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War Pigs : An unofficial video for Cake's cover of War Pigs, previously covered by Faith No More.. Originals by Black Sabbath.
posted by hypersloth (140 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
If Cake is your favorite band, then... well... you know.
posted by rxrfrx at 4:48 AM on February 2, 2007


..sucks. I know.
posted by hypersloth at 4:50 AM on February 2, 2007


More War Pigs..
posted by hypersloth at 4:57 AM on February 2, 2007


I really dug doormouse's treatment of the song. This Cake version is OK, but the dude's got no conviction behind his singing.
posted by boo_radley at 4:59 AM on February 2, 2007


Also covered by The Dresden Dolls, numerous times.
posted by Brainy at 5:08 AM on February 2, 2007


Finally, a fan video with a light, subtle touch on the imagery. I was tired of the ones that bludgeoned you about the head and neck with their point.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 5:13 AM on February 2, 2007


The world needs more Black Sabbath.
posted by chillmost at 5:18 AM on February 2, 2007


War Pigs is personally my all time favorite Sabbath song. It's one of the reasons why I still hold Geezer Butler and Tony Ward in such high esteem as one of the greatest rock 'n' roll rhythm sections of all time. Even thirty some odd years later, it stands as one of the best anti-war songs of all time, and beyond that, it has very particular resonance today.

But, this Cake version is terrible. I have heard more fire and passion from the knobs down at the Pontiac Cafe who do it for rock 'n' roll karaoke on Friday nights. It can be fun when bands try to do covers of tunes that are outside of their idiom (Marilyn Manson doing Sweet Dreams comes to mind), but this is just flat and lifeless. I would petition to have it taken down from YouTube if I were their manager.

The FNM version is decent enough, btw, but still no substitute for the gloomy, smouldering original.
posted by psmealey at 5:21 AM on February 2, 2007


I've liked some of Cake's stuff (esp "Rock and Roll Lifestyle") but they're wrong for this song. The original is still one of the best metal songs ever, though.
posted by jonmc at 5:24 AM on February 2, 2007


It's pretty surreal seeing the soldiers tromping around with a mushroom cloud in the background. Black Sabbath and especially War Pigs has always been one of my favourites. I like Cake, but their cover of War Pigs is fairly lame. boo_radley pegged it, there's no conviction. I expect to hear some anger in the voice, not an opium-induced detachment from the world (not saying he's on anything, I know nothing of John McCrea).

As far as the lack of subtlety that ROU_Xenophobe mocks, War Pigs is not a subtle song and it wasn't meant to be.
posted by substrate at 5:33 AM on February 2, 2007


Faith No More is the ultimate cover band!!
Easy (The Commodores)
posted by hypersloth at 5:36 AM on February 2, 2007


The Faith No More covers of Sparks songs are my personal faves. "Something for the Girl with Everything" and "This Town Ain't Big Enough For the Both of Us!"
posted by vbfg at 5:38 AM on February 2, 2007


Faith No More were an incredible band, but that guy's voice grates on me to the point of anger. We had to endure a lot of terrible falsetto, wailing, warbling motherfuckers before the Robert Plant to Chris Cornell chain of rock voice evolution was complete, and his (probably next to Ronny James Dio's) was one of the worst of the lot.
posted by psmealey at 5:46 AM on February 2, 2007


The Dresdon Dolls version on their DVD is amazing. That drummer totally ftw
posted by 13twelve at 5:47 AM on February 2, 2007


After ROU_Xenophobe's comment, I was prepared for a well-done fan video that had some sort of great allegorical statement, or something. I truly wanted to enjoy some Cake, which I haven't done since high school, and it was going to all be due to the masterful cinematic direction of an unpaid fan, doing it for the love of the plot.

But uh, nevermind.
posted by duende at 5:49 AM on February 2, 2007


Dude. Sabbath.
posted by The Straightener at 5:52 AM on February 2, 2007


Tony Iommi. The heaviest guitarist ever. All those neometallers tuning down *trying* to be heavier, but they weren't, because they weren't HIM.

Ozzy's fat gut in the Sabbath clip is great.

One of those songs that nobody should cover IMO.
posted by unSane at 6:00 AM on February 2, 2007


The world needs more Black Sabbath.

No, dude: the world needs MORE COWBELL!!!
posted by ZenMasterThis at 6:05 AM on February 2, 2007


Well, that's kinda Cake's thing: deadpan. Seems wrong-to-the-point-of-irony for War Pigs.

I've always liked FNM's Mike Patton. The band is fairly bland, IMO; they could all be replaced by studio musicians. He, personally, adds 90% of the band's character. If you want to hear him with a suitably insane band, check out Mr. Bungle -- sounds like clowns on crack! (...if you're into that sort of thing...)

Saw his new (as of a few years ago) band, Tomahawk, opening for Tool a few years ago. The music was just horrible, but damn that Mike Patton is a great performer. He gave up every joule of energy he had to the music and the crowd. I thought he was gonna give himself an aneurysm.

But, overall, it was horrible.

(Tool was probably the best show I've ever seen, however.)
posted by LordSludge at 6:21 AM on February 2, 2007


On the plus side for the deadpan delivery, there are some War Pigs lyrics that I've never understood that finally, today, I understand. (Treating people just like.... wawawawa is actually treating people like pawns in chess. Who knew?) So yay for that.
posted by louie at 6:29 AM on February 2, 2007


Cake fan that I am, I also thought it blew the proverbial goat the first time I listened to it, but..

Remember this Cake cover?
posted by hypersloth at 6:30 AM on February 2, 2007


Speaking of Mike Patton love (worthy of his own FPP or two), I love his stint on the Dillinger Escape Plan EP 'Irony is a Dead Scene'. Tough act to follow.

Not to mention Fantomas, Tomahawk and Peeping Tom. Sometimes I think he's running Ipecac so that he can release his own music in endless bands. Which is fine by me.
posted by slimepuppy at 6:34 AM on February 2, 2007


Treating people just like.... wawawawa is actually treating people like pawns in chess. Who knew?

That's what it sounds like with a wicked case of cotton mouth from pulling hash tubes in the studio all night long.
posted by The Straightener at 6:34 AM on February 2, 2007


Oh, and the Cake cover (plus unofficial music video): weak and powerless. And in too much of a fucking hurry to get to the chorus. The original builds up nice and slowly.

Kids today, man...
posted by slimepuppy at 6:42 AM on February 2, 2007


I wish that song didn't rhyme "masses" with itself in its opening line(s). That's just annoying.
posted by washburn at 6:43 AM on February 2, 2007 [1 favorite]


get off my lawn
posted by hypersloth at 6:43 AM on February 2, 2007


Wow. First link, about 3m30s in there's an astounding clip of soldiers getting out of their trenches and walking towards a rising mushroom cloud. What a haunting, powerful image. Poor bastards.

I think Ozzy's lyrics are often unintentionally hilarious, but War Pigs is a great song and one I've been happy to see my kids getting into courtesy of Guitar Hero. Actually playing bass on that, and Sweet Child O'Mine in GH2's multiplayer was so much fun I had to buy a real bass (I play guitar).
posted by jiroczech at 6:47 AM on February 2, 2007


I like Cake a lot, but I'm not sure about this one.
posted by danb at 6:53 AM on February 2, 2007


Faith No More also did a live cover of a Nestle commercial jingle for white chocolate bars. I remember when the ad was on TV, I'd turn it up because the song was so good. It was really ethereal and wispy, and the lyrics went something like:

Creamy white,
Oh so white,
Nestle makes the very best;
N-E-S-T-L-E-S

posted by breezeway at 6:54 AM on February 2, 2007


There is no cover of War Pigs that brings anywhere near the satisfaction of listening to the original.

Black Sabbath is one of my all time favorite bands.

But hey, anything that brings greater attention to one of the greatest songs of all time is a good thing.
posted by kmartino at 6:56 AM on February 2, 2007


No, dude: the world needs MORE COWBELL!!!

Ugh. Isn't that whole thing over yet?
posted by psmealey at 6:57 AM on February 2, 2007


The "resident 80s rock musician" that led singing at this camp I used to go to as a small human had his own band. His name was Ray Slater. His band was called "Erasmus." In one especially convicting Soft Rock Ballad of his, he sings:

"What's wrong with this PIC-ture? /
Starving kids on his TV /
He changes the chan-nel /
they're, not, his, re-spon-sib-il-ityyyy..."

And while Ray Slater is long gone and you won't even find Erasmus on Google, and while neither the song nor the band nor the man nor the camp have anything to do with this Black Sabbath thing (besides the vague overlap of Music That Probably Happened At Some Point During A Time In The 80s), Mr. Slater asks a very good question when he asks "What's wrong with this PIC-ture?" And I'd like to ask the same question today, and ask: what's wrong with THIS picture?

Cake's best moments are when John McCrea is singing absurd, surreal, abstract lyrics in his matter-of-fact voice. Such as:

"We will swim in your kidney,
Your kidney-shaped pool,
Splashing at the bottom for another clue
Yeah!"

And the best part of listening to Cake is that you get to imagine what you think he's talking about.

So when Mr. Lead Singer of Cake is matter-of-factly singing lines like:

"Politicians hide themselves away
They only started the war
Why should they go out to fight?
They leave that role to the poor"

...and Mr. Amateur Video Making Man on YouTube is making me watch Clip Art pictures of Satan and stock footage of Korean explosions appear on screen, I'm like, "Eff this, buddy, I hate this, get me out of here, why is the bassline so catchy when all these pictures are so stupid?"

Concluding Damning Phrase: A parade of awkward slapdashery.
posted by Milkman Dan at 7:01 AM on February 2, 2007 [2 favorites]


Incidentally, Gov't Mule does a pretty okay cover of War Pigs.
posted by danb at 7:11 AM on February 2, 2007


As far as the lack of subtlety that ROU_Xenophobe mocks, War Pigs is not a subtle song and it wasn't meant to be.

I just like "War Pigs" too much to enjoy seeing it treated *that* ham-handedly; that's all. It's a classic that deserves better than that. This video was like using footage of paint-can shakers for "You Shook Me."
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 7:11 AM on February 2, 2007 [1 favorite]


Okay, now, I want to hear Ozzy cover "The Distance."
posted by katillathehun at 7:18 AM on February 2, 2007 [1 favorite]


You know things are fucked when bands like Cake are making political statements. Next up, what, the Bloodhound Gang doing Waist Deep in the Big Muddy (it's a metaphor for anal sex)?

"I've always liked FNM's Mike Patton. The band is fairly bland, IMO; they could all be replaced by studio musicians. He, personally, adds 90% of the band's character. If you want to hear him with a suitably insane band, check out Mr. Bungle -- sounds like clowns on crack! (...if you're into that sort of thing...)"

Oh, totally disagree. Sir Jim Martin was a huge part of that band, as was Roddy Bottum. Kind of an anonymous rhythm section, but Martin owns on Surprise, You're Dead, and Bottum is all over Angel Dust (their best album, in my humble).

When I used to work at a grocery store, the shift manager always wanted to put on Mr. Bungle for cleanup music, and it never worked. It takes too much active listening, otherwise it's like "I'm gonna put my dick in your ear, I'm gonna put my dick in your ear..." When you can listen to it without trying to work, you find that you kinda like his dick in your ear. But I don't think that there's a tremendous amount of replay value in the Bungle albums (or Fantomas). Not like the sweet, sweet sounds of Sabbath, anyway.
posted by klangklangston at 7:19 AM on February 2, 2007


WoW from cake to FNM?

How about Jah-Ba?

(Youtube link to Bong Ra spinning it, alas) Not really the best quality, but the hoover bass on that track replacing the guitar part. Just blows me away. I wish I could find an MP3, but I don't know where.
posted by symbioid at 7:24 AM on February 2, 2007


Oh christ... I've been playing too much World of Warcraft (see "WoW"... and cake should be capitalized, no?) Please grammar nazis, don't hurt me.
posted by symbioid at 7:25 AM on February 2, 2007


The second Sabbath link in the FPP has a waaaay better version of the song.

My friend John's senior class in high school chose War Pigs as their prom theme. You gotta love that.

posted by popechunk at 7:33 AM on February 2, 2007


(Tool was probably the best show I've ever seen, however.)
posted by LordSludge at 8:21 AM CST on February 2 [+]



You, my good man, have yet another fan. Long Live TOOL.

Cake will do, As for the best covert une of the year, try SPIDERBITE doing the old "Whan-A-Lam-Oh-Oh- Black Betty.

Also, anything Marilyn Manson does for some unknown reason...comes out o.k. with me.

As for FNM, I saw Mike Patton last time he came with OZZY. Mike palyed every instrument he could get his hands on for over 2 hours. OZZY on the other hand, 59 minutes and he ambles off of the stage, mubling something un-intelligible.

It's true...YOU CAN'T KILL ROCK AND ROLL!!!!!!
posted by winks007 at 7:42 AM on February 2, 2007


Way to reach for the low-hanging fruit.

It's not all that hard to take war footage and set it to an antiwar song. It's much more difficult to make an antiwar song using war footage that doesn't (a) identify the soldiers as the war pigs, but rather captures the fact that they are doing their jobs that they could get court martialed for refusing to do, and (b) doesn't say idiotic things like the poster in this video with Saddam and Bush boxing above the text WAR IS FUN IF YOU KNOW YOU WON'T DIE. Saddam did die. Sort of weakens the point.
posted by Pastabagel at 8:13 AM on February 2, 2007



I wish that song didn't rhyme "masses" with itself in its opening line(s). That's just annoying.
That's always bothered me, too; I know it's being used different ways, but still, it's the same word.
posted by Godbert at 8:15 AM on February 2, 2007


A fantastic song (probably the best anti-war one out there) and Faith No More love - now that's a good Friday. Shame about the Cake cover though.... and that video could use a little... subtlety, no? I agree with the message, but still...

Ah, I miss Faith No More...they did get irony.

Sadly seems like that song will never be old; seems like war is one of the constants of humanity. I hope that song's still around centuries from now to inspire a few folks in the next great 'battle for freedom'...
posted by rmm at 8:16 AM on February 2, 2007


This Cake version is OK, but the dude's got no conviction behind his singing.

As someone else said, that's cake. It's like saying 'I love christmas but it's too festive'. Part of the package.

You know things are fucked when bands like Cake are making political statements.

Cake has always been a political band. In the past their website has been more about activism than music.

I like this version ok, but I like cake. I also enjoy seeing a different take rather than 'insert metal band here' giving it a go.
posted by justgary at 8:17 AM on February 2, 2007


Now, War Pigs is great and all, and Sabbath is one of my all-time favorite bands. That said, as far as anti-war, nuclear-paranoia epics go, Children of the Grave has got to be my all time favorite Sabbath track, and White Zombie's cover (sorry, no video) destroys any other Sabbath cover, ever.
posted by dvdgee at 8:31 AM on February 2, 2007


The silliest thing about Sabbath is the covers. "War Pigs" is just about the most obvious cover you can think of; it's kinda fun, but nobody really seems to take Sabbath seriously, so it's not so bad if you screw with it a little. Everybody's heard it on the radio; we all know half of the words; and it's kind of enjoyable, 'slumming it' in heavy metal for a little while.

That's why covers of "War Pigs" nearly always piss me off. They're not meant as any kind of tribute-- half the bands, like Cake, who cover them obviously don't think much of Black Sabbath musically-- they're just an opportunity to enjoy a little simple rocking with some easy sentiments. The Cake deadpan thing has always annoyed me a little, but, as other have said, when mixed with the metal earnestness, which they clearly have no respect for, it's just stupid.

Why the fuck doesn't anybody ever cover anything off of Master Of Reality?

I really like Faith No More's version, but you have to remember, the musico-historical circumstances were very, very different. Black Sabbath was hugely unpopular, especially on the west coast. Metalheads were almost universally disliked; hair-metal was just burning out in 1989. In the midst of all this, Faith No More, who had a great new singer in Mike Patton, recorded a completely straight, by-the-book cover of an old Black Sabbath song. They didn't really even change a note. This wasn't a really popular move with their new fans who flocked to see them after their big hit, "Epic," though the old-guard metalheads appreciated it immensely; Faith No More actually had to stop playing "War Pigs" on their tour in support of The Real Thing in 1990 because people were booing it. This live version at Brixton, which seems to be from the same concert that produced Live at Brixton Academy, is therefore quite a gem. They seem to have gotten a better metallic reception in England.

psmealey: "Faith No More were an incredible band, but that guy's voice grates on me to the point of anger. We had to endure a lot of terrible falsetto, wailing, warbling motherfuckers before the Robert Plant to Chris Cornell chain of rock voice evolution was complete, and his (probably next to Ronny James Dio's) was one of the worst of the lot."

You know precisely how many people you pissed off with that, I imagine. (I was just enjoying me some Holy Diver yesterday, so I guess I'm one of them.) I have a hard time understanding how you come to the conclusion that Robert Plant's voice was bad, but I probably can't help that now, since you've probably heard as much Zep as you're likely to hear for the rest of your life.

But Mike Patton's voice is another matter. It's more versatile than Plant's, I think; it's probably one of the most versatile voices every to grace the stage of heavy metal. He's also a magnificent lyricist-- he came on board with FNM after they'd written all the music for The Real Thing, and he wrote all the lyrics himself, many of which are very good. But I'll venture a guess that you haven't heard their Angel Dust album; that's where Mike Patton really came into his own with FNM, and it's what you should listen to if you want to know what all the fuss is about.

LordSludge: "I've always liked FNM's Mike Patton. The band is fairly bland, IMO; they could all be replaced by studio musicians. He, personally, adds 90% of the band's character. If you want to hear him with a suitably insane band, check out Mr. Bungle -- sounds like clowns on crack! (...if you're into that sort of thing...)"

Blasphemer. Introduce Yourself is one of the great landmarks of '80's metal. Faith No More were an incredible band for years before Mike came along, as great as Mike was.

jiroczech: "I think Ozzy's lyrics are often unintentionally hilarious, but War Pigs is a great song..."

First, the lyrics are by Geezer Butler, not Ozzy. Second, I defy you to come up with a single "unintentionally hilarious" word on a Black Sabbath record between 1971 and 1978. Sabbath were one of the greatest bands of the 1970's for many reasons; one of them was that their lyrics were careful, thoughtful, and direct, which is something you can't say of most metal bands. Geezer was good at what he did.

Geesh, this has been a real novel here, hasn't it? Well, here. Watch Mike Patton talk about that new Led Zeppelin rip-off band, Wolfmother.
posted by koeselitz at 8:38 AM on February 2, 2007


The Cardigans do a pretty interesting cover of "Sabbath Bloody Sabbath". (I tried to find a quick link to it, but couldn't...sorry).
posted by stifford at 8:40 AM on February 2, 2007


Why the fuck doesn't anybody ever cover anything off of Master Of Reality?

I know Kyuss had done a cover of "Into the Void", and I think Corrosion of Conformity has done "Lord of This World"
posted by stifford at 8:43 AM on February 2, 2007


It still bothers me that he rhymed "masses" with "masses".
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 8:47 AM on February 2, 2007


stifford: "I know Kyuss had done a cover of "Into the Void", and I think Corrosion of Conformity has done "Lord of This World""

Kyuss? Really? Awesome. Where can I find this goodness?
posted by koeselitz at 8:48 AM on February 2, 2007


Ah, as a single.
posted by koeselitz at 8:49 AM on February 2, 2007


I have a hard time understanding how you come to the conclusion that Robert Plant's voice was bad

No, no, no. That's not what I meant at all. I love both Plant's and Chris Cornell's voices. I was just commenting on a lot of the singers in that style that came in between those guys were painful to listen to. Particularly Dio, whom I detest, but de gustibus etc.

I do not like Mike Patton's nasally whine very much even though I loved FNM's music. Kind of like how I felt about Andy Wood in Mother Love Bone, he always sounded like a glam metal poseur singer in an alt-rock band. Definitely not for everyone
posted by psmealey at 8:50 AM on February 2, 2007


I think there are like a million shitty covers of Sweet Leaf (which is a great song). Still some of the other MoR songs are kinda strange, to much talking about the Pope and seeing the light.

Its more fun to cover songs about drugs and alienation than finding god
posted by rosswald at 9:04 AM on February 2, 2007


Give me Vol. 4 anyday
posted by rosswald at 9:05 AM on February 2, 2007


Seems wrong-to-the-point-of-irony for War Pigs.

Indeed. Right on. This is not a Sabbath tribute, it's a goddam Cake cover. What someone's armchair home video reflects on that I couldn't be arsed to figure.

The Cardigans recorded a mean (and by mean I mean very nice and not mean, to the point of absuridty) version of Iron Man. It was also wrong to the point of irony, and it was also entertaining.
posted by cortex at 9:09 AM on February 2, 2007


I'm sure your familiar with Rainbow's Rising and Long Live Rock and Roll albums. Because your opinion on Dio is pretty worthless if you haven't.
posted by The Straightener at 9:09 AM on February 2, 2007


your opinion on Dio is pretty worthless

Right. YOUR TASTES ARE WRONG.
posted by psmealey at 9:11 AM on February 2, 2007


god dammit why does every thread have to be about dio
posted by cortex at 9:11 AM on February 2, 2007 [2 favorites]


Actually, they're probably just uninformed.
posted by The Straightener at 9:13 AM on February 2, 2007


I think there are like a million shitty covers of Sweet Leaf (which is a great song).

And one awesome cover, The Butthole Surfer's "Sweet Loaf." Arrgh!

I love the Dresen Dolls cover of War Pigs -- I've seen them do it a few times live, and it just kills.
posted by Bookhouse at 9:20 AM on February 2, 2007


And by the way, if you see your mom this weekend,

Be sure and tell her,

SATAN

SATAN

SATAN.

posted by The Straightener at 9:24 AM on February 2, 2007 [2 favorites]


koeselitz: I demand an epic essay on the merits or demerits of The Bad Plus's cover of Iron Man. By lunch, please.

(Also, while I like War Pigs, if any of you think it is a better anti-war song than, say, War, or even Alice's Restaurant, you're batshit out of your mind :)
posted by louie at 9:30 AM on February 2, 2007


psmealey: "I love both Plant's and Chris Cornell's voices."

Chris Cornell? I don't think I can help you then. Sorry.

Seriously, though, Straightener may be blunt about it, but he's right on this: Rising and Long Live Rock And Roll are awesome. Rainbow was such a fucking good band that it's very hard to dismiss Dio as a hack; his voice was consistently powerful for more than ten years recording with many different groups, and he was always a fine lyricist.

cortex: "god dammit why does every thread have to be about dio"

Look, it's not really our fault. It wouldn't happen if he'd just stop shitting in threads rocking.
posted by koeselitz at 9:30 AM on February 2, 2007


The Januaries do a sweet, ethereal almost jazzy cover of Paranoid.
posted by stevil at 9:30 AM on February 2, 2007


louie: koeselitz: I demand an epic essay on the merits or demerits of The Bad Plus's cover of Iron Man. By lunch, please.

It's okay, but a little cutesy. I can't really say much more than that. I like their cover of "Chariots of Fire" a hell of a lot more; it fits more with what they do.
posted by koeselitz at 9:32 AM on February 2, 2007



Chris Cornell? I don't think I can help you then. Sorry.

Why you gotta hate on Cornell? He fronted one of the premiere Sabbath cover bands of all time.
posted by drjimmy11 at 9:34 AM on February 2, 2007 [1 favorite]


louie: "(Also, while I like War Pigs, if any of you think it is a better anti-war song than, say, War, or even Alice's Restaurant, you're batshit out of your mind :)"

Apples and oranges. But I can't really listen to "Alice's Restaurant" any more; there's someone in our midst here (yes, in this very thread) who already demolished that silly old song with his monumental cover.

posted by koeselitz at 9:35 AM on February 2, 2007


"(Also, while I like War Pigs, if any of you think it is a better anti-war song than, say, War, or even Alice's Restaurant, you're batshit out of your mind :)"

I see no reason to say it's not. This is the kind of prejudice Sabbath faced their entire career, for the sin of being poor boys from Birmingham and not art-schoolers from London. And Jesus, the lyrics sure hold up better than "war! what is it good for? HUH!" (Answer: stopping Hitler, among other things)

Also why they weren't in the joke of a rock n roll hall of fame until recently.
posted by drjimmy11 at 9:46 AM on February 2, 2007


demolished that silly old song

Heh. That wasn't precisely the spirit of the endeavor.

posted by cortex at 9:53 AM on February 2, 2007


I would petition to have it taken down from YouTube if I were their manager.

Actually, they're the one's encouraging this. I'm on the Cake mailing list (hate away, haters, but I love Cake) and they're offering this song as a preview of their forthcoming album of B-sides, and holding a $1000 contest for the best fan-made video. (Haven't yet seen this, or heard the song, so I can't comment on the merits of either.)
posted by Horace Rumpole at 10:05 AM on February 2, 2007


koeselitz - I always liked "Surprise! You're Dead!". Presaged some of the nightmarish and unrelentingly weird (in a good way) stuff on Angel Dust. And yes, Black Sabbath FTW.
posted by Mister_A at 10:09 AM on February 2, 2007


Ok, so I dusted off my old Rainbow Rising LP (always been a big Ritchie Blackmore fan) and confirmed that I still hate Dio. What are you gonna do? Great music, though.

I never said he was a hack, just that I didn't care for him.

Btw, didn't realize that hating on Dio was an internet meme. Apologies for stepping into a cliche.
posted by psmealey at 10:10 AM on February 2, 2007


an incidental: Courtney Love was in FNM for a while.
posted by culberjo at 10:14 AM on February 2, 2007


This is the kind of prejudice Sabbath faced their entire career, for the sin of being poor boys from Birmingham and not art-schoolers from London.

No, this it the kind of prejudice Sabbath faced for using imagery of witches and Satan, and epic guitar and growling, instead of things most people can connect with (or in the case of protest songs, sing along with.)

I own nearly all of their classic albums. I like Sabbath. But classic anti-war imagery alone does not a classic anti-war song (or even classic anti-war lyrics) make.

[And really... bringing up Hitler? C'mon. That argument applies to every anti-war song ever, unless for example you actually think FDR was an 'evil mind that plots destruction.']
posted by louie at 10:14 AM on February 2, 2007


Your favorite band sucks.


Seriously, I kinda liked the Cake video. It got sorta weak toward the end, but it's a good effort for an amateur. The song itself was good imho, probably not going to impress anyone who didn't already like Cake but c'est la vie. I'd like to see more covers of this song. I wonder if Willie Nelson would cover it...I bet Kris Kristofferson would be down.
posted by mullingitover at 10:21 AM on February 2, 2007


Wow; I'm surprised no one's mentioned the Flaming Lips yet. They've been covering War Pigs for about a year now, I think, and ending most of their shows with it. They play a pretty straight rocking version, but they're appropriately theatrical about it, with visuals of Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, etc. and Wayne Coyne pouring fake blood over himself. Here's a collection of concert footage. Definitely worth a look.

Is this becoming the consensus protest song of the Iraq war? If so, awesome.
posted by mr_roboto at 10:23 AM on February 2, 2007


I really couldn’t imagine watching gunships fly over listening to “Alice's Restaurant” and getting hooked into anything. War pigs resurrected me. And sometimes a song is set in stone and is meant to be unchanged for all time. Dylan, f’rinstance, pretty much ceded “All Along the Watchtower” to Hendrix. Not that he - or others - can’t sing it, but c’mon. It’s untouchable. Unless you radically change it in interpretation, anytime you sing it it’s going to be compared to that one. For me “War Pigs” is set in stone, just because of the time and place. And Ozzy’s got that howling voice, plaintive and wounded, but angry. I think if a song is covered it’s sort of a compliment that it’s a standard. But really, anyone other than Frank doing “My Way” sounds like a dick (like Pat Boone doing “Crazy Train”), unless they transform it and make it their own - say like the Sex Pistols. Otherwise you’re doing Frank, not singing the song. But a lot of bands don’t have the self-definition or the weight to impress themselves on a song that big and pull it off.
Ozzy and Black Sabbath, whatever you think of him/them, is a whale because they had such definition. They became the standard. Hell, look at how nada radio play Motorhead gets, but everyone (in metal) draws from them.
posted by Smedleyman at 10:34 AM on February 2, 2007 [1 favorite]


Btw: Hitler.
posted by Smedleyman at 10:35 AM on February 2, 2007


I second danb's assertion that Gov't Mule does a great version of War Pigs.
Also, smedleyman makes a great point songs being set in stone after a certain standard has been set.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 10:46 AM on February 2, 2007


The Flaming Lips encored with "War Pigs" on tour this past summer (thus rolling the Hollywood Bowl wine-and-cheese crowd into a ball of confusion). Wayne Coyne is no Ozzy, but he was 1000% more engaging than this ennui-soaked Cake dude.

On preview, what mr_roboto said.

And as others have already said, Sabbath rules.
posted by oncogenesis at 10:49 AM on February 2, 2007


Someone upthread is on about what anti-war songs are better than yadda yadda; well, "Johnny, I Hardly Knew Ye" trumps 'em all. Give it a listen if you don't know it, it's traditional so there are likely plenty of recordings to choose from; you might recognize the tune. Now there's an anti-war song. Just sayin'.

Oh yeah, and Go Black Sabbath, Go! Rah Rah Rah!
posted by breezeway at 11:22 AM on February 2, 2007


more antiwar, more better, more amatuer, more cat power:

rockets
posted by n9 at 11:41 AM on February 2, 2007


blew the link, here it is: rockets
posted by n9 at 11:42 AM on February 2, 2007


My wife and I both like Cake a lot, and I'd never heard of this cover. I don't see it on the website, and it doesn't seem to be on the iTunes store. Does anyone have a link to a downloadable (preferably copyright, of course) copy?
posted by avriette at 12:12 PM on February 2, 2007


avriette, sign up for the mailing list. They said they are going to send out a link through that to an mp3 of the song.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 12:21 PM on February 2, 2007


One more for the cover list: Pig's cover of War Pigs is a favorite of mine.

(Sorry, I couldn't find a clip)
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 12:24 PM on February 2, 2007


This is one of the two Black Sabbath songs that I like. Don't care for this particular cover but like Cake's I Will Survive. Still, it's always nice to hear different takes on songs, even if you don't ultimately care for them.

I like it for the sound. Couldn't care less about the lyrics.

I'm still amazed by the Scissor Sister's Comfortably Numb (video is typically horrible) cover. I hated and still hate Pink Floyd and especially Comfortably Numb. But I like covers that aren't just replays as it were.
posted by juiceCake at 1:51 PM on February 2, 2007


I'm a huge Floyd dork and juiceCake will burn in his tank, but that is a great cover.
posted by cortex at 1:58 PM on February 2, 2007


If you're after cover songs by Mike Patton, check out Plagiarism by Dillinger Escape Plan.
posted by vaportrail at 2:14 PM on February 2, 2007


Cardigans, Iron Man (sound quality is good, but ignore the scary video)

I haven't kept up with The Cardigans, but covering a Sabbath tune in a lounge-act style was their thing for a while.
posted by bardic at 2:37 PM on February 2, 2007


Funny, this post has inspired me to listen to Sabbath all day long at least. It's been a satisfying, if dark, day.

Other than the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, has there been a more influential band than Black Sabbath over the past 40 years? Led Zeppelin arguably, but they seem to have gone in and out of vogue several times during this period. There has always seemed to be some prominent descendent of Sabbath at every point over this period.
posted by psmealey at 2:42 PM on February 2, 2007


I wouldn't call it influence as much as a benchmark. Allow me to put my rockist hat on and say that there's just something about Sabbath that punches you in the face (probably the guitar, but as mentioned up-thread, the rhythm section is often under-rated).

When I heard nu-metal bands (a phase that seems to be dead, thank Satan) I didn't so much hear them channeling Sabbath as they were just obviously not Sabbath. Sure, they had their drop-C tuning on their Ibanez 7-strings all figured out, but it was just an imitation of heavy. The first drum fill in Sabbath's "War Pigs"? Just when you think it's going to be a droney slab-of-guitar all the way through? That's some funky shit. It comes out of nowhere. Nobody can touch that.

(Actually, of all bands, I think The Cardigans do, but precisely because they're not trying to out-heavy Sabbath. They're smart enough to know they can't.)
posted by bardic at 2:49 PM on February 2, 2007


Good point, bardic. I would also argue that the Melvins can pull it off from time to time, but they are by and large a joke band, so it kind of doesn't count.
posted by psmealey at 2:51 PM on February 2, 2007


There's also a Cardigans single, where they do a accapella "Mr Crowley".
posted by stifford at 2:54 PM on February 2, 2007


Other than the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, has there been a more influential band than Black Sabbath over the past 40 years?
posted by psmealey at 5:42 PM EST on February 2


Bowie, Richman, The Velvet Underground, Parliament Funkadelic, Kraftwerk, etc. and so forth come immediately to mind as hugely and consistently influential.

I'm a huge Floyd dork and juiceCake will burn in his tank, but that is a great cover.
posted by cortex at 4:58 PM EST on February 2


Metafilter: If you're musical taste is contrary to mind you'll burn in your tank!
posted by juiceCake at 3:02 PM on February 2, 2007


Also the Stooges and the MC5, juicecake, but not really on the same level, I don't think.
posted by psmealey at 3:04 PM on February 2, 2007


My bass player has a standard question when we've tried out new people for the band-- Sabbath or Zeppelin? So far, nobody who has worked out has hesitated even slightly before saying "Sabbath!"
posted by InfidelZombie at 3:10 PM on February 2, 2007


Re: influence

Elvis?

You can also argue for any number of the first-half century jazz artists from whom most of modern rock developed in one shape or another.
posted by jmd82 at 3:21 PM on February 2, 2007


Past 40 years, jmd82.

Of course, it all takes root from African-American spirituals if you want to go further back than that.
posted by psmealey at 3:24 PM on February 2, 2007


juiceCake: "This is one of the two Black Sabbath songs that I like."

Really? What did you think of Never Say Die? I really liked that record, and I feel as though more people should listen to it. I take it you didn't like Masters Of Reality when you listened to that, either. I'll bet it's the pseudo-Christian lyrics that bug you, isn't it?

"Bowie, Richman, The Velvet Underground, Parliament Funkadelic, Kraftwerk, etc. and so forth come immediately to mind as hugely and consistently influential."

Are you seriously naming Jonathan Richman as being more influential than Black Sabbath? He didn't 'invent' punk, or punk rock aesthetic, or anything at all besides his own vibe; he's always remained blissfully disconnected from the mainstream. I say this not in denigration but in defense of the man, who I'm lucky enough to have seen perform, and who I know is annoyed whenever people claim he started anything.

Beyond that, I have a feeling that not one of the groups you mention are nearly as influential as Black Sabbath. Sabbath were generally responsible for creating Metal; and let me remind you, in case you've forgotten, that metal accounts for full half, if not more, of the market share of popular music in the 1980's. By 1980, fans of Black Sabbath and their followers had started over 1000 "heavy metal" groups in the UK alone (there certainly weren't that many punk groups around then); in the next ten years, metal grew to dominate popular music. Beyond that time, even, they have remained influential; goth is a reprocessing of movements that were started by fans of Black Sabbath, and rap-metal and such linger.

I don't say that you like all of that stuff, or even that I do, but its influence is palpable.

David Bowie has been very popular in his time, but what bands can you name who have directly imitated him (aside from maybe Mott the Hoople or something)? He started glam rock, yes. Glam rock was something of a constituent of punk, yes. That's probably also why you list the Velvet Underground, the most overrated and overestimated 'influential' band of all time: they had something of an effect on the punk aesthetic in New York. New York Punk has been consistently overemphasized and overestimated as a musical influence; and now, when no really good band has come out of New York since around 1983, that mistake is less and less easy to understand.

People always name Kraftwerk-- they're electronic 'pioneers'-- whatever, they made a single record I'd listen to today. How about you? That's not lasting influence.

Parliament Funkadelic is th only band on your list that I might be able to concede as "more influential than Black Sabbath." I think Bob Dylan was probably more influential than Sabbath, but that's very hard to say. I don't think that the Rolling Stones were as influential as Black Sabbath, even if they were much more popular; sure, they spawned a few imitation bands back in the day, but Sabbath have been doing that for thirty years now with no sign of letting up.
posted by koeselitz at 4:20 PM on February 2, 2007


These types of arguments can be fun, but are ultimately tedious. For 80's metal, obviously Sabbath was a bigger influence than Jonathan Richman. For 90's alternative (when that word still meant something), not so much.

Ultimately, who cares. (Although it amuses me to no end that the Beach Boys seem to be a bigger influence on a lot of the better music being made right now than anyone else. IMO, of course.)
posted by bardic at 4:53 PM on February 2, 2007


These types of arguments can be fun, but are ultimately tedious. For 80's metal, obviously Sabbath was a bigger influence than Jonathan Richman. For 90's alternative (when that word still meant something), not so much.

Ah, but LET'S be tedious. 90's alternative? Like Skin Yard, Green River, Mother Love Bone, Soundgarden (mentioned above), Mudhoney, Pearl Jam, Nirvana, Stone Temple Pilots, yada, yada? Sabbath's greasy handprint is all over that stuff, not to mention Metallica/Slayer/Megadeth (influential on their own right) and the "Nu metal" (shudder) stuff in that decade and this one as well.
posted by psmealey at 5:05 PM on February 2, 2007


Influential is a funny word. There are good influences and there are bad influences.

Sabbath and the Stones are good influences: Sabbath showed kids that there's no limit to the power of music to fuck the minds of the previous generation, even if the previous generation fancies its music "rebellious," while the Rolling Stones taught bands of today that Robert Johnson was right to take his guitar out to the woodshed to write a song and not come back 'til he could play it in his sleep.

Velvet Underground and Dylan are bad influences, for different reasons: the former convinced legions of budding talents that self-conscious crap sells and that selling equals good, the latter inspired hordes of ordinary joes to make music that "sounds like Dylan," or that "matches Dylan's lyrucal intensity," without realizing that Dylan's songs were really something special and inimitable, certainly not imitable by average joes.

Also, Curtis Mayfield was more influential than P-Funk, and Kraftwerk were pioneers to a certain degree, but not necessarily influences.

I hate the idea of music being valued by its influential-ness. That kind of thinking makes critics rich and listeners poor.
posted by breezeway at 5:07 PM on February 2, 2007


I don't hear Sabbath in Nirvana, really. I mean, if by "Sabbath influence" you mean muddy guitar tone, sure. But otherwise? As much as I like me some Sabbath, let's face it -- they were a few hairs shy of being prog. Sure, they sang about war and politics, but always through the big, mythic lens of pagan rituals and witchcraft. Nirvana (who I never liked as much as many of my friends did) was much more stripped down in terms of song-writing, much more confessional (although Kurt never hesitated to drop some pretty wild imagery).

Pearl Jam? Looking at their early "Ten"-era videos? I see dudes who were really into Skynyrd. Seriously. The guitar players at least, and guitar was what that band was all about. FWIW, never could stand them.

Pixies, Pavement, early Weezer? They were familiar with Sabbath, obviously, but I really don't hear it as an influence the way Richman was. Sabbath was part of the Classic Rock Monster.
posted by bardic at 5:18 PM on February 2, 2007


Breezeway, I was unaware that the Velvet Underground ever sold that many albums, at least in their own time.
posted by bardic at 5:20 PM on February 2, 2007


Alice Donut's cover of "War Pigs" FTW!!

Can't find a video on the web kthxbi
posted by glycolized at 5:21 PM on February 2, 2007


I don't hear Sabbath in Nirvana, really. I mean, if by "Sabbath influence" you mean muddy guitar tone, sure.

I presume you're familiar with Bleach. I would say Sabbath's influence is pretty pervasive there; the later poppier stuff, perhaps not I guess. As for Richman, I suppose he was influential to people that actually had some idea who he was, but other than college radio or indie record store geeks, his reach was pretty limited. I still think that Jonathan Richman is the most overrated underrated artist of all time, but that's just me.

Pearl Jam? ... I see dudes who were really into Skynyrd.

Yeah, okay. Conceded. I threw them in there just because their precursors (Mother Love Bone and Green River) were Sabbath progeny. FWIW, I never liked them all that much either.
posted by psmealey at 5:35 PM on February 2, 2007


bardic, the "sell records" bit was more aimed at bands who were influenced by VU than at VU themselves. I didn't really make that clear. Actually, I made that very unclear. I don't know what I think about VU, except that I think they inspire songwriters to concentrate on revealing themselves and spontaneity, often at the expense of craft and excellence. Reed as deity of the Cult of Good-Enough?

All that said, I like all the bands listed (though sometimes I hate VU, obviously, because even though they're pretty good, they suck, and many of the biggest douches I know love them).

De gustibus yadda yadda...
posted by breezeway at 5:38 PM on February 2, 2007


And Pearl Jam were into Bad Company, not Skynyrd. Actually, Pearl Jam were Bad Company.
posted by breezeway at 5:43 PM on February 2, 2007


"Cake has always been a political band. In the past their website has been more about activism than music."

Going The Distance was about the spy plane shot down over China.
(I've tried Cake's albums, and they always have around two good songs and then a bunch of crap. Usually, one of those songs is a cover. I will give 'em being a much, much better live band than I expected though).

""Bowie, Richman, The Velvet Underground, Parliament Funkadelic, Kraftwerk, etc. and so forth come immediately to mind as hugely and consistently influential.""

Kraftwerk, P-Funk and VU, there's a case for. Bowie? Eh. Kinda. If you wanna get tenuous, you can route his influence up through folks like U2 (through Eno), and to a lot of the soft-industrial bands like NIN. Richman? Please. While he might have the radio on, not many people were listening to him.

"Elvis?"

If we were talking past 50 years, maybe, but since 67? No way. That also axes Chuck Berry, and a fair amount of Motown.

"Sabbath were generally responsible for creating Metal"

I think this gets overstated, but I'm wary about standing my case on Cream and Deep Purple.

"That's probably also why you list the Velvet Underground, the most overrated and overestimated 'influential' band of all time: they had something of an effect on the punk aesthetic in New York. New York Punk has been consistently overemphasized and overestimated as a musical influence; and now, when no really good band has come out of New York since around 1983, that mistake is less and less easy to understand."

This happens to be bullshit though. Direct VU lineage? Sonic Youth, Yo La Tengo, Superchunk, Husker Du, Pavement, Jesus and Mary Chain... It keeps going, and goes faster if you include Reed's solo stuff as stemming from VU. I'm not the biggest VU fan, but the history of alternative rock pretty much springs from their head like Athena.
And if you're making an argument based on punk, then you're gonna have to cite The Ramones, not VU, as the most influential (in the states). Maybe, just maybe, an argument for the NY Dolls.

"People always name Kraftwerk-- they're electronic 'pioneers'-- whatever, they made a single record I'd listen to today. How about you? That's not lasting influence."

Bullshit. First off, wear your rockist ID badge boldly on that one: basing influence on what you listen to, in the realm of rock, is fucked beyond argument. Second, from Afrika Bambaata to fuckin' Paul Oakenfeld, Kraftwerk's everywhere.

"For 80's metal, obviously Sabbath was a bigger influence than Jonathan Richman. For 90's alternative (when that word still meant something), not so much."

Even in the '90s, Richman's less influential than, say, Jerry Harrison's next band after the Modern Lovers.
And The Pixies is a better, more direct antecedent than either of those bands.

"Velvet Underground and Dylan are bad influences, for different reasons: the former convinced legions of budding talents that self-conscious crap sells and that selling equals good,"

Oh, you delightful imp. This is so bizare a thesis that I don't know what to do with you!

"I don't hear Sabbath in Nirvana, really."

Go track down the song "Blew." It's a Sabbath song played at double time. Or "Big Cheese." The stop-start is classic Sabbath metal.

As for more influential right now (in rock)? Superchunk, Pavement and Fugazi, for better or worse. My nomination for inclusion? Big Star. More classic power pop stems from their legacy than anyone else's. (And we're leaving alone Wire and Gang of Four for the moment, because while I think they're influential, their legacy now isn't something I'd like to remind myself of).
posted by klangklangston at 6:03 PM on February 2, 2007


"FWIW, I never liked them all that much either."

Pearl Jam got a lot better when they decided to be the next Zepplin. Not that I'd listen to their albums before Zepplin, necessarily, but they got better. Ten is one of the worst albums of the '90s.
posted by klangklangston at 6:06 PM on February 2, 2007


klangklangston writes "As for more influential right now (in rock)? Superchunk, Pavement and Fugazi, for better or worse. My nomination for inclusion? Big Star."

I like this list, but I'd go back a step: replace Superchunk and Pavement with Can and The Fall.

And you know what? I'm gonna say it. Springsteen. His time has arrived, again.
posted by mr_roboto at 6:14 PM on February 2, 2007


Sorry. I'm just fucking with you. I have no idea what I'm talking about. Someone once told me to mention Can and The Fall whenever possible, and I kind of like Springsteen.
posted by mr_roboto at 6:16 PM on February 2, 2007


Well, you can argue The Fall through Pavement pretty well. And REM is the oft-unacknowledged king of MOR alternative influence (despite being pretty sweet). I can see Springsteen, but I think that Can, no matter how many people listen and love 'em, is a pipe dream. The world would be better if Krautrock were the new big thing, but it ain't.
posted by klangklangston at 6:17 PM on February 2, 2007


Oh, and the reason I mentioned Superchunk is because I was just relistening to the Pocky for Kitty album and was surprised how much of radio emo could have been copped from 'em.
posted by klangklangston at 6:18 PM on February 2, 2007


Springsteen. His time has arrived, again.

Springsteen is great. But he's just Dylan, except after a three day beer drunk instead of a post-amphetamine crash.

Ok, that was tongue in cheek. My favorite Springsteen is on Nebraska (transcendent) and Tom Joad (sublime) the rest of his stuff is sorta Dylan meets bad R&B.

I definitely enjoyed seeing klangklangston call out Fugazi as one of today's most influential bands. I believe they are the most original band of the last 20 years, but unfortunately, I don't hear enough of their influence in other music -- except in so-called "post-rock" (e.g. Mogwai, etc.), which is listenable enough, but leaves me cold and lacks Fugazi's essential fire.

Superchunk, though? Really? I enjoyed "No Pocky for Kitty" and loved "Foolish", but I'd more or less written them off years ago as a direct Husker Du descendant with not much else going on. I guess I'll have to re-explore that.
posted by psmealey at 6:26 PM on February 2, 2007


Hee! I just skipped around my apartment, shouting, "I'm a delightful imp! I'm a delightful imp!". My neighbors think I have Tourette's now.

Really, I wrote that in one of my less considered moments. What I meant to say was that I hate VU, and I wish they were less influential, because I actually like listening to VU, and Lou Reed annoys the shit out of me, so it bugs me that so many bands are so influenced by them. I don't know what to say about VU, except that it bugs me to be forced to listen to lyrics. Okay, they're good.

I was asked the "Sabbath or Zeppelin" question once. My answer?

Husker Du.
posted by breezeway at 6:38 PM on February 2, 2007


Psmealey— I think that a lot, lot, lot of what gets called "emo" these days comes from the Fugazi/Superchunk post-hardcore lineage. I don't necessarily like it, but I hear a lot of it in the way the songs are constructed.
Oh, and I tend to hate post-rock. It's like kraut or prog, only without any reason to fucking listen to it ever. Mogwai especially— they are the direct falsification of the hypothesis that you only have to go from soft to loud and back again to be an interesting band.
posted by klangklangston at 6:38 PM on February 2, 2007


Confirming what klangklangston said, as a former DC resident and homer, it pains me that Rites of Spring/Fugazi was the beginning of emo. And emo had some very good moments -- Jawbox, Cap'n Jazz, Braid, early Promise Ring. But it also created a monster.

(And I think you could point to Husker Du even further back, but Guy Piciotto is notoriously hard to pin down in terms of his own influences. Although James Brown is one of them, according to him.)
posted by bardic at 6:50 PM on February 2, 2007


To be an interesting band, you only have to sing in Kobaian.
posted by breezeway at 6:51 PM on February 2, 2007


"But it also created a monster."

Sunny Day Real Estate?

I have to remember to go an look for some of the Promise Ring stuff. I gave 'em a pass when I first heard 'em, but part of the wonder of the internet is always being able to reassess. Also the Dismemberment Plan, who I always think of when I think of the Promise Ring, for some reason.
(I remember reading in Punk Planet, but cannot pinpoint their source, that Husker Du was the first band to be described as "emotional hardcore." Unfortunately, my 'zine archives have mostly been used to wrap fish by now.)
posted by klangklangston at 6:59 PM on February 2, 2007


Sunny Day Real Estate?

Ugh. No. Just no. Nate Mendel was a good friend, a great bass player and a really nice guy, but that band was tedious and awful.

Husker Du was the first band to be described as "emotional hardcore."

I'd be surprised if it weren't the Descendents (also on SST), actually. The first time I'd ever heard that expression was in association with them.

it pains me that Rites of Spring/Fugazi was the beginning of emo. And emo had some very good moments... But it also created a monster.

True. But, to bring us back to where we-a started from, consider the unholy trinity of Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath for a moment, Zeppelin spawned buttrock (Aerosmith, Van Halen, Guns 'n Roses), Purple gave us hair metal (Priest, Maiden, Europe) and Sabbath gave us grunge, thrash, grind-core and prog-metal.

It was always ever thus.
posted by psmealey at 7:09 PM on February 2, 2007


...and Magma gave us Zeuhl!
posted by breezeway at 7:29 PM on February 2, 2007


While I bow down at the music knowledge displayed in this thread, I have one thing...I do not understand the infuence or love of Fugazi. I've listened to them, I've tried to get into them, I've tried to musically connect their influence on modern rock. I just don't get it. At all. I agree their music is very original- so much that I think I just can't figure out where to place them. I'm not trying to be a "you band sucks" person, but can someone place explain where they play into modern rock (or I guess sub-genre of rock?)?
posted by jmd82 at 8:27 PM on February 2, 2007


This thread brings back memories of being 13, listening to a beat up LP of Masters of Reality over and over, playing D&D in the basement in 1980.

But what is remarkable is it's nearly 37 years old and gaining in appeal while the classics like "War" (what is it good for) and "Alice's restaurant" seem of another era.
posted by stbalbach at 9:27 PM on February 2, 2007


Also the Dismemberment Plan, who I always think of when I think of the Promise Ring, for some reason.

Funny, I do the same thing. And the D-plan's bassist played in Davey von Bohlen's new band for a while, but I'm pretty sure he quit. My tolerance for Davey is pretty high though, so YMMV.
posted by bardic at 9:33 PM on February 2, 2007


I love me some Fugazi, but I'll be the first to admit that it's hard to separate their music (some really great early albums, some spottier later ones) from the mythos (Discord Records, DIY in general, all-ages shows, meaning they basically wouldn't play venues where alcohol was served, etc). Then again, I think Red Medicine is their best album (where they first started to experiment, sonically, which alienated many fans), so what the hell do I know
posted by bardic at 10:01 PM on February 2, 2007


I do not understand the infuence or love of Fugazi. I've listened to them, I've tried to get into them, I've tried to musically connect their influence on modern rock. I just don't get it.

That's when writing about music really becomes, as the man said, "dancing about architecture". It's very difficult to explain. I think it's just something that reaches you, or it doesn't. For me, Fugazi hits me in a similar way that really good be-bop does. It's not even rock anymore, but it rocks. It's both ethereal and visceral; cathartic yet bleak, yadda, yadda. My personal favorite is In on the Killtaker, but 13 Songs, Repeater and Steady Diet of Nothing are still staples on psmealey's hi fi, but I likes me some Red Medicine and End Hits (the Argument disappointed a little bit).

As for their mythos and all that shit, I don't really care about any of it. Neither, I think, did they. Although I'm impressed as hell that Guy, Ian et al have made a good living doing exactly what they loved while staying true to their principles, that's really beside the point. The only part of it that affected me personally was having to see them in the 90s at all age shows, which was kind of a drag, but ultimately, worth it.
posted by psmealey at 7:44 AM on February 3, 2007


Really? What did you think of Never Say Die? I really liked that record, and I feel as though more people should listen to it. I take it you didn't like Masters Of Reality when you listened to that, either. I'll bet it's the pseudo-Christian lyrics that bug you, isn't it?

Don't care for any of their other stuff. The lyrics don't bother me at all. If this astounds you, just think of a situation where you don't care for something and someone else does. It's the same sort of thing.

Are you seriously naming Jonathan Richman as being more influential than Black Sabbath? He didn't 'invent' punk, or punk rock aesthetic, or anything at all besides his own vibe; he's always remained blissfully disconnected from the mainstream. I say this not in denigration but in defense of the man, who I'm lucky enough to have seen perform, and who I know is annoyed whenever people claim he started anything.

Yes I am. Never said he invented punk or punk rock aesthetic. His influence goes far beyond that, though it can be subtle at times.

Beyond that, I have a feeling that not one of the groups you mention are nearly as influential as Black Sabbath. Sabbath were generally responsible for creating Metal; and let me remind you, in case you've forgotten, that metal accounts for full half, if not more, of the market share of popular music in the 1980's. By 1980, fans of Black Sabbath and their followers had started over 1000 "heavy metal" groups in the UK alone (there certainly weren't that many punk groups around then); in the next ten years, metal grew to dominate popular music. Beyond that time, even, they have remained influential; goth is a reprocessing of movements that were started by fans of Black Sabbath, and rap-metal and such linger.

I don't say that you like all of that stuff, or even that I do, but its influence is palpable.


That's great. I do feel that those bands have just as much influence as Black Sabbath. I haven't forgotten about the marketshare of popular music in the 80s but I really don't care about it either. There are many bands influenced by the offhand list I provided, few, if any, are metal bands but so what.

As for the liking disliking stuff, but of course. The influence of Sabbath is palpable, as is the influence of the bands I listed. Of course, music, like all other art, builds on former conventions and work.

David Bowie has been very popular in his time, but what bands can you name who have directly imitated him (aside from maybe Mott the Hoople or something)? He started glam rock, yes. Glam rock was something of a constituent of punk, yes. That's probably also why you list the Velvet Underground, the most overrated and overestimated 'influential' band of all time: they had something of an effect on the punk aesthetic in New York. New York Punk has been consistently overemphasized and overestimated as a musical influence; and now, when no really good band has come out of New York since around 1983, that mistake is less and less easy to understand.

I don't care about popularity, I'm talking about influence. For example, Blur has some Bowie in them, as well as the Kinks of course. I think what you think of influence differs from what I think of influence because I'm not sure what your direct imitation statement means.

As for the VU, there influence on song structure is rather large. I don't care that supposedly no really good band has come out of New York since 1983, because that's just a judgment call, and one I'd disagree with. The Strokes, for instance, are fabulous. But then, I don't care where a band comes from.

People always name Kraftwerk-- they're electronic 'pioneers'-- whatever, they made a single record I'd listen to today. How about you? That's not lasting influence.

I listen to a few songs. It doesn't matter how many records of theirs you, I, or anyone would listen to today, their influence is massive, from New Order to Roksopp and many others.

Parliament Funkadelic is th only band on your list that I might be able to concede as "more influential than Black Sabbath."


Ok, sure. But you're not conceding to any argument I ever made. I never said or argued they were more influential but are equally as influential as Sabbath have been on a number of bands and musicians.
posted by juiceCake at 9:20 AM on February 3, 2007


"Yes I am. Never said he invented punk or punk rock aesthetic. His influence goes far beyond that, though it can be subtle at times."

Oh, bullshit. Back that one up, juicey. There's little that he did that someone else didn't do first, and it's not like he was the most popular purveyor of literate, jangly pop. You'd have more to stand on if you were making an REM or Costello argument, but as it stands, it's totally fabulist revisionism to put Richman on that level.

Of course, you were out of your depth on the Cheap Trick influence question, and have evidenced pretty middling tastes all 'round, so maybe that's your schtick— some kind of meta-parody of canon and influence discussions.

"Don't care for any of their other stuff. The lyrics don't bother me at all. If this astounds you, just think of a situation where you don't care for something and someone else does. It's the same sort of thing."

Usually, for a a discussion, we have these things called "reasons." Not liking Sabbath because you find Ozzy's vocals grating, or because Iomi shit on your lawn, are both understandable but not equivalent. Perhaps if you weren't so busy being facile, you could see that.
posted by klangklangston at 1:48 PM on February 3, 2007


Couple three things further—
Red Medicine is the best Fugazi album, at least to my ears. Even if I'm not quite sure what a Birthday Pony is. I like the abstraction of their sound, and I think it's one of the best turning point albums in rock, where a career shifts direction kinda suddenly (though I don't like a lot of what followed as much).
As to influence, to my ears, it's a lot in how they constructed the songs, with the thicket of competing post-punk/post-hardcore lines (that are often simple ideas done really ornately). And it's hard not to hear how Fugazi filtered and placed the vocals in the mix as influential on a lot of recent recordings (though I realize that I'm on shakier ground with that claim). More than that, I think that for a lot of kids who came up after the second round of punk, Fugazi is the first "adult" band that speaks to 'em. In a big way, Fugazi built on things that Guy and Ian and the rest had done prior, but both got more exposure and kind of mastered them. When I hear the bands down at my local bar playing their emo, I can tell that Fugazi's often the band they want to be (replacing prior touchstone Sonic Youth as band most aped at bars I drink at).
I could give a better answer, I think, if I spent more time critically listening to and recalling a lot of the bands that I hear that play currently, but what tends to happen is that I'll catch a bit on the radio, hear that they have a dumb name, and go back and listen to Fugazi again. BECAUSE I AM OLD.
posted by klangklangston at 1:58 PM on February 3, 2007


Oh, bullshit. Back that one up, juicey. There's little that he did that someone else didn't do first, and it's not like he was the most popular purveyor of literate, jangly pop. You'd have more to stand on if you were making an REM or Costello argument, but as it stands, it's totally fabulist revisionism to put Richman on that level.

Music like the Jazz Butcher, Pavement, Billy Bragg, Sloan, the Violent Femmes have Richman influences among many others musical influences of course. Music influences, like other arts, can be, and often are, quite mixed. The VU seems to be an influence on early Richman for example and the Fall, quite clearly, as acknowledged by Malkmus himself, an influence on early Pavement. Pavement in turn have influence many, Weezer being the obvious commercial example from a few years back. If you think that's bullshit, that's fine. It's wonderful that we can disagree civilly. Or that, at least one of us.

Of course, you were out of your depth on the Cheap Trick influence question, and have evidenced pretty middling tastes all 'round, so maybe that's your schtick— some kind of meta-parody of canon and influence discussions.

Sorry friend, I don't have schtick. As for Cheap Trick, I thought they were awful when I was nine and still do. You don't. That's great. I respect your opinion but disagree with it. Really, I do. As for being out of my depth, that's true, I'm not a little cunt and snob like yourself, nor do I intend to compete with you on that level. Its your mate. You win.

Usually, for a a discussion, we have these things called "reasons." Not liking Sabbath because you find Ozzy's vocals grating, or because Iomi shit on your lawn, are both understandable but not equivalent. Perhaps if you weren't so busy being facile, you could see that.

Because I don't care for it. Meaning, I've listened to it over the years and my reaction was I don't care for it. I apologize that a more descriptive answer from yours truly is so important to you. I'll make an attempt though for good will. It does nothing for me. Voice is fine, guitars don't annoy, drums don't disturb, lyrics don't bother. It just doesn't jive with me. There you go. That's reason enough for me and again, I'm deeply sorry it's not reason enough for you. I sincerely hope that it is. Thank you for the discussion tip by the way. Much appreciated.

As for being facile. You're a great example and I admit, I fail to live up to it. Thanks for giving me more credit that I deserve. I'm flattered.
posted by juiceCake at 3:28 PM on February 3, 2007


Hugs all around!
posted by cortex at 3:37 PM on February 3, 2007


"Music like the Jazz Butcher, Pavement, Billy Bragg, Sloan, the Violent Femmes have Richman influences among many others musical influences of course."

And not a single one of those has Richman as the primary influence. As opposed to about six and a half million bands that all pull directly from Sabbath.

"Music influences, like other arts, can be, and often are, quite mixed."

Oh really? You don't say. Please, stoop to conquer.

"The VU seems to be an influence on early Richman for example and the Fall, quite clearly, as acknowledged by Malkmus himself, an influence on early Pavement. Pavement in turn have influence many, Weezer being the obvious commercial example from a few years back."

So... Why again would Richman be on par with any of the others you mentioned?

"If you think that's bullshit, that's fine. It's wonderful that we can disagree civilly. Or that, at least one of us."

Which one of us would that be?

"I respect your opinion but disagree with it. Really, I do. As for being out of my depth, that's true, I'm not a little cunt and snob like yourself, nor do I intend to compete with you on that level. Its your mate. You win."

You respect my snobbery and cuntery? Well, I respect your pusillanimous prevarication on said point.

"That's reason enough for me and again, I'm deeply sorry it's not reason enough for you."

Then again, why contribute to a thread dedicated to it? It smacks of the willful ignorance in declaring that you just don't like modern art, and undercuts any argument that you make about relative influence— you don't get the band, which makes it kinda hard to see their influence. Again, it makes you come across as trolling, of bomb-throwing for the sake of being glib, and couching your replies in the soft sarcasm of "respectful" submission only makes you more the twat.
Instead of a discussion, you came to once again smirk.
posted by klangklangston at 5:27 PM on February 3, 2007


klangklangston, you're obviously a bright guy. Pity you're capable of being such an unabashed dick. Do us all a favor and try to dial it down.
posted by bardic at 8:29 PM on February 3, 2007


You of middling tastes, behold!

Christian Vander was the influence of all influences, without whom all your favorite bands would be pounding fists in the mud and wailing tunelessly, awaiting the enlightenment of Zeuhl!

PROG MAGOG!
posted by breezeway at 9:11 PM on February 3, 2007


Yeah, as soon as I wrote that, I realized that I was escalating more than was called for. The hook was in my mouth.

Zuul? Are you the keeper of the gate?
posted by klangklangston at 7:21 AM on February 4, 2007


While I would agree that Ray Parker Jr. was one of the great influences of our time, I was actually nattering on about the French prog masters Magma; if you're unfamiliar with their oeuvre, I recommend Attahk or Udu Wudu as a starting point.

I think influence is a trap when talking about music, for musicians and fans alike. When John Q. Rockstar lists his five most influential bands, he's never telling the whole truth, and rarely telling us much of any worth. For example, he might never tell anyone that he was first inspired to hit the stage by seeing Sonny & Cher on TV (Cher looked just like his mom, and he was five, and every song he's written is in some way a rewrite of "I Got You Babe"). That wouldn't sit well with fans, and he prefers the story about the first punk show he ever saw. Or he might not even realize that the melody that's been banging around in his head upon waking every morning for the past twenty years is Stephen Foster. Or he might not think it worth mentioning that all his music is a rejection of the Warrant and Aerosmith ballads the bassist in his high school band would play on an endless loop every day on the way home from school.

Or Mr. Rockstar might not be able to articulate quite how his greatest musical influence is the dynamics and rhythm and squeals of the downtown 6 train as it turns into Grand Central, as heard from the platform if you stand parallel to the first yellow stopcock on the track. Or maybe he learned something about meditation, and now when he runs, he breathes in beats based on his pace, six out and five in, and that inspires the quasi-hemiolic structure of every song he writes.

If it's that impossible for an artist to truthfully state his influences, imagine what folly it is for a listener to describe influences, projecting her own musical history and background inspirations and personal ear as yet another layer on top of Mr. Rockstar's songs. It's a faulty lattice through which to peer at a half-grown garden.

I don't mean this kind of conversation is worthless; quite the contrary, it's interesting to see what people bring to music, what they've heard in music, and what they've heard about music. But to get high-handed, or self-righteous, or pedantic, about something so essentially unknowable, is plain foolish.

That's why everyone should just put on some Magma and freak out, right now. Or, failing that, put on "The Washington Post March" and ponder John Philip Sousa's undeniably great influence on the development of rock and roll.
posted by breezeway at 8:31 AM on February 4, 2007


Instead of a discussion, you came to once again smirk.
posted by klangklangston at 8:27 PM EST on February 3


Not at all. I'm bending over backward to respect your position but kindly disagreeing with it. I happen to believe that Richman has and is an influence on many bands (They Might be Giants comes to mind as well.) I'm genuinely sorry you think I came to smirk. It's become obvious that we most likely don't understand each other and communicate well. You're a complete asshole and snob in musical matters to me and indeed, a clear smirker. I imagine you feel differently.

As for primary influence. I've never argued that. I felt the original proposition was pretty hyperbolic and offered examples I felt were the equal of Sabbath (and I feel none are the equal of the Beatles.) Indeed I mentioned what was obvious, and which you mocked by your stoop to conquer reference (nice one mate), that influences are a mix. I don't believe that Sabbath are a primary influence on your hyperbolic half million bands either, but definitely an influence (even on Sloan of course.) How we qualify that influence is probably different and our rating of them is also probably different, but so be it. I'm fine with that and have been throughout this thread. The only reason I mentioned that influences are mixed and built on other influences is that you didn't seem to get that. The fault, of course, is mine, you quite clearly do, and I apologize if I offended you. It was not my intent.

Then again, why contribute to a thread dedicated to it? It smacks of the willful ignorance in declaring that you just don't like modern art, and undercuts any argument that you make about relative influence— you don't get the band, which makes it kinda hard to see their influence. Again, it makes you come across as trolling, of bomb-throwing for the sake of being glib, and couching your replies in the soft sarcasm of "respectful" submission only makes you more the twat.

I contributed to the thread for the same reason as most. For discussion. You're not happy with my contribution obviously. I made an effort to give you a response that you may be happy with but the reason isn't good enough for you and therefore, it means that I'm willfully ignorant. Ok, sure. It does not smack at all of willful ignorance in declaring something doesn't do it for me, even though I don't find it annoying. I've met many knowledgeable people who have had similar reactions to art.

For example. Citizen Kane. I understand how great it is. Extremely well directed, innovative, written, acted, etc. and would include it as a staple in any cinema course I taught, and I would even argue, furthermore, that it is very influential but it doesn't do it for me. I can't watch it without being bored and uninterested. This is often the same reaction that many of my mates have with some of the films I absolutely adore, such as the films of Wai, Capra, Bergman, Vigo, Fruit Chan, Lang, Goddard, etc. and so forth. They even recognize the influence of these directors and their artistic contributions, but just because the films do nothing for the, doesn't mean they're willfully ignorant, at least in my view. Nor does it justify a reaction that stinks of snobbery and conceit. But then I'm not a cunt.

This is a position you disagree with and that's fine. I really do respect that. I'm so sorry that a guy in the musical ghetto contributes to a musical thread. I enjoy your contributions and maybe one day, I will rise from the ghetto and everyone will know that klang did that for me. Yes, klang.
posted by juiceCake at 9:53 AM on February 4, 2007


This is a bit late, but Sirius has spoiled me to no end.
For the Mike Patton Fans, please check out Killswitch Engage's song, My curse. At about 45 seconds into the song, that guy sounds exactly like Patton doing RV from Angel dust.
posted by winks007 at 11:45 AM on February 6, 2007


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