i get it.
some people are sick of the sight of DAVE GROHL. in recent years he has been omnipresent in documentaries related to anything and everything ROCK N ROLL. lazy journalists refer to him as "the nicest guy in the music industry" (which makes my lizard brain immediately counter with, yeah, to journalists) and he has become something of the TORCH BEARER for the HUMAN ELEMENT in music writ large during an era of PITCH CORRECTION and DIGITAL MANIPULATION in the production of music. so i get the eye rolls and shirking at yet another testimonial to his supposed GREATNESS.
what gets me about GROHL is his capacity to be INCLUSIVE to musicians. he's collaborated on COUNTLESS projects for other artists (MELVINS, EARTHLINGS?, TENACIOUS D, KILLING JOKE, THE PRODIGY, DAVID BOWIE, NINE INCH NAILS), been in numerous bands (NIRVANA, QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE, FOO FIGHTERS, SCREAM, THEM CROOKED VULTURES) and initiated projects designed to showcase the talents of others like PROBOT (LEMMY KILMISTER, MAX CAVALERA, KING DIAMOND, WINO, CRONOS), TEENAGE TIME KILLERS (JELLO BIAFRA, NEIL FALLON, MATT SKIBA, RANDY BLYTHE) and the SOUND CITY soundtrack (LEE VING, PAUL MCCARTNEY, RICK SPRINGFIELD, CHRIS GOSS, STEVIE NICKS). oh yeah and he made the FOO FIGHTERS record an album of straight-up FUNKY BEE-GEE covers. you should be dancing, indeed.
its one thing to be an advocate for a community, another entirely to put ENERGY into being a CREATIVE RESOURCE for them to access. GROHL, given his unique cultural cache and commercial success with NIRVANA and FOO FIGHTERS, has time and again leveraged such a platform to spotlight those around him and causes he believes in. i just dont see it as SELFISH. the man has gone through more than his share of suffering from the very public premature passing of his friends and former bandmates that would crush less a person. hes carried on the spirit and legacy of his friend KURT COBAIN for decades and i imagine the same will be the case with TAYLOR HAWKINS. all i can say is godspeed.
embedded below is a DEER GOD RADIO episode on nonprofit internet radio station MAKERPARKRADIO.NYC that originally aired at the end of 2021. the playlist includes music from throughout the DAVE GROHL's infamous catalogue. enjoy!
so years ago i found myself in IOWA at an international teaching fair in the dead of winter with no real prospects of finding a job. it was 2009 and essentially the GREAT RECESSION effectuated a dearth of possible positions stateside since older teachers were holding off their retirements, thus i looked abroad. as it so happened, so was everyone else.
so im sitting in my hotel room thinking about what to do in IOWA when i realized that BUDDY HOLLY played his last show at a local club a few hours away in CLEAR LAKE. a few other fast friends i made from FLORIDA (who were in the same boat), had a rental car and decided that making the trip sounded like as good a use of our time as any so we b-lined there. what was crazy is that the SURF BALLROOM was closed as, of all people, YOKO ONO was inside being interviewed for an upcoming documentary. turns out we arrived, by pure coincidence, on the 50th anniversary of the famous plane crash that took the lives of not only HOLLY but also RICHIE VALENS and THE BIG BOPPER back in 1959. still hard to believe that the one time i visited the venue and the crash site, by dumb luck, was on such an auspicious day. not sure if id go back. its more than a little morbid.
whats cool about HOLLY is that he established so much of the vocabulary associated with ROCK AND ROLL. this covers everything from our expectations regarding a singer-songwriter fronting a band with music composed and lyrics written by said musician. before this you had TIN PAN ALLEY and standards written by songwriters and sung by gifted, professional singers a la FRANK SINATRA, ELLA FITZGERALD and the like. HOLLY in my mind was a revolution in that he personalized that art of making music and opened the door for BRITISH INVASION acts like THE BEATLES, THE KINKS, THE WHO and THE ROLLING STONES, who all adored him, to channel their own personality and perspectives into songs composed and played by themselves. even peers like the supremely gifted EVERLY BROTHERS sang songs for the most part written by BOUDLEAUX and FELICE BRYANT who did so at the behest of their record label. HOLLY to me represents the first time a musician and their instrument armed with catchy songs took over the planet.
he paved the way for literally everyone, which is why his music has been covered by countless acts from LOU REED, BLONDIE, WANDA JACKSON, THE BEATLES, FIONA APPPLE, RUSH, PATTI SMITH and THE ROLLING STONES to ERASURE, CHRIS ISAAK, GRATEFUL DEAD, BO DIDDLEY, X, JEFF LYNNE, THE RAVEONETTES, ALBERT LEE, MODEST MOUSE and LEMMY KILMISTER.
definitely check out the DEER GOD RADIO episode celebrating BUDDY HOLLY from back in september 2021.
check out HERE this recent streaming video episode of DEER GOD RADIO celebrating the music of early ROCK N ROLL pioneer BUDDY HOLLY!
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!
photo & text by nacrowe
i am aware that the previous album NO REST FOR THE WICKED (EPIC, 1988) was his debut on an OZZY OSBOURNE record, but for me NO MORE TEARS (EPIC, 1991) is the real coming-out party for the squealing riffage and pinch-harmonic madness that is the virtuosic yet tasteful guitar playing of ZAKK WYLDE. i start out saying this because OZZY has been blessed in his career to collaborate with some singular guitar players: namely TONY IOMMI and RANDY RHOADS (R.I.P). to say that WYLDE was successful in establishing his own sonic legacy within such a storied lineage is pretty remarkable.
tracks like "MR. TINKERTRAIN," "DESIRE," "I DON'T WANT TO CHANGE THE WORLD," "HELLRAISER" and "ZOMBIE STOMP" are ripping, propulsive examples that showcase his paradoxically flashy yet tastefully restrained style. he is equal parts JIMI HENDRIX, ALBERT LEE and ROBIN TROWER. i read years ago in an interview that he was very deliberate when joining OZZY's band about not stepping on the toes of his predecessors (TONY IOMMI, RANDY RHOADS, JAKE E. LEE) and this strayed away from TRIADS, DIVE BOMBS (and WHAMMY BAR TRICKS in general) and anything sounding NEOCLASSICAL. this meant that he relied on NATURAL and PINCH HARMONICS and PENTATONICS to derive and inform his expressive style. and in my opinion it worked.
as for OZZY, this record found him in a reflective mood as he was at a stage where he had a second chance at fatherhood with a growing young family. famously the tour for this record was the ingeniously (and in retrospect laughably incorrect) monikered NO MORE TOURS tour where he played with the idea of retirement. he beat JAY-Z to that punch by a decade. given that introspective sentiment, the notable track "MAMA, I'M COMING HOME" finds him pledging to his wife SHARON that he is ready to finally settle down. it was co-written with the legendary MOTORHEAD frontman LEMMY KILMISTER (along with"HELLRAISER"). that song also showcases some tasteful DICKY BETTS-esque acoustic chicken-picking by the likes of WYLDE, again making his range very apparent.
outside of the classic RANDY RHOADS albums of the early 1980s, NO MORE TEARS is the OZZY solo record i return to most often. arguably the best produced record, it just sounds huge with a hungry young guitarist at the peak of his powers. it still holds up and most definitely worth reinvestigation.
photo manipulation by nacrowe
sadly in recent years there has been a series of documentaries chronicling the demise of the recording studio, most notably the DAVE GROHL-directed SOUND CITY (review linked HERE). inevitably the repeated narrative is about what has been lost with the advent and rise of powerful (and mobile) digital recording technology (i.e. PROTOOLS), such being the spontaneity, feeling and magic that happens when musicians make it happen in close proximity to one another.
ROCKFIELD: THE STUDIO ON THE FARM (IE IE PRODUCTIONS, 2020) follows the story of the notable WELSH residential recording studio, ROCKFIELD STUDIOS, that has been utilized by the likes of everyone from BLACK SABBATH, QUEEN, IGGY POP, DAVID BOWIE, ADAM ANT, JUDAS PRIEST, ROBERT PLANT and HAWKWIND to THE STONE ROSES, CHRISTIAN DEATH, OASIS, BAUHAUS, MANIC STREET PREACHERS, ROYAL BLOOD and even COLDPLAY among countless others. what is interesting about the studio is its isolation. when it was created in the 1960s by two brothers, it was completely unique in that all other studios of its caliber were owned by record labels and located in LONDON. atmosphere-wise many of them were effectively sonic laboratories and had the vibe of a dental office. ROCKFIELD was located far removed in the WELSH countryside on what was effectively a pig and dairy farm. artists could rehearse and record with little to no distractions and effectively no volume restrictions. this was the setting that bands like BLACK SABBATH and HAWKWIND perfected their decibel rattling sound.
this isolation and lack of distractions also means that there is an intimacy to the experience of recording at all hours for an extended period of time. recording at ROCKFIELD came with cooked meals by the family that ran the studio and sleeping on the premises that they also maintained. apparently THE STONE ROSES famously stayed for 14 months straight during their peak creative and prolific period. it went the other way as well since some of the participants spoke of it as a prison, especially if your band was not clicking.
given that DEER GOD ran a recording studio for a period that was deliberately removed from the hustle and bustle of NEW YORK CITY (we were located in a late 19th century victorian mansion in southern STATEN ISLAND), its always interesting for me to listen to the shared experience of working with artists. in all these films it seems that one gig leads to the next. with SOUND CITY there was a long dry spell in the 1980s until NIRVANA came which begot RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE, TOOL, KYUSS, MASTERS OF REALITY, SLAYER and so on. same with ROCKFIELD STUDIOS with a similar trajectory in the 1980s followed by THE STONE ROSES who begot OASIS, THE CHARLATANS, THE BOO RADLEYS and several members of BRITPOP royalty.
the recording studio as a destination is now an outmoded anachronism. which is sad. im glad documentaries such as ROCKFIELD: THE STUDIO ON THE FARM exist since it allows us to take stock in the moment of a period of transition as music and art "progress" forward with the advent of ever more powerful recording technology.
its interesting to consider what lays ahead and how music production will shift and evolve moving forward. whether or not the human element in music will survive. its an endlessly captivating topic.
"DEER GOD RADIO 148: DAVE GROHL" LIVE TONIGHT AT 10PM EST ON MAKERPARKRADIO.NYC
join us TONIGHT at 10PM EST for an all new episode of DEER GOD RADIO on MAKERPARKRADIO.NYC with a playlist celebrating the incredibly influential career of HARDCORE / ALTERNATIVE ROCK veteran DAVE GROHL!
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, make sure and download the FREE PHONE APP for IOS/ANDROID and enjoy listening to MAKERPARKRADIO.NYC 24/7 at your convenience!
somewhere along the way, legendary guitar player SCOTT IAN of THRASH METAL icons ANTHRAX learned he had a real gift for storytelling. his obvious mentor in this regard was HARDCORE frontman HENRY ROLLINS of BLACK FLAG/ROLLINS BAND fame who has maintained a longstanding second career as an in-demand spoken-word artist.
given his stature, IAN has seen things over his 30+ year career and his second memoir ACCESS ALL AREAS: STORIES FROM A HARD ROCK LIFE (DA CAPO PRESS 2017), which he penned himself, maintains his acerbic wit, cadence and voice. reading through this it is not hard to imagine him standing beside you performing each narrative as a spoken-word routine, which is definitely a compliment. there is a reason why most musicians don't write their own memoirs, and IAN proves himself a highly capable narrator. his style is very much utilitarian in that he doesn't get too wordy or overly clever with descriptions, which in a way describes his iconic no-sense rhythm guitar work and that of his musical idol, MALCOLM YOUNG of AC/DC.
obviously i don't want to give away any of the stories, but i will say that they deal with his outside pursuits regarding professional poker, moonlighting in tv shows like THE WALKING DEAD and GAME OF THRONES, relationships and of course touring. highlights include stories that include the pranks of legendary PANTERA guitarist DIMEBAG DARRELL (R.I.P.), hanging out with MADONNA and the wardrobe choices of the immortal LEMMY KILMISTER (R.I.P.) of the almighty MOTÖRHEAD.
IAN comes off as a hardworking musician more than aware of how fortunate he is to have his career and the respect of his peers and this book, along with the previous I AM THE MAN: THE STORY OF THAT GUY FROM ANTHRAX (DA CAPO PRESS 2014), seem to be a celebration of that community of musicians. a celebration of how they touched his life, so in that regard i hope he keeps writing.
also keep a look out for the dude in concert. just learned he's touring with MR. BUNGLE in 2020. MIKE PATTON and SCOTT IAN sharing a stage. man, life certainly does not suck.