Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Mingle With The Gods Mingle With Divinity: Blood Sugar Sex Magik at 25

I remember thinking that nothing could be any better than the 1989 Chili Pepper's Album Mother's Milk. I could not have been more wrong. While George Clinton's funk was still prevalent, Blood Sugar Sex Magik brought us heavier sounds and some pretty heavy topics. The album also debuted at the height of MTV and actual videos. The silvery desert debut of Give It Away thrust us into a powerful era and gave us potentially the best album The Red Hot Chili Peppers will ever produce.

Recorded in Houdini's reportedly haunted Hollywood mansion, the non-studio produced album was full of originality and chances taken by the band. Hillel Slovak had passed not even five years earlier and John Frusciante would leave soon after this album hit full popularity. For those looking for songs like Higher Ground or Knock Me Down, there would be disappointment.

Blood Sugar Sex Magik is full of sex and drugs. Make no mistake, this album is a purge valve of hedonism, lust, drugs, regret, loss, and more sex. In the era of PMRC stickers, I was not able to get this one in at National Record Mart ... but go it a a yard sale! Way to circumvent the system. 

I quickly understood why it got the Parental Advisory sticker as there were more references than Darling Nikki that made me blush and run to turn down the cd player. 
This became my album (along with the Metallica Black album). Well not just mine. Mine and my best friend's album. So much so that we bought the shirts and also taped RHCP's on Pirate Radio - and listened to it over and over and so on. Anthony and Flea were like gods to us ... and Anthony seemingly knew his looks and fame were powerful. So much of this is evident in the album and it was also another reason why Frusciante would leave the band.

The Power Of Equality
The first few seconds are deceiving. It sounds like Anthoy is singing into a pillow and then boom ... Swing. It's quick and gets you really moving and ready for the album. It was hit hard politically as the song is very motivated by the discussion of race, bigotry, sexism, and hatred. 

If You Have To Ask
Very poetic and sing songy and with some Clockwork Orange language worked in. New vibe in the one for the Chili's and it worked. 

Breaking The Girl
Slowing it done and showing us what they are  really made of  in terms on content. It's the quintessential "our relationship was really rocky. This video though -- full of color and Anthony's Princess Leah manbuns. Low in Flea's bass but high on percussion.

Funky Monks
They're in a band. There are no monks in their band. There are no saints in the land ... no woman is able to escape their lure...because every man has certain needs.  Moving right along.  

Suck My Kiss
Fleas bass is heavy in this one ... like a big hug wrapping those strings around you. Anthony and those ladies. 

I Could Have Lied
Rumored to be about Anthony's very brief fling with Sinead O'Connor. It's a gorgeous acoutic guitar driven question about love and loss. 
Mellowship Slinky In B Major
Lots of B Major chords mixed throughout ... and a favorite of funk and James Brown. Lots of references to famous people ... including Anthony himself (Yo Swan).

The Righteous & The Wicked
Still such a relevant song about war, peace, and the state of the world. Lots of complexity in this song and has the build of Higher Ground.
Marvin Gaye my love, where did we go wrong?

Give It Away
Seriously crank this song. It's magic and alive and inspired by materialism. 
This video is the 1990's. 
Greedy little people in a sea of distress
Keep your more to receive your less
Unimpressed by material excess
Love is free love me say hell yes

Blood Sugar Sex Magik
A personal favorite. This song is lust about every aspect of a woman. The lyrics are like spoken word. I always wanted Anthony to sing this to me.  

Under The Bridge
The song that everyone knows as soon as you hear the first few notes. Such a therapeutic song for Anthony as it tells about his trials with drug addiction. 

Naked In The Rain
A fun song about loving life. 

Apache Rose Peacock
New Orleans. Women. Drag queens. Funk. Stop.

The Greeting Song
Driving song - pun intended. More women. More sex. And fun. Driving bass but not overpowering. 

My Lovely Man
Written for their guitarist Hilel Slovak. It's a letter of loss, respect, and love. 
Well I'm cryin' 
Now my lovely man 
Yes I'm cryin' 
Now and no one can 
Ever fill the 
The hole you left my man 
I'll see you later 
My lovely man if I can
In my room 
I'm all alone 
Waiting for you 
To get home
Sir Psycho Sexy
You have to love that Anthony makes fun of himself so much. Don't listen to this outloud if you've never listened to it before. Prepared to be shocked if you have delicate ears.

They're Red Hot
Ending of a completely different note. 
Fast, jazzy, and hot. Take with caffeine. 

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Could I Have Been Anyone Other Than Me - 25 Years of the Dave Matthews Band

It all began in 1990 at a bar in Charlottesville called Miller's. This bartender / musician / actor named Dave met a few other musicians.

Twenty-five years and over 2500 official band shows, imagine if Dave, Carter, Stefan, Boyd, and LeRoi had never met. Be it their unique sound, their infamous jams, or Dave’s funny stories, the band continues to draw their legions of fans and amass more young fans.

No one ever thinks the band they followed around in high school or college might still be touring and selling out arenas and stadiums when they are adults. Many of us grew up with the Dave Matthews Band. We remember when we heard that first drum hit of Ants Go Marching, heard Dave’s crazy guitar on What Would You Say (WHO PLAYS GUITAR LIKE DAVE??). And we all remember the first time we heard a 15 minute Two Step jam at our first DMB concert.

Even when the band lost LeRoi Moore in 2008, they marched on. It isn’t often that a band made of so many can say it had its original members for so long. Side projects, solo projects, and even stepping up to help put on Farm Aid each year, the band has simple dealt with things that weaken others. 

May 7th was the official kick off for the DMB 25th anniversary. In 1991, we were more apt to jam out in our cut offs and tee's and drink beer in the parking lot before the multi-hour jam adventure in stadiums. Now, we sip our Dreaming Tree wine in amphitheater fields and reminisce under starry skies in Central Park while Dave and Tim Reynolds offer us teasers of Stairway to Heaven during All Along the Watchtower, and Boyd Tinsley weaves us a solo to remember in Lie in Our Graves

Twenty-five years of memories shaped by those neverending jams that seem to be seamless and rehearsed to perfection. Thank you Dave, Carter, Stefan, LeRoi, Boyd, Rim, Rashawn, Jeff, Peter, and Butch for creating a soundtrack and for growing up together with us.

I am who I am who I am well who am I
Requesting some enlightenment
Could I have been anyone other than me
And then I'll

Sing and dance
I'll play for you tonight