The early 90’s is absolutely my favorite time period in music. For just a short while radio and MTV were filled with interesting bands and interesting music I spent my time eating it all up. I spent a lot of money around this time all of it on cassettes with that slow realization that I needed to buy a CD player which I would eventually do around that time. There were bands, new bands, hard edged bands, electronic bands, bands with amazing singers, bands that spoke to me bands, bands, bands. It was musical heaven. I listened to Screaming Trees a lot, and Alice in Chains but there were other bands: The Pixies, Concrete Blonde, Cowboy Junkies, Depeche Mode of course, New Order, Smashing Pumpkins. Never before, when I went to a music store to buy music, had I been confronted with so many amazing choices to buy so I bought them all every time I got paid. Not surprising right, one doesn’t get to nearly 4000 titles by not buying music.
There were two really big bands for me at that time that I listened to a lot, and remember at the time I was buying a lot of music but not listening to it alphabetically. That came later. At one time I had hated the Red Hot Chili Peppers, just not liked them without really listening to much of their music at all. I struggle a bit with fusion types of music and this fusing rap and funk and rock was a lot to take in but eventually a friend, sat me down and over conversation and a bottle of cheap wine I fell a bit in love with the girl, silly, the girl I was talking to. I hardly heard what music we listened to but when you really like someone you believe that the things they like are things you should like, unless it’s Frank Zappa. That girl is history if she likes Frank Zappa. She loved the Chili Peppers and so I listened to them and long after she was gone and never more the Chili Peppers remain in my heart. The other band, was Faith No More.
In the late 80’s I bought Introduce Yourself on a whim. I love that word, whim, whimsical. Now Introduce Yourself probably doesn’t have a single song that you would know unless you like the band but I loved it because to me it was a little hard around the edges not over produced and it had humor that I always think is important. Bands that take themselves too seriously get to be a bore. It was their second album that put them on the map. Everyone remembers that video, the goldfish flopping. It outraged a lot of people. The song was Epic and the album was The Real Thing. I always get them confused, just seems like Epic is a better album title and The Real Thing is a better song title and its stuck with me all this time. I still get them confused. It is a great album including a wonderful cover of Black Sabbath’s War Pigs. Now I have a story for you, of course.
I had an ok job but the hours fit in perfectly with staying up late with friends or even roommates, I had two of them in a big house in the Meadowbrook part of Fort Worth. I could get anywhere I needed in about fifteen or twenty minutes. I worked at a freestanding psychiatric hospital, free standing meaning that it was not attached to a larger facility. There are not many of these places left. Now people go to a floor of a hospital or a unit and that’s where they receive care. Everything now is 3 or 4 days and a blaze of glory but back then there were longer stays. While there were monetary abuses that forever changed the insurance world I do believe that what we did back then was more effective especially with adolescents.
I have never really hung out a lot with the people I work with mostly because I never really liked anyone that much. The guy I worked with though was a real character named Jerry. We were about the same age. Jerry seemed to like two things, eating and drinking and he was a born used car salesman. It should have been his calling. I never really saw him drink liquor just beer in prodigious quantities. Technically our shift ended at 11pm but we had to wait for shift change where the outgoing Nurse manager would report on anything to the incoming Nurse and tech. It usually didn’t last long. Jerry and I started hanging out after work. Now I have never been a professional drinker, and I never mastered the art of drinking every night and still managing to function the next day but for a short while Jerry took me on that ride. Now at 11pm there wasn’t a lot of time for us to get into a lot of trouble. We had two places. The first was nearby and a real hole in the wall No Frills Grill which was really a restaurant but around 11 it turned into a bar. There was a pool table in the back and everyone knew Jerry. The girl who ran the bar, well she was hot, not gorgeous but she was hot and I LOVED her but of course she had standards and rules about dating customers. Poor me. She was great and knew what everyone was drinking and there I always drank Sam Adams, the only place I drank Sam Adams. There almost always was a crowd there of people we knew. The other place was Bobby Valentine’s and the attraction there was a late night menu because sometimes we were starving after work. It was a different crowd there, more reserved serious drinkers but they had Rolling Rock. Sometimes we would go there and eat chicken wings, really good chicken wings and then Jerry would call the chick at No Frills before last call and tell her to put a couple of beers out and we would drive there. On these nights I drank maybe 3 or 4 beers but Jerry would easily drink 6 to 8 beers. He was well on his way to alcoholism and I even talked to him and he said he knew it but it was fun and he wasn’t going to stop. One night while driving around, we saw a group of cars at a house and an open front door and music was playing loud enough for us to hear it. Jerry makes me stop and next thing I know we walk in like we own the joint not knowing a single soul. When we were asked who we were Jerry gave some used car salesman story about looking for a party and he was sure this was the house but honestly he didn’t have the address or even remember the street name and we stayed for two beers.
You want to know where I am going right. In 1992 Faith No More came out with the album Angel Dust. It remains one of my all-time favorite albums always makes me think of crazy Jerry. I have often said that the worst thing that can happen to a band is to have their first album be their best album because for the rest of their career they are chasing that album. Pearl Jam would be an exception to that rule thriving despite their first album being their best, in fact one of the greatest albums of all time. Faith No More waited until their third album to make their greatest album. For a nyriad of reasons mostly band conflicts they have never equaled Angel Dust or The Real Thing afterwards. I will get arguments that because of the song and the video Epic that The Real Thing is the better album but I strongly disagree and I love that album. Angel Dust is harder, in your face with two incredibly amazing songs Kindergarten, and Midlife Crisis. Those songs though are just the best of a bunch of good songs. It’s a driving album, it really is. Write it a hundred times. One of the many reasons I loved No Frills and would go back long after Jerry went his own way after being fired and then moving was that Becky, that bar manager played it on the sound system. When one day they were not playing it I asked her to play it and she said it was a customer’s and they had taken it back. The next day I went and bought it for the bar. I loved that album and I still do.