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Musical Interlude – Mad Season

It’s Friday, the Hawks haven’t lost (really) yet, and I’m sure we’re all feeling pretty good. With not another game until Sunday, let’s take a break from hockey for a bit. This was something I started during the lockout, and after all, we left SB partly so we could try some shit and see if it works. Don’t know how regularly we’ll do this, but every so often one of us will break in with a band or album we’re listening to, and you guys can use the comments to do the same. After all, we’ve always been about more than hockey, right? Well, probably not more than hockey, beer, and music. But it’s something!

(full recognition here that my musical tastes do not stretch to either modern or underground, and you can make fun of me all you want in the comments for being square. I even have new glasses to back up that claim)

The past couple days, maybe due to the weather, I’ve had Mad Season’s “Above” be the album of choice. I think most of us either smirk or choke when we hear the term “supergroup”. Mostly because they almost always end up sucking. Slash has been trying it for two decades and it hasn’t worked yet. Audioslave somehow managed to take Tom Morello hooks and Chris Cornell’s vocals and be boring. Army of Anyone was awful, The Dead Weather never really popped, and so on. Temple Of The Dog doesn’t even really count because they were formed before Pearl Jam started and Soundgarden hadn’t hit the heights.

There have been a couple that have been good. Them Crooked Vultures’ lone album put a foot through a llama’s ass, but anything Josh Homme does is pretty much a supergroup. The Raconteurs released two pretty good albums, though I don’t know if I’d go so far as to call them great.

One that did nail it was Mad Season. The leading members were Mike McCready from Pearl Jam and Lane Staley from Alice In Chains. It’s notable as this was probably the last recording that Staley remained mostly upright for. After that, Jerry Cantrell took over at least half the lyrics for AIC’s last album, and I’m kind of convinced it was because they couldn’t wake Layne up for most of the sessions. The lineup was rounded out by Screaming Trees (a criminally underrated band) drummer Barrett Martin and bassist John Baker Saunders.  Mark Lanegan did lend some guest vocals as well.

You probably remember “River of Deceit”, arguably the best ballad to come out of the entire Seattle scene (Screaming Trees’ “Look At You” would have to be up there as well). I admit to an emotional connection to that song. When it hit the radio stations, I was having some semi-serious digestive problems and was in and out of doctors’ appointments and operating rooms for a couple weeks (which led to me being pretty underweight for my height until about a month ago, or so it feels). I’d even taken to wearing a hospital gown to school at times, thinking it was pretty punk or something (yes, I know. Don’t say it. I was in 8th grade, I thought a lot of stupid things. Then again, not much has changed)

And every time we headed down to Rush (the hospital, not the band), “River of Deceit” was on. And I didn’t mind. It summed up where I felt I was at the time, and the haunting quality of it matched perfectly with spending far too much time in a cold hospital.

In fact, the whole album has a haunting quality to it, like it was recorded on a cloudy day in the woods — though Seattle probably isn’t that much different. “November Hotel” is an expansive instrumental. “I Don’t Know Anything” is a song that actually feels grunge-y, like if you put your hand in it it would come out covered in some type of goo.

McCready has been the only member of PJ, at least until Matt Cameron joined up, that I felt like it would be cool to hang out with. Jeff Ament and Stone just seem completely uninteresting (though I know they do most of the writing) and Vedder obviously would have his own issues. But McCready always seemed like the the one who was always having fun, and there is a tinge of frustration that Pearl Jam doesn’t always let him bust out like he’d like to.

The one time I saw Pearl Jam in Saratoga Springs in 2000 (Sonic Youth opened. Sometimes having an older brother to take you to these things is really awesome. Though these days there’s something insulting about Sonic Youth opening for anyone. And yes, Kim Gordon’s legs were still setting hearts afire then), at the end of the encore McCready burst into the intro to Zeppelin’s “Nobody’s Fault But Mine.” Cameron briefly looked like he was about to join in, until they were stared down cold by Gossard and everyone left the stage. I feel like that’s the entire dynamic of Pearl Jam right there.

But anyway, this is a neat, sometimes overlooked treasure of the Seattle scene. While Staley as a person and vocalist is a punchline these days, you can’t deny he had a unique voice and style. And he was obviously more important than we first thought, because Jerry Cantrell has been pretty much lost without him.

Anyway, use the comments to talk about what you’re listening to these days or to talk about Mad Season or whatever you like. It’s the weekend, have fun with it.

  • 10thMountainFire

    Holy SHIT that’s a great album. I did not expect to see that up there today.

  • http://twitter.com/AndrewCieslak Andrew Cieslak

    Pretty partial to all the stuff from that era. McCready also looked, at one point, very much like our own Dave Bolland. Anyway, this is a great album and November Hotel is a great song.

    X-Ray Mind Live: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DcSmkYlhoWI

    Side note: the new My Bloody Valentine album.

  • HealthyScratch

    Thumbs up for the Rush reference! Woo!

  • Steve

    Great album by a great band. “River of Deceit” is a classic.

    But McCready being held back by PJ? Listen to a recent PJ bootleg and you’ll realize how wrong you are on that one.

    • http://twitter.com/AndrewCieslak Andrew Cieslak

      Or the version of Porch from the Drop in the Park show in ’92. If the band died in a horrific accident right after that song, they’d still be legends.

  • 10thMountainFire

    And Sam, anyone who uses Staley as a punchline for what he was as a vocalist is completely lost. There is a case to be made that he is the most influential vocalist of the last 25 years… simply due to the thousands of extremely poor imitators that have led to thousands of extremely shitty ‘nu-metal’ bands. Considering how many have looked to emulate/imitate him, Staley is hardly a joke.

    Maybe he doesn’t have the bonafides to please the ‘I only listen to shit no one has heard of’ hipster crowd… but as far as chops go, he’s up there with Vedder and Cornell as among the best of recent memory. Fuck the imitations… they’re inconsequential.

    • http://twitter.com/AndrewCieslak Andrew Cieslak

      To your point here’s vocals only Man in the Box. Staley was THE best. Drugs ruined him. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FRHOGwp9Csw

      • 10thMountainFire

        That was great. Additionally, here’s a demo version of ‘Rooster’… much more raw and displays Staley’s talent more than the too-polished version that ended up on ‘Dirt’. Check it out:

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R8YlzgiD_zM

      • JesusMarianHossa

        I always like to think that drugs made our rockstars better more often than they destroyed them. Where would we be if John Coltrane hadn’t found heroin and created A Love Supreme?

        (My music tastes are older than I am, I swear I’m not even 30)

        • red palace

          JMH, my most listened-to music of the last few weeks has been Lee Morgan Live at the Lighthouse. I think it is generally acknowledged that Morgan’s drug problems hurt rather than enhanced his music, but this recording from a year or so before his death has some astounding performances by all members of the quintet.

          • mightymikeD

            Lee Morgan, ‘Trane, Bill Evans… the jazz guys just kind of shrugged off the drugs.. to a degree.. it hurt most that they died young and couldn’t make more wonderful music

  • JesusMarianHossa

    So, can we talk about food? Because I like food. Do you guys like food? I’m looking for a new place to hit before games (I love BBQ) that’s relatively close to the UC. It’s the one neighborhood that I never explore except to attend hockey and basketball games. Trying to get from work to Wicker Park for Smoke Daddy and then to the UC before 7:30 puck drops is cutting it awful close. And where I work (Streeterville) has quite possibly the worst allotment of food places in Chicago proper. So, yeah, food.

    #food

    Currently listening to Sam and Dave while I try and finish Excel From Hell to close out the week.

    • HungryHungryPanda

      From Streeterville to the UC you go by some awfully good places on Randolph or Grand. Au Cheval or Little Goat for something a little more fancy/pretentious (but still cheap enough), Bari or JP Graziano for an italian sub… even Jubilee does a decent burger and fries for a juice place. But yeah, good BBQ in this city is hard to find.

      • JesusMarianHossa

        I’ll check them out. Thanks.

        Good BBQ is easy to find in the city, just not near the UC. Smoke Daddy, Twin Anchors, Smoque, Fat Willy’s Rib Shack, Lillie’s Q (great food, horrendous service though), Smokin’ Woody’s and the dearly departed Piggery (still waiting for them to rebuild since the fire) are excellent spots.

    • narya

      Still love the Palace Grill. Food is decent (for a sandwich/breakfast joint), usually some decent (bottle) beer. Or Wishbone, which is always awesome but is a bit farther away.

    • http://www.facebook.com/mario.digiulio.3 Mario Di Giulio

      As much as I love their beer, I think the food at Two Brothers Taphouse is what keeps bringing me back. I have fantasies involving their staff teaching the people at Three Floyds how it’s actually done. And they thank the Brothers with the secrets of Zombie Dust. My girlfriend is mildly amused, but mostly on board.

  • JesusMarianHossa

    Speaking of PJ, who is going to spring for the Wrigley concert? I got the neighbor presale thingie but man are tickets expensive. I haven’t seen PJ since 2006. I feel that is way too damn long.

    • SamFels

      I think I’m going to do it. If I can get tix that is. I haven’t seen them since that 2000 show, and Wrigley is probably as good of a venue as it’s going to get.

      • JesusMarianHossa

        I can forward the presale thing to your Committed Indian g-mail if you’d like.

        • SamFels

          Would you?

          • Rhodesburg

            Careful with the presale thing…it’s a password with a 6 ticket limit…my sister got it and said that if you try to use it twice it locks you out and you forfeit your tickets…looking forward to the show…never seen PJ (how the fuck is that possible?)

          • JesusMarianHossa

            I actually just checked and the presale is sold out. I hadn’t bought any yet so I would have forwarded it had there been any left. It goes on sale to the public tomorrow so best of luck to everyone. Hoping to not have to go through a 3rd party vendor. May just end up on a rooftop.

      • JesusMarianHossa

        And 2000 show… were you at the one where they closed with Baba O’Reilly? That was nuts. Eddie telling the crowd “If you sing real loud, you just might end up on a record” was one of the coolest things I’ve seen at a concert. Probably 2nd to only the Chili Peppers playing Naked in The Rain at Summerfest in 2000 during a downpour and 16 year old me just GAWKING at boobs everywhere.

        • JG in SC

          Not to crap on your post, but didn’t Bob Seger say words to that effect on “Live Bullet”?

    • http://www.cheertheanthem.com/ Hjammertime

      I’ll see ya there. Got tickets through work. Very pumped.

    • http://twitter.com/djlalowski David Lalowski

      PJ always puts on a good show in Chicago. I already got my tickets through the ten club presale. I’m pumped

    • cliffkoroll

      I saw Eddie at Wrigley last summer. He did a cameo at the Springsteen concert. Now Bruce was never known for his voice, and he’s kinda an old man now, but holy fuck, Vedder’s voice was pure gold by comparison.

  • http://www.cheertheanthem.com/ Hjammertime

    Speaking of Josh Homme – the new Queens record will feature Lanegan, Grohl, Elton John and Nick Oliveri. Can anyone say they think this record is not going to completely own?

    Also, Homme is producing another Arctic Monkeys record.

    • 10thMountainFire

      Holy fucking awesomeness, Batman.

      By the way… did you hear Homme’s contribution to the film ‘End of Watch’? I’m addicted:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X25ZRKNpq48

      • http://www.cheertheanthem.com/ Hjammertime

        Yup. I dig it.

        If Homme is involved I’m fucking there. It’s always unbelivable to me how many huge Queens fans I know that have never heard of Desert Sessions and Kyuss.

        • 10thMountainFire

          Huge Kyuss fan. Favorite is either Whitewater, Demon Cleaner, Thumb, or Green Machine.

          Desert Sessions were awesome. The original demo-style version of ‘Make it Wit Chu’ is raw and great.

          • http://www.cheertheanthem.com/ Hjammertime

            Whitewater is my favorite song of all time. So fucking heavy and fast. Space Cadet is up there, too.

            Cowards Way Out is probably my favorite Desert Sessions song (although that changes week to week)…but Make it Wit Chu will always been the Desert Sessions staple.

          • 10thMountainFire

            I also like Freedom Run and Phototropic. Space Cadet is friggin epic.

          • Rhodesburg

            Getting to see them live last year (two years?) was fucking epic…even if it was without Homme…never thought I would see Whitewater (or any of that shit) live…The Sword opening too…have to say I think Catamaran is my favorite track of theirs…that opening riff and bass line…sheeeit…

          • http://www.cheertheanthem.com/ Hjammertime

            Catamaran is a great song, but it was actually written by Yawning Man. They were a desert band and their drummer was Alfredo Hernandez. Apparently, Garcia and Homme just really liked the song and decided to cover it when Hernandez replaced Bjork. They covered a song on ‘Welcome to Sky Valley’ as well.

          • 10thMountainFire

            Garcia is such an under-appreciated vocalist.

          • http://www.cheertheanthem.com/ Hjammertime

            Agreed. I think he’s sort of polorizing. You’re either into the screaming or you aren’t. I know a guy who flat out refuses to listen to Kyuss because he can’t stand Garcia’s voice.

            His loss.

    • SamFels

      You forgot Trent Reznor.

      • http://www.cheertheanthem.com/ Hjammertime

        Ah shit. Correct.
        You ever heard the song they recorded together for Era Vulgaris that didn’t make the record? It’s called ‘You Know What You Did’ and it’s awesome.

      • derlemke

        Trent Reznor is my hero. Everyone needs to see Dave Grohls ” Sound City”. Great stuff.

    • Hi, I’m Bob LeDonne

      1) Everything Dave Grohl touches is gold.
      2) Dave Grohl on drums is a religious experience.
      3) Most of what Homme does is gold.
      4) Reznor and Elton John? FUCK ME
      5) Lanegan is a welcome change of pace on most Homme albums.
      6) The absolute KEY here is Oliveri. All of the QOTSA albums with Oliveri have a different grittiness, insanity, and variety that the non-Oliveri albums do not have. These albums are the best, by far. Glad to see him back.

      • 10thMountainFire

        This entire post made the world better. I agree with everything stated here. You are an American hero.

        • Hi, I’m Bob LeDonne

          I am not worthy.

      • http://www.cheertheanthem.com/ Hjammertime

        I’ve never seen Grohl on Drums. Castillo was behind the kit when I saw Queens and I missed Them Crooked Vultures which I’ll probably never forgive myself for.

    • Hi, I’m Bob LeDonne

      Just want to reiterate, if you’ve never seen Grohl on drums live, you must go.

    • mightymikeD

      all for a Kyuss reunion.. however, anyone assisting on an Arctic (Northern) Monkeys record should be imprisoned for crimes against “Not Having To Listen To Horribly Over-Rated Indie-By-Numbers”

      • 10thMountainFire

        If Kyuss reunites, I will be first in line for tickets.

        • Rhodesburg

          They are playing shows…minus Homme…as far as I know they are playing the Soundwave Festival in Austrailia then supposedly recording a new album under the name Vista Chino because Homme sued them for naming rights…

      • http://www.cheertheanthem.com/ Hjammertime

        Hey man, the Arctic Monkeys have some songs that don’t suck. The album they recorded with Homme was much heavier and deeper then they’d ever gone before. I’m not claiming they are the best band on the planet or anything…but they have some pretty catchy tunes. I’ve been heavy into them at times. I’ll bet they’re much less insufferable here in the states as nobody really knows who the hell they are.

      • detroit must die

        The Arctic Monkey’s are still alive? Much less still a thing? Huh, thought you Euro’s would have had the good sense to Euthanize them years ago, along with Liam and Noel Gallagher.

  • http://twitter.com/ChiNativeSon ChicagoNativeSon

    I would’ve gone with Screaming Trees “Dollar Bill” (c’mon, Hawks reference!) myself. But my music taste is bit more mainstreamy.

    My favorite track from Mad Season (though I don’t know many), and really enjoy on weekend mornings is “Wake Up” (fitting title too) which definitely falls in that “haunting” genre.

    Listened to the tunes you mentioned. Sounds like I need to check out the full album tomorrow morning. Thanks Sam. I enjoy having my musical horizon broadened (with limited effort on my part). I’m assuming that’s the point of these posts.

  • http://www.polyptych.bandcamp.com/ Samuroth

    Not sure how many of you are Redditors, but Dave Grohl is doing an IAmA tonight at 7 pm central. For those of you who aren’t Redditors, IAmA stands of “I am Blankety Blank, ask me anything”

    After a exciting hawks win last night I’ve been jamming this today
    http://www.metal-archives.com/albums/Tsjuder/Desert_Northern_Hell/59459
    I know there is at least one other metal head on here who may appreciate this album.

  • Quark

    Let’s see… the records I’ve been putting on a lot recently have been David Bowie’s latest single, the new Tame Impala record and anything Ty Segall has put out in the past couple of years (show tomorrow!). Oh, Inverted World also gets plays during the first snow of the year.

  • Tornsys

    Five Finger Death Punch – Back for More

    • girlphoenix

      I really need to steal that album from my brother.

      • 10thMountainFire

        Overrated. The only song I ever found redeemable by that band was their cover of ‘Bad Company’. Even then, it’s just a guilty pleasure.

  • FakeASeizure

    Say what you want about Brand New, but Devil and God is one of the best rock albums of the last ten years.

  • AirTrafficAJ

    Speaking of Soundgarden (since I saw them at the Riv last week), I’ve been listening to copious amounts of Badmotorfinger. Slaves and Bulldozers is epic.

    • 10thMountainFire

      I fucking love Badmotorfinger. And everything prior to Down on the Upside. All fucking epic.

  • west_fulton

    I’ll be checking out Mad Season. and i love this addition to the site if it sticks…

    for me… “Vertikal”, the new album from the amazing Cult of Luna.
    go to spotify… find the track “in awe of” and light one up. that song, and album as a whole, easily will find themselves on my personal end-of-2013-music-reflection-time-list. amazing, spacey, incredibly atmospheric metal.

  • derlemke

    Has anyone been listening to Trent Reznor’s other band, “How to Destroy Angels”? Does sound great on vinyl.

    • Accipiter

      Yup. It’s not bad.

  • http://whatisthebestadverb.wordpress.com/ I am not Chico Maki

    Different tack … but I can’t stop listening to the two Foxygen albums, the one from mid-year 2012, the other from last month.

    If you’re curious: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VwK32IuseGM (give this one 90 seconds … their sound builds)

    And from the new album: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fg-RT9Iqg2U.

    Good junk.

  • nextgame

    Sherman, set the wayback machine for…before many of you were born.

    Last several albums I’ve listened to on my ipod recently. (Am I the only person that still listens to music on an ipod?)

    Wishbone Ash – Live Dates
    J.D. Souther – Natural History
    Thin Lizzy – Live and Dangerous
    Paul McCartney – Ram (Remastered Extended Edition)
    Count Basie – At Newport (1957)
    Edgar Winter’s White Trash – Roadwork
    Patti Smith Group – Easter
    Scorpions – Tokyo Tapes
    Maynard Ferguson – One More Trip To Birdland

  • Fthrf

    One of the best super groups is easily The New Pornographers, featuring AC Newman and Neko Case, among others.

  • mightymikeD

    mmD has lately been enjoying the fact that the ECM label turned 30 and reissued a shitload of their back catalogue.. so Keith Jarret’s “Koln Concert”, Jan Garbarek’s “Rites”, Nils Peter Molvaer’s “Khmer” and John Surman’s “Saltash Bells” are all rocking he forest right now..

    • Chesterfield King

      Keith Jarret is a badass dude. Koln Concert is what I listen to when I’m writing.

  • girlphoenix

    I listen to such a weird mixture of music I don’t even know.
    Songs that have been stuck in my head lately:
    “The Humpty Dance” by Digital Underground
    “Boom! Shake the Room” by DJ Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince
    “Saturday Night” by The Bay City Rollers
    “Lights” by Journey
    “Don’t You Worry Child” by Swedish House Mafia
    “Grime of the Century” by Orgy
    “El Dorado” by The Company Band

    • 10thMountainFire

      You are so awesome for referencing ‘The Company Band’. Clutch is incredible, too.

  • http://www.facebook.com/mario.digiulio.3 Mario Di Giulio

    In between listening to far too much 60′s Kinks, 2012 and the young 13 have been all about El-P’s Cancer 4 Cure and We Don’t Even Live Here from P.O.S.

    And yes, anything with Josh Homme, always.

  • mightymikeD

    Has the Goat album “World Music” made any sort of waves in the US? It’s really, really fucking good.

  • CozBullsFan

    I don’t really have the same tastes in music. I’m more of an Atmosphere, Aesop Rock, Brother Ali, CunninLynguists, and Sage Francis guy. I’ve recently started listening to Macklemore. One guy that has really peaked my Interest is Pretty Lights. https://soundcloud.com/prettylights I dig his The Hot Shit episodes.

  • BigHoss

    anyone watching the scum vs. kings?

  • http://www.facebook.com/hair.helmet Hair Helmet

    What’s it take to get a GDT in this joint?