Monday, May 22, 2006

fiRE hoES

iTuned a buncho fiREHOSE. Four albums. I've avoided getting their material for years because I was always afraid of what I would find. I know what can happen when a bandmember dies and some fan writes a letter saying they should go on and the band lets the fan take their place.

Sometimes you get Temple of the Dog/Pearl Jam (which worked mainly because Mother Love Bone wasn't actually that good). Sometimes you even get a Black Album out of it (but then you're stuck with all the albums afterwards). Sometimes you get AC/DC's really popular stuff. Hell, there might even be a Dirty Vegas in there. Sometimes you just get "The New Doors" or the recently announced "New Alice in Chains": essentially cover bands.

I love the Minutemen. It took me a long time to get anything but Double Nickels on the Dime, but I had that on cassette! AND CD! Only the works of INXS share that distinction. Oh. And Disintegration, but that was a cassette copy of a cd.

I also love Mike Watt. I sometimes love Mike Watt more than the Minutemen. Certainly, I love his thumpstick. Just thinking about it makes me bounce. I love all his albums (even if that weird organ one wasn't the greatest), so I was naturally very interested in fiREHOSE.

But, I was also terrified. Watt writes about D. Boon a lot. A LOT. All his songs are either about his dad, the town of (San) Pedro or D. Boon. Or all three. Usually all three. But fiREHOSE has a lot of stuff written by some kid. That's fine, but he's the outsider and he's doing the singing. And the band was still meant to be a sort-of continuation of the Minutemen, not really it's own thing.

I'm not sure why I finally decide to get these albums yesterday. It had something to do with there not being any Hüsker Dü on iTunes. I want to fill that catalogue out. There's the anticipation of the DVD. There's the sheer pleasure of hearing all those songs I got a couple weeks ago. Maybe it's my rampant consumerist impulses, and D. Boon is rolling in his grave. Whatever the reason, I decided to take the plunge.

Watt hadn't played with every 80s/90s rocker yet. He's still doing it Minutemen-style (which, admitedly, means he was doing it many tine style). But the music kinda sounds like the guy from the Decemberists rewriting the lyrics to old Mentunes. It's weird and disorienting. And at the same time, it all kinda sits in the background. There's no real jolt. No political rant. There's singing instead D. Boon's rhythmic rant. It lacks the gin dips and whiskey swirls of his voice. It's hard for me to judge on it's own, because it sounds so much like the first band and yet so little like them. George Hurley is there, pretty much providing the same drums, and Watt seems content to sit in the background instead of any lead-bass playing. Actually, the ballads, the least Minutemeny of the songs, are probably the best. It's weird and will need more listening. But it feels empty. I don't think it ever won't.


Blogger Marcos Perez said...

still need to do music trades from harddrive.

5:45 PM  
Blogger Justin J. Fox said...

True dat. We should have a trading party.

6:08 PM  
Blogger Kenneth Belasco said...

Can I join?

10:35 PM  
Blogger Justin J. Fox said...

yes. when it be done. orgy of computers

2:01 AM  
Blogger eat crow said...

Mike Watt is still playing in his newer band, The Secondmen. And he's also been playing with Iggy Pop and the Stooges, including upcoming shows in Europe this June.

Here's his website with more info:

He has a sporadic online radio show too:

5:03 AM  
Blogger eat crow said...

oh and you can download a Mike Watt remix of a Tortoise song here

5:04 AM  
Blogger Justin J. Fox said...

Thanks, eat crow.

8:31 PM  

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