EBM… a former roommate introduced me to Nitzer Ebb, and I thank you explicitly, Tricia. This $3 necessity was had from a little hallway of a record shop across the street from Nick Nice’s shop in Madison, WI. This is the humble shop where I acquired my first Revolting Cocks record… where I snatched the Hot Snakes debut, the Lenny Soundtrack, the O Brother, Where Art Thou? Soundtrack, and Johnny Cash’s American IV… needless to say, $3 for Ebb’s debut, however mangled, was a bargain, given the circumstances. Covers be damned, until the time in which they be praised.
The debut album by Jane’s Addiction didn’t set the streets of Los Angeles on fire quite like 1988’s Nothing Shocking, or 1990’s Ritual de lo habitual. That is certainly not to say this (slightly doctored) live album doesn’t hit the needlepoint highs that the band is globally known and rewound for.
Jane’s Addiction, XXX, or Triple-X (whichever you prefer), is a great start, but barely measures up again the bands (only) first two albums. The rest (2003’s Strays and 2011’s The Great Escape Artist) is financial fodder.
What you’ve got here is a South Korean insert from the 1987 album, Appetite for destruction, by LA’s Guns N’ Roses released by the Oasis Record Co., an overseas distributor for Geffen Records. This exclusive version features a 9-track song list instead of the usual 12. Omitted are Nightrain, Mr. Brownstone and My Michelle (for those interested). I guess, by way of GNR in South Korea, anything goes.
This South Korean version of GNR’s classic, Appetite for Destruction, features a PG-13 variant cover of the Robert Williams painting of the same name. The original, and banned, or discontinued cover was deemed offensive by some in South Korea, enough to warrant the GNR logo to be slapped over the questionable portion of the art.
With such precautions taking place in South Korea, one can only imagine the North Korean version would look identical to Spinal Tap’s Smell the Glove.
Bought for $1.99, this undoubted little 12” features all the best that radio-pop 1987 had to offer, and for only a cool $4.99 ($10.47 today), Only in My Dreams AKA HAIR, was only a little over an hour’s work away (back in 1987, minimum wage $3.35 an hour).
I had not heard INXS in nearly 15 years, and to completely sidestep the accidental death of frontman Michael Hutchence, it must be stated that I’ve always held a deep-rooted respect for this Australian pop-rock band. It’s not due to the success of their 1987 album Kick, although the four singles contained within (New Sensation, Devil Inside, Need You Tonight and Never Tear Us Apart) certainly help their cause, but instead, an unlikely (IN) X (S)-factor prominently featured on the cover that immediately, and forever gripped my attention.
I was seven at the time Kick made its way to the record shelves at the local K-Mart, and as a curb surfin’ knee-scratcher, I was enmeshed with the skateboarding world. So when a major label release (all I knew at the time) featured a professional deck on the cover (Vision’s 1986 Psycho Stick), it was something of a gravity-pulling, counterculture-wise nod to those “in the know.” A lifelong respect was forged that day, and although I was a Powell-Peralta kid myself, the inclusion of such a specific detail certainly did not go overlooked on my part.
As I drink coffee from my Rob Roskopp Face mug (an awesomely outrageous gift, thangs, mang!), I look at this album cover and smile. Sure, 1/3 of that smile derives from the tunes, but 2/3 comes from that unforgettable childhood moment of joyful realization. Now, it’s time to FINALLY master that kickflip! Hey Bob…
I imagine, that for many TV watching thrill-seekers in the late 1950s and early 1960s, the Peter Gunn Theme is synonymous with well, the show Peter Gunn. The award winning Peter Gunn Theme (1 Emmy, 2 Grammys) was composed by the late, great Henry Mancini, and has been heard by just about every living soul the world over. I’d heard this so called Peter Gunn Theme, quite literally, countless times as a snot nosed kid, but had no idea who Henry Mancini was, and until just recently, had never heard of a suave, cool jazz-listening PI by the name of Peter Gunn. Hang in there… I’ll try to make this quick.
The year was 1987, and our local grocery store offered 2-day video game rentals. This was a fairly new addition to the existing VHS rental market, and served as an 8-bit lifesaver for many of my adolescent days. I saved up my weekly allowance and would bike down to the Piggly Wiggly grocery store (the village consisted of 1200 people, so you can imagine the trip didn’t take very long), and peruse the Nintendo Entertainment System new game releases. I’d always been a fan of spies (not entirely sure why), so the new release, Spy Hunter, caught my eye… and my $2. I waited in line to pay for my new 48-hour obsession, and without even looking at the MAD Magazines, I biked home as quickly as I could to see how many spies I could successfully hunt down.
If you’ve never played either the 1983 arcade or the 1987 NES version of Spy Hunter, its theme… the Spy Hunter Theme, apparently, goes by another, more popular name… the Peter Gunn Theme. I’ve grown to love Mancini, and although I’ve never seen a lick of Peter Gunn’s spy hunting abilities, I’m interested in checking it out. That being said, the Peter Gunn Theme will always and forever be known, at least for those of us who grew up in the 80s, as the Spy Hunter Theme. Watch out for those armored cars, kids, and don’t forget to return your rented cartridges. Late fees are a bitch!
Do you know what I hate? Whiskey. Yeah. I hate whiskey. It’s not the lovingly-bitter pinch it leaves on your exasperated tongue, it’s not the superhuman strength it willingly, and fervently gives you, it’s not the subtle suggestions it, well, suggests, that leave you STRONGLY considering running for a seat on the United States House of Representatives… instead, it’s the overwhelming velocity in its seemingly subtle proposals that provoke me to nudge the dials on my home stereo from, oh, I don’t know, say a neighborhood pleasing, tolerable volume, to a RAGING, cacophony of disruptive and uncongenial banter of my emotional choosing (namely, Guns N’ Roses, Refused, Guns N’ Roses, and ok, well mainly Guns N’ Roses).
There are specified channels of unquestionable vitality that never consider stepping down from atop their immortal foundation, and 1987 G N’ R is absurdly no exception.
Editor’s note: I extend my intense apology for the choice of photos for the following X posts. You see, I’ll be out of the office for the next X days and, well, I’ve forgotten to take pictures of the proper albums prior to my last minute post writing (you know, with the proper daylight and all). Something tells me, however, not a soul will notice, or venture to care, and therefore this Editor’s note will have served as a monumental waste of both your, and my time. Carry on.
Bar/None, one of the best singles to emerge from 1987, They Might Be Giants’ Don’t Let’s Start is a mindnumbingly-catchy little diddy that, when coupled with its amazing video that frequented the vid-screens of MTV, saw TMBG shooting harmonized-lighting into the ear-holes of everyone outside the confined NYC arena.
The Don’t Let’s Start single/EP/whatever-you-call-it contains the genre-bending favorite, The Famous Polka. If ever there was a fast-paced, accordion heavy, punk-polka anthem, it would be The Famous Polka (a personal favorite of The Prudent Groove).
Before the Band of Dans, before the TMBG-ified big-band-sound, there were two Johns, Linnell & Flansburgh. Stripped down compared to their more recent work (anything past 1994), Don’t Let’s Start showcases the clever wit of these two mad-genius John boys. The following lyric captures the whimsically-savvy, yet devotedly-bleak outlook of TMBG, and is arguably the best line the band has ever written:
No one in the world ever gets what they want and that is beautiful
Everybody dies frustrated and sad and that is beautiful
I’m contemplating having the above phrase inscribed onto my epitaph. It’s a phrase that needs to be chanted from the mouths of babes for a solid 15 minutes at least once a day. That’ll learn ’em to see beauty!