Bring Your Own Vinyl Night #12

Bring Your Own Vinyl Night

The Queen’s Head, Mold

Friday 30th June 2017

A warm welcome back to Bring Your Own Vinyl Night, at the Queens Head pub in Mold, North Wales.  It’s been a while since the last event, so I had plenty of ideas for what to play.  Events would alter those plans somewhat, however…

To recap, Bring Your Own Vinyl Night is exactly what it says on the tin: you bring along some records, and get a fifteen minutes slot to play whatever you like.

I’d originally planned an entirely different set list, but following the tragic news of Chris Cornell’s passing, I developed a tribute set instead.  As one of my favourite ever musicians, it wouldn’t have been right not to.

My set went as follows:

Temple of the Dog – Hunger Strike

Mother Love Bone were primed to be next big thing in rock; sadly the death of their singer Andrew Wood from a heroin overdose put an end to that.  The Temple of the Dog album came about as a tribute to Wood, from his band mates Stone Gossard and Jeff Ament, and his friend Chris Cornell.  Joining them were Soundgarden drummer Matt Cameron and guitarist Mike McCready.  The music showcased a different aspect of Cornell’s writing, and provided a heartfelt tribute.  On this song, vocalist Eddie Vedder makes his debut, sharing the vocal spot with Cornell on a superb performance.  Of course, many of those names would go on to form Pearl Jam.  This album has tons of memories for me and features some amazing music, Hunger Strike being a highlight.

Soundgarden – The Day I Tried To Live

I was a huge Soundgarden fan; trying to select just a couple of songs was immensely difficult.  I chose this song as it showcases Chris’ amazing voice to great effect, plus the composition is superb: the song builds brilliantly to the massive chorus.  The effect is a song that sounds exactly like carpe diem gone wrong, thwarted by a frustration that is captured brilliantly in the vocal.  Taken from the completely essential “Superunknown” album, which is crammed full of absolute gold.  A record I played non-stop in my younger days, and still return to regularly.

Soundgarden – Burden In My Hand

“Down on the Upside” was the follow up to “Superunknown”, though to me it never reached the heights of it’s predecessor.  This song was one of the best on that set, written by Cornell and again featuring that incredible voice.  A fairly jaunty number to, so I wasn’t ending on too much of a downer.  I’ve re-visited “Down on the Upside” recently and it’s far better than I remembered it.  However making this selection was very difficult, as it meant nothing from the wonderful “Badmotorfinger” record would get a look in. 

So there you have it, my tribute set to the late, great Chris Cornell.  A fantastic musician, singer and song writer – and someone who has written music that has been a massive part of my life, through the ups and the downs.

A great night with some awesome sets, including from my buddies Adam and Graham.  Not to mention Kev playing a lethal track by Electric Wizard, which I didn’t expect!  Here’s hoping there will be another Bring Your Own Vinyl Night soon.

The Halcyon Dreams blogspot is here.

The Halcyon Dreams mixcloud page is here.

The Halcyon Dreams Facebook page is here.

The VOD music website is here.

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”

Bring Your Own Vinyl Night #3

Bring Your Own Vinyl Night

Queen’s Head, Mold

Friday 21st August 2015

And we’re back spinning wax in the Queen’s Head pub in Mold.  The crew and I made the trip, armed with stacks of vinyl, for our fifteen minutes of fame playing records.  The premise is simple:

  • Two turntables and all the equipment to spin your discs, plus PA
  • A 15 minute slot to play whatever you like, so long as it’s vinyl

Plus there’s a bar for drinkies, which helps if you need a bit of dutch courage to get up and get your DJ on.

The crew and I – Adam, Greeny and Ben the Swede – made sure we got there early this time.  Good job we did, as the throng of vinyl faithful had grown and the list of would be DJs was growing.  Nice to see this event gaining popularity – the cult of vinyl grows ever stronger.

Here’s my set:

Killing Joke – Pandemonium

The title track from Killing Joke’s classic 1994 disc of the same name, this tune boasts a devastating bass and rhythmic rumble.  “Pandemonium” erupted from the speakers and announced the start of my set in crushing style!

The Stooges – I Wanna Be Your Dog

This slice of messed up Detroit proto punk is a Stooges classic.  Ron Ashetons wah-wah guitar and Iggy’s snarl show just how great this band were.  I first investigated the Stooges as other bands I was a fan off (Sex Pistols, The Damned) had covered their songs – so I picked up this compilation to learn more.  I was instantly smitten by this dirty racket and never looked back.

Descendents – Clean Sheets

I first heard the Descendents on an old Vision skateboarding video, soundtracking a fantastic Gonz section.  This was the late 80’s, and with no Soundhound I had to work out from the credits what I thought the song was.  I figured it was “Coolidge” by the Descendents.  A while later I found some Descendents albums in a Manchester record store, and took a punt on the “All” album as it contained the aforementioned track.  Luckily, I was right.  For this occassion though, I decided to play another piece of US pop punk genius from the same album, “Clean Sheets”.

Temple of the Dog – All Night Thing

To finish off the set, I brought the pace down with a mellow number from this Seatlle grunge super group.  Featuring members of Pearl Jam and Soundgarden, this LP really takes me back to the early 90’s.  A must have for any fan of alt rock from the period, you can read up online how this recording came to be.  Chris Cornell’s vocals are sublime here, showing to great effect how he would become the best vocalist of his generation.

Greeny hadn’t organised any vinyl (again), so it was Adam up next with another varied and entertaining set.  His was unfortunately cut short, due to the number of people who’d turned up necessitating a reduction in playing time.

  • Natalie Prass – Violently
  • David Bowie – Absolute Beginners
  • Otis Redding – (Sittin’ On) The Dock of theBay

I have to say, I’d forgotten how good that Bowie tune was.

Finally Ben the Swede took to the decks and span his tunes, with a “guess the odd one out” theme.  He played:

  • Jimi Hendrix Experience – Wait Till Tomorrow
  • Fleetwood Mac – Isn’t It Midnight
  • AC/DC – Girls Got Rhythm

I believe the last song Ben intended to play was A rainbow song, with Ronnie James Dio on vocals.  Can you guess the odd one out?  Answer below…

So another superb night of music at the Queen’s Head.  We heard some great music, made some new friends and went away to scout for more quality tunes.  Here’s to next time!

The Halcyon Dreams blog is here, where you can find listed (very helpfully) all the songs played on the night.

The Halcyon Dreams Facebook page is here.