Tag Archives: Eddie Vedder

20 YEARS AGO YOU WERE IN MY REARVIEWMIRROR

I’m quite sure some of you haven’t yet experienced the effect that the 20th anniversary of the release of one of those albums you’ve been growing up with can produce. Let me tell you something. The feeling is a sweet and sour combination, and sometimes it tends go beyond, because the passing of time reminds that you’re getting old as if it was a twisting pinch. You start enduring but then pain arrives, and it always lefts a mark afterwards.

Since the beginning of this decade this anniversary thing has turn into something very frequent (who the fuck says 1990’s was dead musically speaking?), basically because it was more than 20 years ago I sold my soul for rock, to avoid labeling, to anything which exuded energy and distortion, and was capable of impressing by already stimulated teenager state.

A huge wave of nostalgia invades me, because that was a wonderful time in which every day a new record or a tape felt into my hands, it was like receiving a huge present, my ridiculous record collection was my most valuable treasure and every band was like discovering an unknown galaxy. So young and innocent!

Today I’m celebrating the release of one of these albums, Vs, or untitled when I bought it, with the company of a couple of beers, turning the volume up to 11, and yelling with Eddie Vedder, with the same passion as back in the day, when I thought Pearl Jam was the greatest band on earth.

Vs

In that time I was still assimilating their debut album, Ten. I was recovering from their impeccable performance on the MTV awards. They played Animal first, with Eddie Vedder looking insanely rabid and Jeff Ament jumping like a kangaroo, and then they covered Keep on Rockin’ in the Free World with Neil Young. I remember it was awesome! Old and new generation playing with same passion. I knew about the imminent release of a new album, but it was Felix (hey Felix, where are you?) who reminded me of it. As I wasn’t informed of the exact date of release, and I HAD to have the album the very same day, with some dough I had been given for my birthday separated for this purpose, I started my daily pilgrimage to the record store, waiting for the arrival of the album, with a level of patience and determination which would have been very useful for other activities.

And finally, the day came, and the desired trophy was in my hands and arrived home. Let’s admit the cover is horrible, but that particular smell which my booklet still keeps intact, the artwork with the guns, the bullets, rats, needles, and those cryptic lyrics with unfinished sentences which seemed to be Vedder’s thoughts interrupted by who the hell knows. I didn’t understand anything, but it was awesome anyway.

To be honest before pushing play, I had a slight panic attack, fearing the album was a shit, or the band had lost their sparkle. What if I ended disappointed by my favorite band? This kind of doubt or fear, which makes complete sense, throughout our lifetime music experiences has become something real. Eventually I overcame this fear, and magic came back to my room, and I was happy again. How many albums you can list which can include so many different yet awesome songs as Glorified G, Rearviewmirror, Dissident or Animal?

I’ve been listening to this album a lot these past weeks, and recovering some memories from 20 years ago, and exactly related to October 1993, has been very emotional. Falling in love with someone you barely know, with a band, Pearl Jam, and this album, as the main connection is weird, but I was young, he was older (very very) than me, and reminded me of Eddie Vedder. I couldn’t help it. Oh, Felix! Where are you? There are so many stories I’d like to tell you about myself… Lost your track 13 years ago, you weren’t a bad boy, but never very straightforward either. Once you were in my rearviewmirror.

Aaah, life again!

ALBUMS OF WEEKS 39 & 40: MOTHER LOVE BONE / TEMPLE OF THE DOG

I’ve been listening to so much varied music, the task of choosing just one album per week becomes a difficult one, incurring into this unacceptable delay. I’m sorry, for sure!

Few weeks ago, coinciding with the 20th anniversary of the release of Singles, this Seattle spirit invaded me for a couple of weeks and I started recovering a couple of albums from that time. on one hand the compilation album of songs by Mother Love Bone, , and on the other, this super band created to tribute the memory of Andy Wood, precisely the former leader of Mother Love Bone, who passed away in 1990, of a heroin overdose.

Recovering these albums from my teenage days, when I was turning 36 seems kind of a response to midlife crisis, huh?

To be honest, till I didn’t listen to Temple of the Dog, I didn’t know much about Mother Love Bone. In Pearl Jam’s universe, this band was a referent, and Jeff Ament and Stone Gossard were part of it, same as Green River, thus they were something in the queue of compulsory listening, but not preferential.

If I had to relate this band to a song, I’d say Chloe Dancer/Crown of Thorns immediately, the song which was included in Singles’ soundtrack. This two-part song, evolved from Crown of Thorns, is simply epic, with a rising and growing structure I had never listened to something similar before. Not many songs have this kind of intensity. Of course, this was the theme which opened the gates to Andrew Wood and Mother Love Bone.

This album, aka Stardog Champion, includes songs from  their EP Shine and their album Apple. Unfortunately here’s not much more stuff available, as the band just lasted for two years, till Wood died from heroin overdose. Apple, their debut album was released after he passed away. The whole story was quite tragic, especially because he was trying to rehab, and he was just 24.

When you listen to Mother Love Bone, you realize there was actually a Seattle scene, and musicians from different bands, were also close friends, sharing their influences and style. This album is typically end of 80’s production and means the birth of a style, after the combination of rock and metal. You listen to Come Bite the Apple and Alice in Chains come to your mind, and Heartshine makes me think of Soundgarden too. Considering Alice in Chains dedicated Facelift to the singer, and Would? was inspired by him and others deceased due to drugs overdose, and Chris Cornell was Wood’s former roommate, it’s easy to find the boundaries.

Despite the quality of the band, formed by remarkable musicians nowadays, the soul of the band was definitely Wood. He had talent, and a voice, and his style was quite unique. I’d say what I like most was that he was elegant and very glam singing. I have no idea of his main influences but I’d bet David Bowie and Marc Bolan would be two of them. This glam combined to metal and rock, made the difference.

Temple of the Dog was the Bible, and it was a very expensive album and hard to find back in the day. I remember those who owned a copy, it was like their most valuable treasure, and we used to admire and envy them.

When we discovered this album, Pearl Jam were already one of the hottest bands in the world and in our lives, but Temple of the Dog was a tribute to Andrew Wood, conceived by Chris Cornell, no less. Thus, he recruited his drummer mate in Soundgarden, Matt Cameron, the former members of Mother Love Bone, Stone Gossard and Jeff Ament, the lead guitarist Mike McCready, and Eddie Vedder, coming from San Diego for an audition with the ex-MLB, also provided lead and backing vocals. This project was actually responsible for the birth of Pearl Jam.

Hunger Strike, with both Chris Cornell and Vedder on lead vocals, became an anthem for many of us. I think whenever I sing it, I still do it as passionate as 20 years ago. The magic of music I guess…

Apart from this clash of titans, there are amazing songs included in this album, wonderful Say Hello 2 Heaven, written by Cornell for his friend, Call Me a Dog, Times of Trouble and Wooden Jesus are simply brilliant.

The Seattle scene, the grunge scene or whatever you want to label it, could be easily summed up in this album and Singles motion picture soundtrack. A different style, a pessimistic contrast to 1980’s careless attitude of LA hard rock bands, coming from a place where drugs were hitting the youth, and burying many of them, and the voice of a generation unable to fit in society. For some this was a fake attitude, an aesthetic movement, so was punk and still remains, and nowadays probably on a global scale, many who didn’t feel the current society was reflecting them still have the same opinion.

But do not talk about politics, society or frustration, just let the music do the talking

HAVE YOU EVER BEEN TOLD YOU LOOK VERY SIMILAR TO…?

It’s fascinating our love for finding resemblances between current people and celebrities or characters, I got friends obsessed for relating people, and in many cases these are reasonable and funny, but other times it’s like, WTF?. Perhaps you’ve been asked the typical question saying “Have you ever been told you look very similar to…?” I don’t know whether to feel lucky or not, but I must be a bit peculiar, because nobody finds any counterpart.

The only exception was this girl who told me whenever she sees this rough Wonder Woman illustration by Renzo Ferrer, it reminds me of me. Ok, not that I don’t like her, and I even feel flattered, but let’s be serious, no fuckin’ way, we’re not alike by all means.

While heading to the office this morning, I passed a man on the street who was exactly the same as Jack Black, the actor, a character I simply can’t stand. The poor guy had the same dorky glance, hurrying up to school with his little daughter. This has made me laugh somehow. The fact is that some kind of mechanism, ignited by this minor event, has started in my head. I was sitting in front of the computer and my eyes met Joe Pesci as Tommy DeVitto in Goodfellas (I got a postcard of this film at the office, sent by a friend long time ago), and I started to think of the postman moving in my neighbor 8 years ago…

And I’ve decided to write a top 5 of people I got memory of, reminding me of characters.

JOE PESCI AKA MR. POSTMAN – Classic. I used to pass guy on a daily basis and he was exactly the same. Same size, hairdo, with toothpick included, and he had that nasty smile when talking to grannies. Moreover, he was a bit horny guy and had that typical Pesci’s face in Casino or Goodfellas. In fact, except for the suit missing, I could imagine him telling stories. Funny how, like a clown?

LAUREN BACALL – When I started attending college there was this gorgeous girl whose name I can’t recall now, although we still have some acquaintances in common. I’ve always thought of Lauren Bacall as one of the most perfect creatures on Earth since I discovered her while watching The Big Sleep. And this girl had same blue eyes, the lips always in red, and the wave in her hair exactly the same. If I was a guy I’d had a crush on this girl, believe me. I saw her a couple of years ago, she’s still very pretty and keeps some Bacall scent, but it’s not the same anymore. She had this vintage, film noir beauty, the kind that only lasts for a while.

DAVE WYNDORF AKA THE WAITER AKA THE REAL DAVE WYNDORF – in case I write my memories, this story will be included for sure. I was living in London, and used to go out very often with friends very into rock and metal. There was a joint we were hanging out on a regular basis, and one of the waiters was Dave Wyndorf look alike. In fact his features were so similar, I was thrilling thinking he was the real one, from time to time. You know, like disturbed, belly butterflies, and even blushing. But he was the damn waiter.

One evening I was with my friends at The Underworld, in Camden, enjoying QOTSA live show, Rated R era. My friend Chris comes with some pints and he looks super excited and smiling wide open and says “mates, I’ve just had a chat with Dave Wyndorf”. I couldn’t believe it, in fact because all this waiter thing, I thought he was joking, and he said this time it was for real. Thus I had to see for myself, went straight forward and asked him “Are you the real Dave Wyndorf?” and he affirmed and asked me who I was, so I replied “ I’m the real Toi”, and he started laughing. This was the beginning of 3-4 hours chatting nonstop, he was smoking ultra light cigarettes and drinking water, and I was getting pissed for the two of us. He even introduced me to Homme and Oliveri at the aftershow party, insane! Funniest thing of all is that few weeks ago, checking my old gig ticket collection, I discovered his autograph, saying “I’m the real Dave Wyndorf”.

SALACIOUS CRUMB AKA THE LIBRARIAN – I might sound very cruel but yes, I reckon Salacious Crumb was working at my faculty library, and she was a total cunt, with an annoying laugh, not very great manners, and in bad mood most of times. She was a red hair, but hers was kind of electrified and irregular, which reminded of Salacious ears. I’m considered to be quite exaggerated, a very common feature shared by the natives of my hometown, but I showed Salacious to some friends, and they had to agree I was right. Whenever I see The Return of The Jedi, the librarian comes to my mind.

EDDIE VEDDER, MY TEENAGE CRUSH – We used to say Felix was Pamplona Eddie Vedder, my friend Diana still agrees he looked like him, but I have my doubts nowadays. Truth is that he was a huge fan of the band when I met him in 1993, he had this grunge appearance we thought the coolest style, long hair, and his features were sharper, but I was convinced he looked like Eddie Vedder, and I told him right away. Someday I will tell you about Felix, although nothing really happened, probably because I was too scared and impressed by the huge difference in age (he was 9 years older than me, and I was 17), but hugs and passionate kisses, he made a mark on me that still lasts. He was the first person who made me think I was adult enough as to have my own word and thought, and the right to agree and disagree with my parents and other people consequently. Felix, my Eddie Vedder… I see him everytime I listen to State of Love and Trust, and I thank him, wherever he is,  for introducing me to Alice In Chains.

Sure you have your own list of your personal impersonators of characters, and I’d love to know. It’s a funny pastime. C’mon, tell me!!!