Music Rewind: Rock Regalia Revisited

Recently, my dear mother decided she’s had enough of letting me treat her house like a giant storage bin for all my long-since-useful crap.  On a recent trip back home, she finally made me take away all the gawdawful CDs I bought in college (examples: The Union Underground, Powerman 5000, Methods of Mayhem . . . I am ashamed of my past) along with a garbage back packed with old clothes.

Well, in that garbage bag, I found a bunch of band shirts and hats.  Most of these I bought at concerts.  As you’ll be able to see, they’re mostly cheap bootlegs.

Sevendust – Home (album) promotional shirt.  I bought this at the Pontiac Silverdome on December 31, 1999.  Sevendust opened the show that also featured Kid Rock, Ted Nugent, and headliners Metallica.  I’m assuming that the stadium was about 1/5 full when they hit the stage, but since I was firmly packed within Metallica’s snake pit, the show was a sellout to me.  Good times.

Foo Fighters – Eponymous album promotional shirt.  I did not buy this at a concert nor at a store.  This was given to me by my college girlfriend.  This girl convinced me to fly to the Netherlands to visit her when she was studying abroad, then she dumped me a week after we got back.  I should burn this shirt.

Pantera – Reinventing the Steel tour shirt.  BOOTLEG!  I saw these guys at the Deltaplex in Grand Rapids in February of 2001.  This was by far the most violent and chaotic show I have ever attended, and also one of the best.  The crowd was in such a panicked frenzy that the mosh pits began 15 minutes before Pantera took the stage.  My friend John and I were maybe 20 feet from Rex Brown the whole show.  My favorite moment was when all the utter mayhem and violence stopped for one peaceful and transcendent moment as Dimebag ripped off the end solo to “Floods.”  Totally amazing.

Metallica – 1994 world tour shirt.  I did not attend this concert, as I was a mere 13 at the time.  I found this at a used clothing store when I was a junior in college.  It’s an XL, which is what size shirt I was buying at the time.  Too much beer and all-you-can-eat cafeteria food in college.

Korn – Sick & Twisted tour shirt.  BOOTLEG!  I picked this up outside the Palace of Auburn Hills after I saw this show in April of 2001.  It was Korn and pre-wussified Staind.  This show happened on the same night that MSU won their last national championship in basketball.  If I could do it all over again, I’d have watched the game.

The Rolling Stones – Bridges to Babylon world tour shirt.  BOOTLEG!  This was the biggest show of my life when I saw it.  It was our senior year in high school.  Me and two friends went with my friends mom (she rocks).  Just a purely ridiculous stage setup.  But I’m glad I caught the Stones before they got old.

Everlast – Whitey Ford Sings the Blues album promo shirt.  Not a bootleg!  I got this at the State Theater (now the Fillmore Theater) in Detroit the winter of my senior year in high school.  It was Everlast and Sugar Ray when they still rocked (which did in fact happen, if you can believe it).  After the show ended, my buddy’s car wouldn’t start.  I had to call up my uncle who lives in Detroit to come pick us up and drive us two hours home.  Love your family.

Stone Temple Pilots – 1994 world tour shirt.  I did not attend this show.  This was actually the very first band shirt I ever owned.  My folks got it for me for Christmas when I was 14.  I was stoked, even though it looked goofy on me.  Some shirts just don’t site well on me.  I think I have a weirdly curved spine or something.

Soundgarden – Pretty Noose promo shirt.  I pick this one up at Kohl’s, because I really rock that hard.  I think I got it my sophomore year of high school.  It got kind of uncomfortably tight, probably because I was getting so ripped or something.  So, I ripped the sleeves off and this became a gym shirt.  See, I rocked out even when I was in gym.

Smashing Pumpkins – Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness tour shirt.  BOOTLEG!  It was the fall of our sophomore year in high school when we all piled in a van and caught this show at the Breslin Center in East Lansing.  I remember in the break before the Pumpkins took the stage, two dudes who were sitting by us starting swinging at each other.  One dude hit and ran down the stairs, so the other guy started mocking him for being afraid.  So, the dude slowly turns around and walks back up the steps, and the entire arena goes nuts!  Clearly, we were starved for entertainment in mid-Michigan in the mid-90s.

B.B. King – World Tour promo hat.  I saw this guy for my birthday my senior year of high school.  There’s no year on the hat, because . . . does it matter?  The guy hasn’t stopped touring since the 60s!  He was 73 when we saw him, and I was thinking we were lucky to catch him before he hung it up.  He’s 86 now and he’s still out there.  I hear it’s still a good show.

Metallica – Garage, Inc. promo hat.  My friend Jacob bought this same hat for about $30 at the Silverdome show we went to.  I found it a few months later at Spencer’s in the mall for about $5.  Sorry, Jacob!  I’m not sure I ever actually wore this.  I mean, look at it!  FUG.

Metallica – some random promo hat.  I’m not sure, but I think that same money-draining-then-dumping girlfriend bought this for me.  I wore the hell out of it.  That is not bad lighting.  That’s what used to be a black hat.  I hate to say it, but I doubt I could put it back on without looking like a total redneck.


That is all.  Not sure why I shared all this.  Just some blasts from the past for you all.


Led Zeppelin: Live in Joe’s Mind

Here’s the challenge: Shortly before John Bonham died in 1980, Led Zeppelin got some much needed rest.  Now, they’re geared up for a monstrous new tour that will rock as hard as any tour they’d ever done.  You have gone back in time and time-napped them and brought them to present day.

Rather than being perturbed by this rather strange event, the four victims of your multi-time-jurisdictional felony are extremely grateful for getting to bypass the 80s, and want to thank you by putting on a show.  Their entire catalogue is fair game.  The show, including encore, is composed of exactly 20 songs, no more or less.

Flash-forward to the end of the show.  It was better than you could have imagined.  The question is, what was the set list?

Here’s mine:

Good Times, Bad Times

Celebration Day

Sick Again

Black Dog

Babe, I’m Gonna Leave You

Fool in the Rain

Dazed and Confused

You Shook Me

In My Time of Dying

Hey, Hey What Can I Do? (acoustic)

Gallows Pole (acoustic)

Battle of Evermore (acoustic)

Nobody’s Fault But Mine (acoustic)

No Quarter


Over the Hills and Far Away

Rock and Roll

When the Levee Breaks


Whole Lotta Love**


OK, my reasoning/notes:

– I did not treat this like a 20-song Led Zeppelin greatest hits.  A good concert set list is something different than that.  It needs some surprises.

– I treated the set like a three-act play.  The first act goes through “Dazed and Confused,” the second through “Nobody’s Fault But Mine,” and the third through the end including the encore.

– The four-song acoustic set in the middle was inspired by their similar set on the Led Zeppelin DVD.  Page & Plant pulled off a killer acoustic version of “Nobody’s Fault But Mine” on their No Quarter album.

– No Stairway??  Denied!  I had to sacrifice it because I couldn’t think of a spot for it.  It’d be hard to put anything after Stairway, leaving the last song as the only logical spot.  But I prefer my concerts end with a rocker.  So, it had to go.


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Jennifer Lopez to Receive Participation Award at Billboard Music Awards

Los Angeles, CA – Billboard Publications announced this morning that Jennifer Lopez will be the inaugural recipient of the “Lifetime Participation Award” at this year’s Billboard Music Awards.  The award honors the recipient’s outstanding achievements in continuously releasing music that nobody buys.

“Our parent company’s CEO is desperately trying to boink J.Lo, so he demanded that we give her an award, any award, during the show’s broadcast,” said Billboard Magazine’s editorial director Bill Wrigley in an interview with Entertainment Tonight.  “That put us in an awkward spot, because the Billboard Music Awards honor record sales, and her albums haven’t sold worth shit for at least a decade now.”

Indeed, J.Lo’s album sales have been tremendously shitty of late.  Each of her last three albums failed to achieve Gold status, and she has not had a Platinum album since 2002.  Coming up with an award for Ms. Lopez while somehow retaining the show’s credibility proved to be a daunting task for the Billboard team, and forced them to seek inspiration from unconventional sources.

“I got the idea for the ‘Lifetime Participation Award’ from my daughter’s youth soccer league’s awards banquet,” said Mr. Wrigley.  “They gave out the ‘Champions’ trophy, the ‘Best Team Leader’ trophy, the ‘Most-Improved Player’ trophy, and then all the other little losers who could barely kick the ball each got ‘Participation Award’ trophies.  I was like, ‘Bingo!’”

In response to Billboard’s announcement, Ms. Lopez’s agent released a short statement: “Jennifer is thrilled and honored to be the first recipient of the ‘Lifetime Participation Award.’  She hopes that her receiving this award will inspire young, talentless singers throughout the world and show them that if you keep pretending that you’re a big star, sometimes the world will just pretend right along with you.”

While the award was created just as a means to help a rich man sink the sub with Ms. Lopez, Mr. Wrigley states that Billboard is planning on making it a regular honor at the annual event.  “When I brought the idea to our editorial board, somebody asked, ‘Shouldn’t Jessica Simpson get that award?’ And boom, we’ve got our winner for next year’s show already lined up.”

Update: Apparently inspired by Billboard’s savvy move, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has announced the creation of a similar “Lifetime Participation Award” to be handed our yearly at the Oscars.  The award will honor outstanding achievements in continuously starring in films that nobody sees.  The Academy has already announced that Jennifer Aniston will be the 2013 recipient.


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Anything You Can Do, I Can Do Better: 10 Best Cover Songs Ever

Once in a blue moon (as the kids today say), an artist takes another’s song and really makes it his/her/their own.  What really makes a cover great?  First of all, the original cannot be some obscure song that nobody can compare the cover to.  There’s no guts in taking a “traditional” and twisting it to your liking, knowing full well you’re only one of 0.0001% of the population that has heard the song.  Second, the cover has to present something massively new to the song.  Playing something note-for-note or just adding some new sound effect is nothing noteworthy.  The really good ones take a great song, rip it to shreds, throw other shreds into the pile, and paste together something that itself is also great.

Honorable Mentions: House of the Rising Sun – The Animals, Ring of Fire – Social Distortion, Higher Ground – Red Hot Chili Peppers, Quinn the Eskimo (Mighty Quinn) – Manfred Mann, Nothing Compares 2 You – Sinead O’Connor, Mad World – Gary Jules, No Quarter – Tool,

10. Faith – Limp Bizkit

Don’t laugh.  Don’t laugh because you loved it.  If only for a moment, you thought it was great.  And truth be told, it was!  Mind you, this was back before we all (including the rest of the band) realized what a massive choad Fred Durst was.  This was back before every new rock band had a terrible, terrible rapper serving up white-hot angry rhymes (emphasis on the white).  This was back before every band had to have an ironic cover of an 80s pop tune (at least it was supposed to be ironic).  For the moment, however short it was, this was extremely clever.  And whether you care to admit it or not, it still rocks the crap out of that 19-year-old still trapped inside of you.

9. I Heard It Through the Grapevine – Creedence Clearwater Revival

What?  Better than the Marvin Gaye cover?  I’m going to say yes, but for one reason and one reason only.  Gaye’s song is a classic for sure.  It’s so good that you don’t want it to end.  Well, CCR’s version practically doesn’t end, therefore it gets the nod.

8. Hey Joe – Patti Smith

While it’s true that Hendrix did not pen the song, he brought it to the masses and in doing so made it a very, very MAN song.  Come on, a song about wasting your girl because you caught her cheating?  Not exactly something one would expect any woman to connect with.  Then along comes Patti Smith and sings it with such beautiful and haunting timidity that you could almost hear it coming from the quivering lips of the song’s targeted woman as she awaits the wrath of her murderous cuckold.  Simply stunning.

7. With A Little Help From My Friends – Joe Cocker

Paul McCartney had a vision: A concept album written and performed by a fictitious band and its equally fictitious opening act.  What came of it was an intro song introducing the show, the opening song by the opening act (Billy Shears), a reprise of the intro song, and ten songs that had nothing to do with the concept.  The original version of this song was Billy Shears’s only tune, done with ho-hum playfulness that only Ringo Starr could pull off.

A year later, noted howler and faux-Parkinson’s sufferer Joe Cocker screamed this ode to friendship like he was walking through a hallway full of mousetraps.  And thanks to the Wonder Years, we’ll never be able to think of the original first.  The cover is so memorable that the Beatles-inspired musical film “Across the Universe” splits the original version with Cocker’s version, the only song in the film that isn’t 100% pure Beatles.

6. Little Wing – Stevie Ray Vaughan

With his original recording, Hendrix gave the blues-rock world a beautiful seed.  Other greats took that seed and cultivated it into something greater and more profound than Hendrix had envisioned himself.  I just as well could have gone with the soul-aching, rafter-raising Derek and the Dominos version, but I’m giving the edge to SRV’s epic instrumental cover which plays as an ode not only to the original, but to guitar itself.

5. Respect – Aretha Franklin

I hear the chorus of detractors now: “Why in the flying hell is this not #1??!!”  First of all, I recognize how important this song is.  It’s the biggest song from perhaps the greatest female artist of the 20th Century.  That said, I didn’t put it on top because when you think about it, and I mean really think about it, doesn’t the song make just a tinsy bit more sense when it’s sung by a man?  Not saying that makes Otis Redding’s version better, but come on.  A man works hard on the job all day to bring home the bacon to his wife.  At that meeting point when he gets home, who’s in a better position to demand respect?  That’s all.  You may complain now.

4. All Along the Watchtower – Jimi Hendrix

Close your eyes and picture the 60s.  Picture the people, the protests, the clothes, the images on the televisions.  How long did it take before this song was playing in the background of your vision?  My guess is not long.  It’s arguably the greatest studio accomplishment of Hendrix’s career.  It’s so good that Bob Dylan ultimately eschewed his strummy original version and opted to play Hendrix’s version live after Hendrix died.

3. I Fought the Law – The Clash

This song was originally written and recorded by the Crickets post-Buddy Holly.  It became somewhat of a riff-raff’s blues, but the angst behind the lyrics wasn’t fully unleashed until the Clash gloriously paired them with their gloriously distorted power-chords.  It’s a cover from another era and another part of the world, but yet somehow it just seemed to fit so perfectly with the hardships of 1970s England, especially when spit by the great Joe Strummer.

2. Twist and Shout – The Beatles

“Please Please Me” kick-started their career in England.  “I Want to Hold Your Hand” did the trick in America.  But when you think about early Beatles, is there any song that stands out more than this Isley Brothers classic?  And doesn’t everybody still fantasize about dancing on a float in a parade while lip-synching this song, ala Ferris Bueller?  Fun fact: John Lennon’s scream-sing style, arguably what made the song a classic, was one of those unplanned and brilliant accidents.  The whole of the Beatles’ first album was recorded in a single day (save for the two singles previously recorded).  At the end of the day, John couldn’t sing worth a lick.  He screamed his way through “Twist and Shout,” the last song they recorded, because that was all he could do at that point!

1. Proud Mary –Tina Turner

When you think of the qualities of an impressive cover song, which quality is this version of CCR’s classic lacking?  Not a thing.  I’m a big CCR fan, but I will readily admit that they were only stewards to this song’s throne until Ms. Turner was ready to claim her rightful place as its true owner.  And own it she did.  Nobody made an already good song blossom into a classic-for-the-ages like Tina did with this song. (Note: I realize that the actual artist for this version is “Ike & Tina Turner,” but you know, f*** that guy.)

How Dare You!: Top 10 Worst Cover Songs Ever

Almost by definition, cover songs are crap.  It is rare when a cover song stands up as well or better than the original.  And that’s the key, because if a song isn’t up to par with the original, why record it again?  What’s the point?

Most bad cover songs either cause you to roll your eyes (Limp Bizkit covering the Who) or giggle (Celine Dion covering AC/DC).  But there are some that go ten steps beyond that.  There are some covers that make you think “What were they thinking?” at best and “HOW DARE YOU!” at worst.  These are the worst of the worst.

10. Hurt – Johnny Cash

What??!!  He’s ripping on Johnny Cash??!!  Murder him!!!

Settle down.  There’s something to be said here.  First of all, I loved the video.  It was a hauntingly beautiful tribute to the man’s incredible career, and Trent Reznor’s music was a good soundtrack to it.  But look at the song by itself.  What is it?  It’s the sound of an old man dying.  That style works in some tunes like “God’s Gonna Cut You Down” and “Ain’t No Grave,” but here it only injects a good song with a dose of old man smell.

9 . Eleanor Rigby – Aretha Franklin

I’m Eleanor Rigby”?  This song did not need a first-person perspective, and it certainly didn’t need to be “souled up a bit.”  I don’t think this song can be done in any way that isn’t dark and morose, and this is proof that one shouldn’t try to change that.

8. I Love Rock ‘n Roll – Britney Spears

When I was in my late-teens and early-20s, I had this belief that pop artists of that era and their fans really just did not understand music, and they didn’t give a shit that they didn’t.  There was no real appreciation for quality song craftmanship and no reverence for artists who treated music like the powerful art form that it is.  I saw evidence in Usher calling Bob Dylan “Bill” and Avril Lavigne pronouncing David Bowie’s surname in a manner that made it rhyme with a child’s “owwie!”

Britney Spears provided the ultimate “I don’t give a shit about music” moment with this song.  It’s not that the Joan Jett version is a music masterpiece, and it’s not that Brit did anything to it that one wouldn’t have expected.  What makes this one especially bad is the revelation that Brit didn’t even know whose song she was covering.  How’s that for “knowing where you came from”?

7. What’s Going On – Artists Against AIDS Worldwide

Wherever children are suffering, Bono is there.  To add insult to injury of those inflicted with AIDS in Africa, Bono united every attention-hungry artist of 2001 to create “We Are the World Part 2” in the form of a cover of Marvin Gaye’s anti-Vietnamm classic.  The result: nobody bought the song, and thousands more died of AIDS.  Seriously, did anybody ever believe that the Backstreet Boys gave a shit about AIDS in Africa?  How about Britney Spears?  Puff Daddy?  Jennifer Lopez?  Nelly?  Christina Aguillara?  In total, 23 “artists” placed their hands on the hatchet that murdered this song all in the name of “Hey, look at me!”

6.  Anarchy in the UK – Motley Crue

The Sex Pistols and Motley Crue both have four members.  They both play instruments.  They are both all-male bands.  Those are the similarities.  The list of differences would break the internet.  The original was a primal scream on behalf of the working-class Brits who were fed up with their given lot in 70s England.  Sounds like a great tune for a bunch of strip-club frequenting, “we’re bad boys because we say we are” cross-dressers from the cocaine cesspool that was LA in the 80s.

5.  Sweet Child o’ Mine – Sheryl Crow

What Sheryl Crow did to this song is the equivalent of giving Clint Eastwood a sex change operation.  The original was a power ballad that actually had some power (with just a hint of cheese).  To boot, it had what I consider to be the best guitar riff ever.  And this former school teacher listened to all that power and decided it needed to be fitted for a pair of Birkenstocks.  What makes it worse?  The Grammys.

4.  Turn the Page – Metallica

The original is slow, but it makes your soul cry tears of blood.  The cover is just plain boring.  They just take the original and add some distortion to it.  I didn’t ask for distortion in this song.  Did you ask for distortion in this song?  I didn’t think so.

3. American Pie – Madonna

When word got out that Madonna was covering “American Pie,” it was kind of like watching a man walk slowly towards an active buzzsaw.  One would think, “Well, he’s obviously not going to keep walking.  He has to stop, I mean . . . it’s a buzzsaw.  Why would he . . . oh, he’s not stopping.  Why isn’t he stopping?  His eyes are open.  He can see it.  Why won’t he stop . . . oh, he didn’t stop . . . ewwwww.”

Who was asking for this?  Seriously, who told this @$$hole that this was a good idea?  She should have gone to prison for this.

2. My Generation – Hillary Duff

Pardon me, “Hope I don’t die before I get old”???  Did you really just do that?  Do you have ANY idea what that song is supposed to represent?  Any at all?  You might as well have re-written the Declaration of Independence to read as a pledge of perpetual allegiance to the British crown.  Seriously, how dare you.

1. Tutti Frutti – Pat Boone

Sometimes songs represent something bigger.  This recording represents a dark and shameful period of our nation’s history.  It’s a black eye on every ideal our nation is supposed to stand for.  Forget about the massive de-balling of this Rock ‘n Roll founding father (and there is plenty of that going on here).  What’s infinitely worse is the fact that the only reason this recording exists is so white people didn’t have to listen to a black man sing to them.  The original was and is to this day a massive powerhouse that should be a uniter; something that gets everyone to jump around like happy idiots on the dance floor.  Unfortunately, they didn’t want everybody on the same dance floors back then.  So we get this ode to whiteness for your finger-snapping pleasure.  “How dare you” doesn’t say enough.

Music Rewind – Tiny Music: Songs from the WTF??!!


Stone Temple Pilots was my favorite band in middle-school.  They might have been America’s favorite band in middle-school.  I credit them for providing me with the moment when I really fell in love with music.  I was at the McCracken Basketball Camp at Olivet College the summer between 7th and 8th grade.  During a break from practice sessions where I was learning how to become an all-state bench-warmer, I went back to my dorm room to relax and listen to some tunes.  I put on my headphones, pushed play on my Walkman, and immediately started rocking out by myself like only a gangly white boy could (picture a drunk Carlton) to STP’s most renown ditty, “Plush.”  I had heard the song many times before, but this particular time it was like my ears were opened wide for the first time and I finally “got it.”  From that moment on, I was hooked on music like Weiland was (is) hooked on smack, and STP was the smackiest of smack.  Smacktacular.  Smacktastic.  Smackerific.

When I was 15 and in the 9th grade, I probably was the stereotypical STP fan.  We were young, male, awkward, and pissed off.  We were pissed off at just about everything: school, our parents, our teachers, our coaches, our classmates, our teammates, our friends, ourselves, our clothes, our hair, our faces, our legion of pimples, our peach fuzz we tried to pass off as goatees during the summer.  STP, with their dark and brooding but galvanizing mini-epics, anthemized* all that we were feeling.  They were deeper than Nirvana, harder than Pearl Jam, smoother than Alice In Chains, and less Soundgardeny** than Soundgarden.  They were the soundtrack to everything we were experiencing, even if we were still too young and stupid to know what that was.

(*Note: It’s a word.  Look it up.  On second thought, don’t.)

(**Note: Not a word.)

I recall vividly the anticipation for STPs third album.  It came out right at the start of spring of my freshman year in high school, and it was bound to blow everyone’s faces off!  This was going to be the defining moment of my 9th grade year!***  So I and the rest of STP nation sprinted to Warehouse Records and gobbled up the new album on the day of its release.  There it was in our hands: “Tiny Music: Songs from the Vatican Gift Shop.”

(***Note: I did not have a lot of dates at this point in my life.)

We thought the cover-art was awesome (it wasn’t)!  We thought the insert, with it poster fold-out format that didn’t contain a track list anywhere, was bad ass (it wasn’t)!  This was going to be the best album ever!  So I, like the rest of the fans, gave it a good listen.  Then we paused for a minute or two and looked around.  Then we listened to it again.  Then we paused again.  Then raised our right hands with palms up in a confused manner, looked to the other side of the room and collectively said “What the f***??”

It was . . . different.  What was it exactly?  The guitar sound was different, sure.  Weiland’s voice was raspier and higher-pitched, sure.  But that wasn’t it.  Something else was missing, or something was there that shouldn’t be.  This couldn’t be STP!  STP writes dark and powerful angst anthems.  This actually sounded kind of . . . happy!

“What the f***??”

We weren’t ready to admit it yet, but STP had committed the ultimate rock cardinal sin in the eyes of the young, they changed.  By golly did they change!  Where we were expecting five-minute grunge anthems, we got fluffy three-minute experimental alt-pop clunkers.  Where we expecting “Plush” or “Vasoline,” we got “Big Bang Baby” and “Seven Caged Tigers.”

“What the f***??”

We all tried to pass it off as a temporary feeling.  I mean, what feelings did we have that weren’t temporary back then?  We’d ask each other what they thought of the record, and, loyal as we were, we grimaced out a “Oh, it’s . . . great!  I mean, it’s different and kind of weird and bad and all, but it’s great!”  We were loyal indeed.  Loyal and massively perplexed.

Why did this happen?  Why would they do this?  They had such a good thing going!  Why did they have to change?  We weren’t helped by the interviews they did to promote the album.  Any hopes of this being a temporary foray into Happyland were dashed when the Deleo brothers stated that this was the record they had always wanted to make.  And although there were brief moments of energetic anger on the album that somewhat resembled the glory of Core and Purple, three of the four members credited “Seven Caged Tigers,” a song that could put a cocaine addict to sleep, as their favorite song on the record.

“What the f***?”

The album ended up debuting at #1, as could be expected, and would ultimately go double-platinum and have three #1 rock hits.  So, Joe’s pissy high school opinion be damned.  In the end it was a success, right?

Sure.  It was a success in the way that Geraldo’s ventures into Capone’s vault was a success: a lot of people witnessed it, but most wish they hadn’t.  Tiny Music was damn near a career cyanide pill for STP.  Coupled with Scott Weiland’s endless fight with the needle, the disillusionment that Tiny Music bestowed upon the young and ever-angsty STP faithful sent the band’s career on a steep downward trajectory.  Double-platinum sounds good, but not when compared to the band’s previous two releases, which each bested six-time platinum status.

STP would never get back even close to have that fan allegiance.  Three albums****, one breakup/reunion, and a few more Weiland relapses, and four side-project albums later, the once area-packing STP is down to touring Indian casinos like they were KC and the Sunshine Band.

(****Note: Their fourth album, “No. 4,” actually brought back some of the fire that the first two albums had, and fans slowly responded.  It looked like STP was on the rise again, but then quickly came the fifth album, “Shangri La Dee Da,” which would serve as the bands second WTF??!! album.  Not many bands get the opportunity to have a second WTF??!! album.  Credit them for that.)

I sold the album to a secondhand record shop shortly after college, along with Methods of Mayhem’s debut album and Jackyl’s Greatest Hits.*****  A few years ago, I went and re-bought it from another secondhand shop.  Since I had tickets to STP’s reunion tour show at my local Indian casino, I thought I’d give the album another chance to see if it I’d hear it differently as an adult.  I still own it.  In fact, I just listened to it as I was starting this post.

(*****Note: One album I did not sell off until years later, Shania Twain’s “Come On Over.”  Don’t hate.)

It’s not bad.

I don’t think it was ever bad.  There are some really interesting moments on the album.  They were always there.  “Press Play” is a weird but enticing way to start an album.  “Tumble in the Rough” is still a pretty formidable head-banger.  “Art School Girl” rocks in a strange, slight-of-hand way that catches you off-guard.  Even the songs I hated when I was younger, “And So I Know” and “Daisy” to name a few, are at least tolerable and I can now appreciate the musicianship involved in crafting them.  So yeah, not bad.  Maybe in a few years I play it in conjunction with the first two albums and I’ll see that it stacks up nicely with them, or maybe (as the band might wish) I find that it stands out as their best album!

And, of course, monkeys might fly out my butt.