Thursday, July 07, 2005

Mystery Albums from a Far-Off Place

So, occasionally being Chairman and CEO of The League of Melbotis has unexpected consequences. Sure, The League has not brought fame, money, women or even personal gratification… But occasionally material goods are gotten in a way which I don’t have to report on my taxes.

Just such an adventure began not long ago when The League made a trek to the mailbox.

The mailbox contained two padded media envelopes from two different people The League does not know. Quickly discerning that the albums were, in fact, from eBay sellers and bought by an anonymous source, The League was intrigued.

Inside envelope #1? Warrant’s 1990 album, Cherry Pie.

Yes, Cherry Pie. An album The League confesses he had never heard in its entirety. But was The League, age 15, really right to prejudge the band and album based upon bad hair and a video fraught with double entendre?

Well, let’s just say that while my initial feelings on the album were, perhaps, knee-jerk and reactionary to what was the oppressive nightmare of late 80’s hair metal. No matter the initial success of the record, the album has not aged like a fine wine.

While the title track, Cherry Pie, does fill my head with images of the video and model Bobbie Brown prancing about with a firehose against a white backdrop, the nostalgia ends there. From there, The League gets the same queasy uneasiness which he felt quite often circa 1990 as bands such as Warrant, Great White and Poison filled hour after hour of MTV’s programming.

The League’s fragile psyche was rattled with flashback images of sweaty glam rockers, rocking in unison.

Luckily, it is not just The League which has chosen to put the past behind him. It should be noted that Windows Media Player did not retrieve the album information as it usually does upon accepting any new album.

It should be noted that at some point and for some duration, Bobbie Brown was, in fact, married to that cheese-d**k singer you see in the photo.

Inside Envelope #2? The pain continues with Poison’s 1990 bow, “Flesh & Blood”.

Oh, holy hell.

There’s not a memorable song on this waste of 0’s and 1’s. Poison was a particularly asinine part of circa 1990 America, perhaps giving the rest of the world a pretty good reason to turn on the US of A.

Led by “Bret Michaels”, Poison was visually and musically indistinguishable from any other 1980’s metal band, save for wild man CC DeVille. CC was most memorable for lying on the floor during his screaming guitar solos and refusing to quit rocking even after becoming very pudgy and his styule of music was horrendously out of vogue.

Honestly, I’m coming up empty. This is a really, really shitty record. And if you bought it for your own listening pleasure between 1990 and 1992, you deserve every bad thing that ever happened to you.

Thinking the gifting was over, The League was surprised to receive a 3rd envelope from yet another eBay seller.

Inside envelope #3: Ugly Kid Joe’s 1991 musical travesty: As Ugly as they Want to Be.

The musical equivalent of Garbage Pail Kids, Ugly Kid Joe somehow stumbled their way into fame as, in the wake of the success of Pearl Jam, record execs abandoned their glitter-sprayed LA metal gods in favor of earthier, more flannelized fare. This effort was met with, as history has shown, mixed results.

Ugly Kid Joe was an overshot by a well-meaning record exec who confused earthy for stupid. Nobody asked for Ugly Kid Joe, anymore than anyone asked for Mr. Big, and yet, here they were. Constantly.

Honestly, The League has such bitter feelings about this particular band that we have bypassed a listen of this record. We heard the hit single, whatever it was, enough during our formative years that the very sight of the album cover brought back the nervous twitch in our left eye.

The little, hilarious, caricature on the cover of the album still brings back bad memories of trying to come of age in rural/ suburban Houston. Guys like this were a sort of omnipresent threat.

The League remembers this music with an extra dash of piss and vinegar as this was the original co-option of "college rock", which was, of course, transmorgified hair metal. This trend has not only continued, but led to travesties such as Avril Lavigne and "Hot Topic."

Just as we were all set to blog upon our gifts, what should come in the mail but lucky envelope #4.

A curious addition to the previous arrivals, the anonymous gifter had selected Anthrax’s 1991 release “Attack of the Killer B’s.”

This album was not a new album. It’s a comp of Anthrax’s B-Sides and other obscure and unreleased material. And while The League was not so much an Anthrax fan himself, he at least felt that Anthrax was, at minimum, funny, if not as scary as they wanted to be perceived.

Curiously, this collection of B-Sides may have done more for Anthrax’s longevity and general warm wishes amongst Gen X’ers than any of their previous work. In a move well-documented by VH1 and MTV at this point, Anthrax had decided to join controversial hip hop group Public Enemy for a new version of “Bring the Noise” from PE’s watershed 1988 album, “It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back.”

Anthrax, not entirely by accident, brought hip hop to a generation of white kids who otherwise had given up on Hip Hop after Run DMC’s “Raising Hell.”

“Bring Tha Noize” also appeared on Public Enemy’s 1991 album, “Apocalypse 91: The Enemy Strikes Black” (an album which contains League favorite “By the Time I get to Arizona”).

Sadly, The League isn’t anymore into Anthrax now than he was in 1991. And, it should be mentioned for Madi that, for The League, memories of Anthrax and Denise D. will forever be intermingled. That dame was really into Anthrax.

The League was supposed to see PE in 1991 or 1992, but plans were scrubbed when the tour, double billed with goth-curiosity “Sisters of Mercy”, failed to sell enough tickets and the show was cancelled.

With several out of town visitors in for the show, the group got their money refunded and went to see Charlie Sheen’s “Hot Shots” at the North Oaks 6 Cineplex.

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