in the popular consciousness, the brief two-year run of THE JON STEWART SHOW (MTV, 1993-1995) is best remembered as the cursory introduction of arguably one of the SEMINAL comedic and political voices in AMERICA LIFE. it is not hyperbole to put the continued social-political impact of JON STEWART up there with GEORGE CARLIN, MARK TWAIN or even THOMAS PAINE. he is an institution unto himself and it is great that he has had a bit of a resurgence with his THE PROBLEM WITH JON STEWART (APPLE TV+, 2001-present) program in recent years.
but THE JON STEWART SHOW was really just a RUN-OF-THE-MILL talk show on MTV, which a the time was still playing music videos in heavy rotation and was in the early years of developing and perfecting what would become its highly INFLUENTIAL and PROFITABLE REALITY TV formula via BUNIM/MURRAY PRODUCTIONS. in retrospect, one aspect of the show that absolutely flourished was its live ECLECTIC mix of musical guests which ranged from INDIE ROCK (DINOSAUR JR, GUIDED BY VOICES, BELLY, JULIANA HATFIELD) and POST HARDCORE (QUICKSAND, SUNNY DAY REAL ESTATE) luminaries and METAL (SLAYER, MARILYN MANSON) veterans to UPSTART ALTERNATIVE ROCK (FAITH NO MORE, BLIND MELON, HUM, THE BREEDERS, OASIS, HELMET) bands. and the list really does goes on.
it is really IMPRESSIVE the amount of great bands that THE JON STEWART SHOW presented to the world during what are arguably their peak creative years. definitely something worth checking out.
i recently came across the SESIONES CON ALEJANDRO FRANCO televised live music and interview video series out of MEXICO and its seven seasons of performance footage from throughout the country. the participating bands are a murderer's row of PROMINENT LATIN and AMERICAN bands including the likes of THE DRESDEN DOLLS, BOMBA ESTEREO, THE XX, BEIRUT, MOGWAI, CHRIS CORNELL, OF MONTREAL, BLONDIE, PLACEBO, DINOSAUR JR, TEGAN & SARA, VIVIAN GIRLS, CAKE, ATERCIOPELADOS, CALLE 13, THE DANDY WARHOLS, SPOON, GOGOL BORDELLO, MORRISSEY and THE RAVEONETTES.
i should also mention that the VISUALS are SPECTACULAR with multiple positions expertly edited together seamlessly and the SOUND MIX is absolutely ON POINT (which is not always the case with these live music performance series sadly). definitely check it out and enjoy.
there was once a brief moment when HARDCORE legend and spoken-word artist HENRY ROLLINS (S.O.A., BLACK FLAG, ROLLINS BAND) had of all things his own cable show on IFC. ever since he left his regular gig at a GEORGETOWN HAAGEN DAZ to join BLACK FLAG on tour, anyone familiar with ROLLINS life narrative is acutely aware that he is not one to say no to an enticing opportunity and with THE HENRY ROLLINS SHOW (IFC, 2006-2007) he really took advantage of the situation, lining up interview guests in an INSANE who's who rolodex of ROCK N ROLL's biggest movers and shakers. everyone from MUSICIANS like OZZY OSBOURNE (BLACK SABBATH), PERRY FARRELL (JANE'S ADDICTION, PORNO FOR PYROS), IGGY POP (THE STOOGES), GENE SIMMONS (KISS), TOM MORELLO (RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE), MARILYN MANSON, CHUCK D (PUBLIC ENEMY), STEVEN TYLER (AEROSMITH), SERJ TANKIAN (SYSTEM OF A DOWN) and JOAN JETT (THE RUNAWAYS) to FILM DIRECTORS like WERNER HERZOG (AGUIRRE, THE WRATH OF GOD, FITZCARRALDO), JOHN WATERS (PINK FLAMINGOS, FEMALE TROUBLE), KEVIN SMITH (CLERKS), PAUL THOMAS ANDERSON (BOOGIE NIGHTS, THERE WILL BE BLOOD), PENELOPE SPHEERIS (THE END OF WESTERN CIVILIZATION, WAYNE'S WORLD) and OLIVER STONE (WALL STREET, NATURAL BORN KILLERS), not to mention ARTISTS like SHEPARD FAIREY and ACTORS and COMEDIANS like JEFF BRIDGES, EDDIE IZZARD, JOHNNY KNOXVILLE, CHRISTOPHER WALKEN, PATTON OSWALT, WILLIAM SHATNER, TIM ROTH and STEVE BUSCEMI among many others.
the impetus for these interviewee selections no doubt was compelled by the many interests of ROLLINS and not whether a major commercial project was in need of promotion. what comes off seamlessly are NATURAL conversations based on mutual RESPECT and ADMIRATION, which is pretty cool to watch. there is no pandering to an in-studio audience or limiting topics for the sake of the fleeting interest of a perceived general audience in tv land. sadly and arguably such INDIVIDUALISM is likely the reason that THE HENRY ROLLINS SHOW only lasted two seasons on IFC.
the musical choices were likewise staggeringly GREAT, so attached below are performances by the likes of THOM YORKE, SLAYER, BOB MOULD, DINOSAUR JR, PEEPING TOM, BILLY BRAGG, DEADBOY & THE ELEPHANTMEN, ROBYN HITCHCOCK, SLEATER-KINNEY, DANIEL JOHNSTON, THE STOOGES, PEACHES, THE GOOD THE BAD AND THE QUEEN and SHANE MACGOWAN.
definitely enjoy. what a great run he had.
parody by nacrowe
check out HERE this recent streaming video episode of DEER GOD RADIO celebrating INDIE ROCK royalty DINOSAUR JR!
past episodes of DEER GOD RADIO are available here at the DEER GOD website as well as in the MAKERPARKRADIO.NYC archives.
and if you haven't done so already get the FREE PHONE APP for IOS/ANDROID and enjoy listening to MAKERPARKRADIO.NYC 24/7 at your convenience!
my introduction to SST RECORDS as a teenager, like i presume with most people, was through the AMERICAN HARDCORE icons BLACK FLAG. for me the record label, much like DISCHORD, EPITAPH, ALTERNATIVE TENTACLES or FAT WRECK CHORDS, was the symbolic representation of the DIY ethic and the attached value system of SELF-DEPENDENCE and COMMUNITY-BUILDING that 80s HARDCORE epitomizes. BLACK FLAG, more than any other band of that era, trail-blazed and literally fought for a nationwide network of alternate venues that later bands of multiple genres benefitted from.
so for me reading CORPORATE ROCK SUCKS: THE RISE & FALL OF SST RECORDS (HATCHETTE, 2022) by JIM RULAND was pretty eye-opening in that it very much showcases the CONFLICTED, DUAL LEGACY of a legendary label that both opened doors for untapped talent (from DINOSAUR JR, THE MEAT PUPPETS, HUSKER DU and SONIC YOUTH to SAINT VITUS, THE MINUTEMEN, SOUNDGARDEN and OXBOW among countless others) yet effectively exploited them in turn. and it is that second legacy of EXPLOITATION that feels incongruous with the initial ETHOS and CULTURAL WEIGHT of BLACK FLAG, as the band exemplifies more than any other of its era the idea of uncompromising INTEGRITY. such is the crux of this incredible book.
the band and the label both came out of a bloated 1970s cultural scene in SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA that saw radio and means of promotion being corporatized to the point that all ALTERNATIVE VIEWPOINTS were seemingly edged out of the conversation. what GREG GINN accomplished with his band and label was to promote an ALTERNATIVE COMMUNITY that appreciated different perspectives and musical ideas. his label very much promoted emerging scenes from seemingly unrelated genres of INDIE ROCK (DINOSAUR JR), MELODIC HARDCORE (THE MINUTEMEN, HUSKER DU, THE DESCENDENTS), DOOM METAL (SAINT VITUS), PSYCHEDELIA (THE MEAT PUPPETS) and even experimental NOISE ROCK (SONIC YOUTH). in turn, the CULTURAL LEGACY of the label was one of being at the forefront of culture, well beyond its HARDCORE roots. these bands mentioned are the well-known ones, for the label put out many, many more by more OBSCURE and AVANT-GARDE musicians that ran the gamut from JAZZ and ELECTRONIC experiments to IMPROVISATIONAL SPOKEN WORD performances. the label was very much over the map.
which gets at the current state of SST RECORDS. a dormant label that has largely been abandoned by its founder and has not nurtured the immense cultural legacies of its artists with comprehensive re-releases of landmark albums. worse, there are rumors that it has either misplaced or improperly stored master tapes. it just feels tragic that for a label that gave so many artists access to a community it fought so hard to initiate, that in the end they left it all to rot. or worse stagnate and fester as GINN refuses to voluntarily give artists their music rights back. music that his label has chosen to sit on, in some cases, for decades.
its that dual notion of GINN as both a RIGHTEOUS SUPPORTER and a CORPORATE GOON that is difficult to swallow for those on the outside. just the idea that SST RECORDS is as much a part of that soulless corporate business-as-usual approach that they supposedly were fighting against.
it is unfortunate.
there is nothing innately special about the concert film 1991: THE YEAR PUNK BROKE (TARA FILMS, 1992) on the surface.
filmed on tour in 1991 while INDIE ROCK icons SONIC YOUTH was on tour in throughout EUROPE, the film has the requisite backstage antics youd expect from an underground AMERICAN band playing overseas while it was still a novel experience. most of the live songs presented are from SONIC YOUTH, but there is also live footage of BABES IN TOYLAND, DINOSAUR JR, GUMBALL, THE RAMONES and NIRVANA.
and basically everyone who watches this film is well aware that NIRVANA was the band that broke punk into the mainstream shortly after this tour, not SONIC YOUTH. in that sense this film functions as a historical document of NIRVANA, and KURT COBAIN specifically, arguably at their peak before the pressures of success, fame and drug abuse slowly dismantled the group over the next three years. the fact that in this film COBAIN is not the focal point only makes it that much enticing as an portrayal of him during an enjoyable moment in time when he was surrounded by likeminded peers like KIM GORDON, J MASCIS, MARK ARM and the like overseas goofing off and introducing cuts off BLEACH (SUB POP, 1989) and the yet-to-be-released NEVERMIND (DGC, 1991) to new, unsuspecting audiences. watching that is that moment is the real treat of this film.
speaking of goofing off, there is way too much THURSTON MOORE rambling off bullshit throughout this film. at first it is charmingly annoying but by the end of the film it really is just annoying hearing him go off on tangents leading nowhere. but those pointless interludes in between concert footage only goes to show that this film was originally conceived as a SONIC YOUTH vehicle culled from their footage.
is an interesting historical document with some great live performances by legendary ALTERNATIVE ROCK acts, but if you are looking for something more substantial than definitely check out the documentaries HYPE (review linked HERE), PUNK: ATTITUDE (review linked HERE) and WHEN NIRVANA CAME TO BRITAIN (review linked HERE) for additional context.
KISS is a bit of a joke.
or at least that is what i grew up hearing and reading from people around me and national music publications. they are unapologetically from the "more is more" school of entertainment and are universally derided for supposedly being all style and no substance. in fact they are regarded by many tastemakers as the epitome of INAUTHENTICITY.
which is all pretty much missing the point because in essence all musicians are in the KISS business of entertaining audiences, whether they be BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN, NEIL YOUNG, PATTI SMITH, DAVID BOWIE or BOB DYLAN. they all carry an image that is sold to the masses, some more consciously than others. when i consider the actual legacy of KISS, i think of what bands they influenced, which conveniently enough include members of DINOSAUR JR, RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE, TOOL, ANTHRAX, FAITH NO MORE (and even STEVIE WONDER) found on the KISS MY ASS: CLASSIC KISS REGROOVED (MERCURY, 1994) tribute compilation. other vocal KISS proponents not featured on this MERCURY RECORDS-initiated compilation famously include the likes of THE MELVINS, PANTERA, THE REPLACEMENTS, ALICE IN CHAINS, HUSKER DU, SOUNDGARDEN, PEARL JAM and THE MINUTEMEN.
my sense is that for kids in the 1970s, KISS represented an escapist fantasy where a fan could transcend their daily existence. this feels very much like the very credo of ROCK N ROLL itself. and it goes beyond that since the band was an economic entity unto itself, foreshadowing the DIY HARDCORE / INDIE ROCK ethic that followed in the 1980s. economic independence goes hand in hand with freedom of speech. it should come as no surprise then that these bands are are consciously challenging the political, economic, cultural and gender normative culture of what a ROCK N ROLL is and can be.
critical respect is nice, but clearing the way for such a disparate set of quality bands is a legacy i'd argue better worth having. the KISS MY ASS tribute compilation is evidence of that.
i am fully aware that in the pantheon of great DINOSAUR JR albums, WITHOUT A SOUND (SIRE, 1994) is not considered one of them. earlier records with the classic lineup (MURPH, LOU BARLOW, J MASCIS) like YOU'RE LIVING ALL OVER ME (SST, 1988) and BUG (SST, 1988) are probably the better starting point for new iniates into the swirling, explosive and strangely nuanced INDIE ROCK of this classic WESTERN MASSACHUSETTS band.
but this was my introduction to the band as a 4th grader. the BILL CLINTON-trolling "FEEL THE PAIN" was all over the local ALTERNATIVE ROCK station 106.7FM KROQ in nearby LOS ANGELES. i didnt see the accompanying ingenious SPIKE JONZE-directed music video until well into my 20s and the advent of YOUTUBE since as a child in SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA we didnt have cable and therein MTV.
but i did have the "FEEL THE PAIN" shirt! it was patently offensive with a dude being graphically chocked out. in fact i still have it somewhere in storage more than 25 years later. it was originally my father's and i believe he got it at BLACK HOLE RECORDS in FULLERTON (which amazingly is still around).
if i'm being honest the initial appeal of that album as a kid was J MASCIS' voice. he had this carefree, almost insouciant delivery that really appealed to me. of course now i am aware of the through-line that the band represents that connects everything from HARDCORE and INDIE ROCK to even BLACK METAL with their previous incarnation as DEEP WOUND. given that this record was essentially a glorified J MASCIS solo record, there are several tracks that showcase his predilection for COUNTRY-fied licks and guitar textures in service to his idiosyncratic and effectively off-kilter melodic sense. specifically tracks like "OUTTA HAND," "BLAH" and "I DON'T THINK SO" come to mind. years later i attended a private school in WESTERN MASSACHUSETTS and became intimately aware of record and used bookstores in towns like AMHERST, NORTHAMPTON and GREENFIELD. i listen to their records now and they seem very much a part of that weird social landscape of HIPPIES mixed with TRUCKER culture.
so in conclusion i still very much love WITHOUT A SOUND but i admit that there are other DINOSAUR JR efforts i turn to first, especially those i listed along with WHERE YOU BEEN (SIRE, 1993), but thats what happens when you have a deep catalogue of influential and ever-inspiring original material.
collage by nacrowe
check out HERE this recent streaming video episode of DEER GOD RADIO showcasing VOLUME 2 of all the bands i've been writing about on the CHECK OUT THIS BAND section of the DEERBLOG. enjoy. if you're interested here is a link to VOLUME 1.
past episodes of DEER GOD RADIO as well as other MAKERPARKRADIO.NYC shows like MAKE HER SPACE, NOWHERE FAST, THE SYNTHESIZER SHOW and CLASSICAL-ISH WITH NUTMEG are available here at the DEER GOD website.
and if you haven't done so already get the FREE PHONE APP for IOS/ANDROID and enjoy listening to MAKERPARKRADIO.NYC 24/7 at your convenience!
photo manipulation by nacrowe
this legendary INDIE band that came together in the wake of another iconic proto-DEATH METAL band DEEP WOUND, definitely does not need any publicity or fanboy admiration from me, but that is exactly what I am going to give DINOSAUR JR.
in all honesty they came into my consciousness in the early 90s when i was in 4th grade, partly by their quasi-hit "Feel The Pain" that was on regular rotation on local station KROQ and partly by the accompanying grotesque shirt my dad got at BLACK HOLE RECORDS in nearby Fullerton that i still have. crazy.
but when i really got into them was later during my high school years when i was attending boarding school in WESTERN MASSACHUSETTS, only a few cities north of Amherst where they are from. much like any other place i landed in, i pretty much sought out the local culture and all points led to vocalist/songwriter/guitarist J MASCIS.
what i love about their sound is the understated ferocity of it all. you really get the sense of how much J MASCIS just adores swimming in glorious feedback and barely contained dissonance, yet the songs are delicate, whimsical and melodic. i very much appreciated that dynamism and it makes perfect sense how such influenced later ALTERNATIVE ROCK bands. seeing them live, as well as J MASCIS solo/THE FOG shows, it is almost absurd how loud it all is. the only other band i can recall off-hand that was that loud was the almighty MOTÖRHEAD. for me, the sound of J MASCIS playing guitar or hearing his voice reminds me of brutal WESTERN MASSACHUSETTS winters and surviving algebra half a world away from my family. when i hear their music it reminds me of isolation and oddly, comfort.
i cannot recommend their work highly enough. check out DINOSAUR JR.
as corporate propaganda goes, ERNIE BALL MUSIC MAN's online STRING THEORY video series on YOUTUBE is pretty effective. they basically created extended interviews with such notable players as JOHNNY MARR, DAVE NAVARRO (JANE'S ADDICTION), JERRY CANTRELL (ALICE IN CHAINS), KIRK HAMMETT (METALLICA), DARON MALAKIAN (SYSTEM OF A DOWN), JADE PUGET (AFI), TOM DELONGE (BLINK 182), STEPHEN CARPENTER (DEFTONES) and J MASCIS (DINOSAUR JR) among many others, all explaining how they came to play guitar and what being a musician / songwriter means to them. somewhere, of course, they mention the strings.
there has definitely been a move towards these types of online cross-promotional infomercials (well-produced as they are) by various companies in the retail guitar space, each showcasing how their product in concert with products by other notable manufactures support recording and touring musicians and allow them to pursue their art. and just in terms of marketing i think that is a smart move since it equates your product with the quality of other well-known brands, in this case guitar manufacturers like FENDER, GIBSON, IBANEZ, G&L and PAUL REED SMITH and amp companies like MARSHALL, MESA-BOOGIE, FRIEDMAN, FENDER, DIEZEL, ORANGE and BOGNER among others.
in terms of each artist, hearing them talk about their influences and how they came about playing guitar as they strum off iconic riffs through their live rigs is just such a sweet spot to hit for any fan of guitar playing. i can never hear enough of "THIS CHARMING MAN" or the solo from "THREE DAYS" in its entirety, no matter the context.
kinda feel guilty for showcasing blatant, unapologetic corporate propaganda, but oh well. enjoy!
photo manipulation by nacrowe
i discovered this ongoing series on the PREMIER GUITAR youtube channel a few years ago and have long been obsessed with it. as a failed guitar player myself, it is fun to hear from the players and their techs about all sorts of details regarding their sound and setup. the format is basically a run through of their guitars and amps as well as pedal configurations and individual opinions/philosophy regarding reliability/fidelity tradeoff between analog vs digital, cords vs wireless, in-ear vs speaker monitors, etc.
its really cool to to witness the minutiae of their sound, even diving into things like string gauges, pick thickness, pickup configurations, bridges, tuners and the list goes on. it is definitely a niche audience that gets off on this sort of thing, but i am squarely in that demographic.
for me their is never enough times to witness people talk about their prized LES PAUL JR, JAZZMASTER, D-28, COUNTRY GENTLEMAN, P-BASS, 370 12-string, JAZZ BASS, DOBRO TRICONE, 4003 BASS, WHITE FALCON or TELECASTER. or for that matter any variety of high-gain amplifier models like the DUAL RECTIFIER (BLINK 182, PENNYWISE), JCM 800 (SLAYER, JUDAS PRIEST), ROCKERVERB 100 (MASTODON), HIWATT CP103 (THE WHO), 5150 (VAN HALEN), JMP 2204 (AC/DC), SHIVA (ALICE IN CHAINS, TOOL), BE100 (ALICE IN CHAINS), VH4 (TOOL), CENTURY 200 (PANTERA, WHITE ZOMBIE), UBERSCHALL (TOOL) or a MARK IIC+ (early METALLICA)
whats also interesting over time is witnessing firsthand the trend towards digital amp profilers and modelers like the HELIX, KEMPER and especially the AXE FX which allows their setup to be easily transportable (like hand carry-on in a plane easy) as well as more consistent given that traditional tube amplifiers require maintenance from time to time depending on weather, humidity conditions.
you really get a sense of how and why guitar and bass musicians and those that support them utilize the gear they do on tour. you also get a clear "inside baseball" perspective on how they view these numerous tradeoff decisions every musician has to make, and they all have differing opinions. its basically required viewing for anyone interested in gear used by rock bands.
anyway, if you're interested definitely check out the examples i embedded below (these don't even scratch the surface of the total playlist linked HERE).
collage by nacrowe
earlier this summer i did a DEER GOD RADIO show on a topic i am particularly passionate about, INDIE ROCK.
i've spotlighted several bands in this genre (LA LUZ, JAPANESE BREAKFAST, EL GUINCHO, GIRL IN A COMA, DRAB MAJESTY, GRAHAM COXON) with several more planned in the coming weeks (WARPAINT, LA VIDA BOHÈME, THE COATHANGERS, IRON REAGAN, ANA TIJOUX, BATTLES, LE BUTCHERETTES). i've also written several book reviews on this topic (GIRL IN A BAND, LOVE ROCK REVOLUTION, MEET ME IN THE BATHROOM) with have several more lined up (SET THE BOY FREE, THIS BAND COULD BE YOUR LIFE, CLOSER YOU ARE, HUNGER MAKES ME A MODERN GIRL). all due to the fact that this is arguably my favorite genre. for me what edges it above METAL and HARDCORE is the experimental aspect of it, the fact that like HIP HOP, it is a form that at its core challenges the musician and listener alike to seek new sounds. this fact makes it infinitely intriguing to read about and explore as people came to it from different viewpoints along gender, class, geographic, political lines that ultimately complicated and strengthened the fabric of the by definition open community.
looking back, this was one of my favorite playlists yet. i see this specific show as being a sister piece to a previous episode dedicated to 1980s HARDCORE, since both were concurrent scenes that supported and in many cases had a similar DIY ETHIC surrounding it. if anything, i see MAKERPARKRADIO.NYC as a community built on that same ethos of independence, integrity and passion.
if the artwork didn't clue you into the playlist, you can always catch that at the episode's page HERE. take it all in and enjoy this show. i definitely had fun with it.
artwork by nacrowe
tonight's episode of DEER GOD RADIO at 8PM on MAKERPARKRADIO.NYC will be all about ALTERNATIVE ROCK from the 1990s.
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.