Saturday, April 25, 2009

People Who Died: J.G. Ballard

J.G. BALLARD, 1930 - 2009, R.I.P.

I was very bummed to find out after coming back from Palm Springs that the English author J.G. Ballard died in London on April 19 of prostate cancer. Ballard was not only the author of the 1984 book Empire of the Sun, based on his own experiences of a WWII internment camp under the Japanese in China, which was adapted into the 1987 Steven Spielberg film starring Christian Bale, but he was also a hardcore sci-fi visionary, whose disturbing take on things is often summed up in the mainstream by his 1973 novel, Crash. For a lovely article on just how out-there Ballard's visions could get, and how he could really piss people off, check out Salon.

Crash, a story of car crash sexual fetishism, on which The Normal's 1978 song "Warm Leatherette" was based, was also adapted into a 1996 film by David Cronenberg that still upsets and perplexes folks to this day. I love the twisted originality of this story and another uniquely artistic voice bites the dust.

I'm putting up this 2006 live cover of "Warm Leatherette" by Nine Inch Nails featuring Peter Murphy of Bauhaus in tribute to the one and only Ballard. R.I.P.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Back From My Coachella Coma!


Damn The Man is back on track now that I've woken up from my Coachella hangover. For the record, I did NOT do what the folks in the above picture are doing; instead, we very strategically stuck to our Motel 6 room until sunset to avoid the grievously hot desert temperatures, but still ended up inhaling pounds of dust...hence the coma I've been in since coming back to L.A. on Monday.

What did Your 90's-ologist think of the show? It was not so much 90's-centric as boomer-era rock-tastic with Paul McCartney on hand to assail us with 2 hours and 45 minutes of mostly Beatles tunes. I can't was classic and I'm sad if you missed it. Paul had suspenders on and he was ready to rock. "Hey Jude," "Ticket to Ride," "A Day in the Life," "Let It Be," "Give Peace A Chance," "Can't Buy Me Love," "Blackbird," "Yesterday," "Band on The Run," "Live and Let Die," "Something," "I Got A Feeling," and on and on. Variety can tell you more about that, if you please.

I was also lucky enough to briefly catch the set by the fabulous Leonard Cohen; more about him in an upcoming I Can't Believe You Don't Own This F%#kin' Record on the Natural Born Killers soundtrack, which I believe heralded Cohen's surprising resurgence in popularity in the 90's.

While The Cure played gorgeously, their set noticeably avoided recognizable jams, excluding songs like "Lullaby" and "Just Like Heaven," and they were unceremoniously cut short by the powers that be, plugs pulled and lights cut out, leaving them to play perennial favorite "Boys Don't Cry" (which, admittedly, turned into a tearjerking acapella crowd singalong) and "Jumping Someone Else's Train" to the ether without the aid of amplification, which was a very rad thing to do, actually.

The Killers were succinct (set ending at midnight on the dot) but entertaining. Love that "When You Were Young." They have some time to marinate as a band beyond an early 80's U2 copy, methinks.

The Yeah Yeah Yeahs and M.I.A. alike were a little disappointing. I give the Yeah Yeah Yeahs points for a spot-on rendition of "Y Control," which closed their set, as well as Karen O's King Midas gold coin outfit, which mingled nicely with the setting sunlight. M.I.A. gets the gas-face, however, for being atonal, arrhythmic and largely avoiding anything resembling songs. She pulled out "Galang" and "Paper Planes" to a less than enthusiastic crowd in the beer garden, who are always ready to shake their booty. Always. It's a shame considering her set last year in the Sahara tent, while riddled with technical difficulties, was kinetic and packed to the gills with dance-crazed nutcases ready to rock it with her.

Thievery Corporation, who played before M.I.A., made booties shake proper. Public Enemy did as well, although because I had to keep my husband company in the beer garden before The Cure, I was not able to see them. Though I hear they played quite a bit of their classic 1988 album, "It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back."

Morrissey was as he is always: fabulous. Gucci pour Homme and Murray's pomade.

X were great. I wish John Doe and Exene Cervenka were on my speed dial...see them if you get the chance. You may not get too many. Hardcore real punk rock.

Last but not least, my harbingers of pain: My Bloody Valentine. This band makes the little industrial girl inside me jump for joy. They take noise to unholy levels and it is beautiful. Seeing hundreds of people walk away from the main stage with their fingers squished in their ears and their faces scrunched in horror is an unparalleled treat for the misanthropic side of my psyche. And "Only Shallow" is terrific to dance to.

Enough out of me already. Metrowize has a full Coachella report if you want the nitty-gritty, and has a fashion report if you absolutely need to see how naked people were this year (anyone who has photos of the fellow in the body-length neon green thong, and if you saw him you know what I mean, contact me).

See you in the desert next year!

Some 90's hits from Coachella 2009 artists:

Public Enemy - "911 is a Joke" from their 1990 album, "Fear of a Black Planet"

The Cure - "The 13th" from their 1996 album, "Wild Mood Swings"

I'm really jazzed I found this one. I wish they had played it at the show.

Morrissey - "We Hate It When Our Friends Become Successful (Live May 1992)" from his 1992 album, "Your Arsenal"

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Win Tickets to Coachella 2009 from URB Magazine and Loudcrowd!

Your 90's-ologist fo' sho' got her three-day pass and hotel room on for this year's Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival in the desert of Indio, CA from April 17-19. I had so much fun in one day last year that I had to do it right this year and brave all three days. The more to party with! And that's the name of the game with Coachella is parties; Loudcrowd and URB want to make sure a lucky winner not only has access to the show, but to a swank luxury home cum INDIOASIS party spot. Sign me up!

If you are not planning to go to Coachella this year, that's your first mistake. Check out this lineup:

It's choice. I hope to see you there!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Baby I Love Your Way: The Flaming Lips - Borderline


One of the things I love most in life is bands covering other band's songs. It's the thrill of the "what if?" So, clearly, the next plateau of this is when 90's bands cover 80's songs.

Please enjoy Damn The Man favorite Flaming Lips cover of pop queen Madonna's 1984 classic single "Borderline," from her debut self-titled album, with their friends from the bands Stardeath and White hurts me more than it hurts you that I have to send you here to see it. Embed code no worky for me.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Upcoming Show: Nine Inch Nails & Jane's Addiction at Verizon Wireless Ampitheater, Irvine, CA - May 20, 2009


First of all, I kind of love Trent Reznor. At the end of this post you will find the video of his Digg interview with Kevin Rose. He is totally buff, tanned and fit, in short, unrecognizable from his 90's self, and answers interesting questions, like my favorite: what's the most embarrassing song on your iPod? The fact that he answers CeCe Peniston's "Finally" warms the cockles of my industrial rock goddess heart.

Secondly, an incredibly 90's event is coming up in May for California residents, and elsewhere for all of the rest of you loyal readers: NIN and Jane's Addiction (original lineup!!) are playing a concert tour together!

FYI, for those who missed the "alternative nation" part of the 90's, Trent Reznor and his industrial/rock project Nine Inch Nails came to prominence with the 1989 album, "Pretty Hate Machine," but shot to superstardom with the 1994 sonic masterpiece/ concept album, "The Downward Spiral," which spawned one of the coolest videos ever made for "Closer" and was recently reissued in 2004 to celebrate its tenth anniversary. Trent followed it up in 1999 with another concept album, "The Fragile," which contains one of my favorite NIN songs ever, "We're In This Together."

Jane's started life in the mid-80's, but frontman Perry Farrell and his band of misfits (including both equally excellent guitarist Dave Navarro and drummer Stephen Perkins) left an indelible mark on music in the 90's, including their 1990 record "Ritual de lo Habitual," featuring the wondrous singles "Stop" and "Been Caught Stealing," and Perry Farrell's founding of the rock mega-tour Lollapalooza in 1991, initially as a farewell tour for Jane's Addiction. That band gave birth to the successful band Porno for Pyros, whose first album I listened to on a daily basis back then.

You can grab unreleased tracks from both NIN and Jane's Addiction here.

In short, see these guys play together if you can. Rumor has it that Trent wants to take a sabbatical from NIN, and Jane's break up once every ten years,or at least it feels like it. See it.

Please enjoy some videos from both bands. If you are a Trent junkie, check out the Digg interview first!

"Closer" is NOT SAFE FOR WORK, kiddies! I want you to keep your job if you got one.

Nine Inch Nails - We're In This Together

Jane's Addiction - Been Caught Stealing (Live at The City Square, Milan,Italy, 1990)

Jane's Addiction - Stop (Live at The City Square, Milan,Italy, 1990)

Monday, April 6, 2009

Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails interviewed by Digg founder Kevin Rose tomorrow morning


Digg has just ended a voting period where NIN fans could send in questions that they would like Digg founder Kevin Rose to ask in an interview with The Man Himself, Trent Reznor, and the "Dialogg" will be posted tomorrow, April 7, at 10am. Take a look at the top questions submitted here. I can't wait to see what his answers will be; I know I want to know what the most embarrassing song is on Trent's iPod.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Baby I Love Your Way: Stone Gossard of Pearl Jam - 1999


I had the good fortune of attending the midnight Prince show last Saturday, the last of three sets in a row that the Purple One played that day. I wanted to follow that up with some discussion of Prince's 90's musical output, but alas, when I searched 'Prince' on YouTube, all the audio in his clips is muted. Because Prince has had oodles of trouble protecting his music in the past, I will forgive this travesty. But, in searching for playable Prince YouTube videos, I did stumble upon the unexpected treat of Pearl Jam guitarist Stone Gossard covering Prince's classic 1982 hit, "1999."

In celebration of the followup album to Stone's 2001 solo album "Bayleaf," several of the songs have been made available on Pearl Jam's website, including "1999." The films of the band playing these songs are lovely, and I am digging the country rock direction that Stone is going in, it's very Wilco-ish.

Sit back on the porch swing and enjoy a mint julep to this:

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Korn Has Accepted Jesus Christ as Its Personal Lord and Savior

I freely admit that I loved the tracksuit metal band Korn in the 90's. I can't bring myself to be pretentious and act as if I haven't seen them five times, sung along lustily to their song "A.D.I.D.A.S. (All Day I Dream About Sex)" from their 1996 album "Life Is Peachy," and declared their self-titled 1994 debut album "an unsung classic" on numerous occasions. I adored their crunchy, faux-hardcore, seven-string guitar sound, their unabashed allegiance to their fans and unbridled hedonism in the sometimes hedonism-shy 90's.

All of this makes it very perplexing that two members of Korn have given in their Satan's Army ID cards and handed their lives over to the Prince of Peace, Jesus. And they both have written books about it. Slate Magazine has a very interesting (if notably Korn-negative) article about the fact that Korn bassist Reginald "Fieldy" Arvizu has just put out the book Got The Life last month on the tail of Korn guitarist Brian "Head" Welch's 2007 memoir, Save Me From Myself.

I have yet to read these potentially juicy memoirs, but they are on hold for me at the library, so a review will be coming soon in my new feature about 90's-oriented books, "Turn The Page."

I don't agree with Slate writer James Parker's assertion that Korn as a band and a sound were DOA from the release of their 1994 album. Though I understand many diehard rock, metal and hardcore fans' objection to the band (including corporate record label invention of the abysmal moniker "nu-metal" to describe their unusual riff-based guitar sound), I still really love the angry, painful yet ebullient rebelliousness of their music, especially their debut, "Korn."

Though I will probably end up doing a "I Can't Believe You Don't Own This F%#kin' Record" post on each of Korn's 90's records, I felt the Holy Spirit and it told me to play you guys a couple of songs off of their first album. Enjoy!

Korn - "Clown" from their 1994 record, "Korn"