Side A: Chris’ Picks
Side B: Todd’s Picks
I’m not ashamed to admit it. I’m a 39 year old hetero male and I friggin’ love Tegan and Sara. Their last 3 albums are ranked right up there with some of my favorites of all time. Sainthood made my top 100 albums list and Heartthrob topped my best of 2013 list. Honestly, I had never really considered my enjoyment of them to be something to feel ashamed of. I just liked their music without thoughts to their sexual orientation, the main demographic of their fan base or how any of it does or doesn’t effect me. They produce songs about universal themes of life, love, and loss that anyone should connect with.
At a recent concert, one of my fellow concert goers gave me shit about my high regard for T&S and called into question my musical taste in general.
Concert Goer: “I don’t trust your opinion. You like Tegan and Sara.”
MoSS? Todd: “What? You don’t like them? Really? Come on, they’re great.”
Concert Goer: “No, I’m not a sexually confused teenage girl.”
MoSS? Todd: “What what what? I’m like the exact opposite of that and I love them.”
Concert Goer: “They suck”
MoSS? Todd: “Yeah well……You suck”
Well you get the point. I like Tegan and Sara and any of you paying attention over the last few years of MoSS? posts will know I am kind of obsessed with Prince. What does that little tidbit of info have to do with anything you ask? Well, a few months back, Tegan and Sara announced a summer tour and one of the stops would be at First Avenue in Minneapolis, a venue made famous by Prince and the movie Purple Rain. I’ve seen that movie a million times and have always wanted to see a show there. It was definitely in my top 5 “Concert Venue to Visit” checklist along with CBGBs unfortunately now defunct, Red Rocks in Colorado for the amazing scenery, The Metro in Chicago due to the Smashing Pumpkins association and The Whisky A-Go-Go because ROCK!!!
So you can understand my excitement when I saw Tegan and Sara were playing at First Avenue. For the second concert ticket purchase in a row I was able to score 4 pre-sale tickets so I could assure entry. The owners of the other three tickets would be Mrs. MoSS? Todd and our friends that have expertly served as concert support crew for many shows written about here like the 2012 Pygmalion Festival Best Coast show and last summer’s Fleetwood Mac tour.
We had everything planned out perfectly for the day of the show. Hit the Mall of America for part of the day, head downtown and check into our hotel which was conveniently located approximately 50 feet from First Avenue, grab some pre-show food and drinks then head to the show. It all went without a hitch until the U.S. World Cup Soccer Team threw a wrench into our schedule. One of my support crew member made the excellent recommendation that we go to the legendary Gluek’s Restaurant and Bar for pre-show sustenance (This place is really cool. Good food, good beer and the place has been open for like 80 years and hasn’t changed much since then. It’s like a time warp. If we had a bar like it where I live I’d go there everyday like Norm from Cheers.) We purposely got there in time to grab a table near a T.V. so we could watch the match. Team USA played at 5PM and doors for the show opened at 7:30. We thought we’d watch as much of the match as possible then hop into the line at First Avenue and get a good spot to watch Tegan and Sara. Little did we know that this would be such an exciting match. With the scored tied 1-1 late there was no way we were making it to doors in time. Miraculously,late in the match, Team USA scored with a beautiful header from a corner kick. GOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAALLLLLL!!!!! U.S.A….U.S.A.
After the excitement wore off, we headed over to First Avenue. Since we were late for doors the place was a little full but the ladies in our group weren’t dissuaded. They beat a path through the crowd while the guys purchased beers. I will say that one of the benefits of going to a show where the attendees are predominantly of the LGBT community is that most of the crowd is shorter than me. We were about 10 feet from the stage and I had an unobstructed view. My 5’2” wife could even see perfectly and this is usually not the case in general admission.
The first opener was Vancouver indie pop trio The Courtneys. I really enjoyed the set. Their music has an old school early ‘90s lo-fi feel to it and I’m always impressed when the band’s drummer is the lead singer too. Check out one of their videos below.
The second opener was the electro-pop group My Midnight Heart. Lead singer Angelica Allen has a powerhouse voice and she really showed it off during their set. I found them to be pretty similar to the group Blood Orange whose album I really enjoyed last year.
As good at My Midnight Heat were, we were all getting pretty antsy for Tegan and Sara to get up there. To soothe our anxieties we knocked back a couple of our smuggled in booze shots, grabbed another Miller tall boy and before we knew it, it was show time.
The crowd erupted as the sisters Quin started the set off with “Goodbye, Goodbye” (strange choice for the opening song) and followed that up with 3 more upbeat numbers from their most recent album Heartthrob. It was a great way to start the show because the crowd never stopped being engaged even when they changed the tempo in the middle of the set with songs from their older less danceable albums.
This was probably my favorite part of the show. They played my personal favorites from 2007’s The Con “Back in Your Head” and “Nineteen.” Then, I lost my voice singing along to a cluster of songs from the 2009 album Sainthood, “Sentimental Tune”, “Alligator” and “On Directing”, also personal favorites from that album.
They ended the first set with their most successful single (it actually hit #1 on the U.S. Dance Charts), “Closer.” This would have been a more than satisfying ending to a fantastic show but we all knew they weren’t through yet. After a brief break, Tegan and Sara came back up for three more tunes. The first two were from their own catalog, a rearranged version of “Call It Off” and an older song, ‘Living Room”, from the 2003 album If It Was You. The final song of the night was a super-synthed-up and shimmery cover of Pete Townshend’s “Let My Love Open the Door”. They dedicated it to the crowd as a thank you. No need to thank us ladies, all we did was sit back and enjoy a stellar show. As per usual, my video of the event was horrible so I found this clip of the closing number from a few weeks back.
Bonus Concert Coverage:
Check out these photos of a semi-inebriated and excited MoSS? Todd posing by his favorite band’s stars at the First Avenue wall of fame.
Look, these guys have had almost three years and several essays to talk about the Pumpkins. I went long. Way long. I hope you’ll indulge me a little catch-up. —Sam
As such, he has to go last. —Chris
Deep down, we’re all fantasy nerds of some sort. Some of us play fantasy football. Others are into fantasy baseball.
The three of us, we’re into the Smashing Pumpkins. So we got together the other night at Buffalo Wild Wings and took turns picking songs for our own personal Smashing Pumpkins playlist. The waitress was quite impressed with our coolness. (Srsly.)
A quick recap of the format:
The playlist would feature 15 songs. Nine of the songs had to fit within the following categories:
The other six songs were wild cards–whatever the drafter wanted to round out his playlist.
A game of “Odd or Even” made Chris the odd man out, meaning he would pick third overall (but first in the even rounds). Sam and Todd engaged in one round of “Rock, Paper, Scissors,” which saw Todd’s scissors slice through Sam’s paper, giving him claim to the first overall pick.
The next hour was filled with tense stares, reactionary curses, and the occasional air guitar gesture. At draft’s end, three Pumpkin fans were quite happy with their playlists…
Todd (a.k.a. Team Siamese Dream)
What was my drafting strategy? I played it just like Fast Eddie Felson from the movie The Hustler… Fast and Loose. I did very little in preparation for this draft. OK, I did re-listen to a few B-sides and get reacquainted with some old favorites but I did not walk into the draft room (Buffalo Wild Wings) with binders, notepads, or laptops filled with cheat sheets, lists, and sub-lists. No, I walked in armed with only my iPhone music library and a desire to drink beer and talk about great music. Honestly, I was just hoping that, aside from a few key tracks, the diversity of our musical tastes would allow me to pick at will from my favorite SP songs. I think my “No Strategy” strategy worked out well.
After winning a cutthroat round of “Odd or Even” and an even more brutal game of “Rock, Paper, Scissors,” I won the rights to the 1st pick. This was the outcome I was hoping for. By having to fill mandatory categories I knew certain songs would be highly coveted. With that in mind, I chose “Cherub Rock” as my first pick and used it as my “album opener song.” It is without question the Pumpkins’ greatest opening track and I knew I couldn’t go wrong using it to set up my 15-song playlist.
To further underscore my feeling toward this song, I will lift a passage from a past post of mine naming Smashing Pumpkins, Siamese Dream, my favorite album of all time…
I really don’t have the words to properly describe the awesomeness of this record but I’ll try. The drum roll at the start of the opening track, “Cherub Rock”, gives you the feel of being at some boardwalk sideshow. You half expect a carnival barker to start yelling,
“Step right up folks! Get ready for the greatest thing you have or will ever hear!”
Then there’s the slow build until shit just fucking explodes. The guitars are thunderous and almost force your arms into the air guitar position “You will bow down to the awesome and air guitar or I will destroy you!”
Which leads me to the one problem with starting 1st: You have to watch some positively amazing songs get selected while you not-so-patiently wait your turn. Take “Drown,” for instance. It’s the one song I truly wish I would have picked but didn’t get a chance. Sam took it as the second pick. I knew it was going to happen. And if he didn’t take it then, I guarantee Chris would have used pick #3 or #4 to select it. “Drown” is probably my “gun-to-the-head” choice as favorite Pumpkins song. It’s not just my favorite Pumpkins song; I would wager that 90% of us Pumpkins freaks would choose “Drown” as his or her favorite song. It’s the last song on the legendary soundtrack to the movie Singles. To help underscore my thoughts on “Drown” I will lift another passage. This time from Chris’ awesome post about the aforementioned Singles soundtrack…
And this was eight minutes of the Billy Fucking Corgan Experience. A nice groove, laid-back vocals, quiet-loud dynamics, killer drum fills, and then four minutes of feedback bliss, layered many times over.
So why didn’t I pick it when I had the chance? Maybe I’m a fool. I went with my head and chose a killer lead track to setup a killer playlist instead of going with my heart and choosing my sentimental favorite. I’ll stand by my decision. It only stings a little.
Back to the draft… One of the nice things about sitting at the start of a snake draft is that you pick 2 at a time after the 1st round. I used this to my advantage, usually taking a song to fill a mandatory category and then a personal “must-have” song.
My 2nd and 3rd picks, I used to select “Mayonaise,” a standout from Siamese Dream, and “Bury Me,” my favorite song from Gish.
Fourth and fifth, I selected the epic “Porcelina of the Vast Oceans” to fill my “8 minute song” selection and “Rocket” because I fucking love the guitars on it.
For my 6th and 7th picks, I chose Siamese Dream closing track “Luna” and my favorite song from Pisces Iscariot, “Obscured.” I was ecstatic that “Luna” was available. Now I had the opener and closer from my favorite album of all time. Getting “Obscured” was another victory because Sam voiced his disappointment in missing out on that one. It slightly made up for his “Drown” selection.
8th and 9th, I was pleased to select “Siva” and the Fleetwood Mac cover song “Landslide.” I was actually pretty surprised to see “Siva,” one of Gish’s standout tracks, still available. It’s another personal favorite and face-melting guitar rager. On the other hand, I wasn’t surprised to see “Landslide” available but I wanted to fill my cover song category and I do love me some Fleetwood Mac. It just seemed like a natural fit.
Quickly back to “Siva.” This song brings up a minor area of contention for me. Before the draft, we agreed that alternate versions of songs could be used as long as they were on a proper release. I didn’t really think it through before I agreed. I probably would have been outvoted anyway but… what a crock of shit! I was lucky enough to score “Siva” mid-round and 4 picks later Chris takes a Peel Sessions version? Sort of takes the thunder out of my pick. Guess next draft I’ll have to use some rarities album with alternate takes of songs I missed out on. “With my 10th pick I’ll take the Jack-off Sessions version of ‘Drown.’ You know, the one where D’Arcy farts the bassline into the microphone.” Again, Crock of Shit!
[ED: This was my suggestion … total strategy. I knew that if Todd or I took “Siva,” from past CD mix experience, Chris would absolutely take the Peel Sessions version. He couldn’t have resisted. I was trying to open up another slot for myself down the road. And I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t considering taking the Earphoria version of “Silverfuck,” solely for the “Jackboot” outro. – Sam]
For picks 10 and 11, I selected “Frail and Bedazzled” from Pisces Iscariot and “Here is No Why” from Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness. Neither of these filled a category but they were too good to pass up.
My last four picks I purposely held onto until the end betting that no one else would have chosen them. To fill the “Adore/MACHINA” category I selected my favorite song from Adore, “Once Upon a Time.”
My last wild card spot went to the oddly titled but totally kick-ass “Set the Ray to Jerry,” one of the more obscure little nuggets from The Aeroplane Flies High.
I selected “The Boy,” also from Aeroplane, for my “James Song.” Not much to say about this one. It’s a James song. It’s nice.
And finally, my post-2000 selection, “Owata,” a jaunty little number from the still in-progress project album Teargarden by Kaleidyscope.
Was it a perfect draft? No. Did I walk away happy? Hells yeah! I was only disappointed in missing out on 2 or 3 songs, and the songs I chose instead will more than suffice. If we had added 3-4 more people drafting, things would certainly have gotten ugly. All in all, the drafting process was not nearly as difficult as I thought it might be. The really grueling experience was creating the proper lineup for my selections. After hours of re-arranging and listening through several variations, I’m pretty happy with the finished product. Give it a spin and hear for yourself.
Chris (a.k.a. Team Pisces Iscariot)
When I was the odd man out in our Odd or Even game, I thought, “Well, there’s only one way I really lose here. And that’s if both ‘Cherub Rock’ and ‘Drown’ go off the board 1-2.”
Well, yeah, that sucked.
But otherwise, like the other two fellas, I’m happy with how things turned out. I’m not surprised. The Pumpkins’ catalog is quite deep and rather varied. The three of us have diverse tastes at a granular level, even though we are in lockstep on a macro scale. This project was tailor-made for us, and looking at the “snubs” playlist we created after the draft, we could have invited a fourth person and it would have been satisfying for the entire quartet.
Songs I really wanted that I got: “Silverfuck” (#2), “Starla” (#3), “Suffer” (#4), “Soma” (#6), “Siva (Peel Sessions) (#9).” I guess I like the letter S.
I do indeed love the Peel Sessions version of “Siva.” More raw. Longer pause after the “I just want to get there faster” line before crashing back in, so more tension. Billy’s scream of “YEEEEA-AAAHHHH!” after they come back is powerful. Love it.
“Soma” is the perfect crescendo song. They opened with it at Lollapalooza 1994 in St. Paul, which seemed like an odd choice but ended up being quite memorable. “Silverfuck” is primal. You should have seen me tear through the mosh pit at the Palmer Auditorium show in 1994 after the whole “Over the Rainbow” interlude played out and the band crashed back to life. Flannel dudes went flying like bowling pins as I flailed through the circle.
“Starla” is one of my favorite grooves, and it lasts a satisfying 11 minutes. The guitar work over the second half of the song isn’t quite “Drown” levels of awesome, but close. And “Suffer” has more fans than just Sam. Heck, even Tricky used the song to form the foundation of his song “Pumpkin” on his debut album, Maxinquaye. If I were going to make things personal, I would have grabbed “Jackie Blue” for my cover song.
Songs I got that I like that I figured I’d get without a fight: “Whir” (#11), “Tarantula” (#12), “Hello Kitty Kat” (#14). “Whir” was my favorite song on Pisces Iscariot that hadn’t already appeared as a b-side. And “Tarantula” reminds me of songs like “Siva” and “Quiet,” and I instantly liked it better than anything on Adore or MACHINA. “Hello Kitty Kat” is a solid rocker that I was cool with at #14. It’s not as good as “Frail and Bedazzled,” but it’s as good as/better than “Plume” or “Pissant.”
Songs I picked above my personal valuation: “I Am One” (#1), “Blew Away” (#5), “A Night Like This” (#7). Well, if I can’t have “Cherub Rock,” this has to be my opener. First Pumpkins song I ever heard. Instantly hooked. “Blew Away” is classic James, so why not. And I had to have the Cure song for my cover. I overpaid for all three, but it’s like picking Joe Mauer early in a fantasy baseball draft. The talent pool isn’t deep at some spots.
Song I like better now than I did back then: “Tonight, Tonight” (#10). One of the songs I often skipped past when listening to Mellon Collie, now it’s the only Mellon Collie song on my playlist. Go figure. I do love some Mellon Collie stuff: “Porcelina,” “Zero,” “Thirty-Three,” “Bodies,” “Muzzle,” “1979,” “Galapogos,” “Thru the Eyes of Ruby,” even “We Only Come Out at Night.” But this album didn’t quite go in my wheelhouse like the earlier stuff did. Anyway, I like the grand scale of “Tonight, Tonight” a little more these days than I did when I used to air-guitar more often. (I still air-guitar at 40, but nothing like I did at 21.)
Two great songs without comment: “Daydream” (#8) and “Quiet” (#13).
One song because I had to pick from two albums I don’t really like: “Ava Adore” (#15). Adore isn’t as horrible as it sounded to me 16 years ago. MACHINA still sucks.
So I was able to close my playlist with “Starla,” “Silverfuck,” and “Daydream.” That was priority one. I also got a few b-sides that I love. More than anything, I really enjoyed what this fantasy draft yielded: three dudes who didn’t know each other during the heights of Pumpkindom (but I believe shared the floor at the Palmer Auditorium show in 1994?) reminiscing about when they first heard the Billy Corgan Experience and why certain songs spoke to them. I’m not sure there are many gangs of three in my social circle that could speak confidently and passionately about many other bands than the Pumpkins. I do wonder how this would have played out had our Iowa City friend Travis rounded out the draft…
Sam (a.k.a. Team Gish)
I retired from fantasy football in 2004, mainly because I had the annoying knack of ruining guys’ careers if I picked them. In 2002, I took Kurt Warner with the first overall pick, but apparently his deal with the devil ran out after emerging from relative obscurity for three consecutive league-wrecking seasons; he got his eggs scrambled and broke his thumb in Week 1. In 2003, for reasons I still cannot explain (I’m saying I had a temporary stroke; that’s my story and I’m sticking to it), instead of saying Peyton Manning, which my brain was thinking, I said Donovan McNabb, who was still an elite quarterback at that point in time. He had the worst year of his career. Manning? He threw 49 touchdowns. In 2004, I had Ahman Green, who got injured in the last preseason game. Fuck this shit.
But I know the Pumpkins. I could do this. No problem.
Yes, I put together a cheat sheet. It took all of about seven minutes. Three or four tunes in each category and all the album tracks that popped in my head. I know the catalog that well. There was no need for me to Mel Kiper the hell out this draft board.
But after arriving at the war room (in this case, Buffalo Wild Wings), as I got out of the car, I remember thinking, “I have to get ‘Drown.’ And ‘Hummer.’ And ‘Rhinoceros.’ And ‘Suffer.’ If I don’t get them, I’m gonna be fucking pissed.”
Ummm, I may have taken this waaaaayyyyyy more seriously than I care to admit.
I would be picking second, which I was secretly happy about (but only if I got my first choice). I’d rather take one song and sit out two picks, than get two picks and have to sit through four.
When it was all said and done, I thankfully got my first overall choice. I also got my first choice in seven of the nine specialty categories.
Pick 1: “Drown”
My whole draft hinged on this. With Track 1s at a premium (only two absolute slam dunks), I was banking on Todd taking one of them with the No. 1 pick. He didn’t disappoint, snapping up “Cherub Rock” before I could even think “I hope he takes ‘Cherub Rock’ and not ‘Drown.’”
I didn’t hesitate. I took “Drown” without allowing anyone else to blink (and filled my “8-plus minutes” slot at the same time).
Chris groaned loudly … those were his top two picks and they were gone. I personally think he took it out on me the rest of the night.
Look, I get why Todd did what he did – taking “Cherub Rock” was like taking Hakeem Olajuwon in the ’84 draft. Hard to pass that up, with athletic 7-footers (and dominating Track 1s) that can win you a couple of titles coming at a premium. But as far as I was concerned, he could have Hakeem – I wanted Michael Jordan.
One of the defining songs of my youth. When it came out, I swear to God I listened to it at least once a day for six straight months. The soundtrack to some very memorable moments in my life. It made a time that I almost hooked up with a girl I had fantasized about (but ultimately didn’t) a memory that’s lasted since my sophomore year of college. If “Drown” wasn’t the song playing in the background, I’d have forgotten about it years ago, but because it was the angsty ’90s and you tended to romanticize even the painful missed opportunities … hey, it’s all good.
Happy to have you on my team, “Drown.”
With my next five picks, I alternated a couple wild-cards – I quickly grabbed “Rhinoceros” second and “Hummer” fourth (I got a thing for the quiet/LOUD builder-uppers) – while filling in some of mandatory slots (all first choices) with “Glynis” (girls’ name), “La Dolly Vita” (Pisces), and “Jackie Blue” (cover tune). I remember feeling lucky that “Glynis” was still there (that and “Drown” headline the two defining alt-rock compilation records of the ‘90s in No Alternative and Singles, respectively), but since I would have bet my life that Chris was gonna pick The Cure’s “A Night Like This” as his cover tune (which he did), I didn’t sweat that the Ozark Mountain Daredevils would still be there for me (I had Blondie’s “Dreaming” waiting in the wings, just in case). But with Todd lurking, I just wanted to be sure.
Pick 7: “Stand Inside Your Love”
I was stunned when I realized I didn’t take one single Adore song in the draft. I’ve always believed that while that album didn’t have the depth that the original trio of albums had, the four or five songs that I really liked on it, I actually loved. A lot. I would’ve loved to have found a spot for “For Martha,” “To Sheila,” and “Shame.”
On the flip side, I could never get into MACHINA. Maybe it was because of things I didn’t know at the time (such as the fact that it was supposed to be part of a double concept album that the label nixed), but the whole thing felt fragmented at the time (and now I know why). But “Stand Inside Your Love”? That song is the fuckin’ truth. It’s the last truly essential song by the original lineup, and I hold it in the same regard that I hold Gish and Siamese Dream. Easily topped my list in the “Adore or MACHINA” category.
Pick 9: “Thru the Eyes of Ruby”
I saw Jane’s Addiction during their original reunion tour on November 3, 1997, at the Aragon Ballroom in Chicago. The surprise unannounced opening act that night? The Pumpkins. I have three favorite songs on Mellon Collie (“Muzzle,” “Porcelina,” and “Ruby”). In a brief five-song set that night, they played all three of them. They opened with “Ruby.” That concert was one of the first “yes, I was there” bragging moments of my life up to that point.
Pick 10: “Panopticon”
Not only was this the song at the top of my board for the “Post-2000” slot, it’s the song that has me the most excited about the future of the band. Nicole Fiorentino creates the foundation, with a bassline that elegantly yet confidently cuts through the galloping, stuttering guitar riffs laid down by Corgan and Jeff Schroeder. But the true revelation here is young Mike Byrne, whose relentless pummeling of the drums makes it clear to any worry warts out there that there is indeed life in Pumpkinland after Jimmy Chamberlin. Once Tommy Lee is finished laying down the beats for the new album, I look forward to the opportunity to see Byrne anchoring the Pumpkins on tour somewhere down the line.
Things were humming at this point. I had snagged one of my favorite Gish album tracks (“Snail”) at 8, and it actually got to a point where it kinda felt like Todd and I were working in unison (we weren’t).
But that’s when Chris started working at Al Davis/Jerry Jones levels of terrorism in the war room.
With only two absolute slam dunks in the “Track 1” category (“Cherub Rock” and “I Am One”), before we started, I had lobbied that the opening piano-only title track on Mellon Collie could be combined with “Tonight, Tonight” (which is actually Track 2) as an album opener. I seem to remember Todd agreeing quickly and Chris fighting it. But he was outvoted. All three guys now could take a beloved epic opener. Everyone would be happy.
That is, until Chris, that dirty sonofabitch – already the owner of “I Am One” – took “Tonight, Tonight” as one of his wild cards.
As I dreamt of smacking Chris with a leather glove and demanding satisfaction, I moved on momentarily by filling my “James Iha” slot with Mellon Collie closer “Farewell and Goodnight” (my first choice). But that’s when I realized the other two slam dunks in the “album closer” category – “Daydream/I’m Going Crazy” and “Luna” – had both already been scooped up.
Was I really going to have to move “Farewell and Goodnight” to the “closer” slot and pick another James song? That would be like picking two kickers in lieu of two running backs. And besides the one I already had, there was only one other acceptable “James” choice in my book – “Blew Away” (that guitar solo … swoon).
But it was already off the board. Owned by who? The terrorist Chris, of course.
Thankfully, I found a loophole …
Pick 12: “Smiley”
One of my favorite b-sides. It’s the last song on the great Peel Sessions EP. Score.
Pick 14: “Doomsday Clock”
After snagging another wild card with “Window Paine” off Gish (so glad it was still there), it was time for my Track 1. It was gonna be “To Sheila” or this. It was at this moment that I almost gleefully remembered, “You know something? I never really liked ‘Tonight, Tonight’ all that much anyway.” And then I remembered that of all the songs on the uneven 2007 comeback album Zeitgeist, “Doomsday Clock” was my favorite. By far. And it Absolutely. Fucking. Shreds. Do I like “To Sheila” better as a song overall? Maybe. But I wanted to kick off my playlist with a nut crusher. Check. Mate.
Pick 15: “Crush”
For my final pick of the draft, there were still four songs on the board I really wanted. “Slunk” was there. “For Martha” was there. “Blue” was there. “Muzzle” was there. But I went with “Crush,” the ballad of Gish. Here’s why …
When I was in high school, my pack of girl friends, for some reason, called themselves the Galloping Weasles. I still have no idea why. I also have no idea why they spelled Weasels “Weasles.” Measles, maybe? They all had a pair of blue mesh shorts with “WEASLES” scrawled across their asses. Some of us guys took great pride in calling them the phonetically correct Weez-Less. It was a never-ending source of cheap laughs.
But the ladies debuted these shorts on the night that my pal Aaron Eads and I DJ’ed an after-game dance in the cafeteria our senior year. It was the annual National Honor Society dance and our sponsor – the assistant principal, Mr. Bell – tasked a couple of us with finding a DJ with reasonable rates. Eads and I, without putting too much thought into it, kind of impulsively said, “We’ll do it ourselves, and you don’t have to pay us.” He gave us a skeptical look but then foolishly agreed to let us take a shot.
One slight problem – we had no DJ equipment. Nothing. Just boatload of CDs. But we started a guerilla-style round of advertising, christening our big debut as “the alternative option to the regular school dance,” which had over the course of the previous couple years become more and more sparsely attended (I remember Eads, who went through a phase where he really thought he was Jim Morrison, scribbling on one of our ghetto ad posters, “Doors ’til You Drop!”). Basically, we had absolutely NO intention of playing anything resembling dance club music.
One night, Eads basically plugged his piece-of-shit Walmart stereo that he got in eighth grade into his guitar amp … and it worked. We put my CD player in one output and his into the other and practiced our cross-fading skills. We fancied ourselves Skrillex and Deadmau5 20 years ahead of the curve.
As we set up in the cavernous cafeteria, we were afraid it wasn’t gonna be loud enough. So we gave it a trial run when the room was still empty and it was just the two of us. Yep, seemed pretty loud.
An hour later, everyone started showing up, and whether it was because people wanted to actually hear our kind of music (doubtful), they were just bored on a Friday night (maybe), or (most likely) they wanted to see us fail spectacularly, we packed the house like we were Daft Punk at Perry’s.
Oh yeah … with a few hundred kids in the room? It wasn’t even close to be being loud enough.
I remember we played “No Sleep ‘Til Brooklyn.” We played “Can’t Truss It.” We played the Violent Femmes’ “Add It Up” (the bright side of having no volume? No teacher was going to be able to actually hear the words “Why can’t I get just one fuck?”). Achtung Baby had just come out, so we played “Mysterious Ways.” We even played “Raining Blood.” I remember our friend Rav, who was a Sikh, taking his turban off and headbanging with his magnificent mane of never-ever-been-cut hair. He looked like Cliff Burton. It was glorious.
At one point, a couple of freshman chicks came up to our table. “Are you guys going play ANY dance music?”
“No. Get the fuck outta here.”
Near the end of the night, our buddy Scott Macke (the other guy in charge of planning the dance with us) walked up to Mr. Bell, who was working the door.
“So how did we do tonight?”
Legend has it Mr. Bell just looked at Scotty with a sly shit-eating grin and basically flashed him the Johnny Manziel “time ta gets paid” hand gesture.
Except it wasn’t “time ta gets paid.” Oh no. No matter how sucky our sound system was, there would be no refunds. Mr. Bell and the NHS had gotten paid more in full than Eric B. and Rakim. And with no overhead to cover on the backside, it was all profit.
At the end of the night, what was the DJs’ bounty? Mr. Bell gave us each five bucks to go to Taco John’s and an impressed “good job, men.” Our little endeavor had paid off for the school better than that time Newman and Kramer got the free postal truck to haul empty cans and bottles to Michigan.
Um, where was I?
Oh yeah … “Crush.” We totally played “Crush” that night. I remember that song used to make a couple of the Galloping Weez-Less a little weak in the knees. So, to the Weasles – Erin, Kara, Devon, Buda, Tomhave, JT, Liz, Kim, Kath, Stace, Mindy, J-Hud, Nikki, and Graw, this is for you. Love comes in colours I can’t deny, bitches.
In the end, Todd got a few songs I coveted – “Obscured.” “Mayonaise.” “Porcelina of the Vast Oceans.” Same with Chris – “Starla.” “Soma.” Oh yeah, and “Suffer.” Sweet fucking “Suffer.” He knew it was my favorite since I had once chosen it to be used on a CD mix he compiled where mutual friends and co-workers each picked a single song to fill out the mix. It’s the one big one I feel I missed out on.
Dude, I never kicked your dog or puked in your car. There’s no need to get personal!
In all seriousness, the best part of this night was how, after it was all done and we were sipping on beers, we ended up sharing our “where were you were Kennedy was shot”-style stories with each other, except it was about a band. That entered our lives at the right time. That we all loved. Good stuff.
On my own personal long-running series of CD mixes (lovingly titled “Roof Music” after my college years of sitting on my friend Erin’s roof with a 12-pack, some smokes, and speakers hanging out the window), I’ve used something like 16 Pumpkins songs (I honestly can’t believe the total is that low). By my count, I got nine of them in this draft.
So yeah, I pretty much love this playlist. You will, too.
What song would you have taken #1? What song(s) should have made our lists? And is there a clear winner among the three playlists? Sound off in the comments, or have your say on our Facebook page. Or yell at us on Twitter.