Note: this is a heavily revised and updated version of a post from 2011, from my old blog. And, yeah, I’m posting here again, after over a year. The election happened and it made me sad, then I joined a podcast and a convention consulting gang, then all kinds of other stuff happened, and anyway I’m writing again so… so there.
Anyway… instead of going in order like I’d planned, we’re skipping around a little.
The thing about For Squirrels, is that they almost made it, and the story of how they almost made it is one of the saddest “one-hit wonder” tales in the history of rock and roll music.
It starts like this. It’s the early ‘90s. A bunch of college kids in Gainesville, Florida get together to goof around and play guitar. At first, most of their songs are kinda dumb and silly; in fact, their best live song – the song that brought the house down every night – is an acoustic-folk version of LL Cool J’s “Mama Said Knock You Out.” You know this band. You have, perhaps, been a member of this band, whether you know it or not.
Fourth grade was awful. It sucked. All of it. The last day of school may well have been June 20, 1989, and I’m pretty sure that sucked too, but at least I didn’t have to go back the next day.
The day I graduated from fourth grade, Faith No More released their biggest album to date, The Real Thing. Faith No More is the second band in a row that formed in 1979, and the second band in a row that emerged from the punk scene and evolved into something else entirely.
They got classified as metal, even though that’s not really true. Sure, they had long hair and flying-V guitars, and occasionally they played the kind of riffs one might hear on a flying V guitar, and their music sounded a bit like Ozzy’s backing band. Metal was kind of a means to an end for ol’ FNM, though: they sound a bit more like early Red Hot Chili Peppers, and their aesthetic was less “Shout At The Devil” and more sort of day-glo esoterica: Devo by way of Black Sabbath. And George Clinton. Except the keyboards sound sorta like Duran Duran. Also hip-hop. Oh, and the chorus on “From Out Of Nowhere” sounds like something you might have heard in a big-budget Andrew Lloyd Webber musical. And…
They’re really hard to pin down, is what I’m saying.
On May 2, 1989, The Cure released Disintegration. It’s their most beloved record, and probably their most cohesive one. It’s 72 minutes of cold, damp, grey, thunderstorm music, and I love every second of it. The songs are big sweeping epics of synthesizers, bass, and chorus pedals, and there isn’t a single piece of music anywhere that hits me quite the same way “Plainsong” does.
This is a history of the 1990s through rock music – the rise of alternative rock and culture, the dawn of the information age, the dusk of the cold war, and so much more. Sometimes it’s about stuff that actually happened to me. And sometimes it’s a bunch of goddamn lies. I’ll leave it up to you to tell which is which.
Leonardo DaVinci died on May 2nd, 1519. Exactly 17 years later, on May 2, 1536, Anne Boleyn was arrested and imprisoned in the tower of London on charges of adultery, incest, and treason. Her only real crime was not giving Henry VIII a male heir and not being Jane Seymour, but that’s neither here nor there. Seriously, though, think about that for a second: Leonardo DaVinci probably pushed humanity forward more profoundly than any other guy in history, whether it was through math, science, engineering, art… you name it. He drags us kicking and screaming out of the dark ages… and then, exactly 17 years later, the King of England still plots to have his wife murdered so he can score with this new chick he just met, because murder’s fine, but divorce is beyond the pale.
The moral of the story is: progress can only you so far. Or, more to the point, you can start with The Cure and Faith No More, but it’s all gonna end in Creed and Limp Bizkit. Read More