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Amoeba Bloggers Answer: What Was Your First Album?

Posted by Billy Gil, March 6, 2012 07:09pm | Post a Comment
I recently was at Amoeba Hollywood and overheard a customer telling an employee Davy Jones had died. I hadn’t heard the news yet. She brought it up because she was buying Katy Perry records for her daughter. She said her daughter didn’t even have a record player — she just wanted every bit of Katy Perry merchandise she could get her hands on.
 
The only artist I can ever remember being that obsessive about was The Smashing Pumpkins, but that was in high school. But it got me thinking about those first tapes, records, singles etc. that everyone got as a kid.
 
ace of base the signFor me, the first album I ever bought on my own was Ace of Base’s The Sign on cassette. I had always liked music, but at 11, I had just started to pay attention to what songs were on the radio. A friend made me a tape from the radio and “The Sign” was on it. I loved it. In the coming weeks and months, albums by Nirvana, Guns N’ Roses, Stone Temple Pilots, Green Day, and my beloved Pumpkins would follow, but really it all started with Ace of Base for me. Though if I’m being technical, I had a cassette single of Paula Abdul’s “Promise of a New Day” that I listened to constantly when I was like 9, but I didn’t buy that — I won it at a cousin’s music-themed birthday party, at which my dad dressed himself and me as Simon & Garfunkel. I had no idea who they were. I think I was Paul Simon.
 
While I’m embarrassing myself, I thought I’d extend the question to the other Amoeba bloggers: What was your first album? Not kids’ music, but not just the cool stuff, either — the tapes we once listened to repeatedly and then put away in a drawer somewhere once we realized how lame they were, though I’m still on the hunt for The Sign on vinyl. Here are their answers:
 
Eric Brightwell
the cure kiss me kiss me kiss meMy first record was Luciano Pavarotti's My Own Story, a compilation of “musical highlights of his spectacular career.” They used to heavily advertise it on TV when I got home from school, and I was hooked. My first cassette was Peter Gabriel's So. I'd liked the singles from it, but when “Big Time” came out, I was obsessed. My first CD was The Cure’s Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me. I was introduced to it by a German exchange student named Ina. Before she left I rode my bike into town to a Wal-Mart to get a blank cassette to dub it. I loved it so much, I thought it warranted being purchased on CD. 
 


Warrant Frontman Jani Lane Dead At 47

Posted by Kelly S. Osato, August 12, 2011 07:22am | Post a Comment
jani lane dead at 47 singer frontman warrant hear gram metal
Jani Lane
(born John Kennedy Oswald), the flaxen-tressed former lead singer of 1980's hair-metal band Warrant, was found dead on Thursday in a hotel room in Woodland Hills, California.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, police found the body of Lane, 47, at a Comfort Inn, with no cause of death available at press time. Lane was best known for the Warrant hit "Cherry Pie," which he wrote and features a guitar solo by Poison's C.C. DeVille. The double entendre-filled video for the song — featuring a barrage of footage flaunting the accolades of Lane's future wife, celebrated Star Search spokesmodel champion turned video vixen, Bobbie Brown — quickly became a programming staple on MTV's Headbanger's Ball when it was released in 1990. warrant singer frontman jani lane dead death at 47 marriage model video vixen bobbie brown star search wedding

The singer was born in Akron, Ohio, on February 1, 1964. He began his career as a teenage drummer before moving to Florida and playing in a series of metal bands. Eventually he made it to Los Angeles with future Warrant drummer Steven "Sweet" Chamberlin in search of fame and a steady gig.

He was recruited to join Warrant in 1986 and the band released their major-label debut, Dirty Rotten Filthy Stinking Rich, in 1989, spawning the hits "Heaven" and "Down Boys" -- a vastly underrated song that, as far as I can tell, is about a wild child, looking cool on the cheap and ogling, i.e. "the way the street lights silhouette your thighs through your dress." But it was 1990's Cherry Pie that really put them on the map, selling three million copies and realizing their dreams of "making it" as hair-metal superstars. Supposedly, the title tune was written on the back of a pizza box, which can be seen on display at the Hard Rock Café in Destin, Florida. jani lane warrant singer frontman dead at 47 death solo later years alcoholism rock star

It's ON: Mötley Crüe, Poison and New York Dolls to Tour This Summer!

Posted by Kelly S. Osato, March 8, 2011 04:40pm | Post a Comment
motely crue tour 2011 poison theater of pain era galm hair hollywood metal tommy lee vince neil mick mars nikki sixx stripes smokin in the boys room
poison motley crue tour 2011 galm metal hard rock hollywood hair bret michaels bobby dall rikki rockett cc deville new york dolls















Not too long ago I acknowledged the slim possibility of this show with little faith, but Poison frontman Bret Michaels has once again given me something to believe in, as it seems he's stirred up just enough shit-slinging hearsay-hype to kick-start this Jack and Aquanet fueled juggernaut of a tour into reality! At least Poison has the decency to yield top billing to the Crüe and work the New York Dolls into the equation. One might wonder what former New York Dolls fan club president Mr. Steven Morrissey is thinking right about now...

 
Morrissey - "Trash" (New York Dolls cover) Live in Dallas 1991

 
Tickets go on sale March 18th! Here is a list of tour dates; keep in mind that some dates have yet to be announced:

OMG! Look What the Cat Dragged In!

Posted by Kelly S. Osato, January 26, 2011 01:08am | Post a Comment
I don't know about you but when I was thirteen years old this is what I thought rock 'n' roll looked like:
poison anniversary tour 2011 glam rock look what the cat dragged in vinyl reissue bret michaels motley crue rumor
Hardly petal fresh but definitely party pretty! Poison celebrates their 25th anniversary this year and rumor mills are a-spinnin' that Bret Michaels is intent on putting together a commemorative tour with a reluctant Mötley Crüe who, at 30 years of "togetherness," accuse Michaels of "trying to will" the bill into being. And why not? It's a dreamy match up of iconic glam-rockery and bitchy cocksureness the likes of which RuPaul's Drag Race can only boast, and don't we know Ru can put on a show! But I digress..
poison debut lp reissue look what the cat dragged in tour 2011 25th anniversary motley crue
Even if the Crüe doesn't fit, I hope Poison still moves ahead with their tour and, if they have any imagination what-so-ever as to what their audience of once-thirteen-year-old girlies want, they had better play right through all thirty-eight glorious minutes of their recently reissued (on 180 gram vinyl housed in deluxe gatefold, no less) debut LP Look What the Cat Dragged In. The record once described by Michaels as a "glorifed demo" spawned four singles (and, after almost a year of climbing, peaked at #3 on the Billboard charts in 1987, how lucky! Like Mötley Crüe, Poison originally formed under a crap name (Paris; in Mötley Crüe's case, Christmas) and changed it to a lesser crap name after moving from Pennsylvania to Hollywood, where they met their future ("reality") star guitarist, Brooklyn native C.C. DeVille (who apparently won out over Slash in auditions due to personal preferences concerning wardrobe; you know, stilettos over moccasins). Though possibly best known for the sleazy, erectual frustration of songs like "Talk Dirty To Me," "I Want Action" and "Want Some, Need Some," not forgetting the corny "I Won't Forget You" slow jam, Look What the Cat Dragged In serves up more than just a teased tumbleweed of ambition which, given their swift success, surely pissed off a lot of the competition. To revisit Ru, I believe this record to be a portrait of the charisma, uniqueness, nerve and talent a certain kind of musician had to harness --- however desperate, ripped-off or closeted --- in their quest to make a name for themselves in the unforgiving 1980's Hollywood rock scene, namely "glam." The video for Poison's debut single from Look What the Cat Dragged In, "Cry Tough," is a slice of Hollywood glam zeigeist unparalleled in every aspect -- check it out (p.s. did these guys love Van Halen or what?!):
 

Money Talks: AC/DC and Wal-Mart collaborate for profit's sake

Posted by Kelly S. Osato, October 24, 2008 12:34pm | Post a Comment
hair metal rockers Pretty Boy FloydOne of the best things about working at Amoeba Music is all the stories you get to hear. It seems everyone has at least one really great story starring some celebrity or other. Add to that the countless daily recounts of brushes with the bizarre (I'm sure each location has it's own special blend of resident and transient "street life" enthusiasts) and the many stories from the road told by those touring musicians Amoeba frequently fosters; the odd life-altering event/near death experience sort of yarn is spun as often as are the wheels of the gossip wagon. All this and more than enough stupid jokes and "inappropourri" to swell one's ears and imagination for days. Some of the stories I've heard will stay with me forever and some of the story tellers I'd swear have lived multiple lives.

One of my favorite co-workers I like to trade stories with at Amoeba is dear to me for his deep appreciation of all kinds of heavy metal, especially glam/hair metal. Though he's a bit older than me, I'll never forget the day we bonded over our knowledge of obscure (read: tragic) hair metal bands. Floodgates opened and we discussed everything from Bang Tango's singular hit, "Someone Like You," to Pretty Boy Floyd's album Leather Boyz With Electric Toyz and their singular saving grace (ultimately, their hair). Clearly we could go on for days as, it seemed to me anyway, I had no one else at work with whom I could discuss late eighties Hollywood glitter rock and still feel comfortable with myself afterwards. 

white rain shampoo One of my favorite stories this person shared with me involves Warrant, a band that almost always suffered comparison to Poison yet never eclipsed, or even slightly reached, Poison's level of glam-rock stardom. Perhaps that explains why my friend saw them playing in a crappy night club in Fresno. The story is short and amounts to this: at sometime during the gig he stole backstage and lifted a number of items from Warrant, namely a bottle of White Rain shampoo. Now, maybe it's not that funny to everyone, but I clutched my gut in laughter upon hearing this. White Rain! The bottom shelf of hair products! These glamorous guys, who obviously pride themselves on their hair, couldn't get it together to get some Panteen Pro-V or Mane and Tail (being the show ponies they were). I have to admit that I was and still am inclined to think the worst of Warrant -- I was never a fan, not even a little, of their music and their frontman, a man called Jani Lane, frightened me in an Edgar Winter way. To me their music was a tepid, obvious attempt at following Poison's lead (and so was Jani Lane's romance with"spokesmodel" Bobbi Brown, who happened to be Poison frontman Bret Michael's ex-girlfriend) and it was even rumored that Warrant's two guitarists Erik Turner and Joey Allen hadn't played even a shred of a note on Warrant's debut album though they received credit for it. To top it all off, the most annoying girl in my school, who was also my best friends' neighbor and confidante, loved them and Warrant quickly became the crux of our rivalry. And so the very thought of Warrant roughing it on the road with dollar store bought White Rain set me snickering. It was too perfect. And to think that Warrant's debut album was titled DTrauma Kamp irty Rotten Filthy Stinking Rich-- hardly.
 
Later on I got to thinking about all those wanna-be rock stars featured in Penelope Spheeris' documentary Decline of the Western Civilization Part II: The Metal Years and my laughing slowly subsided into a kind of internal choke. Remembering all those faces staring directly at the camera proclaiming, "Oh yes, I'm gonna make big one day. Definitely. Without a doubt," really hit home. I wonder just how many rockers made the pilgrimage to Hollywood with a mind to find fame and fortune. I thought of my brother (pictured second from the right with his band Trauma Kamp) and how he moved to Hollywood around that time with only what I can imagine to be the same dream of making it big in the music business (and let me tell you, not only did he survive the strip, he's got endless yarns of killer stories about the madness that is, er was, er probably still is, the Hollywood rock scene). Suddenly I was furious at my friend. How could he steal such vital items from a hair metal band on the road like he's stealing food stamps from the needy? The ridiculousness of my anger started me laughing again and I giggled my way over to my dusty video shelf to look for my copy of The Metal Years, only to find it missing, stolen perhaps by a fellow coworker and metal enthusiast whose name just happens to rhyme with the latter syllable of the word Warrant.
AC/DC dollar bill from Money Talks
A few weeks later I'd find myself hungry again for a viewing of The Metal Years after being asked for the umpteenth time when Amoeba's gonna have the new AC/DC album, Black Ice. In answering this oft repeated query, I've noticed that customers seeking this release get a cool, terse response: it's a Wal-Mart exclusive. Now, I am as courteous as the next person when manning the info counter and exclusive sales of new releases are nothing new in music retail, it's just that I find it very hard to swallow that a retailer that once used to ban all releases that required a Parental Advisory sticker, a retailer that seemingly backed the PMRC (the Parents Music Resource Center, a comPMRC: Parents Music Resource Center founded by Tipper Goremittee founded in 1985 by Tipper Gore and three other highly connected political ladies, pictures right) in their endeavors to protect and uphold the morals of America by stifling first amendment rights for recording artists of every genre, a retailer whose name used to be synonymous with right wing, so-called "bible-thumping" Christians could ever, ever sell, exclusively, the new, long awaited record by heavy metal bad boys AC/DC. Maybe the lyrics to AC/DC's hit single "Money Talks" from their Razor's Edge album released in 1990 could clue us in on this retail gaffe: "come on come on love me for the money/ come on come on listen to the money talk." Yeah, and the only way anyone can hop on AC/DC's "Rock N' Roll Train," the first single from Black Ice, is to slum it on down to Wal-Mart 'n' buy it there, or, as it turns out, Sam's Club is selling it too, but only to those who have a membership of course. I understand that a large part of American rockers live in places where Wal-Mart is the only place they can shop for music and I've been reminded repeatedly that times are tough all over, yet BillboardRock Band video game reports that copies of Black Ice are "flying off the shelves" in Wal-Mart and Sam's Club -- money talks indeed -- and I can't help feeling like the "understanding" between Capitol Records and Wal-Mart is a last ditch effort to make mega-bucks on a new release while the mega-bucks can still be made. At least while Wal-Mart is "rolling back the prices" on items like toilet paper you can get the new AC/DC album used at Amoeba for a fraction of what they're flying off the shelves for in the 'burbs. This just in: New York Times reports that Wal-Mart now owns rights to the new AC/DC-themed Rock Band video game, "AC/DC Live: Rock Band Track Pack." I wonder what they'll own rights to next. 

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