Monday, April 4, 2011

This Is The Blues Brothers. This Is The Blues Brothers On Drugs



After a particularly busy day at my old retail outlet, NYCD, I met up with some friends for drinks. I don't recall which bar, but just about every store front on the Upper West Side of Manhattan in the mid-nineties, was either a bar or restaurant. The particular place we were frequenting was jam packed, and the sound system was concert hall loud, but it sounded great.

About 2 hours and 3 drinks into the evening, a version of "Sweet Home Chicago" came on, and I thought to myself, "This is the greatest version of this song I have ever heard." It took the length of the song, at least, to make it close enough to the bar to ask the bartender, who was playing.

"The Blues Brothers."

Next morning, I opened up shop, and the first thing I did was rifle through the used "B" section of the store. Sure enough, I had it. I flipped on the stereo, and at 8:30 AM, cranked up, "Sweet Home Chicago" by The Blues Brothers. 

It sucked.

It was a whole lot better when I was drunk, in a bar, with a lot people, laughing with friends. 15 years earlier, I was poised to trade my Beatles' albums for the entire Bauhaus collection, thanks to some girl I had a crush on.

So my question Burning Woodies, have you ever had a drastic about face over a song or band, whether alcohol-fueled like myself, or by some other influential situation that may have blurred your thinking?
 

24 comments:

Chris Joseph said...

When I used to smoke pot every day as a teenager, I thought Tull's "Passion Play" was the greatest CD EVER. No more pot for me. Passion Play sucks. Unlistenable. Pretentious. Tull was never the same after Thick as a Brick.

itsok2beright said...

Oh yeah, I used to like this band Radiohead, but then ... ok, just kidding.

But, seriously, one time during the 70's I had this over the top love for Rick Derringer's guitar playing. It may have had something to do with the same reason as Chris Joseph's, but I can't remember, I was too high.

Not to say that Derringer was awful, or wrote horrible songs, but, I was putting him on a plateau reserved for select others. I forget when I realized this, but I think it was right after Randy Rhodes starting playing with Ozzy. Now, I place his music in the same regard as Rory Gallagher. Listenable, entertaining, but, not guitar-god-like.

steve simels said...

I once listened to the first Country Joe and the Fish album and thought it was profound.

Yes, there were drugs involved.

Noam Sane said...

When I was in 9th grade, after lunch one day, I walked into the gym, and there were a bunch of kids hanging around the record player. I recognized the song as a Beach Boys hit. So I went up on the bleachers and listened for a while. It sounded great! It was obviously a live album, the crowd was mixed way up, and the whole cacophony bounced around the gymnasium beautifully. I sat and listened, rapt, then went down to see what album it was. It was called "Beach Boys Concert."

So, I asked for that album for Christmas. My Mom tried, bless her heart. She got me "Beach Boys IN Concert," the double-album that we discussed here not too long ago. Which I grew to love.

It was many years later - the Napster age, I believe - that I obtained Beach Boys Concert. That crowd noise is really annoying.

Grey said...

As a teenager, I held Gene Loves Jezebel in high esteem. I repeat: I was a TEENAGER.

I am not a teenager anymore.

I've never been into drugs or alcohol, but the effect of good sex can be just as mind altering. Let's just say that the guy who turned me around and got me to like Bob Dylan had an ace down his pants.

Sal Nunziato said...

I had played "A Passion Play" one afternoon at my shop. I hadn't heard it in a bit and I was alone so I wasn't about to get any lip from my partner or employees. About ten minutes into Part One, a customer walked in, stopped in his tracks and deadpanned, "That makes two people who like this albm."

Peter Ames Carlin said...

Here's another version of that story, only in reverse.

I was at a living taping for Oregon Public Broadcasting's "Live Wire" radio show, which on this night had Everclear's Art Alexakis as musical guest. He played "Wonderful," that song in the voice of a kid whose parents just split up ("...don't tell me everything is wonderful now...") and these two youngish women ahead of me got up and started to dance. I'd always sorta liked the song on the radio, but there was something about the women that fixated me. They had the same blonde hair; the same bones in their face. Not sure if they were twins or just sisters, but definitely related. And when he got to the part where he sang, "promises mean everything/when you're little and the world's so big..." the women put their arms around each other and moved together. so wrapped up in the song, and whatever thoughts/memories it evoked, that it seemed obvious to me that they had lived that story together. Watching them listen to it, and feeling their connection to it, transformed my sense of the song. I think about them every time i hear it. And now I kind of love it.

Rushbo... said...

After two beers, ACDC become the best band in the world. After three or four it gets a bit too noisy and you'll want to lie down.

I still quite like Gene Loves Jezebel. Is that normal?

Great record shop quotes part II: I was playing 'Murmur' on a chilly Tuesday morning in my record store and singing along unselfconsciously. After about three songs, the lone browser approached the counter and said 'My God, you've played this more than once?' Suffice to say he wasn't a fan.

Anonymous said...

Ha. Ok, I once fell deeply, pathetically in love with a girl who I started making music with. I knew that she liked Jewel and Tori Amos, which led me to introduce her to the edgier sound of Ani DiFranco, which she fell head over heels for. I learned her songs and learned to play like Ani, so I could teach her to do the same. I still think Ani's writing and performance are pretty great, but as the love faded and my friend turned out to be a lesbian ( see that coming ? I didn't ) I have found myself listening to her work less and less. The girl is still a treasured friend, by the way, but I still have everything Ani DiFranco ever recorded, now available for sale at a reasonable price.

big bad wolf said...

the beginning of the story really caught me: sal is a blues brother's fan?

for me it is, hangs head, ELP. in the early mid-70s when i was 13 and 14, i thought they were great. by 77 i had no idea what had caused me to think that, and for the last 30 years even a little "welcome back my friends" at a sporting event makes me want to flee.

Anonymous said...

The only time I ever listened to Red Rose Speedway stoned I thought it was brilliant. Every time I've listened to it straight I think it is the piece of shit it really is.

ROTP(lumber)

Sal Nunziato said...

I love Red Rose Speedway.

William Repsher said...

Not so much drunk listening, but as a kid in the 70s, I seem to recall going to both rollerskating rinks and swimming pools, and the sounds systems had this echo/tunnel effect on the vocals that made the vocals on a given song sound radically different from a normal stereo/radio version. Thus, "Slow Ride" and "Cisco Kid" are burned in my mind as being two of the coolest songs ever. Could only imagine how cool "Mendocino" would sound on one of those systems.

Noam Sane said...

lol...and that's why I love this place.

Marcia said...

When I was reading your Blues Bros post, and before you even asked, a similar incident came to mind. There was a bar in West Akron called the Bucket Shop..an institution, always packed with college kids, and a sprinkling of regulars. One night after a few drinks, a song came on...a brazilian jazz tune so catchy, everyone was dancing. I asked what it was, and the bartender/dj brought out the LP (yes, vinyl) and showed it to me.. Raul De Souza. The song was called Sweet Lucy. From then on, everytime I went into the place, I requested it. I was managing a record store at the time - the LP was no longer available. Fast forward years later - it's never been available on CD, and the only copy I could find, a few years back, was from a store in Chicago- a used copy that was described to me over the phone as "rather warped". I discovered that it was produced by George Duke. I always wanted to ask him about it, but never did. I held out. Recently I found it - on YouTube. Listened to it. Wow. Really? Sounded totally different to me, and not in a good way. Ah well...

Ken D said...

No alcohol involved, but as an adolescent I was very, very impressed with Blood Sweat & Tears—and not even the Al Kooper band, but the David Clayton Thomas version. "Jazz-rock" was sooooo sophisticated.

But I got one good BS&T story out of my infatuation: I went to see them at the Fillmore and the opening act was a band of scruffy hillbillies that nobody had heard of. The Allman Brothers Band. I still remember Gregg looking out from behind his bangs at the hall and saying "We-all ain't got nothin' lahk this back down South..." I wish I could say that after hearing the Allmans, my admiration for Blood, Sweat & Tears was over but I'm afraid I just didn't get it at that point.

Now I think I'd rather eat glass than listen to "Spinning Wheel."

Sal Nunziato said...

Lucretia MacEvil, dude. Lucretia MacEvil.

Anonymous said...

Honestly and Tsk Tsk Sal~ guess I've never been THAT drunk..... however, when I first heard it (in my confused youth), in all it's pomp and "pompousness"......rick wakeman's journey to the center of the earth was the coolest thing ever!!!!!
then i noticed the off-key singing,
then i noticed the "playing", i think the only thing i like about it now is the narrator (and how it now never leaves the album jacket EVER!!!)....
gmb

Anonymous said...

Try watching Monty Python's film "Now For Something Completely Different" when stoned. Then a few weeks later, watch it straight. I guarantee you you won't make it through the first half an hour without turning it off! On grass though, it is extremely funny! A Riot!! I first saw if back in the 70s at the University of South Florida's 'Head Theater' midnight show. The entire auditorium (about 200 people) were smoking and baby, we were out of control! Actually down on the floor, out in the isles, holding one’s gut, out of control SHRIEKING mass hysteria! I saw it! I also participated :)

Anything Should Happen said...

Journey after seeing them tour in the UK in 1979.

I still don't know why.

Rushbo's right about AC/DC and the same applies to Status Quo.

Anonymous said...

In the late 70's, I was in a Record Bar in Greenville, SC and heard them playing a country-rocking, Beach Boys-like album. I asked the clerk who it was and immediatley purchased it. I brought it home, threw it on the turntable, and after 2 songs - said 'What is this shit?' It still hurts to type this, but the album was by Dino, Desi, and Billy.Never played it again.

I've bought many thousand albums and CD's over the years, and I'm convinced music sounds better in a record store. I don't know any other explanation for buying The Durocs, Robert Johnson, Driver, and many other forgotten, wasted purchases.
I enjoy your posts, and appreciate what you're doing.

Chris F.
Cornelius, NC

Sal Nunziato said...

@Chris F.

Thank YOU for the reading and for your DD&B recollection. Now, if you have a minute, you can read why I love Durocs.

http://burnwoodtonite.blogspot.com/2008/10/where-are-they-now_7920.html

Anonymous said...

You went to work at a record store at 8:30 in the morning after getting drunk the night before? For gods sake, man, why?

Sal Nunziato said...

@anon
So I could play "Passion Play" with no lip.