Friday, April 24, 2009

FDF Volume 2 Issue 136 - Queens of the Stone Age - Rated R

By: March

Album - Rated R
Artist - Queens of the Stone Age
Key Players - Nick Oliveri - bass, backing vocals, percussion. Josh Homme - lead vocals, guitar(s)
Produced By - Chris Goss and Josh Homme

Release Date - June 6, 2000

What caused me to blow off the dust? - If you know me, you know I kneel before the altars of a few musicians/artists. QOTSA is one of those bands. I stumbled upon them on the debut cd when I was an intern at a radio station (no they didn't play them) but the jock made a suggestion and I took HER advice (chicks can rock too!). Since then I have devoured the bands music, doing what I can to get as many of their live shows on cd. Even with my 'trading days' probably behind me, at last count I had over 250 live shows from the band on cd, some taped by myself. All that being said, you might be saying, sounds like its a band you'd not really blow the dust off the cd. My favorite bands, like yours, are always like a comfortable pair of shoes. You look and feel great wearing em but you can't have em on all the time. Okay that made little sense, but the idea is as much as I enjoy their output I know that there are other things worthy of my attention as well (like 3 other studio records, side projects and a live cd). So perhaps there wasn't as much dust on this one, but it has been a while since this got the old "front to back".

Overview - This was the second full length release from California band Queens of the Stone Age (QOTSA). The record was a hit with critics and fans alike putting the words "Stone Rock", a moniker the band dislikes, to the tips of critics tounges. The heavy rock record gave the band a slot on the Ozzfest stage that summer, and despite an early afternoon set the band would garner more fans. Homme and Oliveri would channel some of their former band Kyuss (FDF Looks at ..and the Circus Leaves Town) into the mix, but the revolving door of musicians kept each track even more unique than the last.

FDF Comments (aka the songs) - Oliveri hammers out a simple bass line as drummer Gene Trautmann compliments him. The buzzy guitar comes up and the band launches "Feel Good Hit of the Summer". The song repeats the line nicotine, Valium Vicodin, marijuana, ecstasy and alcohol over and over..that is all it has, but Homme rips off a flashy solo and you can hear Dave Catching on the electric piano pushed up in the mix. The backing vocals are members of the band, mixed with some female vocals and if you really listen you can hear Rob Halford (Judas Priest) loan his pipes to the chorus. It is sort of rinse-lather-repeat formula, but it was always a fun song both on record and live. Nick Lucero (who played drums on most of the record) quickly starts off "The Lost Art of Keeping a Secret". Oliveri has a smooth bass line as the track is accented by vibes and piano. Homme keeps the guitar in check until the chorus, and there it hits down a little harder, but they are quick to return to the catchy instrumentation of the verses. With hardly a gap "Leg of Lamb" begins. Homme has a hushed vocal delivery and the song has an odd tempo to it, but the guitar has a certain "squeal" to it. Lucero keeps the drums pretty laid back and Oliveri whispers various lines leading to the chorus, where the band sings in a higher oactive range. On "Auto Pilot" Oliveri takes the lead vocal duties and Homme plays both drums and guitar on the track. Screaming Trees front man Mark Lanegan makes his first appearance on the record with his terrific backing vocals. The song is "clean" for a QOTSA song, with the drums, bass and vocals all keeping about the same vibe. Homme tosses in a few riffs over the top and then the band has a moment of high harmonies on the chorus and you can hear phase on voices and an acoustic guitar before falling back to the tempo previously heard on the track. Conga style drums open up "Better Living through Chemistry" and Homme repeats a simple guitar line before Oliveri comes over it all with a swooping bass line. Keyboard fills bulk up the track as the vocals begin, with Hommes vocal track phased out giving it a very trippy feel. The song has some "false endings" and at times gets heavy but keeps a very mellow sort of vibe to it all. Homme has a distorted short guitar solo before Lucero bring the drums in and there are a series of phased "oohs and ahhs" as Homme runs the scales and then the vocals fade from one channel to the next giving the (headphone wearing) listener a sensation the band is circling them. The oohs and ahhs repeat for the bulk of the song as it fades with the drums line keeping consistent before the band plugs it back in to the riff of the verse. On "Monsters in the Parasol" the band has an urgency we haven't heard for a few tracks. The guitar riff is pretty simple and it is accented a lot with cymbal crashes. Oliveri whispers lines like "Hair" in a very breathy tone that adds a unique touch. The band repeats a few lines before hitting the chorus and Homme runs the guitar part right through everything Oliveri speaks "I don't even know what I'm doing here" and a female voice chants "yeah yeah yeah" and with guitars and handclaps "Quick and to the Pointless" begins. On-line reports this was a one take and done version. Basically Oliveri laid down the vocals that were intended to be "scratch" vocals but the band like the sound so much they kept it. It is the shortest track on the record (under 2 minutes). In a live setting Oliveri would scream his bloody freaking head off. The track is really "quick and to the point" that is for sure. Mark Lanegan returns on "In the Fade" and takes the lead vocals. Dave Catching has a haunting electric piano intro as various "noises" quietly fill out the sound and with a quick drum clack off Oliveri swoops in with the bass. Lanegan who has one of the best voices in rock in my opinion adds such a great dynamic to this track and his howl comes on the chorus, and they were smart in over dubbing his voice so he seemingly harmonizes with himself. The vocals are the high point to the track, but the smooth bass line from Oliveri is also very appealing. As the track fades there is a reprise of the first track, "Feel Good Hit of the Summer". The crunchy QOTSA guitar sound comes out on "Tension Head". Homme gets the coolest sound out of the guitar and Oliveri gets the duties on lead vocals. The band is a "trio" for the first time on this track. Its Homme, Oliveri and Trautmann on drums. The song has a dark, but sweet freaking groove to it. "Lightning Song" follows and is a major departure from the other tracks. 12 string acoustic guitars, Indian style percussion and piano are swirl around on the instrumental track. The album closes with the longest track "I Think I Lost My Headache" (8:40). With a deep bass sound and a guitar riff that slowly repeats over the bass line. Dave Catching offers up lap steel giving the song a haunting sound and the steel drums and percussion add a unique sound and feel to the track. The steel drums are up pretty high in the mix as Homme begins the vocals. The song has a very "full" sound as in a mid tempo affair for the bulk of the song. Lanegan returns to offer up backing vocals and there is a horn section that makes the song fuller than anything we've heard. The final few minutes is a slow, looping, ever quickening musical interlude with the steel drums, bass, guitar and drums all growing and growing in speed and volume. As the electric instruments begin to fade is when the horn section comes in. It repeats the same riffs and the trumpet is the instrument making the noise over the top of them. This is repeated over and over and the track ends.

Where are they now? - Queens of the Stone Age was a revolving door of musicians from the get go with Homme and Oliveri as the two constants. Drummers have gone and gone the most but in 2004 Oliveri was shown the door. Rumors were rampant that Oliveri had struck a woman and that Homme wanted no part of that. Since then Queens of the Stone Age has only grown to a larger audience, and a more stable band line up. Joey Castillo has been the drummer for the last few records as well as Troy Van Leeuwen who has played guitar and keyboards. All that being said the band still tour and record. It has been a little too quiet in the Queens camp for me personally, but something should be looming. Homme hopes to have another "Desert Sessions" record out, as well as a re master of the bands first record done in 2009.

FDF Personal Comments (aka the Live experience)
- Some folks have the Dead, (FDF looks at Workingmans Dead) others, Phish (FDF looks at Billy Breathes..I have Queens of the Stone Age. (actually I've only seen U2 and Phish more) but I've seen QOTSA 11 times now. The first was an in store performance at the Shrewsbury Newbury Comics. They did a full electric set and I met all the guys before the show. If you are on face book my image w/Josh was my profile picture for a while. Two days later I saw them as part of Ozzfest. They played at about 1:30 in the afternoon to a less than polite crowd but even in 30 minutes they gained some fans. September 30, 2000 was at the now closed Axis nightclub in Boston. WBCN broadcast this show and its still one of my favorite live concerts on cd. Oliveri performed the last few tunes naked as well, which was umm..ahhh..well. June 1, 2002 the band played the Paradise and Dave Grohl was the drummer for the band at the time. It was hot, sweaty and awesome. That fall(September 1st) they played Avalon, then 2 nights later Lupos' in Providence. For the first time ever I hit the Webster Theater in Hartford for their March 26, 2003 show. What I recall about this show more than anything was the heavy security to get in. They still brought it though making the drive worth it. Later that summer (July 25th) they were part of the newly revived Lollapaloosa tour. A lot had changed with Lolla, but QOTSA were good and Audioslave, Incubus and Jane's Addiction (FDF Looks at Nothings Shocking) were all worth the trip. A few months later (Sept 10, 2003) they were back, and back at the same venue as Lolla (Comcast Center) and this was opening for the Red Hot Chili Peppers (FDF Looks at The Uplift Mofo Party Plan). Earlier in the day I was supposed to go to an "intimate performance" but Josh got stuck in traffic and I didn't have anything I needed for the show that night, so I bagged it. I made it to the show and QOTSA were great even though it was a short opening slot. March 28, 2005 I saw them at the Roxy and it was good, but I was stuck behind a bunch of ass hats all night so that sorta bummed me out. By this time Mark Lanegan (FDF Looks at Uncle Anesthesia) was doing all the shows with them so that was always a great time. The last time was October 9, 2007 when the band played Lupo's in Providence. At the time I was sort of "ehh" on their latest record but when they played live I hurried home and listened to the record again, and have since warmed up to it a great deal.

FDF Overall Take - In recent years QOTSA have become stronger musically mostly due to a consistent set of core members. The band has had more success commercially than they ever have and should keep this rolling through the next record, as long as it doesn't take too long to arrive. Rated R is a good representation of their work and gives the listener a good primer as to what the band is all about.

Links -
Official site, and myspace
Also a great fansite that I helped a little with in the early stages.

Curious? Check out some MUSIC!

The mp3s have been removed..

Feel Good Hit of the Summer
In the Fade
Tension Head

All the tracks taken from "Rated R" which you can buy here.

Disclaimer - For the most part songs listed you can find on iTunes or your local cd shop. The idea is to give you a little taste of the music. Please support the artist buy purchasing some of their work. Songs are posted for about 1 week but can and will be removed at the request of the artist, band, band management etc. If you are one of those persons contact me via the email link in the profile and they will be removed as soon as we are made aware of the request.

Friday, April 17, 2009

FDF Volume 2: Issue 135 - The Outfield - Play Deep

By: March

Album - Play Deep
Artist - The Outfield
Key Players - Alan Jackman - drums. Tony Lewis - bass, lead vocals. John Spinks - guitar, vocals.
Produced By - William Wittman

Release Date - 1985

What caused me to blow off the dust?
- A face book "friend" had a line of one of the songs from this record as their "status" recently. That was enough of an "oh yeah" reminder.

Overview - The London England based band "The Outfield" broke onto the US Charts in the mid 1980s. This, their debut would sell over three million copies, but the band would hardly crack the charts in their native land. They'd release three records total as this trio and continue to work on material before taking a break in the mid 1990's. They'd resurface in the late 1990's with a fan club only cd as well as a "rarity" collection. They'd release a few live records and their last studio record was in 2006.

FDF Comments (aka the songs) - With the guitar chiming and drums clicking we are off with some high notes on "Say It Isn't So". The band offers up some decent backing vocals but the focus on the record will be with Tony Lewis' very strong voice. He hits some good range but the track keeps a steady pace, and sounds similar to what was on the radio at the time while sounding refreshing at the same time. After a guitar solo the band repeats the verse/chorus and the song fades. Probably the bangs biggest song "Your Love" is next. It has gotten more attention as of late with singer Katy Perry, ("I Kissed a Girl") doing a cover of the tune (it is changed slightly from the original) but it doesn't take long to see why this was so big for the band. Lewis is "up their" vocally but he doesn't seem strained which is odd. The vocals are sung with just a guitar for the first 30 seconds before the band comes in. The tempo is basic and the guitar has a certain ring to it that is fitting. Jackman hits the snare, which has a great snap to it. Listening once more it really is sort of a mid tempo song all in all, you can't work out to this song, but you can't fall asleep to it. Lewis goes even higher vocally as the track begins to wind down and the guitar chimes over it all. The band hits a marching band tempo on "I Don't Need Her". Once again the guitar has a great ring to it and the intro is pretty slick with the bass, drums and guitar. The chorus is where the real hook is (I know I know) but the harmonies are decent and Lewis doesn't go too far over the other vocals. Musically it has the same feel as "Big Country" (FDF looks at "The Crossing" at times, but I personally dug that sound so perhaps that is why I like the track. They hit pay dirt when they wisely repeat the chorus that one extra time. Well played! We get our first taste of ballad on "Everytime You Cry". A single guitar accompanies Lewis at the intro. Some keyboards fill out the space after 30-40 seconds and then a little bit further the drums come in. Once the full bad comes it you hear bits of acoustic guitar, keyboards to fill it out. On the verse we go back to the single guitar for the first portions of the verses. Lewis makes it a point to hit those notes once more. We have the guitar solo, but don't go right back to just Lewis and the guitar, this time the verse is with the full band. It loops the chorus and the band has an interlude before wrapping it up. "61 Seconds" is back to a more rock feel. Guitar and drums are right up at the start. By this point of the record we are used to the guitar sound and the drum lines all keeping in check, and within their bounds on the tracks. It is not that they are bad, it just hasn't gotten that interesting either. Sure there are solos, or drum break downs but what holds the whole bunch together is the just great pop feel of the songs, so in the end it works. Opening with some spacy keyboards "Mystery Man" begins. After a few loops on keyboard the guitars come up and for the first time you really hear the bass up in the mix. The song is about as heavy as the band gets but they still keep the pop feel to it. Another track "All the Love" keeps the same intro of guitar and drums before Lewis comes in. The drums have more of an "electric" sound on this track than on others. Lewis still hits this notes that are off the charts and the harmonies are good, and compliment his range very well. The guitar solo returns and keeps in check, but being not too long, or too flashy. "Talk to Me" has a bit of different feel to it. Opening with the drums and guitar the vocals have a choppiness to them that we haven't really heard. The verse has a good section of urgency before leading to the chorus, which is very laid back and really only repeats the same lines. (I know most chorus' do that, but it stood out). We open "big" on "Taking My Chances" with big chords and deep drums, it is very dramatic at times. The guitar solo is a slow to build affair and the song keeps the dark feel for the bulk of the track, before the band speeds it up for the final run of chorus and verse. The record closes with "Nervous Alibi" a track that really showcases Lewis. With a single guitar Lewis unloads vocally hitting these off the charts notes. The are a few cymbal rolls and some bass notes tossed in a little leading to the second verse. The band gets big for an instrumental interlude before returning to the lone guitar and Lewis for that one more "big note" moment, and he doesn't fail us. The song slowly fades and the cd ends.

Where are they now? - The band is still active to this day. According the bands official web site they have a record that is a "all but done" (updated in December of 2008). Drummer Alan Jackman left the band after their third record. According to the bands site as well, Spinks has had some health issues, but appears to be on the mend. The band has even had music from this record included in the "Grand Theft Auto" game series.

FDF Personal Comments (aka the Live experience) - I never saw the band live. The only chance that I came close was when (ohh boy deep breath....) I went to see Night Ranger and The Outfield was supposed to open for them. This record started to "blow up" so the Outfield bowed out of an opening slot and didn't tour with Night Ranger. We were given as the opener that night...Great White. Whew, that was rough...

FDF Overall Take - There are some decent moments on this record I have to admit. Musically it feels a tad "generic" for the time but Lewis has such a set of pipes you almost want "more" vocals since he is so much fun to listen to. If you like the singles chances are you'd like the bulk of this record. If need be there are some best of collections as well.

The Outfieldofficial site

Curious? Check out some MUSIC!

The Mp3s have been removed.

I Don't Need Her
Say It Isn't So
Your Love

All three tracks taken from Play Deep, which you can buy here.

Disclaimer - For the most part songs listed you can find on iTunes or your local cd shop. The idea is to give you a little taste of the music. Please support the artist buy purchasing some of their work. Songs are posted for about 1 week but can and will be removed at the request of the artist, band, band management etc. If you are one of those persons contact me via the email link in the profile and they will be removed as soon as we are made aware of the request.

Friday, April 10, 2009

FDF Volume 2 Issue 134: dada - Puzzle

By: March

Album - Puzzle
Artist - dada
Key Players - Michael Gurley - guitar and vocals, Joie Calio - bass and vocals, Phil Leavitt - drums
Produced By - Ken Scott

Release Date - September 8, 1992

What caused me to blow off the dust? - I caught myself humming the track "Dim" out of the blue a week or so ago now. Its been far too long, I am glad i listened to this record again, what kept me away?

Overview - This was the debut record from Los Angeles band dada. The debut would score a modest radio hit in "Dizz Knee Land" and the band would tour extensively for the record. They'd release a follow up two years later, but their label (IRS) was in the early stages of folding. They'd sneak a third record out under the IRS label and then sign with MCA records, but by their fourth record MCA was having their woes. In 1999 the band "took a break" but reformed in 2003

FDF Comments (aka the songs) - The album opens with Calio on the bass with some guitar riffs from Gurley before the drums come up and "Dorina" gets rolling. Gurley has a pretty cool sounding guitar that has just the right chime and punch to it. For almost the first minute there are no lyrics but then Gurley and Calio harmonize very well. This is a very strong suit for the record, you are almost assured of good/strong harmonies. The song keeps a steady pace and never gets overly flashy. The groundwork has been laid on a strong opening track. Gurley gives the guitar quite the workout at times during this track, show casing his chops. "Mary Sunshine Rain" follows and is a little more laid back, with the acoustic guitar lead. Again, Calio and Gurley are in strong voice and after the acoustic intro the bass of Calio kicks off more and Leavitt gets into more of a drum groove. The song has a good pop sensibility about it. Within 1:15 we are more "rocking" than you'd have expected with the intro and the song keeps a steady, rock feel. Gurley has a cool wah wah guitar solo as well. The acoustic guitar intro returns on "Dog" and after a few notes the band comes in. The band does a great job of working the acoustic and electric guitars. This track is a little more streamlined, and the focus returns on the vocals and wonderful harmonies. A great guitar section seems to be the running theme as well and Gurley nails another perfect solo, perfect for the song, not too flashy but just the right fix. The bands biggest hit "Dizz Knee Land" is at the right place on the record, not too early. The single guitar opens with a drum rush that falls into a very smooth groove. As the lyrics are sung the drums have a hard "whap" to them and the bass chugs along, but the build up, and the chorus are great in show casing the bands vocal harmonies once more. The guitar effects and punchy bass keep the fun lyrics moving right along and your toes are tapping as you try to sing the high harmonies (good luck!). A terrific track that hasn't aged one bit (well barring a reference to flipping off President George..which still works right?). "Surround" also has a quick acoustic guitar open and falls into a bass groove early with playful guitar parts over. The vocals are little more hushed at the outset, we are not forcing things and it blends well with the feel of the instruments. Leavitt keeps the drum line basic and the bass keeps things in check. Gurley works in an appropriate solo as the song begins to come to a close. "Here Today, Gone Tomorrow" begins with a lone guitar and some bass and drum call and response fills. The lyrics are given almost "spoken" at the outset and the harmonies later are strong. Musically it has a twangy feel before it locks into a more rock mode close to two minutes in before Gurley gives a country swollen guitar solo. The track gets to be more urgent both lyrically and musically, but doesn't stray from its feel at the outset. Leavitt counts off "Posters" and gives the drum kit a little bit of a workout. It is not fast or flashy but hard sounding. The hits are bassy and you feel the kick drum. Gurley tosses some guitar parts over the drums and there are over dubs of acoustic and electric guitars. The track settles into a bluesy bar band feel. It is sort of silly lyrically as they say "lets go to my room baby and look at my posters" Not sure that will win over the ladies..but hey. Strings open "Timothy" and we shift to acoustic guitar and the vocal harmonies. The drums and bass are gone as it utilizes guitar, orchestration and vocals. Opening with a great guitar riff "Dim" wastes no time getting rolling. A great single that did a get a little air play and it is easy to tell why. The band eases up some musically on the verses, but the bass keeps a steady thump for the duration. Gurley tosses in pretty guitar fills and the chorus gets a great call and response run down. The harmonies on this track are real standouts. On quieter tunes it almost seems "easy" to harmonize, but when you are in full rock mode it seems all that more impressive. Terrific track.
"Who You Are" opens with a fun little guitar before the bass and drums come in. Vocals are hushed again, but track keeps a solid groove. The guitar locks into a wah wah groove on the chorus adding a rockin feel. The longest track on the record, and the title track "Puzzle" begins with bass and a chorused guitar. The drums sort of take a back seat to the bass line. The vocals are strong, but a little laid back at the same time. The band kicks it in at about the 2 minute mark with more of a strong kick to the drums. The guitars get more of a work out too feeding off the bass work. After about a minute the band settles back into the same groove they had at the outset of the track. At times the track has a very "Toad the Wet Sprocket" (FDF looks at Circus) feel and that is not a bad thing, just that vibe. Gurley has a flashy guitar solo and the band locks into a tight groove letting him spread his wings. The record wraps up with "Moon" a vocally hushed based track. Bigger guitar runs try to take things over from time to time but it keeps the focus on the vocal portion of the tune. Later in the track the harmonies arrive and the bass comes in for a few bars before the drums also are incorporated. Still the vocals are the showcase on the album closer.

Where are they now? - The band is still together. Gurley, who has struggled with carpal tunnel syndrome still is able to play many shows but uses lighter gauged strings to help with his issues. Since there inception the band has released five full lengths, an ep and a live record. Based off message board activity on the bands official site, they are still playing passionate (and long) live shows. Finally, Calio has a band "X Levitation Cult" and they have released one cd.

FDF Personal Comments (aka the Live experience)
- I only ever saw the band one time and it was sort of on a fluke (sadly I don't have a stub for the date of the show). The show was at Club Babyhead in Providence. My buddy and I went down to see some middle of the road local band, and when we got there we were told that dada had been 'around' and wanted to play as well. I guess the local band rolled back to an opening slot for them. I just recall "Dim" and "Diz Knee Land" being (of course) stand out, crowd pleasing tunes. The bands site does have a live show archive, but that show is not listed, leaving me further confused...

FDF Overall Take Although my musical tastes may have grown some from this band when I listen once more I appreciate the skill it took (and takes) to make records this strong. The band is made up of some great singers and guys that are skill musicians. The record was fun to listen to again and perhaps you bought this cd for that one song too, but listen to the whole thing and realize we are missing a lot in music today.

The band has an official site as well as a myspace page.

Curious? Check out some MUSIC!

the mp3's have been removed...

Dizz Knee Land

Tracks taken from "Puzzle" which you can buy here.

Disclaimer - For the most part songs listed you can find on iTunes or your local cd shop. The idea is to give you a little taste of the music. Please support the artist buy purchasing some of their work. Songs are posted for about 1 week but can and will be removed at the request of the artist, band, band management etc. If you are one of those persons contact me via the email link in the profile and they will be removed as soon as we are made aware of the request.

Friday, April 03, 2009

FDF Volume 2: Issue 133 - Smashing Pumpkins - Gish

By: March

Album - Gish
Artist - The Smashing Pumpkins
Key Players - James Iha - Guitar. D'Arcy Wretzky -Bass. Jimmy Chamberlin - drums. Billy Corgan - guitar and lead vocals.
Produced By - Butch Vig and Billy Corgan

Release Date - May 28, 1991

What caused me to blow off the dust? - All the news as of late with Billy breaking things off with long time drummer Jimmy Chamberlin got me yearning for "simpler times" and this, to me is still their absolute best record...period.

Overview - The debut record from Chicago band Smashing Pumpkins was named after a silent film star. The band would record this record quickly and release to critical acclaim but it would just barely crack the Billboard Top 200 hitting 195. The band would tour for this record, and as they began to ready the next record the band was included on the "Singles" sound track,
(Forgotten Disc Friday review) thus lumping them as part of the "Seattle/grunge" sound. The band would catapult in to super stardom and tour the world time and time again. In fighting and a touring band members drug overdose would see the band begin to fracture. Iha and D'Arcy left the band. The band would have its ups and downs from that point forward to their current status, just Corgan with every intention to keep the band alive.

FDF Comments (aka the songs) - Marching drums and a solid bass line bring up "I Am One" with big guitar chords. Iha and Corgan step in in to overdrive and Chamberlin hits the ride cymbal before Corgan takes the lead into the first verse. The vocals are never the strong point (on this or any pumpkins song for that matter) but the gruff/gravel that Corgan pushes the lyrics with fits the overall vibe of the tune. The band is tight to change directions, allowing single guitar notes to ring out with D'Arcy and Chamberlin filling in the voids. Corgan flashes a short solo early in the tune before the be band locks in back in. A blistering album opener, setting the tone for what is in store. The dual guitar solo that leads to the D'Arcy breakdown is also a great touch before the chaos returns to wrap up the track. A solo guitar riff into a chorused guitar opens up "Siva". The guitars buzz and the bass has a cool punchy yet smooth feel to it. Chamberlins drums are mic'd perfectly on this and his snare strikes punch thru the speakers. The buzzy guitar feeds of the bass and the second guitar will flash over that with solo and longer guitar runs. The song has a breakdown as well, with Corgan relaxing vocally and the guitars getting light. About a verse worth of lyrics is sung/whispered before Chamberlin and Corgan bring in back in. The band does the break down a second time, but doesn't have as much vocals. Corgan whispers "I just wanna get there faster" and the song comes ripping back in. Corgan gives it a "YEaaaaaaaaaaaaah" and the band is hitting down hard once more. They repeat the chorus a few times before wrapping it up. The longest track on the disc "Rhinoceros" follows. Tracking in just over six minutes thirty seconds its a much more psychedelic feeling track. The bass has a nice swoop. The guitars follow suit with a much more laid back, yet a specific "chime" to them. Corgan is more laid back vocally for the first part. We keep pretty even for the first 3:30 of the track before the distortion pedals get a little more of a work out. A flashy solo with harder drums fills the track for a bit and the vocals return. The song continues at a certain pace, but grows in intensity before culminating in a looped/phased/delays guitar loop that leads right in to "Bury Me". One of the most rocking tunes the band ever did. A long guitar note is held as the rhythm section kick off. Iha has good chops on a repeated riff before Corgan bleeds over the top. The band sets the bar really high for a rocking guitar band that is for sure. One of the best moments on the record, listen for it, is the drum roll that Chamberlin does when he does a roll with rim shot on every 4th beat. He does this a few times on the record, but when you hear it once, you hear it a few times. The guitar switches to a slower pace with just a single guitar and drums before everyone comes back. The outro solo is to die for with the high notes on the lead guitar looping. I always say that if you find yourself singing a guitar part rather than the vocals you know you are on to something. Corgan runs the riff a series of times while Iha keeps the solid guitar line underneath. As it ends you feel as exhausted as the band must be. "Crush" is a much more quiet tune. The bass runs the scale(s) as an acoustic guitar feeds off a subtle electric guitar line. The whine of Corgan is heavy in this track since his vocals are more up front. The track is a decent enough change of pace from what we have heard and runs the risk of being dull, but the band picks up the guitar and vocal a little more as it progresses. It blends well with the next track "Suffer". It also has the same sort of feel as the prior track with a smoother and slower feel. There is a longer instrumental interlude 3+ minutes in to the track. It slowly builds stronger and stronger too, mostly thru the bass line before the drums get going more. The track fades almost seamless to "Snail". Another track, that at the outset seems laid back before the guitars clank down. Iha and Corgan feed off each other perfect on this track. One holding the longer notes and the other doing more of the runs. The guitar sound they both get is often duplicated but its got such a "ommmf" sound to it. Corgan has a longer solo and the band slows it down before starting with the lines "When you wake up yell away" and the guitar lines come back in a fury but we try to slow it down..only to have it swell to a massive guitar section played over the second guitar and bass running the same series of notes. Chamberlin plays like an 8 armed juggernaut at points and it all ends on a simple chord. A buried classic is "Tristessa". Here Chamberlin gets to show off his chops. The bass gets pushed up in the mix and the dual guitar lock down. Chamberlins drum roll/rim shot is really up front after the first verse. Like most of the other songs there is a quiet interlude but that doesn't last long before a solo comes in. An outstanding track.. The dark and mellow "Window Paine" keeps a somber mood for a good 2:15 of its 5+ minute length before the guitars get a work out. Even at that point its a lot of single big guitar chords with the bass and drums keeping the song at a pace. Chamberlin drum rolls things into a fury at the end as the bass and guitars follow suit and we get faster and faster without getting too "campy" either. They fool you thinking its going to end on a down note, but it all comes back..and hard too to wrap it up. The album closes with "Daydream" a track that D'Arcy takes the lead vocals on. The track is short and acoustic driven and that leads in a final "hidden track" called "I'm Going Crazy" which begins at about the 2 minute mark of Daydream.

Where are they now? - Well the band lost Iha and D'Arcy and soldered on under the Pumpkins moniker. They'd shuffle band members, Corgan would release a solo record (as would Chamberlin) and Corgan would form and disband a group called Zwan. The band would re-form once more after Corgan put out a full page ad in a newspaper. Chamberlin joined the fold once more and the band released another studio record. In 2008 the band toured celebrating the 20th anniversary of being a band (without Iha and D'Arcy) and the shows were met with mixed reviews, mostly due to Corgan berating the audience. In recent weeks Corgan and Chamberlin have parted ways. Corgan is currently looking for a drummer and Chamberlin will continue to work as a solo artist. Iha is now part of a pop/rock band called Tinted Windows and before that released a solo record and worked with A Perfect Circle. Wretzky who battled drug and alcohol problems while in the band has since cleaned up and has remained largely out of the public eye.

FDF Personal Comments (aka the Live experience)
- The very first time and still the very best was in the summer of 1991 on the Gish Tour. The show was at TT The Bears and it was about 120 degrees inside the venue. TT's had run a series of shows for a week called "Lollypops and Booze" ( a spoof of Lollapaloosa) and I had the chance to see them there. The band was still "small enough" they were setting up their own gear. By the first tune the place exploded and I had to find a "cooler" spot to watch. To this day the hottest show I have ever been to, and one of the finest. The next time was indoors at Boston University's Walter Brown Arena, where the Smashing Pumpkins were the middle slot band. The opener for the show was some little known at the time Seattle band called "Pearl Jam" (No Code on Forgotten Disc Friday) and the headliner was the Red Hot Chili Peppers (Uplift Mofo Party Plan on Forgotten Disc Friday). Yep..its okay..go back and read those last few lines. On August 3, 1994 the love affair I had with the band was heavily strained after a beyond lackluster headlining slot at Lollapaloosa. The day was nice enough, but the traffic was so bad getting there even some of the BANDs didn't make it in time for their sets. Corgan was a whining baby and I think we even left because we were worried about another major pain for a commute. The final time was at the Orpheum Theater in Boston on July 31, 1998. I had 4th row center seats and it was again, one of the more lackluster sets I had seen from the band. It was largely acoustic based, but was not an "unplugged" show. It was more frustrating than anything. That was the last time I gave the band my money for a live show.

FDF Overall Take
- There is no doubt I am in the minority thinking this is their best album, but when it comes down to it, this is one of the most explosive rock records you will ever hear. It hard, heavy and fast at times but keeps a perfect balance. The guitar work is great, the drumming is out of this world. The band I hope is very proud of this record. They'd have flashes of brilliance that were on this record from time to time throughout their career and one hopes that they find it again, at least some of it, and they will be back on top once more.

Smashing Pumpkins Official site and myspace pages.
James Iha on myspace and his new band "Tinted Windows" on myspace.
Jimmy Chamberlin official site here

Curious? Check out some MUSIC!



The tracks were taken from "Gish" which you can buy here.

Bonus Download!

Smashing Pumpkins
Live at the Whiskey A Go Go
Los Angeles, CA
December 12, 1991

(liberated bootleg called "Daydream Kisses")

Bury Me
Window Paine
I Am One

Disclaimer - For the most part songs listed you can find on iTunes or your local cd shop. The idea is to give you a little taste of the music. Please support the artist buy purchasing some of their work. Songs are posted for about 1 week but can and will be removed at the request of the artist, band, band management etc. If you are one of those persons contact me via the email link in the profile and they will be removed as soon as we are made aware of the request.