This week on the Acid Pop Cult Podcast, Jason and Jeremy celebrate horror’s most important holiday; Friday The 13th. Jeremy takes on a look back at the beloved franchise and counts down his favorite kills by Jason Voorhees. Be sure you give us a listen as we are offering up all the details on how to win an exclusive ‘ Friday The 13th: Jason Lives’ screen print by artist Chris Garofalo at Quiltface Studios! Jason discusses his recent interviews with Dan Hawkins of The Darkness and former pornstar turned DJ/Producer Lupe Fuentes. If that’s not enough, We’ll see you next Tuesday (K)night!
If it’s not some kind of big April Fool’s joke, Jack White is gonna be putting out a new album in June, and he released the first track for our listening pleasure. The track, High Ball Stepper, is an instrumental track that dances between soft and hard with a few weird interludes thrown in for good measure.
The album is supposed to be called Lazaretto, whatever that means, and is due out June 10.
In case you have been in an underground bunker with no contact with the outside world for the past day or so, here’s the tune via YouTube.
Since we’re not really a news site, and if anyone has any clue what kind of site we actually are, we’d love to hear about it, this post isn’t really about Jack White’s new album. It’s about something his new album reminds me of from the past, er present too, I guess.
Some people are abuzz over White’s track being instrumental, and some will undoubtedly evoke the names Pelican, or a number of other instrumental metal bands, when writing/talking about it. I couldn’t sit idly by and let that pass without an ode to Karma to Burn. They probably weren’t the first instrumental metal band, there is probably someone, somewhere, who did it long before they did, I just don’t know who it was, but they were certainly doing it before it ever became a ‘thing.’
So here it is, a little remembrance about Karma to Burn, for no other real reason than self-indulgence on my part. You can also go buy some of their shit at Amazon or iTunes. You can also find them on Spotify.
The story begins…
II think it was August 2, 1997 when I first saw Karma to Burn.
It was a show in Huntington, WV, with Disengage, a band from Cleveland I’d seen before and would follow religiously until they disappeared from the face of the Earth a few years later.
I went to the show not knowing a thing about Karma to Burn other than a friend recommended I check them out when I get the chance. So I had no idea what to expect from the three guys who stepped onto the stage, and began plugging in their gear. They didn’t quite look like a rock band at the time. Meaning they weren’t decked out in black, over-accessorized, and sporting wind-swept hair filled with gel.
If I remember correctly the guitarist and bassist both had baseball-style caps on.
Then they started to play. The groove caught me immediately, and the crunch of the forcefully played guitar (broken guitar strings were a regular occurrence for the band during this period) spoke to me. It was beautiful… for a few minutes anyway.
Then I began wondering, “When the hell are they gonna start singing?”
The question persisted throughout the set.
The answer was never.
Karma to Burn was, and still is, a three-piece, instrumental rock band.
I’ve always described their sound as one that takes the best parts out of the songs you typically hear, and stretch those parts out to anywhere from 3-5 minutes.
I liked it, but it took some getting used to.
By this point the band had already released their debut album on Roadrunner Records, simply called ‘Karma to Burn.’ I bought the CD, yeah, you had to buy CDs back then, and was surprised to hear vocals on it, considering I just witnessed an entirely instrumental show.
Ma Petit Mort – from Karma to Burn – Roadrunner Records (1997) The album Roadrunner made them include vocals on
I would eventually learn, they only employed a singer on the album because the record company insisted on it, and after giving it a shot, and not liking it, they dumped the vocalist, told the record company to fuck off, and did things their way from that point forward.
I’ve seen them play dozens of times since that night. Some shows were amazing, some were so-so, and at least one was so bad, Will Mecum, the guitar player, said, “We hate to admit it, but we’re Karma to Burn,” at the end of the show. The comment, in part, was due to the inability of the band to get it together. At times it seemed like the bassist, Rich Mullins, wasn’t even playing the right songs. He even laid/sat on the floor for a few minutes at one point in the show.
This video is not from that show, but recorded during an early era of the band, is the video for Eight. It should be noted, Karma to Burn began naming songs using only numbers after the first album. Neat idea, but it’s why I can’t ever remember the names of the songs I really like. I suck at numbers. My eyes suck, so I can’t tell who’s playing drums on this.
That was 2002. The band’s first big breakup came not too long after that. Most accounts of the split up allege copious drug use was a contributing factor. I wouldn’t see them again until 2009.
They’ve been steadily busy since reuniting in 2009, however these days, they call Europe home.
The band has also undergone a number of lineup changes over the years, including recently, where the last time I checked, Will Mecum is the only original member left.
The lineup consisting of Will, Rich, and Rob Oswald, the man who sometimes wore a miner’s lamp while he played drums, and often smelled like someone burnt his karma when he walked past prior to the 2002 implode, will always be the definitive lineup to me. It’s not the original lineup, there were two drummers before Rob, but the one that defined the band, and played together the longest.
Haven’t seen the new guys play yet, mostly because I can’t afford to fly to Europe just to see a show.
The current lineup, to the best of my knowledge, is:
Will Mecum – guitar
Rob Halkett – bass
Evan Devine – drums
Karma to Burn – Fifty Three from the album Karma to Burn (2013)
Karma to Burn did just finish recording some material in February 2014, according to their website, so a new chapter should be released soon.
So Jack White’s new instrumental tune is great and all, he is Jack White and by law, you aren’t allowed to dislike anything he does, but it’ll never compare to the instrumental tracks Karma to Burn laid down in the late 1990s, paving the way for the handful of instrumental bands that have emerged in the years since.
(Note: I think my first Karma to Burn show was August 2, 1997, it could have been April 18, 1997. I’m just going to say it was the August show because I know for a fact I was at this one. )
Black Sabbath’s concert Blu-ray, Black Sabbath: Gathered in Their Masses comes out today, and in honor of the godfathers of metal, I thought I would pick our favorite covers of their songs.
I chose to take a look at covers of Black Sabbath songs rather than Black Sabbath songs themselves. I did this because we’ve all heard the Black Sabbath catalogue, but most of us haven’t heard the Sabbath tracks recorded by at least 100 other bands. So if imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, Sabbath has been flattered a lot by metal bands, and more, over the years.
I found a lengthy list of artists who have covered Black Sabbath songs at the CoverProject.com, and turned to Spotify to find as many of them as possible and composed a Black Sabbath Cover Songs Spotify Playlist, 90 songs deep.
I then whittled it down to a Top 10 Covers of Black Sabbath Songs List and here’s what I came up with:
(Song title links go to videos of the cover songs on YouTube, album title links go to Amazon where you can pick up your own copy.)
Album: What a Joke (1991)
What a joke is right. Who would have thought a Christian, metal band would ever make a Top 10 Black Sabbath list? I think their cover of After Forever is slick work.
Pantera recorded a number of Sabbath tunes, but they really captured the spirit of Sabbath and managed to put their stylistic stamp on it too.
8. Giant Sand
Song: Iron Man (No available YouTube Link) from the Black Sabbath album Paranoid (1970)
Album: Cover Magazine (25th Anniversary Edition)(2001)
Did somebody leave the water running? No, really. Do you hear water running? This made my list for originality alone. There were quite a few covers of Sabbath songs from unexpected genres. Several converted Sabbath songs into arrangements for strings, horns, piano, and a dozen other traditionally non-metal instruments.
7. The Fartz
Album: Because This Fuckin World Still Sucks (1998)
I’m a sucker for a decent punk song.
6. Adrenaline Mob
Album: Coverta (2013)
This is how the pros do it. The resumes say it all.
Rusell Allen (Vocals) Symphony X, Allen-Lande (with Jorn Lande of Masterplan), and he tours with the Trans-Siberian Orchestra
Mike Orlando (Guitar) has worked with Zakk Wylde and Bumblefoot
Mike Portnoy (Drums) has been involved with Dream Theater, Transatlantic, Liquid Tension Experiment, OSI, Avenged Sevenfold, Stone Sour, Flying Colors, Bigelf, and The Winery Dogs
And on this Sabbath Cover
Rich Ward (Guitar): Stuck Mojo, Fozzy, and Sick Speed
They’ve been around, and know how to play.
5. Pride and Glory (Zakk Wylde and Black Label Society)
Album: Kings of Damnation: Era 1998-2004 (2005)
Love the way Zakk and the Pride and Glory lineup bluesed up The Wizard. While it’s on a Black Label Society album, this live track is credited to the Pride and Glory lineup.
Album: The Law (1992)
I was hooked as soon as I heard the first few notes. Slow, deep, and hard. That would be a good name for an album for somebody wouldn’t it?
3. Cavalera Conspiracy
Album: Blunt Force Trauma (2011)
A song about radiation and destruction is perfect fodder for growly-voiced metal singers and crunchy sounding bands they front. A lot of death metal bands have tried their hands at Sabbath, and this was one of the best efforts from that corner of the metal community.
Album: We Love ‘Em Tonight (Live at Tipitina’s) (2007)
This track blew me away. Galactic treats it’s Black Sabbath cover to a twist of jazz, soul, metal, and blues, as only a New Orleans band could.
Album: Temporal (2012)
Hand of Doom is one of my favorite Sabbath tracks and Isis played it like a band possessed.
Close calls: These tracks almost made my Top 10:
Album: 1 + Dog Days (2004)
Album: Witching Hour (2003)
Album: Cross Roads (2011)
Album: Nativity in Black: A Tribute to Black Sabbath (1994)
Artist: Type O Negative
Album: Origin of the Feces (1992)
Don’t like my list? Judge for yourself. Here is a Spotify Playlist of 90 covers of Black Sabbath songs:
Earlier this week, PBS aired the latest episode of its American Masters series with Jimi Hendrix: Hear My Train A Comin.
This bio of Hendrix rocks on for about two hours, covering the basics of his short life, depicting him as a man obsessed with creating music. It also features many of the famous live performances like the Monterey Pop Festival 1967 where he made is return to the States in dramatic fashion, and a few glimpses of performances not nearly as iconic.
The PBS special also covered his work with other artists, other musicians who played in his bands, and the people who managed things behind the scenes. It’s even got the footage of Hendrix on the Dick Cavett show where he dressed like he was the Hawaiian Bruce Lee.
One thing I noticed in the documentary was a photograph of Hendrix relaxing in a bunk which had a Louis Armstrong poster on the wall. I don’t know if was his poster or not, but I could easily believe it was.
Hendrix did the same thing with his guitar that Armstrong, Miles Davis, John Coltrane, and Charlie Parker did with their horns. When the time was right to do so, they played what they felt. Improvisational interludes are fairly common on recordings of live Jimi Hendrix performances.
Noticeably missing from the PBS documentary covering Jimi’s career was any mention of one particular live performance from March 1968 at the Scene club, 301 West 46th Street, in New York. That night, Hendrix was joined on stage by another short-lived rock star, Jim Morrison of the Doors.
The recording was quote-unquote officially released in 1994 on an album called Bleeding Heart, but if you look hard enough online, you can find bootleg copies that are much older than that, but they often vary in title and quality.
The most notable thing about this performance, aside from some great blues guitar-work from Hendrix, like in Red House for example, is that it’s pretty obvious Morrison is smashed. Maybe even blackout smashed. So when it comes to his parts of the show, bad sound quality is hard to discern from the vocalizations of a warbling drunkard, but definitely don’t make you hate yourself later by buying a bad bootleg where even Hendrix sounds shitty now.
Apparently the Lizard King liked to push the dirt button, and when he found himself on stage with a mic in his hand and the guitar-god himself backing him up on guitar, he must have thought, “Now is the perfect time to announce my fetish to the world.”
It might not have been the best decision on Morrison’s part.
His declaration comes in a track titled Morrison’s Lament, and it provides one of the best moments on the recording.
While Jimi noodles around on the guitar on Morrison’s, Morrison takes the mic, yells the phrase, “Fuck you in the ass, baby,” a few times, and inspires the guitar master to point him to a different microphone. The mic Hendrix pointed him to, coincidentally, just happened to be one set to a much lower volume.
It left me wondering if the folks who claim Jim Morrison was a better drunk than a poet, who if it weren’t for being a drunk wouldn’t have even been half the bad poet that he actually was because drunk thoughts can be funny, were right.
This live recording proves two things.
When Hendrix improvised, audiences were treated to brilliant works like his rendition of The Star Spangled Banner at Woodstock and the version of Red House on Bleeding Heart. When Morrison improvised, audiences were assaulted with language so raw it could make the tattoo on Sailor Jerry’s arm blush and he could confuse a cat better than Python.
Check it out for yourself.
You can watch the all of Jimi Hendrix: Hear My Train A Comin on the PBS website.
In which the boys talk Cancer Awareness, Don Jon, Game of Thrones, Vice Academy 3, more Ginger Lynn than you can shake a stick at, and Jeremy gets inspired to make a movie based on Lee’s Maury viewing.
Welcome to Chris J. Michalek’s Acid Pop Cult. This week Chris and the boys do week 3 NFL picks, talk about racism and Miss America, Insidious: Chapter 2, Politics, Creepy Butlers, and Doug Stanhope’s tour. Other things are mentioned but I forgot. Acid Pop Cult is your #1 Unofficial Ginger Lynn Fan Club!
The boys talk about Friday the 13th, Football, Shortwave Radio, and a Freeloader’s Double Feature (C.C. & Company and Brotherhood of Death) featuring NFL players. This one if funny and not to be missed.
This week Lee and Jeremy bust out a new segment called By Definition where our humble hosts pick three films from a certain sub-genre that by definition make up said sub-genre. They kick off this new spot with Misfit Comedies. But first, Lee gets heated over a certain Geico add and romanticizes the idea of a ginger free world. Jeremy informs us that The Flashpoint Paradox is a must see film. He then gives his initial thoughts on Batman, Incorporated #13. Also, the boys (somewhat) celebrate the life (and death) of Marilyn Monroe. It is 5:25pst August 5th… Check out Lee’s article over at Mysterious Universe.
Jeremy, Lee, and Chris are all sorts of amazing. Need proof? Just listen to Episode 70. We talk about all sorts of stuff from Trailer Park Boys to Mountain Monsters to Grown Ups 2 to MORE Psych stuff. Lee brings us another Freeloaders Double Feature with Cycle Savages and Werewolves on Wheels, a bikerploitation extravaganza! Great episode…Except for the Totally Untrue Trivia segment…Jeremy kinda dropped the ball. But, the Jennifer Tilly inspired masturbation talk makes up for it.
This week, Jeremy gives his thoughts on a few trailers, and brings another T.U.T.T. to your listening pleasure, with a little help from Chris. Chris gives us a racist filled Big Brother 15 update, and ponders if we’re alone in the universe. Lee asks if the iPod is on the way out, and shares with us some rather unusual, yet awesome porn from the 70s. And to the folks at Icon vs Icon, your plug got a little out of hand, but it was too funny to cut out. Wink.