You gotta love Mr Mike Motherfuckin’ McCready, and while we should laud him for a moment here…this ain’t about him.
Another of Seattle’s greatest; Duff Motherfuckin’ McKagan, is the focus here.
After the release of a book by the same title, originally in 2011, the cinematic version, of It’s So Easy: and Other Lies (2016), now on Netflix, provides some much needed depth, and great visual additions.
Taking to the stage and baring his soul to a live audience, Duff reads from the book as his family and friends, including Slash, Nikki Sixx, and Susan Holmes-McKagan, fill in in the gaps via interviews.
McKagan is open and honest, and shines a much needed light on the very real struggles of addicts. When talking of his recovery, he becomes animated.
He also shines when he talks of his thirty plus years as a musician with bands such as The Walking Papers, Velvet Revolver, and the the more recently reunited Guns N Roses.
The band and accompanying string quartet provide a moving soundtrack to the theater performance, and serve to add theatrical emotion.
If you are a fan of music, a survivor of addiction, or you just need a decent watch, this should be near the top of your “to watch” list.
Anyone that wasn’t in their seats for Warpaint at Rogers Place, Edmonton, on Friday October 27th 2017, missed a fucking incredible experience. The four piece from Los Angeles belted out a stunning, but not nearly long enough set. All members were given equal frontage on the stage, and that there was still plenty of room for them to mingle and vibe as each song offered a different lead vocal, and unique take on the funk that is the foundation that Warpaint are know for. Unfortunately the stage was kept quite dark throughout the set, and from the back half of the venue shadowy figures of the band were really all that anyone could see.
In case you were wondering…and you should be! From stage left; Stella, Theresa, Emily and Jenny Lee are Warpaint.
As well as playing newer tracks including New Song, older favorites Elephants, Disco//Very, and Intro; leading to Keep It Healthy, were not forgotten.
A set far too quickly over, and a fabulous choice to lead the way for the headliner.
Breakdown was pretty rapid, and Depeche Mode were on the stage by 20.45, a silhouette of an obviously revered Dave Gahan writhing and contorting to Going Backwards, on a riser behind the rest of the band. True to form this was a show to promote their current release, and SPIRIT is yet another excellent record by his trio, but some older members of the audience did seem disgruntled by the fact that the 80’s and 90’s hits that shot the band to fame, were not being covered during the early part of the show, and they ignorantly sat down playing with their cell phones! Of course true fans have supported the band throughout, and have kept up to date with all of the music that has been released during their four decade career….and rightly so, because it’s all absolutely fucking mind blowing.
Gahan has a history of being a troubled soul, but FUCK. Just FUCK. If Rudolph Nureyev and Jane Fonda produced a child, and named him Freddie Mercury, but he had an alter ego driven by nitromethane, here is the result. Demanding adulation throughout the two hour and fifteen minute show, and absolutely deserving of it, this guy is a mother fucking artist, he’s a singer, he’s a dancer, he’s a performer, he’s the man that words are not sufficient to describe him.
Of course there are other members of the band, and mainstay Martin Gore showed his metal by fronting the vocals on three songs during the show, while Gahan was taking a break. Gore has a more than excellent voice, and his musical contribution is absolutely key to the Depeche Mode sound, but he isn’t the presence that is Gahan, and as it became glaringly apparent through the show, there is no other frontman, or woman, alive on earth at this point in time that is even coming close to what he is.
Let’s not forget that this tour is running for ten months, with four more months to push…these guys will produce this show one hundred and six times, and yet they are giving 250% of their all each time, and then squeezing the audience for just a little more. Being onstage, performing, putting on a show, is an obvious spiritual occurrence for Gahan. He is in the zone, but this is not a selfish act. This is about everyone in the room, about giving and receiving…and it is so much more of a religious experience than anyone could ever get in the village church..Unless Gahan happens to step in for your local vicar and become your Personal Jesus!
The set list was put together with a lot of thought, with a few slower numbers peppered through, and an unexpected cover of David Bowies Heroes added to slow the encore and make you take stock, but also with enough older “popular” songs in the final eight to get the more mature folk in the audience off of their phones and onto their feet.
If you weren’t blown away by this show in it’s entirety, and you are not as sad as fuck that it’s over today, then you need to check in and get on board, because you got way more than you paid for . This shit is the real deal.
KG Headbangerwoman Oct 28 2017
On the very weekend that Hurricane Harvey was battering the coast of Texas, Janet Gardner and her band were similarly assaulting the ears of music fans the world over.
Somehow, in between live appearances with her other band Vixen, Gardner and her writing partner, guitarist Justin James: who just so also happens to be Gardner’s husband, have put together some really fucking kick ass noise for the self titled Janet Gardner CD.
Right from the phase out of the kooky carnie music intro, Rat Hole punches a proverbial second hole right through the fucking ozone layer.
By the end of the song you’ll be left feeling like CPR was performed on you really badly, and for a very long time, even though you didn’t need it, and just because the EMT felt like he could get away with doing it….Then you’ll beg him to do it again, because the rush is so fucking amazing.
If getting a degree in dental hygiene: Gardner did this in 2005…is capable of re-energizing a musician to this calibre, we have a few names that we think we should forward to dental school.
Rarely in the past two years has Headbangerwoman listened to a new song from start to end, and over and over….but this fucker grabbed her by the hair and pressed her face hard up against the speakers, allowing her release only when she thought she might pass out. Gardner’s voice is seductive and moody, more so than on any Vixen track. An accidental evolution? Or perhaps the result of some serious shenanigans with James? The chemistry between the two on the Rat Hole video is impossible to avoid.
Hippycrite is the second listed song and has a Slave to the Grind sound; with a slow, heavy bass riff and oily guitar, of course devoid of nose rings, chains and cigarettes. Head banging is a must, grinding your partner is a requirement.
Let It Be Over is an environmental and humanitarian cry for help. Well written, well placed. Could and should be used by the Obama Foundation or a similar outfit, to help bring forward awareness to the mess we are in as a species.
Candle is a beautiful ballad. Heartfelt lyrics…telling and revealing of a story about lack of confidence, and the desire to be there for someone.
Acoustic number Best Friend is another beautiful piece, again, telling and quite obviously documenting the story of the Garner/James romance.
There are ten tracks total on this cd. Every single one is no less than amazing. An absolute stunning result for a new outfit.
A record released because of love…and great dental hygiene.
KG Headbangerwoman Aug 28 2017
On November 21 2016 Temple of the Dog played the final show of their reunion tour in Seattle, where “Grunge” as a movement had started.
Head held high Chris Cornell teased the crowd about a world tour, and with a voice that never seemed to fade, he sang All Night Thing to close out the show. Cornell and band mates Matt Cameron, Jeff Ament, Stone Gossard and Mike McCready were once again celebrating and in tandem, reminiscing the all too short life of Mother Love Bone singer Andrew Wood. Wood, who died following a heroin overdose at the age of 24 in 1990, was the room mate, confidante and best friend of Cornell.
Mother Love Bone went on, with the addition of singer Eddie Vedder to be the very successful Pearl Jam. Cornell fronted Soundgarden right up until his untimely death.
Unfortunately the news of the very short tour was not received well by the girlfriend of Wood, as reported here in Consequence of Sound.
On Thursday May 18th 2017 after preaching to the crowd that; “nobody can tell me what to do. Nobody tells us (gesturing to the band) what to do. You can burn fucking crosses on your lawn, I don’t give a shit. You can burn your house down. Who cares? I don’t as long as it doesn’t catch someone else’s house on fire” The voice that never faded was silenced forever.
Shortly after playing a Soundgarden show in Detroit where he seemed at times disoriented, and appeared to be looking toward the floor a lot more than he observed the crowd in front of him, Chris Cornell, aged 52, was pronounced dead in his hotel room.
Initial reports suggested suicide by hanging, though more recent reports say that Cornell was found unresponsive on the floor with an exercise rubber around his neck. He was reportedly bleeding from the mouth when he was discovered.
Cornell’s wife Vicky Cornell has said that during their final phone conversation he was slurring, sounding groggy and repeating the words”I am just tired” before hanging up the phone. This conversation prompted a call to security to check on the singer. Additional reports by his wife of the singer perhaps taking too much of the drug Ativan and not being in full control of his faculties, are still waiting to be proven.
A public lifetime of recovery from alcohol and substance abuse, loss of friends and peers from overdoses and suicide (Andrew Wood, Layne Stayley, Kurt Cobain) had put this admittedly anxious, at times obviously depressed, and very private man, on a pedestal. He was a founder and one of the last to survive. That is a huge responsibility. It was often obvious during interviews that Cornell was a guarded man, choosing to express himself through his music and onstage, and not one on one in front of a camera pointed directly towards him.
When Soundgarden went on an “indefinite hiatus” in 1997, Cornell could still not resist his drug of choice (singing) at that time, and went on to sing very successfully for Audioslave, not to mention a slew of solo projects.
In 2012 with the release by Sondgarden of King Animal after a fifteen year hiatus that Cornell described as “probably a bit too long,” during an interview at that time with himself and the bands bassist Ben Shepherd, Cornell was back where he was meant to be. Current, forefront and right here. The album was very well received and Live to Rise was included on the Soundtrack of The Avengers movie that year.
Despite this notoriety, the success, the adoration and adulation, Cornell, who was not only blessed with an absolutely stunning vocal range and ability to sing with seemingly little effort, was considered also to be a very attractive man. Boasting a six pack, a head of beautiful brunette curls, piercing blue eyes and sparkling white teeth, he was the epitome of the American dream, yet his own dreams were seemingly awful nightmares, full of thoughts of friends in days gone by.
Did resurrecting those days by performing with Temple of the Dog make those dreams too much to bear? Was there guilt in making it and still being relevant and present too much for one man to bear?
In all honesty we will never know. It seems that Cornell had not shared his feelings with anyone close and there is as yet, no official statement on either of the official band websites, however Pearl Jam and Temple of the Dog guitarist Mike McCready offered this:
“Chris Cornell painted in song the darkness and beauty of life in Seattle.” McCready began. “Chris means a lot to me today, as he trusted me to play on Temple. He handed me a dream in getting to actually play on beautiful songs. Informed how I would play on Pearl Jam records in the future, I believe”.
“He gave me the break into the music business I’d wanted since I was 11. He was a friend I will miss. I miss you, brother”.
Pearl Jam paid tribute to Cornell posting a photo of the late singer and his dog on their Facebook page. Read more here.
Let us all, in this time of mourning, wondering why and how this could have happened, and perhaps regretting greatly that is has, let us be in the knowledge that we were witness to greatness. We were witness to humility, realness, humbleness and great talent and ability.
We can never know what another person is thinking. We cannot know what another may do something in a time of desperation or tiredness, that perhaps will have end result that was not really intended. We can show compassion, we can be an ear, but without being offered a glimpse of another’s thoughts, we often will miss a signal or sign. In this instance we now miss a whole being. Someone who affected our own well being and ability to cope is gone. A talent that will not easily be followed, replaced or repeated.
We can only be thankful for the time that Chris Cornell gave to us, often at risk to his own well being and mental health and more recently possibly resultant in taking him away.
While we await a full toxicology report, and the full results of the autopsy it is best not to speculate, but to know that Cornell had a family, a wife and children, and it is because of this that we should honor their wishes and be respectful at this very difficult time.
“The family is thinking about a (public) memorial for fans, but is coping now with their loss and the funeral service,” a source close to the family told CNN. Pasich confirmed to Variety that plans for public memorials will be announced “when that’s been decided.”
Chris Cornell will be laid to rest Friday, May 26th, in a private ceremony at Los Angeles’ Hollywood Forever Cemetery. May he rest in peace.
Chris Cornell may be gone but his music will never die.
KG Headbangerwoman May 23 2017
Descendents. Union Hall. Edmonton. May 7 2017.
Following an epic 7-1 win by the Edmonton Oilers over Disney Dudes the Anaheim Ducks, on home ice, it was only fitting that the human version of Milo Aukerman greeted the crowd with chants of; “Ducks Suck.” Gentlemanly and more than gracious too, considering Descendents are fresh in from SoCal.
Even though he was kind of an after thought to the original ’78 line up, Aukerman has become the poster boy for this now middle aged chunk of punk. A veritable caricature of himself, to pass him in the street you’d likely think he was a coder, or some king of science nerd. You’d be spot on in that thought…In a former life Aukerman gained a doctorate in Biology…
You only have to avert your eyes toward the floor, and bear witness to his (slightly aromatic) Converse, flanked by sport socks, hairy legs, and long shorts, to confirm what you suspected…this man is a PUNK!
Of course, many forget that Aukerman descended later, and that we also need to mention founding member Bill Stevenson (drums) and Stephen Egerton (guitar) and Karl Alvarez (bass) who both joined the band in 1987.
When fifty percent of your crowd is younger than the age of your band, you might think that they are just at the show for shits and giggles. Not so with this crowd, it would seem. There were no Paris Hiltons in this crowd. These grimy gobbers were as loud as the band, amplified every word that our cartoon singer was eliminating, and were as physical as they were loud. The steamy pong of beer soaked sweat was a really apparent addition to the atmosphere.
About to head to Europe on another leg of the Hypercaffium Spazzinate tour, these “barely’ tattooed and considerably normal looking middle aged blokes, don’t particularly exude punk in a Jay Adams (RIP) or Fat Mike manner, but they sure appear to have tapped into the psyche of both their peers and their respective semen. They say what they mean and they mean what they scream, and those around them suck it up like a slightly mildewy, been left in a warm and damp bathroom for too long, sponge.
Headbangerwoman sometimes doesn’t really get it when it comes to punk, but we also are fucked if we’ll judge those who do, and on this musical occasion, as with many before it, and likely for a good many years to come, the crowd appears to give us the review we are looking for, without us having to review at all.
Edmonton fan Tony Carey, who was still in the crowd at 21.15, WAY after Headbangerwoman.com had left the building, reported that the show right now was: Fuckin’ sick!!!!!! OK Tony, we’ll give that to you, and hope you weren’t the recipient of too much gozz and toppled beer.
Headbangerwoman. KG May 8 2014
Photography by Karen Graham. No use without consent.