One Album Wonders: Mad Season

Posted by Eric Brightwell, November 2, 2015 02:31pm | Post a Comment
Mad Season

The Scientists were likely both grunge's inventors and the genre's first supergroup (members had previously played in Cheap Nasties, Slick City Boys, and Victims). However, if one hears “grunge supergroup” they more likely think of Temple of the Dog, a one album wonder the members of which had previously played in Seattle grunge bands including Soundgarden, Green River, and Skin Yard (as well as the not-really-grunge one album wonders Mother Love Bone and not-at-all Seattle - since they were from San Diego - Bad Radio). Mad Season, when they're remembered, are that other grunge supergroup. 
Mad Season's Above

Mad Season arrived pretty late on the scene, toward the end of 1994. In April of that year, Kurt Cobain had killed himself but alternative and music had by then long ceased to be anything remotely underground and was resolutely mainstream. In 1992, MTV had replaced 120 Minutes host Dave Kendall with, Lewis Largent and the program, which had previously showcased a host of bands playing diverse music became a parade of bands whose members dressed like Largent, in shorts, combat boots, flannel, and backwards baseball cap. If that wasn't mainstream enough, MTV also launched the ironically named Alternative Nation as a showcase for the manufactured corporate guitar rock favored by soulful dudebros (eg Candlebox and Stone Temple Pilots).

In 1993 Marc Jacobs had served up grunge realness on the catwalk for Perry Ellis -- five years after Martin Margiela had pretty much done the same thing, serving up a fantasy of homeless fashion for the one percent. By 1994 pre-ripped jeans and combat boots were part of a uniform adopted by the knavescene and celebrities like Brad Pitt, Johnny Depp, and Keanu Reeves. Their female counterparts, such as emaciated supermodel Kate Moss,  were used to promote heroin chic. After not having heard any interesting new American rock in what seemed like forever, I gave up on it. I would hear the names of new bands, including Toadies, Seven Mary Three, Sky Cries Mary, Jars of Clay, Primitive Radio Gods, Eels, DC Talk, Duncan Sheik, Sister Hazel, Local H, and more. All would have their champions but like every Steven Spielberg movie since Raiders of the Lost Ark, if I gave any a chance I'd almost certainly be underwhelmed. 

Top 20 Songs About Heroin

Posted by Billyjam, November 25, 2014 03:00pm | Post a Comment

Upon hearing the incredible, engaging new single "Bag A Gear" from the Dublin, Ireland-based rapper Tommy KD (formerly known as Man & The Machine) on the topic of his former heroin habit that he is grateful to have finally kicked, I was reminded of the numerous songs tackling the topic of the highly addictive opiate.

I have put together a Top 20 Songs About Heroin list - some seemingly pro but most definitively con. These songs (with accompanying videos) are culled from different genres and different eras but all share views on the same topic - one that has destroyed way too many great musicians' careers and lives over the decades. Just as there are countless terms and nicknames for heroin (horse, smack, H, skag, junk, dirt, brown sugar, golden girl, hell dust, white nurse, thunder, etc. etc.) there are also seemingly endless songs about the drug. This subjective top twenty list could easily be extended into a Top 100 or Top 200 list, so feel free to post any songs on the subject of heroin that you think should have been included. Since I tried to keep it down to 20, I had to cut out duplicates by artists included and did not include such greats as "Ain't it Fun" by both The Dead Boys and Guns N' Roses.

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The Connection (1962) Screening July 20-26th- New Beverly Cinema

Posted by Mr. Chadwick, July 16, 2012 11:50pm | Post a Comment
The New Beverly Cinema is screening a brand new print of Shirley Clarke's legendary Junk/Jazz docudrama The Connection. Filmed in New York at the beginning of the 60's, this film focuses on a group of junkies, including legendary sax player & jazz composer Jackie McLean and pianist Freddie Redd, as they philosophize, swing, smoke and sweat it out while they wait for a special delivery. 

A must see!!!

California Fool's Gold -- Exploring Skid Row

Posted by Eric Brightwell, October 25, 2010 07:00pm | Post a Comment


Mural in Skid Row, Los Angeles

This blog entry is about Skid Row. Joining me on the adventure were Aussie-Chinese film-producer Diana Ward and Colombian-Chinese-American designer/illustrator/downtown resident Wendy Chin -- both used to playing "traveling companions" to my Doctor.

Skid Row
is a neighborhood in Los Angeles' Central City East District. It's known to locals as "The Nickel" because it's centered on 5th. It's neighbored by the Fashion District, Little Tokyo, The Toy District, The Flower District and The Downtown Industrial District.

To vote for other Los Angeles neighborhoods to be covered on the blog, vote here. To vote for Los Angeles County communities, vote here. To vote for Orange County communities, vote here.

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R.I.P. Willy DeVille

Posted by Mr. Chadwick, August 7, 2009 07:50pm | Post a Comment
willy deville
The former frontman of Mink Deville passed away yesterday from recently found pancreatic cancer; he was 55. Making his initial splash with Mink Deville during the mid/late 70's in the early days of the CBGB's scene. The band, like many of their contemporaries, got lumped in with the then-fashionable punk scene.  For Mink Deville this was especially ridiculous, as their whole schtick was about as far from the Dead Boys as you could get.

Their first LP, produced by Jack Nitzsche and called Cabretta, is an important piece of the late 70's NY puzzle. To me, it gives the listener a real street level glimpse of the time period that few other records from the era can match. Kill City by Iggy & James Williamson and Lou Reed's infamous ranting on Take No Prisoners cover similar bar sleaze territory, but Cabretta tempers all that with soothing background singers, classic pop songwriting and great percussion arrangements. Willie also brought to the mix a true believer's approach to mythmaking and storytelling that keeps songs such as "Venumink devilles of Ave. D" from falling into camp territory. I've spent many a drunken evening listening to him spin his street tough yarns on both Cabretta and its follow up, Return To Magenta, but I never acquired a taste for his more polished 80's & 90's work. "Spanish Stroll," featured on Cabretta, was a top 20 UK hit and his song "Miracles," featured in the Rob Reiner film the Princess Bride, was nominated for an Academy Award. Willy even performed it at the awards ceremony.  His live performances were legendary, pleading on his knees and pouring his soul into heartbreaking ballads.

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