photo & text by nacrowe
this one takes me back.
i dont recall hearing RURAL PENNSYLVANIAN POST-GRUNGE band LIVE's THROWING COPPER (RADIOACTIVE, 1994) during my childhood in SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA, even though i know timeline-wise it was a staple on the massively INFLUENTIAL LOS ANGELES-based ALTERNATIVE ROCK radio station 106.7FM KROQ at the time. my exposure to MTV during that period was nil, i knew of one acquaintance from a soccer team that had cable and that was it. my first recollection of seeing anything LIVE-related was their "LIGHTNING CRASHES" video on MTV in 1996 when my family stayed in NEW YORK CITY for an extended weekend before flying to GERMANY en route to NIGERIA.
so most of what i remember of this record was through my AMERICAN classmates in NIGERIA who had it on compact disc. along with NIRVANA, THE SMASHING PUMPKINS, KORN, GREEN DAY, THE OFFSPRING, FAITH NO MORE, ALICE IN CHAINS, SOUNDGARDEN and the RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS, LIVE was just another band in the mix of all that being blared from the company bus en route to and from school each day and at friends' houses playing video games. it was just kinda there in the background. i think the band's appeal was that they had a ROOTSY, QUASI-RELIGIOUS and POETIC bent to their lyrics courtesy of singer ED KOWALCZYK, which seemed to hint at BIBLICAL ideations of the sublime. their songs also had a tendency to build and dramatically crescendo which only further effectuated this proclivity for ALLEGORICAL and METAPHYSICAL meaning in their lyrics. its thematic territory that EDDIE VEDDER sometimes wades into from time to time. sometimes it worked and sometimes it fell flat and came off more than a bit POMPOUS. some STANDOUT tracks include the singles "LIGHTNING CRASHES," "I ALONE," "SELLING THE DRAMA" and "ALL OVER YOU," but far and away my favorite song they ever did was "SHIT TOWNE." living on a compound filled by RACIST southerners in WEST AFRICA took its toll on me over time and in retrospect "SHIT TOWNE" was my theme song. i didnt feel that way about neighboring LAGOS in the least but the company compound was the source of my ire and from which i attempted in my second and third years to get out of as much as possible. that song was the soundtrack to such activity.
arguably the JERRY HARRISON (TALKING HEADS, THE MODERN LOVERS) co-produced THROWING COPPER was one of the more ARTISTICALLY SUCCESSFUL POST-GRUNGE albums that came out in the immediate wake NIRVANA, but to some extent it still trades on the same template that the SEATTLE ALTERNATIVE ROCK movement paved years earlier and is a bit DERIVATIVE, which is a criticism that could also be levied at the COUNTLESS bands that emerged in its cultural wake. my thought would be just to go to the source and check out those bands instead and then maybe make your way to the SILVERCHAIRs, COLLECTIVE SOULs and BUSHes of the world. or just skip the latter entirely.