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I loved them at the time, and I get why Break Stuff and Nookie were hits, but watching their set and hearing a lot of Significant Other album tracks for the first time in jeez 20 years (!), I couldn't believe how much filler there was.
Durst's rapping (using that term very loosely) makes Shifty Shellshock sound like Rakim.
If I Could Turn Back Time is a 10, and my favorite Cher song by a mile.
After watching the Woodstock 99 documentary, I decided to watch a few sets to see how the hell I was seduced by some of those bands. Korn opened up with Blind, a certified banger. Kid Rock: Bawitdaba. Horrible person, certified banger. Limp Bizkit opened with Just Like This, which is filler. You would think they would try to y'know, build momentum by playing Counterfeit or Nookie. Nope. Show Me What You Got, which is Fred Durst babbling for four and a half minutes. He nicks the Beasties' joyful HEY LADIES! before the not quite chorus. I'm not a lawsuit happy person, but I wish Mike and Adam would just sue the hell out of him 25 years later.
Down Boys is an absolute 10. When I saw Jani, Erik, Joey and Jerry do their "twirl, land on knees and headbang in unison" move, I was like "I need to buy that record YESTERDAY." It was 1999. I was a very hip kid.
Diner is a top five Watch With Dad movie, and I say that with affection.
"People looking cool is a perfectly good concept for a video." And Tom sums up so much of my taste in one sentence. I had no idea until the She Drives Me Crazy column and this one that FYC was mainly a studio band and that The Raw and The Uncooked is a compilation. I love this place. Good Thing is a good song, but not quite as good as She Drives Me Crazy. I agree with Tom. It's an 8.
An absolute monster on the kit. I loved the Murderdolls too.
If it wasn't for his voice, 90 percent of Journey's catalog would be unlistenable to me.
"Looking really cool" is stretching it. I don't know how to describe what Rob is wearing in the Girl You Know It's True. Claire Huxtable meets SoulCycle? With Boots!
I also found this amazing photo. John Nagle. Phil Lewis. Hat Summit 2010! https://i.ibb.co/HT6d1SJ/Hat-Summit-2010.jpg
Proof. I treasure this picture. https://i.ibb.co/zmnKCPH/John-Jani.jpg
Meanwhile on the Aqua-Net Side of Town Warrant’s “Heaven” peaked at #2 behind “Baby Don’t Forget My Number,” one of the great injustices of the era. There are more influential power ballads than “Heaven,” but few as well crafted and memorable. I only met Jani Lane once. We talked for about a half hour total, but I think about him more than any other musician I have spent time with. It was the M3 Fest, and my friends in LA Guns and Jetboy had once again gotten me all access passes, because they are good dudes. The headliners were Twisted Sister, RATT and Sebastian Bach, all of whom I had history with. I’d just gotten back from Jetboy’s set and struck up a conversation with Ted Poley and Bruno Ravel from Danger Danger, as you do. The early part of M3 was always the most exciting, because every 30 minutes or so, a white van with tinted windows would pull up and someone would get out. I kept my game face on, because if you act like you belong, you’re in the club. It’s The Mike Damone Rule. While Ted, Bruno and I were talking, Jani Lane got out of one of those vans. Jani was one of the reasons I was so excited for M3 that year, because I’d never seen him. He was struggling during my peak years on the hair metal circuit, so he never came to the east coast. He looked great that day though. He lost a lot of weight, had good color, and was sober. When he got out of the van, everyone crowded around him, told him how great he looked. It was like watching the coolest guy from high school come home, except in this case everyone was rooting for him. He was basking in the love and attention. Ted and Bruno excused themselves to say hi. I kept my distance, because I was a visitor in the scene, but made a note to introduce myself once things quieted down. I didn’t have to. Once Jani had said hello to all his old friends, he found the guy he didn't know. It was that Paul F. Tompkins bit where he meets Tom Cruise. “Hi! I’m Jani! What’s your name?” he said, sticking his hand out. “I’m John. I’m a huge fan.” So much for the Mike Damone Rule, but I meant it. I wore Dirty Rotten Filthy Stinking Rich out. I put Heaven on many, many well intentioned but not well-thought out mixtapes. I told anyone who would listen that Jani Lane and Butch Walker were the best songwriters the hair metal scene produced. “Really?” he said, jazzed that I knew who he was. “Awesome! I’m so excited to be here today!” At this point I was fairly jaded and learned that as fun as music was, it was most of these guys livelihoods. I never saw this kind of boyish enthusiasm. Forget that he was in Warrant; I wanted to be friends with this guy. I thought about pulling out my tape recorder, but didn't want Jani and I talked about Warrant, and clubs that they played (“How do you know about Gazzarris?") I mentioned that I had a copy of Warrant’s Blood Sweat and Beers videotape and played it to death when I was a kid. “That was a good tour, but if you really want to see what Warrant was all about, try to track down the showcase we played at Gazzari’s. We got signed because of that show.” There was no ego in that statement, just pride, as if he still couldn’t believe his luck. We talked about modern music and liked a lot of the same bands. He really liked My Chemical Romance and Fall Out Boy, because they knew how to write choruses, and I told him about The Gaslight Anthem. Jani introduced me to hair metal journeyman Keri Kelly, who was playing in his solo band. “Hey, I really like your band, dude,” I said. “You mean Vince’s band?” Keri said, slightly annoyed “Actually I was talking about Big Bang Babies. I have the demo. It’s good shit, man.” Keri and Jani looked at me like “Who ARE you?” and then Keri told him they had to get ready for their set. Jani put his hand on my shoulder and asked me if I was going to watch his set, as if he was begging me to go to a show in a church basement and not a guy who had sold millions of records “Dude, I wouldn’t miss it.” “Is there anything you would like to hear? What can I play for you?” The earnestness was disarming, but I could tell he was bracing himself for a “Cherry Pie” request. “I Saw Red.” Jani’s eyes widened. “I would fucking love to play that song for you,” he said quietly. He and Keri went into one of the production trailers. I am a huge Warrant fan, and I’d forgotten how many hits they had. Jani knew exactly what the people wanted and he was giving it to them. He sounded great, and the old energy was back. After “Machine Gun” (hell yeah!), Jani put on an acoustic guitar and went up to the mic. “I was talking to my friend John backstage, and uh, he asked me to play this song. I haven’t played it in a while, so bear with me.” He played the opening chords to “I Saw Red.” The crowd erupted and then got quiet. Jani Lane wasn’t the guy in the white leather suit from the “Heaven,” video, he was a singer songwriter. Meriwether Post could have been The Troubadour in 1972. He hit every note like it was 1992. I will never forget the smile on his face when the crowd erupted. He put the guitar down and launched “Dirty Rotten Filthy Stinking Rich.” An hour after Jani’s set, I was talking to Don Dokken, as you do. He was incredulous that George Lynch had signed my copy of Under Lock and Key before he did. (Hot take: George is a nice guy. Don is prickly, but a generally nice guy. They both need therapy to unpack their feelings), and Jani approached me. The three of us chatted a bit before Don excused himself to get food. “I’m so glad you hadn’t left yet, I wanted to make sure I signed a picture for you,” Jani said, pulling out an 8x10 glossy. “Do you spell your name with an ‘h’?” While he was signing he asked me a question. “You really like ‘I Saw Red?’” “It’s incredible, Jani. You are one hell of a good writer.” Jani hugged me. “Thanks, man. I’m really glad I met you today.” “Likewise.” The official photographer walked by and asked us “Alright man, I’m gonna go sign some pictures for fans, but find me later and we’ll talk some more.” We high fived, and I never saw him again. Hindsight, I wish I’d asked for his number or email. I don’t think I could have saved him, because that’s not how alcoholism works, but he needed a friend. During the press cycle for In Utero, Kurt Cobain said that Nirvana sold millions of records because people were “sick of Warrant.” Cobain was an extremely complex, smart and sensitive man, but I think that comment was uncharacteristically cruel. Behind that white leather suit and the ridiculous strip club anthem was one hell of a songwriter. If Elvis Costello had written “I Saw Red” instead of the “Cherry Pie guy,” Rolling Stone would have it on their list of 100 Best Breakup Songs. If Jani had been able to conquer his demons, I have no doubt he would be writing for Adele and Katy Perry right now. Heaven is a 10. I miss you, Jani.
I love Girl You Know It's True. It's the quintessential trashy europop hit in my opinion, Baby Don't Forget My Number is basically the same, but not quite as good. It doesn't stick with me quite the same way, and I kind of hold a grudge against it because it kept a song I love from the #1 spot. The video is incredible. People ask me all the time "John, what you would you do if you could walk?" They want me to say something inspirational, like "Climb the K2 to raise awareness," or "Play catch with my dad in an Iowa cornfield." Nope. I would befriend a gorgeous German man so I could do that rad running jumping high five from this video. This is why I don't get hired to inspire people anymore. Girl You Know It's True is a 9 Baby Don't Forget My Number is a 7. Separate Ways is an 8. The running high five is a 10.
The second Arrested Development album being kind of a mess didn't help either. Todd in The Shadows has an excellent video about it.
I'm in a wheelchair, so every song is a driving song HEYOOOOOOOOO! Motley Crue: Too Fast For Love, Live Wire or Looks That Kill Ramones: Warthog, Blitzkrieg Bop, Commando, Havana Affair Iron Maiden: Aces High LA Guns: Show No Mercy Bruce Springsteen: No Surrender, Quarter to Three Japandroids: Fire's Highway
Jeff was a really nice guy. I didn't know the Cinderella guys that well, but he always gave me a friendly hello. I hate alcoholism.
Love Shack is a 10, but I never need to hear it again. Roam is also a 10 and I never get tired of it.
President George HW Bush should have made Richard Marx's mullet a national park.
Gypsy Road is their finest moment in a career of many, many fine moments.
The whole album is solid. They are tight as hell live too. Roxy Petrucci is one of the best drummers of the genre.
Also the musical career of you guessed it...Frank Stallone!
Richard Marx could rock when he wanted to. He co-wrote this, one of the forgotten gems of the hair metal era. Vixen kicks ass. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mQOmDUnt8Hs
Controversial opinion: I like Comin' Home better than Don't Know What You Got
I have so many personal things to say about this one. I'll try to keep it short. The moment I heard Paul Westerberg's yelp and Bob Stinson's searing guitar I knew my life had changed. It's my favorite song of all time, and every time I hear it, I have to listen to it again. It's very hard for me to listen to it without getting emotional 20 years later. Wait, we're not talking about "Unsatisfied" by The Replacements? "Satisfied" by Richard Marx? That's a #1 hit song? I have no memory of this song existing, and I'm somewhat of a Marxist (see what I did there?) My parents were steady VH1/Top 40/Adult contemporary listeners at the time. and I don't remember hearing it in my mom's grey Chrystler Astrovan. It's not on any greatest hits of the 80s compilations or playlists I've had. It's not played on MTV Classic. I've never even heard it in CVS, and you can actually buy a physical copy of Repeat Offender in my neighborhood store! Tom nailed it. Satisfied empty calorie of a song. We're going to have some real stinkers coming up, but I'd rather listen to a memorably bad song like one coming up from a former rocker who once said that everybody's crazy than something like this. Satisfied is a 4. Buffalo Stance is a 11 Unsatisfied is an 11. Is this the worst week in #1s history? Because it feels like it is.
After Leslie West passed away, I listened to Mountain for the first time in ages, and thought "This is what Cream would sound like with an interesting guitarist."
As I said before, 2009 Justin Bieber looks like Tom Jones next to 1988-89 Joey McIntire
I envied Nick Carter's hair so much. Thank god I never got it.
"You love hip hop and rock n' roll/your dad took off when you were four years old." Did that actually work, Rich? Did she go out with you after that line?
His penchant for blazers with Joan Crawford shoulder pads were a pretty big clue in retrospect...
Give It To You is a 9. Absolutely deserved to be a hit.
Watching that movie I was on edge the entire time waiting for Ice Cube to proclaim himself "crazy as FUCK." The credits rolled, she turned to me and said "Their music is FABULOUS."
I don't think she would ever admit it, but I think she was attracted to him and it scared her. She's from a well to do family from Louisiana, and nice girls like her didn't associate with boys like that. She's only three years older than he was.
My grandmother called me up one day and asked me if I'd heard of a movie called Straight Outta Compton and wondered if I would take her. Afterwards, she proclaimed their music "Fantastic" and asked me where she could get the record. I'm dead serious. Elvis? To this day she refers to him as "That Elvis Presley." I asked her why she hated him so much. Her eyes narrowed and she said: "Because, John, he might DO something." Nobody has ever encapsulated The King's appeal so perfectly.
"When you take a sip you buzz like a hornet" is one of the most baffling lyrics in the history of pop music
New Kids On The Block were my first favorite band, because to my four year old mind, any band that had dolls and a Saturday morning cartoon was clearly the best band on earth. I had a bunch of their comic books, and a Jordan Knight doll because my mom wouldn't let me have Donnie. He had a pompadour, you see, which meant that he was a bad boy NOT TO BE EMULATED. This is why my grandmother hates Elvis 60 years later The Judge taped their Live at Madison Square Garden HBO special when we had a free weekend, and my sister and I played it to death. As Tom said, when I got older I had to hate the New Kids because that was the rule of Boy World. As an adult, I'm somewhere in the middle. NKOTB had some legit bops, but they also had a lot of dreck. I'll Be Loving You (Forever) is dreck. When I posted about She Drives Me Crazy a few weeks ago, I mentioned that falsetto is an artistic choice that either works or fails, and Jordan's sounds like a party trick that he jus figured out. It's everything I hate about late 80s pop music. This is a product put out by a billion dollar corporation and it sounds like they made it on the Radio Shack keyboard I got for Christmas in 1990. The video, though? If there is a better time capsule of the year of our lord 1989, I can't find it. Jordan has three haircuts going on at once. It's spectacular. I don't want to mention the current boy band of the day, lest their stans come and find me, but the one thing I miss from the New EditionNKOTB/BSB/NSYNC era of boy bands is the shot in every video where they are walking down the street in slow motion because they are just normal bros, man. It's preposterous and I love it. Hair bands did this too. I'm looking at you, Warrant. The song is a 3 The video is a 10 I disagree with Tom, Right Stuff is a bop and should have been #1 instead of this. It's a solid 8. Please Don't Go Girl is a 2 I can't remember if they released as a single, but My Favorite Girl is my favorite NKTOB song. It's an 8. I can't believe Quit Playing Games With My Heart was BSB's highest charting single. That was the peak of my pop chart awareness and I have almost no memory of hearing that song in the wild. I heard As Long As You Love Me, Everybody and I Want It That Way constantly, both in the wild and through my sister's wall. Quit Playing Games is a 7. As Long As You Love Me is an 8 Everybody is a 7 I Want It That Way is a 10.
I'm waiting to see Sack Lunch. I wonder how they got in there!
Wind Beneath My Wings isn't good, but it's well-crafted and memorable thanks to Midler's performance. I really think she's the female Sammy Davis Jr. in the sense that recording can't really capture what makes her special. My mom has a few of her records and they are fine, but when I see clips of her on The Tonight Show or one of her concert films, I get it. As Tom mentions, it's not Bette's performance, it's the production. The "Faithfully" drums are really distracting. Wouldn't it be helpful to tell someone how much they mean to you before they are dying of cancer? Just a thought. It's much better than From a Distance. That song is the worst. Heavily featured on several adorable cripple montages from the United Cerebral Palsy telethons I was forced to be on as a kid. Wind Beneath My Wings is a 4 From A Distance is a 2 Midler's performance in Rochelle Rochelle: The Musical, 10
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