Get hyped for this circa: 2000 collection of Rage-infused covers of Cypress Hill, Devo, Bob Dylan and Minor Threat songs (among others, included Renegades of Funk by Afrika Bambaataa). The album for which this sticker does its dance was the last by this prolific band, and was released a full two months after their breakup. Hyped yet? Renegades… an almost two decades-old conclusion to a short-lived and necessary implement of 1990’s subculture. Keep your stickers, kids!
Have you ever wanted to know the lyrics to Minor Threat’s 1984 compilation, Minor Threat? I mean, let’s be honest here. Of course you have. So, allow me to present this 2008 reissue of the original lyric sheet-insert-type-deal. In the bit of research I’ve done on this release, there appears to be several different versions of the cover, some of the early versions fetching a hefty sum. This version was purchased used up in Ventura some 8-or-so years back, not that that matters, but the point is, really, that Minor Threat’s compilation, Minor Threat, is an absolute must-own. Carry on.
1988, with all its impotence and social frustrations, was a pretty damn outstanding year for music. Today we’re going to focus on (albeit very briefly because, let’s face it, I’ve got things to do) two outstanding works of Industrial fusion helmed from the prolific production due that was once known as Luxa Pan Productions. Very quickly, for those of you who have been living in a K-Mart dressing room for the past 25 years, Luxa Pan (Hypo Luxa and Hermes Pan, respectively) were the monikers of Al Jourgensen and Paul Barker. Sorry to be redundant for those to whom this fact is obvious… moving on.
In 1988, Ministry (Jourgensen/Luxa, Barker/Pan & crew) released the consciously alarming The Land of Rape and Honey. Also released in 1988 was Trait by Pailhead. Luxa Pan Productions was/is known for their excessive side projects, and their teaming with Minor Threat/Fugazi frontman, Ian MacKaye to form Pailhead is one of these bountiful side gigs.
Ok, so, FINALLY getting to the meat and potatoes of this damned post. Take a look at the pic of both covers at the top. Both albums were released the same year (1988), and both featured masterminds Jourgensen and Barker. Do the covers seem a bit similar to you? Something like a mushroom cloud, right? “Yes?” You reply with a vague tone. Ok, now take a look at the pic below.
By converting to grayscale and inverting the colors to The Land of Rape and Honey, you can clearly see the stark similarity between these two covers. I’m racking my brain on what this could mean. Did the boys just dig an ambiguous mushroom cloud image, enough to reproduce it on two different album covers by two “different” bands? Maybe. Did their excessive drug use drain them of their creative juices leaving them to repurpose an old idea? I don’t think so.
Here’s my thought. 1988 opened the door for a tsunami-sized wave of creative output by the Luxa Pan team (focusing solely on albums released between 1988 and 1993), and this mushroom cloud was a symbol for an explosion of releases that would define the career of both Al Jourgensen and Paul Barker.
Allow me to briefly break it down: Three albums by Revolting Cocks (You Goddamned Son of a Bitch, Beers, Steers, and Queers, and Linger Fickin’ Good), three albums by LARD (LARD, The Last Temptation of Reid, and Pure Chewing Satisfaction), a release by PTP, two released by 1000 Homo DJs (Apathy, and Supernaut) three by Lead into Gold (Idiot, Age of Reason, and Chicks & Speed: Futurism), four albums by Ministry (The Land of Rape and Honey, The Mind is a Terrible Thing to Taste, In Case You didn’t Feel Like Showing Up, and Psalm 69: The Way to Succeed and the Way to Suck Eggs) and finally, two releases by Pailhead (I Will Refuse and Trait). So, if my overly simplified calculations are correct (and they probably aren’t), in the span of only six years, Luxa Pan Productions produced a total of 18 albums. The mind boggles in its feeble attempt to process this information.
Whether these covers were foreshadowing the brilliant work of two insanely talented musicians, or it was simply an overanalyzed coincidence, 1988 ignited a bonfire under Luxa Pan Productions, the flames of which are still burning strong to this day.
When facing 2600 albums, looking down the barrel of a musical gun if you will, choosing what to listen to is sometimes much more difficult than it needs to be. “Am I in the mood for classical? How about the Minor Threat Demos? You know, I haven’t listened to Marvin Miller reading The Best of Mark Twain in a while”… stuff like that.
Today, after an hour and a half of groove searching I’ve narrowed it down to two finalists, Freddy Hill’s For the Good Times and Slim Whitman’s Just For You. I know what you’re thinking, “Why don’t you just listen to both of those astonishing albums?!” If I had the time I would, but today’s window only allows for one of these vocal greats, thus The Choice.
It’s hard not to go with the first, and obvious choice of Freddy Hill. He’s certainly dressed for the part, with his finely pressed suit and his perfectly symmetrical bow tie. But when looking at these two albums side by side, Slim Whitman’s lustful gaze immediately grabs my eye and doesn’t let go, forcing me to lean to the right. There’s just something about Freddy (we’re on a first name basis) and his artificial smile that leads me to think that he despised that photo shoot and was just waiting to “finish his contractual obligation of the day” so he could get back to the bottle. Mr. Whitman on the other hand (we aren’t quite on a first name basis yet) presents an album that’s just for me… not to mention it being NEW!
So the real question is whether I want something aimed towards the good times or something directed just for me. Life presents difficult decisions sometimes (cue the theme to Dawson’s Creek), and it can take a well-thought-out strategy to make these decisions. With that window of time rapidly closing, I’m inclined to side with Freddy. Not just because we’re on a first name basis, but also because I enjoy a man who enjoys his bottle. Pour a glass for me, ol’ chap and bring on the good times. Mr. Whitman, I shall see you tomorrow.