Gym Playlist #1

Have you been hitting the gym since the start of the year?  Punishing yourself with cardio and weights as you fight to shed those extra pounds that attached themselves limpet-like over the festive season?

I’ve been slaughtering the gym since the start of the year, but then I always do.  Not that it seems to do any good.

Whilst I’m there, pummelling away at the flab in a vain attempt to get in shape, I need some tunes to motivate me.  The music in the gym is usually dancey disco stuff, which is fine if you’re dancing, but when I’m working out I need something a bit more aggressive.

Albums by various bands get a regular spin, but I also made this iPod playlist to help me focus like a Viking ransacking a monastery.  Sometimes I’m so amped I feel like I could run through the wall, rather than just plodding on the treadmill.

You could do worse than to listen to this cacophony yourself.

  1. Rocket From The Crypt – “Pushed”
  2. Audioslave – “Cochise”
  3. Big Chief – “Lion’s Mouth”
  4. Metallica – “Die Die My Darling”
  5. Foo Fighters – “The Pretender”
  6. Rage Against the Machine – “Guerrilla Radio”
  7. Anthrax – “Only”
  8. Corrosion of Conformity – “Heaven’s Not Overflowing”
  9. Pantera – “Fucking Hostile”
  10. The Cult – “Rise”
  11. Probot – “Shake Your Blood”
  12. Suicidal Tendencies – “War Inside My Head”
  13. Beastie Boys – “Sabotage”

There you go: 47 minutes of energetic, in your face music to psyche you up and get you in the mood to destroy. GO!!!

R.I.P. Chris Cornell

Chris Cornell

20.07.1964 – 18.05.2017

Writing this memorial piece is a hard thing to do.  I was a massive fan of Chris Cornell and had been for many, many years.  I was left stunned, then in disbelief, and finally great sorrow when I stumbled on news of his death early that morning.

I had discovered Soundgarden with their “Louder Than Love” album back around 1990.  Music back then was shifting; I’d been listening to what would become “alternative rock” for some time and Soundgarden fitted right in with my tastes.  Along with other bands of the time like Jane’s Addiction and Mudhoney, I liked these bands that were able to meld classic heavy rock with a punk approach.  Bands like Soundgarden threw influences across the musical landscape into one pot.

When “Badmotorfinger” was released, I became a full on Soundgarden devotee.  The band soundtracked the ups and downs of my student life, the good times and bad.  The excellent “Superunknown” album cemented this noise in my affections even further.

Their sound evolved as Soundgarden explored and developed.  The riffs could still be inhumanly heavy, but there other sounds filtering through – from the whimsical to the psychedelic.  Listening to those albums was an experience that took the listener on a journey through different sounds and textures, feelings and emotions.

And of course, there was that amazing voice.  Chris Cornell could croon soothingly or wail like a tormented banshee – an awe inspiring ability that added yet more colour to the band’s sound.

Following Soundgarden’s split, I followed Chris’s musical journey through his solo endeavours and work with Audioslave.  I also loved his Bond theme – “You Know My Name” from Casino Royale.  I’ve played that many times to psyche myself up before a challenging situation, I can tell you.

I’ve tried to edit these recollections down, but revisiting some of the touch points in my life – where the music of Chris Cornell (and band mates) has been integral – goes some way to understanding the respect I have for the man and his legacy.

Sadly, now he’s gone.  I never saw Chris Cornell live (I went to Reading festival in 1994 but Soundgarden pulled out at the last minute) and I’d been looking forward to more music in the future.

It’s heart breaking to know that Chris is gone, and there’s no more music.  We’ve reached the end of that journey.  But what a legacy he’s left.  I’ll revisit those records again and again.  Though full of reminiscences of my past, those songs and performances are immortal.

I won’t speculate on the nature of Chris’s death, it’s not my place.  There are dark places that the human soul can go to.  It’s just incredibly sad.

Thanks for the music, Chris Cornell.  An exceptional musician who has left an indelible mark on millions of us.

“Heaven send
Hell away
No one sings
Like you anymore”

Vinylicious – Chester Vinyl Night #2

Vinylicious

The Lock Keeper, Chester

Friday 18th November 2016

And lo, for the second Vinyl Night in Chester, a name was bestowed upon the event: Vinylicious.

The Lock Keeper pub graciously invited the gang back for a second round of Bring Your Own Vinyl Night, held again in their upstairs function room.  The concept remained unchanged: bring along some records; play a 15 minute set; have a few drinkies.  As always, it was VINYL ONLY.

This time my set ran like this:

Dead Kennedys – Holiday in Cambodia

Just like last time, I messed up my first song.  I’d intended to play “California Uber Alles”, but neglected to check the running order on the sleeve.  Preferring to go from memory, I cued up “Holiday in Cambodia” by mistake.  As previous, this was no major catastrophe – both songs are brilliant (I just felt my original choice fitted better with my loose theme).  This fantastic piece of US punk can be found on the essential “Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables” album, and if you don’t own it – you should.

Rage Against the Machine – Know Your Enemy

It wasn’t easy to pick just one song from the classic first RATM album.  I chose “Know Your Enemy” as it both fit the theme and rocks like a bastard.  I love all of the Rage Against the Machine albums, but the first one is legendary.  This song has a full fat riff; pounding rhythm; and aggressive lyrics.  Perfect.  Some mad guitar effects from Tom Morello too.

Public Enemy – Prophets of Rage

A nice link from RATM to PE: Prophets of Rage is the name of the new group featuring members of both (along with B-Real from Cypress Hill).  Plus this track, taken from the total master piece that is “It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back”, is a total monster.  Chuck D rhymes with cool style over a hard beat, creating a song that is infectious and immediate.  Indispensable hip hop.

Corrosion of Conformity – Shallow Ground/Vote with a Bullet

Yes, I was a bit cheeky and played two songs!   I figured, what the hell.  Both tracks are from the fantastic “Blind” album, that announced the steady rise of COC to the top of the 90’s metal scene.  “Shallow Ground” is a really nice mellow number, quite uncharacteristic and providing contrast to the other album tracks.  It lulls the listener into a false sense of security…  The next track, “Vote with a Bullet”, is one of the greatest heavy riffs of all time.  It’s incessant and pounding, sounding like Thor’s hammer smashing a mountain to pieces.  Absolutely love it!

Did you guess the “loose” theme?  Well, with the shock result of the US presidential election, I couldn’t resist some aggressive politically driven tunes.  Nothing direct, but still to the point.

How did the night go?  Well there were plenty of punters who turned up to spin their records, about the same as last time.  However overall numbers were down, a huge disappointment considering the extensive promotion that was utilised.

The guys will regroup in the New Year and look at how to build this event bigger and better.  Vinylicious was still a great night though, some classic tunes were played.  Till next time, vinyl lovers!

The Chester Vinyl Night has a Facebook page, click here.

You can also find The Lock Keeper on Facebook hereunnamed