“Forkboy” – Lard


Time to wake up! This is the lead-off track from Lard’s “The Last Temptation of Reid” album from 1990 and was later featured in the prison riot scene in Oliver Stone’s 1994 “Natural Born Killers” (though, you’ll hear more of it in the director’s cut which features a longer, more violent version of the prison riot among other scenes). Lard was a collaborative side project consisting of Al Jourgensen of Ministry and Jello Biafra of the Dead Kennedys … as well as others, including other members of Ministry.

“Animals Medley” – David Johansen


Here’s David Johansen’s famous Animals medley from the stellar 1982 live album “Live it Up.” This is a medley of the Animals’ “We’ve Gotta Get Out of this Place,” “Don’t Bring Me Down,” and “It’s My Life” and Johansen and his band pulls it off damn well.

Trivia note: I remember going to a (now-defunct) used record store in Norfolk, VA in 1989 and discussing the New York Dolls with a clerk or the owner (I can’t remember). The guy admitted a disdain for Johansen because of this Animals medley, because allegedly, his band did an Animals medley before Johansen did it, Johansen saw his band perform it when his band opened for Johansen, and then Johansen did the same thing and gained notoriety for it. OK, maybe this guy at the record store deserves a cheeseburger for Johansen’s alleged steal … but even then I thought, really? Your entire reason for “not making it” was because Johansen stole some idea of doing a medley of covers of some other band from you? Sweet lord, that’s THEE most single pathetic celebrity grudge I’ve ever witnessed. Johansen, God bless you for turning a medley of covers into a minor hit. Even if you allegedly stole the “original” idea of doing covers from another band.

“Hey Rita” – Local H


Now THIS is a power ballad, folks! If the drum and bass sound don’t blow your speakers, the ear-shredding Pixies-like guitar freakout during the latter part of the song certainly will. Yet … it’s still a ballad. Scott Lucas has one of the best gravelly “I’ve seen hell” rock voices, ranking up there with Paul Westerberg and Kurt Cobain. From the immensely awesome 2004 album “Whatever Happened to P.J. Soles?” The accompanying video is practically a black screen, but this song doesn’t need any visuals.

“Invitation to the Blues” – Tom Waits


Another legendary song from Tom Waits’ essential 1976 album “Small Change.”

Memorably used over the opening credits of Nicolas Roeg’s 1980 bad date-film classic “Bad Timing: A Sensual Obsession,” one of the most graphic and despairing looks at a toxic relationship ever put on film. Trust me when I say “Bad Timing” makes “Fatal Attraction” look like “When Harry Met Sally.”  An executive for Rank Films, the UK studio that financed “Bad Timing,” called the film “a sick film made by sick people for sick people.”  And it’s available to watch on Netlifx Instant to view with your honey … that is, if you and your honey are mentally unstable and/or are pill / booze addicts.  Thanks champagne!

“A Hard Rain’s A Gonna Fall” – Bryan Ferry


Bryan Ferry’s classic cover of Bob Dylan’s “A Hard Rain’s a Gonna Fall,” the lead off track from his first solo album “These Foolish Things” from 1973. Since “Things” was nothing but covers (including songs by Lesley Gore, Stevie Wonder, the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, and the Paris Sisters), Ferry treated this “sacred” Dylan track like any other pop song. What made his cover so acclaimed (and controversial) was that he took Dylan’s earnest acoustic ballad and added metallic guitars, heavy drums, strings, sound effects to create a Phil Spector-like “wall of sound” so that you would actually feel that a hard rain was coming down. Many Dylan fans were appalled … but many others were also knocked out by the weird, overblown arrangement.

On a personal note, if you want to know what I looked like circa 1990 (sans the necklace … and not on purpose I should note), I looked a lot like Ferry in this early video.

“Messing with my Head” – Tinted Windows


Here’s a completely pleasant surprise: a power-pop supergroup composed of Taylor Hanson (from Hanson) on vocals, James Iha (from the Smashing Pumpkins) on guitar, Bun E. Carlos (from Cheap Trick) on drums, and Adam Schlesinger (from Fountains of Wayne) on bass. In a better world, “Messing with my Head” would be a massive hit. However, I heard it 4 years after it was recorded on Little Steven’s Underground Garage. Ah well, a great song is a great song is a great song … It’s never too late to appreciate something cool.

“Feels Like a Woman” – The Troggs


I’m warning all of you. Hide your wives … hide your girlfriends … hide your daughters … hide your grandmothers … and while you’re at it … hide your cats, your dogs, your sheep, your socks, the flank steak in the fridge …

Because the Troggs are in town … and they WILL hook up with something. There’s no profanity in this song from 1972, but this has got to be one of the dirtiest, filthiest, sleaziest songs ever recorded. I love Iggy Pop, but he never sounded quite this nasty. For those who love this kind of thing, one of the greatest knuckle-dragging anthems of all-time.  Even if you’re a guy, when they sneer “Get ’em all!” you’ll want to make sure you’re wearing steel underwear.

“Catch Me Now I’m Falling” / “Superman” / “Low Budget” – The Kinks


Three scarily relevant songs from the 1979 album “Low Budget,” the very British Kinks sing from the perspective of a down-on-their-luck America. It is now 2013 and these songs seem more relevant than ever. I realize it’s a cliche to say that the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. But at some point, you can only build the gates of your gated communities so high before the have-nots find a way over. Just buy some more guns and I’m sure you’ll be just fine …


“Low Budget”

“Desperados Under the Eaves” – Warren Zevon (live at WMMS-FM, 1976)


An eerie and minimalistic piano version of one of Zevon’s most famous songs, recorded live for WMMS-FM in Cleveland in 1976. The song contains some of my favorite lyrics of all-time:

“And if California slides into the ocean
Like the mystics and statistics say it will
I predict this motel will be standing … until I pay my bill.”