Tuesday, November 10, 2009


For those of you who are new to No Expiration, if you enjoy reading my musings on music and you have a satellite radio, you can hear me Wednesday mornings on SIRIUSXM's OutQ Channel. I am a guest of The Morning Jolt with Larry Flick at about 9 am ET every Wednesday. (You can actually get a free online trial and listen on your computer at www.sirius.com/freetrial). This week, I am talking about albums by Nirvana, Foo Fighters and Them Crooked Vultures. Someone commented to me that the common denomonator is Dave Grohl, which is both true and false.

There are two new Nirvana releases out now: the first is the 20th anniversary edition of Nirvana's debut album, 1989's Bleach. Dave Grohl hadn't yet joined the band. Chad Channing was the drummer on that album. Supposedly, it cost $600 to make the album, and there are no outtakes, because they couldn't afford extra tape, so if they didn't like a take, they taped over it. So why get this reissue? Because it includes a live set from the era on the CD and on a bonus DVD. Channing plays drums on that gig -it is early Nirvana, really, really raw.

Then, there's Live At Reading, recorded on August 30, 1992. They were one of the biggest bands in the world at that moment, and Kurt Cobain was getting really sick of it. One complaint I've read about the CD is that it cuts the in-between song banter, which gives it a bit of context, there's a lot of Kurt's whining. On the CD, they cut that, so you hear a powerful set of awesome songs performed with fury (and some boredom). But some people think it's misleading I guess.

It's weird (or maybe not) that both Nirvana albums came out on the same day last week (they are on different labels, SubPop owns Bleach while Universal put out Reading), and on the same day, a Foo Fighters Greatest Hits album came out. When Nirvana first broke up, I remember Dave played drums for a "supergroup" on the Backbeat soundtrack (a film about the Beatles' early days as a club band). It was Grohl, Mike Mills of R.E.M., Don Flemming of Gumball, Dave Pierner of Soul Asylum and Greg Dulli of The Afghan Whigs. They covered all the same old songs that The Beatles covered. I remember seeing them perform on the MTV Movie Awards, and wondering when Grohl would get to play big crowds again! Around that time, drummer Stan Lynch quit The Heartbreakers, and Tom Petty invited Dave to join the band. He didn't, but he did play for them on one episode of Saturday Night Live. I remember hearing Kris Novoselic telling Eddie Vedder about Dave's new project on an episode of Pearl Jam's "Monkey Wrench Radio," and he played a few songs from the demo, which sounded really cool. A few months later, the Foo Fighters opened for Mike Watt (Dave also played drums for Watt) but no one really had heard of them! It was pretty great though. By all accounts, Dave is a cool guy, and I'm glad he's done so well. I saw the Foo Fighters headline an arena last summer, and it was a good show.

Finally, Them Crooked Vultures. I've written about them a bit already. It's Dave Grohl on drums (and I think some vocals), Josh Homme of Queens Of The Stone Age and Eagles Of Death Metal on guitar and vocals and John Paul Jones of Led Zeppelin on bass and keyboards. Their album comes out next week, but they're letting you listen to it on their YouTube page. I've got to say, it sounds pretty awesome.

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