Don't you just hate spoilers? I do, too. That's why I always try to include warnings. However, I sometimes ramble a bit too much here or there and maybe a few (or many) key plot points slip without me giving proper notice. So I'd like to include a blanket spoiler warning for the weary internet travelers of the world: Here There Be Spoilers. You've been warned.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

My 20 Favorite Bands

You know, this list was both easier and harder to come up with than I thought it would be. The bands were the first ones to pop into my mind. A couple of groups like the Dave Matthews Band, the Alice Cooper Band, and Guns N Roses are noticeably absent (as far as I'm concerned anyway), but I'm very satisfied with this list overall. It suits where I'm at right now.

20. Wednesday 13 - He's a relative newcomer to my listening habits, but the man and all of his groups are really good to great. I first wrote him off as another follower on the Manson /Zombie wagon, but he's a bit more humorous and more rocking than that. I think Kill You Before You Kill Me was the song that won me over.

19. Marilyn Manson - He hasn't been the same in years but his early albums are still classics to me and I always go back to Antichrist Superstar as being the first album that ever actually scared me.

18. Rammstein - My german teacher got me into this band and after that I started buying up all of their albums. Their biggest song Du Hast is easily one of my least favorite of theirs, but Mein Teil (a song about cannibalism, of course) ranks as one of my favorite jams. I know more of their lyrics than I do the lyrics of most English-singing bands.

17. Blue Oyster Cult - Don't Fear the Reaper is a song that really just gets on my nerves because I've heard it so many times, but their first five albums and Fire of Unknown Origin are classics. I know they have other later albums but nothing I've heard off any of them can hold a candle to the likes of 7 Screaming Diz Busters. Although I do like that song Dancin' in the Ruins from Club Ninja.

16. Pantera - Dimebag is a hero of mine and always will be. I love hearing the crunch of his guitar. I don't care for their early glam stuff, but there will always be room in my heart for Vulgar Display of Power and Far Beyond Driven

15. Jethro Tull - I don't think you see the Tull in a lot of lists. Sure, a lot of people like Aqualung, but what about Heavy Horses or Songs from the Wood? Admittedly I don't venture beyond 1979's Stormwatch that much. Although I will give A a listen every now and then for kicks.

14. Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble - Always have been a big SRV fan. His rendition of Little Wing always sends chills up my spine every time I listen to it. Hendrix was legend while he was alive and he is also one of guitar heroes, but I dare say that SRV made Hendrix's songs better. I just love Vaughan's tone, too. Not many people can play that flashy and that clean without making a serious fool of themselves.

13. Pink Floyd - There are a lot of versions of Floyd and that's what I like about them (and a lot of other bands, if my list is in any way telling). There's their early Syd Barrett psychedelic stuff, their more commercial psychedelic stuff (I like to call that period their "Roger Waters Ego Trip Years"), and then the more obscure but still good David Gilmour output. I'm not sure which one is Pink, but I know which one rocks. And they all do. 

12. Mountain - From their early days before they were even known as Mountain (what is widely known as the first Mountain album Mountain is in fact a Leslie West solo album... the first proper Mountain album is actually Climbing!) until their more modern years long after the passing of renowned bassist and producer Felix Pappalardi, Mountain are much more than a one hit wonder. Spark, Nantucket Sleighride, Never in my Life, Theme from an Imaginary Western, Flowers of Evil... all great songs that should be enjoyed by a larger audience.

11. Slayer - With the unfortunate passing of Jeff Hanneman and the outright douchiness of Kerry King and co. by carrying on as if nothing has happened, Slayer have fallen a bit out of favor with me. Plus, I really don't dig them as much as I used to. It's one thing to be 16 and love Satanic metal bands that aren't really Satanic but use the imagery to sell records, but it's another to be almost 23 years old and out of that "I'm listening to Slayer just because they are Slayer" phase. True enough, I love some evil tunage every now and then and Slayer will cure that fix, but I like music that isn't completely evil, too. 

10. Bruce Springsteen - My dad recorded a few of the Boss's songs on some of his old tapes and I always liked listening to Glory Days and I'm on Fire. Then when we got the Boss's entire catalog (not exactly legitimately, I should mention) onto our iTunes and I listened to a lot of his other songs while I wrote a story and many fragments of others. I always enjoyed listening to Atlantic City in particular as well as the Nebraska album as a whole. With the title song about Charles Starkweather, the Boss proved he could write music just as heavy as any metal band. 

09. Led Zeppelin - I think someone said that the greatest of innovators are often the greatest of thieves and while that phrase could apply to a few other bands on here (Deep Purple), I dare say that Zeppelin fits that phrase so much more. Seems like their first two albums were solely written by other uncredited musicians at one point and that even the main riff of Stairway to Heaven from their classic untitled fourth album was lifted from a Spirit song (although there were a few modifications made). But Zep had a talent that matched their apparent ballsiness and they literally got away with doing whatever the hell they wanted to do. Outside of a few legal struggles, of course. While Robert Plant isn't my favorite singer, Page isn't really my ideal guitar player, and their last album (the John Paul Jones album) In Through the Out Door isn't my favorite, I'll say that just about every other Zeppelin album is flawless. Especially Presence and Physical Graffiti

08. Frank Zappa - Zappa doesn't get anywhere near the attention or respect he deserves. He probably never will. His music is far too off the wall and random for a lot of people to really catch on. Kind of like the musical version of Monty Python, really. Although, I'm sure more people know Python than they do Zappa. You either really get it or you really don't. From his early work with the Mothers to his days of shutting up and playing his guitar, Zappa played an insane brand of "jazz from hell" and did it very well. Trouble Every Day, San Ber'dinoCamarillo Brillo, and My Guitar Wants to Kill Your Momma are favorite songs of mine.

07. AC/DC - Probably the most famous band to pull of the lead singer change and become even more popular next to Iron Maiden. Purists probably still hold the Bon Scott era over the Brian Johnson era, but I like them both pretty equally. Both the raw 70's AC/DC and the commercial 80's AC/DC are better than anything else around today. Oddly enough, my favorite album could very well be the Rick Rubin-produced Ballbreaker from the 90's. It's really hard to choose, though. Since so many of their albums are typical AC/DC it's hard to differentiate and judge them based on their own merits... and that's probably both a good and bad thing, I suppose. 

06. Ozzy Osbourne - He's the Ozzman. Like Stephen King, I got to have every Ozzy release. Remember when The Ultimate Sin was a pain in the ass to find if you didn't have Amazon at the ready? Well, I found  a German import of it in an actual physical store. Of course, one of the cons of being an Ozzy fan is the pain in the ass of having certain songs and albums deleted entirely from his back catalog. I mean, the original Bark at the Moon 1995 remaster is thirty bucks on Amazon while the "bastardized" version with the bonus tracks is less than ten bucks. God, Ozzy and Sharon can really be fucking kids at times. That's why I think I choose to like post-Ozzy Sabbath sometimes: Just to spite them. 

05. Type O Negative - It's only fitting that Peter Steele's last T.O.N. album before suffering heart failure and passing away at the age of 40 would be called Dead Again. Unfortunate, but fitting. T.O.N. has songs like Life is Killing Me, Everyone I Love is Dead, and Love You to Death, but they never seemed to get too bent outta shape despite their gloomy subject matter. Pete and the group could be funny, too. In their own way. Just check out their fake live album The Origin of the Feces or their songs I Like Goils and Stay Out of My Dreams

04. Motorhead - Michael Palin of Monty Python gave a prayer on the album Rock N' Roll that the folks from Motorhead could buy at least one more pair of trousers. If you have missed out on that important moment in rock history then that really is a pity. Chances are you didn't have that album because it didn't have Ace of Spades on it. Shame on you. 

03. The Beatles - You could call them the most overrated act in the history of music and they'd still be underrated. Hell, even their drummer could write and sing good songs! Do you know how hard that is to find? Sure, Ringo wasn't the greatest singer of the bunch, but try to forget about who his bandmates were (yeah, I'm asking a lot) and you'll realize that he could hold his own against a lot his contemporaries.

02. Deep Purple - You know, I think that Purple does get the short when it comes to their legacy. Zeppelin and Sabbath are obviously still pretty popular these days, but in the states Purple seems shelved into the one hit wonder classic rock circuit. Gillan said in an interview recently that everywhere else in the world 18 year old kids are going to the shows, but in the States the audience is typically as old as the members of Purple. They aren't reaching a new audience here. And they should. Their modern albums are pretty good and much better than some of the stuff by popular rock acts like, say, Avenged Sevenfold or Five Finger Death Punch. Calling Deep Purple a one hit wonder... absolute ridiculousness. I know that a lot of folks my age and slightly older and younger really have shit taste in music even for rock fans, but let us try a little better and support the Purple ones. I can't do it all myself.

01. Black Sabbath - Anyone who has read this blog for long time or anyone who knows me already knows that I love pretty much all of the lineups of Sabbath. The reason is because of Tony Iommi, really. Even on the crummier albums like Technical Ecstasy of Forbidden, Tony still manages to shine a bit. I'm not writing off the contributions of any of the other members, but by sticking with the Sabbath banner when everybody else left, I can't help but think of him as being Black Sabbath regardless of who he plays with. I mean, the odds of Iommi ever being fired from Sabbath are like the odds of Ozzy being fired from Ozzy's solo band. But, sticking with all of the titles under the Sabbath name and all of the various sounds and immensely talented singers they've had over the years, I think it's just difficult to say no to them. So I don't.


  1. I think my top 10 is fairly solid but the bottom 10 could change daily. I have so many bands that I had to leave off the list that when I made the list, I couldn't believe some of them I couldn't fit in.

    20. Pearl Jam
    19. The Black Keys
    18. R.E.M. - More for the 80's stuff than the latter stuff. One of the only popular 80s bands not to be all synthed up. I love all the weird instruments they would play. One of the only new bands I would listen to in the dreadful mid 80s.
    17. AC/DC
    16. The Band
    15. Pink Floyd
    14. The Who
    13. The Grateful Dead
    12. North Mississippi Allstars
    11. Bruce Springsteen
    10. Soundgarden
    09. Led Zeppelin
    08. The Clash - The greatest garage band ever. In every interview I saw, Joe Strummer seemed like one of the nicest guys but he could sing angrier than anyone. When you hear the line "phony Beatlemania has bitten the dust," you can almost feel the spit hit your face. XD
    07. The Beatles
    06. The Rolling Stones
    05. The Velvet Underground
    04. Black Sabbath
    03. The Allman Brothers - They could compete with Deep Purple for most lineup changes. Amazingly, they are as good today as they ever were. The current guitar combo of Derek Trucks and Warren Haynes is great. Gregg Allman is the greatest white blues singer ever. Even when he was 20, he had that well traveled blues voice.
    02. Neil Young - Not always consistent but always passionate. His unpredictability may be my favorite part about him.
    01. Bob Dylan - There's a lot of good and a lot of bad with Bob. What I'm always amazed at is that when he's bad, he is still really interesting. I enjoy listening to his bad albums almost as much as I like the great ones. (with 50 studio albums, there has to be a few dogs, right?)

    1. Dylan is one of those people I know I should listen more to, but just haven't found the opportunity to do so. Same with Neil Young. I do like that Smell The Horse mix CD you sent me. Really like "Piece of Crap."

      Admittedly, I didn't even think about adding The Who or The Rolling Stones. There are just too many bands and not enough numbers. Plus I just haven't been on a Stones or a Who kick in a while so I probably just didn't think about them.

      One grunge era band I forgot to mention was Alice in Chains. I like their post-Layne stuff even though I haven't heard their newest yet. Black Gives Way to Blue from the new AIC is different and closer to Jerry Cantrell solo stuff than anything, but still pretty good, IMO. What gets a lot of fans ticked though is that it's called AIC and not something else.

      I also wish I could have put Dio or Rainbow on my list but but I figured that with Black Sabbath I at least had something with Dio so I was covered on that front. :)

      Really do like Pearl Jam but haven't listened to them a lot other than a compilation album called rearviewmirror that I have.

  2. I didn't have Dio, Rainbow, Deep Purple or Ozzy. I'm sure when my Deep Purple cd arrives and I start listening to it, they will be back on the list. I just kind of included Ozzy under the blanket of Black Sabbath. My favorite Dio stuff is with Black Sabbath and H&H so I guess he can fit under that blanket too.

    Also, Zappa, Iggy, The Doors, Metallica, Blue Oyster Cult, AIC, Creedence and Steve Ray are a few that could be on the list on any given day.