Thursday, August 18, 2022

Why Doesn't Metallica Play More Underrated Songs Live?

Having recently seen Metallica live on Aug. 24 in Vancouver, I got to wondering why some songs aren't as well received by fans as others during the show.

While most of the crowd was rocking to most of the songs, some tracks drew a kind of "meh" response from fans.

It wasn't a sellout concert, with the floor half full and several sections in the corners rather bare. That in itself was kind of surprising.

And a good number of fans there, at least in the general area I was sitting, just didn't seem really that into it. Maybe the potent weed that was being smoked everywhere had them hippy-shaking in their seats.

But if you look at the songs, you might glean an answer towards some of the apathy.

Metallica has been around for more than 33 years, touring quite a bit. With that comes the fact they tend to play the same songs live. Over and Over.

As a longtime fan of the band, I'm frankly tired of seeing them do "For Whom the Bell Tolls" for the umpteenth time. It's a great song to be sure, but fans seem tired of seeing it live.

And "Seek and Destroy" is another that they've played on pretty much every single tour.

Even the mastery of "Master of Puppets" is getting dull now. Overplayed. Beat to death.

Then, as usual, they closed the show with their most overplayed song "Enter Sandman". Again. Yawn.

I get that the band sort of has to appeal to the lowest common denominator and play songs the casual fan might recognize, but wouldn't it be better if they pulled out some older, underrated songs from the catalogue?

Suffice it to say Metallica would be well-served to play some other tracks. How about "Leper Messiah"? It's easy enough, so Lars Ulrich can get through it on drums.

What about "Outlaw Torn" – one of their most underrated songs. Or "Bleeding Me" – another standout from the Load album. Or how about "Fixxer", a song they finally played live late in 2021, which is an absolut gem.

But sadly for longtime fans of Metallica, it's pretty much the same old songs live, aside from anything they played off Hardwired ... to Self Destruct, and I loved hearing those songs live in concert for the first time.

And just like the Rolling Stones before them, playing "Satisfaction" for the millionth time, it's likely Metallica fans will have to endure through "Enter Sandman" over and over again.

Check out what Lars Ulrich thinks of Metallica playing their fastest songs when they're in their 60s.

Temple of the Dog: An Emotional Rock Powerhouse


There are few hard rock albums packed with as much raw emotion as the stellar Temple of the Dog record.
The 1991 masterpiece from the Seattle supergroup was conceived and written by Soundgarden’s Chris Cornell as a tribute to his good friend Andrew Wood, the lead singer of Mother Lovebone, who died on March 19, 1990 after overdosing on heroin. Interestingly, the name Temple of the Dog comes from the opening lyrics of the Mother Love Bone track “Man of Golden Words”: “I want to show you something, like joy inside my heart, seems I been living in the temple of the dog.”
Cornell and Co. made the record in just 15 days from November to December at Seattle’s London Bridge Studios.
It’s a one-off record that’s about as organic as you will ever hear in rock. Temple of the Dog consists of Cornell, Pearl Jam’s Mike McCready (guitar), Jeff Ament (bass) and Stone Gossard (guitar), as well as Soundgarden drummer Matt Cameron. Additionally, Pearl Jam singer Eddie Vedder sang on the hit song “Hunger Strike”.
For Ament and Gossard, who were in Mother Lovebone with Wood, making the album was something of a cathartic process, as it no doubt was for Cornell as well. He and Wood were roommates at one time.

Amazing Collaboration Led to Unique Vibe

On the collaboration, Ament noted it was “a really good thing at the time” for Gossard and himself. Gossard recalls the recording process as a “non-pressure filled” situation with no pressure from the record company. The guitarist later stated it was “the easiest and most beautiful record we’ve ever been involved with.”
Cornell was the principal songwriter, writing all the lyrics, and most of the music. Two tracks in particular “Say Hello 2 Heaven” and “Reach Down” were written directly in response to Wood’s untimely death. In the chorus of “Say Hello 2 Heaven”, you can just hear the raw emotion in Cornell’s voice, which should give most listener goosebumps, especially near the end of the song.
The late Cornell recorded those two songs, which he described as the first time he’d written anything specifically for a person, as demos and played them for Ament, who suggest the Soundgarden frontman should record them.
Cornell told Rolling Stone he thought Soundgarden could record the two songs on an album as a tribute to Wood. As it turns out, Cornell asked Ament if he’d like to help record the songs. From there they decided to make an entire album, forming Temple of the Dog in the process.
The members of band recall the impact Cameron had on the record. “Once we started playing with Chris and Matt, the songs took on a different life, especially from Matt’s end. His playing becomes the hook on a lot of the songs. The part that he came up with on “Wooden Jesus” is such an iconic drum song to me. It’s such a riff and so musical. His playing dictated that we leave space in those songs. To my ears, that’s what makes the record really unique and fun to listen to,” Ament said in Rolling Stone.
Another standout, emotional track is “Times of Trouble” which details the trappings of heroin and how a user can hold on and overcome the addiction, even when it seems there is no hope left. Sadly, Wood’s addiction got the best of him just as Mother Lovebone was about to serve notice as a premier Seattle rock and roll band.
After laying down nine songs, Cornell wanted to make it an even 10 tracks to fill the Temple album. That’s when the band decided to lay down “Hunger Strike”, which Cornell had written a few months prior to the Temple sessions. It wasn’t finished but he recalls how Vedder, who had just joined Pearl Jam at the time, came to add vocals: “I thought that “Hunger Strike” would be a good message to end the album on, but it wasn’t complete. It was just one verse. I was singing the chorus in the rehearsal space and Eddie just kind of shyly walked up to the mic and started singing the low “going hungry” and I started singing the high one. When I heard him sing, the whole thing came together in my brain. I just felt like, ‘Wow, his voice is so great in this low register. He should sing on it. I’ll sing the first verse and then he’ll come in. Even though it’s the same lyrics, it’s a different singer and it’ll feel like two verses’,” recalled Cornell in a Rolling Stone interview.
For Temple of the Dog fans, there are rumors out there that a live album might soon be released with songs taken from the band’s 2016 tour.
With Cornell’s death in 2017, there will never be another Temple of the Dog tour or album. Fortunately, music fans can still reach out and listen to the 1990 masterpiece, which will stand the test of time.

Check out the making of Soundgarden's Louder Than Love album

Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Shocker! Motley Crue is Back

Nikki Sixx and Vince Neil, in their prime, rocking in 1984.
Actually, it's not shocking Motley Crue recently announced they were reuniting and launching a massive US tour in 2020 (which finally launched in 2022 because of the COVID pandemic.
Sadly, though, this is a band that has major egg on its collective face after signing a "legally-binding" contract stipulating they would never tour again after Dec. 31, 2015. At the time, band leader and founder Nikki Sixx said "There is no amount of money that would ever make me do it again because I have such pride in how we're ending it. If anybody ever would call any other band members and say, 'Hey it's been 10 years, let's just do 10 shows. A million a pop.' It could never happen unless all four band members agreed. And if we did agree, the way we've set it up - we'd have so much egg on our face. We have so much pride that that alone would stop it."
Well, that's a lot of egg.
Firstly Sixx, drummer Tommy Lee, vocalist Vince Neil, and guitarist Mick Mars couldn't even wait 10 years - they made it only four years. Also the latest reports have the band apparently demanding more than $3 million per future show. Now, after announcing a stadium tour with Poison and Def Leppard, you could say each band would get $1 million per show if that total gets split evenly.
In their press release announcing their "comeback" (they weren't really gone that long), the band says they have legions of new fans thanks to the Netflix biopic based off their story The Dirt. 

It's all about the Fans ... er Money

While it's great for new fans to get a chance to see the Crue live (they do put on a great live show despite Neil's brutal vocals), make no mistake, there's only one reason the band (which was in its prime 32 years ago) is back and that's money.
There's no love lost between Lee and Neil as documented in Lee's biography Tommyland and if it wasn't about the money, the aging Crue would at least put a new album out so they had something to tour behind, or a reason to go out on tour and break their contract.
Yes, it's all about money which they'll make hand over fist because there aren't a lot of big bands touring right now that can sell out stadiums. There certainly aren't a lot of new bands that can do so, anyways.
Motley Crue joins a long list of band that reunited after "ending" their touring careers including KISS, The Who, and Black Sabbath.
A lot of rock bands talk about integrity and such, but clearly Motley Crue has none.