In The Cone Zone
The Last Time I Saw That Guy…
Undead Singer / Guitarist Bobby Steele: The JG2Land Interview
Drive-In Totals For Metallica: Through The Never
Adrenalin O.D. Guitarist Bruce Wingate: The JG2Land Interview
A Glimpse Into My Gatesgiving
This Music Leaves Stains Book Touro Recappo
Jockin’ Fair Use To Their Dismay
In the coming days I will probably curate similar lists for every previous year JG2Land has existed, because the time for self-reflection is always and it’s important you readers have some way to separate four years of wheat from four years of chaff.
Thanks for reading, y’all. Enjoy your nude ears.
Metallica hosted a bevy of big name guests over the weekend for their thirtieth anniversary concerts (Ozzy, Halford, Danzig, the guy from Anti-Nowhere League), but let’s face it, the real story is that on Saturday night they let Dave Mustaine come onstage to play all the songs he wrote with the band in the early ’80s before they tossed his ass to the curb like so much banana peel (well, all except “The Four Horsemen,” because Dave still plays that one with Megadeth as “Mechanix”). Behold, the YouTubes can haz Metalli-Dave:
Isn’t this the moment Mustaine’s been working toward for the past three decades? Can he finally retire Megadeth now and focus on his real life passions (which are Peanut M&Ms and archery, according to the last issue of SPIN I looked at)? Probably not, considering how these rockers usually can’t stop rocking until they are physically unable to rock any longer. Look at Tiny Tim—that mah’fucker died onstage at the Woman’s Club of Minneapolis! You don’t have to be Criswell to realize that’s exactly how all these heavy metal guys are gonna go.
Lou Reed & Metallica
Even though this strange collaboration was Lou Reed’s idea—he thought Metallica would be the perfect band to help breathe life into his tribute to Euro playwright Frank Wedekind—Lulu will forever be known as “that Metallica record with Lou Reed on it,” not vice versa, because Metallica’s sales figures are astronomical even when they aren’t being compared to that of former Velvet Undergrounders. If the heavy metal behemoths were smart, they would have played on Lulu anonymously. Honestly, what’s Metallica getting out of this project aside from another opportunity to embarrass themselves? Has it really been their dream all along to help indie rock’s Australopithecus ride the lightening? The only thing Lou Reed’s riding is his giant check to the friggin’ bank.
Metalli-fans have been pretty forgiving over the years, but smart money says the last thing your average Master of Puppets worshipper wants to hear is an album of bone-crushing riffage augmented by a senior citizen flatly reciting spoken word drivel about male sex workers and their own mountain of self-hatred. The Marianne Faithful/Metallica duet from the mid-nineties was one thing—that song (in which the elder Faithful really only hummed) was, what, three minutes and some change? Lulu pushes an hour and a half, a feature film-length musical frown that generally doesn’t seem to have an agenda beyond aggravating people who wore Slayer-stamped denim jackets in 1987. Take opener “Bradenburg Gate,” which begins with the following Lou mumblings over the gentle strains of an acoustic guitar:
“I would cut my legs and tits off
When I think of Boris Karloff
In the dark of the moon…”
Seconds later, the crushing hard rock of Metallica comes in, and it would really be something if singer James Hetfield wasn’t repeatedly bellowing the barely in-context phrase “Small town girl!” while Lou continues ranting only semi-coherently. At first, “Brandenburg Gate” seems like it might be a test wherein Loutallica has purposely front-loaded their album with something way beyond the pale so as to weed out close-minded mouth-breathers. Then the rest of Lulu unfolds, and this Boris Karloff tit-lopping song proves absolutely fitting.
The cruel Catch-22 with this album is that many of the interesting and adventurous devices Metallica employ (excessive feedback, droning keyboards, Bill Ward-style percussion) probably couldn’t/wouldn’t have been facilitated without Lou Reed, and yet our groovy refreshed Metallica is completely torpedoed by the aged underground legend as he warbles for the majority of Lulu in a most atonal manner laughable phrases like “if I waggle my ass like a dog prostitute” and “[something something] a colored man’s dick.” Twenty years ago, when Lou Reed was a scant fifty and still retained some of that Velvety touch, Lulu could have proved a chocolate and peanut butter combination. As it stands, this is chocolate and stale Metamucil.
There are moments where Loutallica comes within a football field of gelling. In an alternate universe, “Iced Honey” achieves its goal of being a successful Rolling Stones circa Sticky Fingers tribute despite its obvious stiffness; I can see Mick Jagger peacocking around to the “See if the ice will melt for you-ah!” chorus that Lou and James take turns shitting out. “Little Dog” and “Dragon” both have hypnotizing, hymnal qualities—particularly the former in its restrained quiet—not unlike the spate of material Johnny Cash recorded just before he died. That said, it would be surprising if even one of the aforementioned songs ends up on a Lou Reed or Metallica career retrospective collection any time before Earth is destroyed by a flaming meteorite the size of Russia.
Lulu’s final track, “Junior Dad,” is a twenty minute journey into the psychological chasm that separates a man from his child. The main guitar riff is an arpeggio that sounds bittersweet, as if it feels some resentment about being included in a song that’s four times longer than “Bohemian Rhapsody.” No, there is no reason “Junior Dad” has to last twenty minutes (the final quarter is just a heap of shameless heart-tugging violins), but there was also no reason Lou Reed and Metallica had to make a record together. And yet they did.
It may be one of pop music’s most frustrating and frustratingly inexplicable exercises, an album that will indeed take Generation Y’s core concept of ironic enjoyment to dark and painful places, but at least Lulu doesn’t force us to suffer the unforgivable sin of mediocrity. A new benchmark has been set. This is the aural stain rock fans will knowingly smirk about for the next decade until we’re given another Hindenburg. Oh, the humanity…but what a point of reference.
FINAL SCORE: One atonal gender-bending legend (out of four).
– John Bush did not magically appear onstage during the Anthrax set to perform a deep cut from Stomp 442
– Dave Mustaine did not make any politically misguided statements about Ireland
– Megadeth did not pull out a nine minute cover of R.E.M.’s “Shiny Happy People”
– Kerry King (pictured) did not wear assless chaps
– Metallica did not invite Dave Mustaine onstage during their set to publicly apologize for stealing all those songs from him back in the day
– Slayer did not use black magic to summon the ghost of Mickey Mantle for an unexpected encore of “Haunting the Chapel”
So, in short, the bands all played it maddeningly safe, even though the vast majority will probably never play a venue as esteemed as Yankee Stadium again. C’mon, Anthrax, you could have at least brought Darryl Strawberry onstage for the angriest version of “Bring the Noise” ever performed by a World Series champ.
Glad I didn’t drop any clams to see this.
The following story is true. I remembered it while I was in the shower this morning.
I went to high school with this guy named Jacob who kind of looked like James Hetfield. Some time after Load came out, my friends started this game where they tried to trick Jacob into saying Metallica lyrics. For instance, they’d point to somebody else in the cafeteria and ask, “Hey Jacob, is that your bitch over there? Is that your bitch?” Jacob, of course, was supposed to answer by saying, “No, she ain’t my bitch!”
As fun as it was, this game was almost always a complete failure. Jacob never realized we all thought he looked like James Hetfield, and he was generally confused whenever people around him starting saying weird shit like, “What was Jim Henson a master of?” or “If you saw a roller coaster called ‘The Lightening,’ what would you do?” I think I was there when it dawned on him what this was all about, and I remember that he seemed pretty offended.
Who wouldn’t be? Kind of looking like James Hetfield means you also kind of look like Bert Lahr. Gross.
I just woke up from a scenario in which I was a counselor at a Summer camp for kids who wanted to meet old basketball stars, unknown basketball prospects from Africa, and Metallica. All I really remember is Metallica trying to leave and a number of children convincing them to jump in the pool with their clothes on. Then there was this massive end-all game of hoops in which teams were ill-defined and we played with a bouncy ball. I remember passing to Dr. J. At one point, some kid from Kenya was on my back (literally) as I went for a shot. It missed the official hoop, but it eventually landed in the green and yellow kiddie hoop (which was right next to the official hoop). I credited my skills to a cheese-free diet.
Who Am JG2?
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