parodies & text by nacrowe
with the tragic passing of TAYLOR HAWKINS and the second tribute concert set to take place in LOS ANGELES within the week, it got me thinking about how bands and creative entities in general move past the loss or death of a PROMINENT member. its a very tricky thing. HAWKINS himself was the drummer of the FOO FIGHTERS, usually a backup supporting role, but in the context of that band he was the second most visible and charismatic member next to DAVE GROHL himself.
the most recent example i could think of in which a band successfully moved on form the untimely passing of a CELEBRATED member is ALICE IN CHAINS with the ascension of WILLIAM DUVALL for the late ALTERNATIVE ROCK icon LAYNE STALEY. for me, ALICE IN CHAINS was a foundational band (along with FAITH NO MORE and JANE'S ADDICTION) that very much defined the soundtrack of my adolescence, so the idea of them reforming with a new unknown singer during my mid-twenties was... let's just say i was SKEPTICAL. that is until i heard BLACK GIVES WAY TO BLUE (VIRGIN, 2009) and was beyond moved by the proper loving send-off they gave their fallen brother. such was done in true AC/DC BACK IN BLACK (ATLANTIC, 1980) fashion, meaning they acknowledged their loss and publicly mourned such in a manner fitting that member (i.e. making music of QUALITY and INTENTION).
obviously ALICE IN CHAINS and AC/DC lost their frontmen, but in the case of LED ZEPPELIN and THE WHO, like the FOO FIGHTERS, they lost their drummer. ZEPPELIN famously called it a day after JOHN BONHAM passed and THE WHO continued with diminishing returns in the wake of KEITH MOON's death. both drummers were larger than life exemplars at their craft. my gut says that GROHL will continue FOO FIGHTERS, but only after a long period crafting a fitting tribute to his fallen brother. i dont think this is the end of their story.
with the case of ALICE IN CHAINS, DUVALL held his own as his own man and showed a long suffering fanbase that he had his own gifts to bring to the role and help resurrect a genre-defining band from cultural extinction. his MUSICALITY (STELLAR VOICE, GUITAR-PLAYING ABILITY and SONGWRITING) spoke for itself and won over skeptics, like myself, over. like DUVALL, HAWKINS was the only member of his group to be primarily recognized for his work in that band, as all others were notable members of previous groups: DAVE GROHL (NIRVANA), PAT SMEAR (THE GERMS), NATE MENDEL (SUNNY DAY REAL ESTATE), CHRIS SHIFLETT (NO USE FOR A NAME) and RAMI JAFFEE (THE WALLFLOWERS). its doubly tragic since in recent years HAWKINS was on the cusp of spreading his wings on several high profile solo and side projects (NHC and THE COATTAIL RIDERS) that were beginning to gave his singing and songwriting talent its well-earned time in the spotlight. given his long association with the FOO FIGHTERS, i feel like his lasting sendoff and ultimate legacy will be on a future FOO FIGHTERS release dedicated in his honor a la BLACK GIVES WAY TO BLUE and BACK IN BLACK. that is my hunch at least, because itd be unfortunate if the group went the way of LED ZEPPELIN or even worse, THE WHO.
RIP TAYLOR HAWKINS, LAYNE STALEY, MIKE STARR, BON SCOTT, JOHN BONHAM, JOHN ENTWISTLE and KEITH MOON
enjoy this episode of DEER GOD RADIO with a playlist celebrating ALICE IN CHAINS shot from my brother's couch during the pandemic way back in march 2020.
parodies by nacrowe
i always feel like when you are listening to ROCK AND ROLL of any genre or era, inevitably all roads lead you to AC/DC. their sound is stripped of anything superfluous and just hits you over the head with the grace of a sledgehammer. to me it is the very essence of BLUES-based ROCK AND ROLL. i mean what more can you say that hasn't already been said about MALCOLM YOUNG (R.I.P) and his sublime rhythm guitar playing. it feels like he invented the notion of playing in the pocket. if you only listened to their grooves it'd be worth the price of admission alone, but on top of that you have ANGUS YOUNG and his legendary crafty lead work that never seems extraneous. BON SCOTT, BRIAN JOHNSON, i mean come on.
again, straight-up ROCK AND ROLL done absolutely right. no chaser. what more do you need on a thursday?
past episodes of DEER GOD RADIO as well as other MAKERPARKRADIO.NYC shows like MAKE HER SPACE, NOWHERE FAST, and THE SYNTHESIZER SHOW are available here at the DEER GOD website.