BOC, BRAIN: X-Brothers, Heaven Forbid, Brain Surgeons

Jon Jarrett jjarrett at CHIARK.GREENEND.ORG.UK
Sun Sep 3 18:59:46 EDT 2000

        Far too long since I chimed in on a BOC thread :-)

On Thu, 31 Aug 2000, John A. Swartz wrote:

> > Are you guys kidding???  I'd trade everything after
> > Imaginos for one really heartfelt, kick-ass new studio
> > by the original five members!  ON the other hand, I
> > don't really think I'd care all that much to see them
> > just rehashing the old stuff. I'd still pay to see it,
> > mind you. . . but I'd much rather see a full-on studio
> > collaboration.
> When you say "everything after Imaginos", are you referring only to BOC,
> or BOC/tBS/X-Brothers?  If you just mean BOC, I'd agree - that only
> leaves out HF, Bad Channels, and lost of compilations.  My point was
> more that there would be too much "politics" involved - Al and Joe would
> probably only get a few songs on the album, and much of the volume of
> material they've released since Imaginos would go unreleased.  Also, I'm
> assuming that just getting the lineup back together wouldn't recreate
> the kind of vibe and chemistry they had back in the 70s.

        That's it - that one kick-ass album would never happen. You can't
recreate that first few years' chemistry after all the water under the
bridge. Besides, Eric would probably get murdered and then where would we
be? (Joke...)

        <a few snips>

> > I'd have to say I'm somewhere in the middle.  I like
> > her on some songs, don't on others.  I have to say,
> > though, that she  really ruins one of my favorite TBS
> > tunes, "A Kiss Is A Promise", with that ungodly
> > wailing.  That high-pitched, throat-rava ging scream
> > just doesn't fit if you ask me.  Otherwise I think it's
> > a great tune.
> What, Deb just ain't "sensitive" enough for ya?  ;-)
> But, that "ungodly wailing" may not seem to fit the song, but it fits
> the overall vibe of *Trepanation*, IMHO.

        I think it *does* fit the song - it's about hurt and she sounds
like she knows about it. No sweet-voiced starlet is going to carry that
off, at least now Billie Holliday is dead. Deb's entirely capable of doing
the soulful and sweet, as `Casa Del Sol' on _Box of Hammers_ shows. Just
not what was needed here. But then, I remember when Deb was on this list
and I still wouldn't dare say a word against her :-)

> And again, I'm not saying we wouldn't like to see a "reunion", I just
> don't think a continued long-term partnership would be in the best
> interests of the bandmembers or the fans.

        A song or two with Al or Joe as guest writers or even musicians
would be a fine thing. I'm less excited, though still quite, about the
possibility that we might now see Buck with tBS, which although no-one's
said anything is a lot more possible than it used to be. On the other
hand, Al and Joe back in the band, no thanks. Too much bad history, it
could only disappoint and muck up tBS and XBros into the bargain. But I
think 3OC could sure use some help writing songs these days, and why not
get it from the same place they used to? :-)

> I see it more as a step in the direction of friendships that transcend
> music - I don't see it as necessarily a step toward future musical
> collaboration.  That isn't why they got together.  From a fan's
> standpoint it's very cool to think that we will hear music in the future
> from Buck/Al/Joe playing together.  But from THEIR perspectives, I
> expect the much more cool thing was that they were able to get together
> and pay tribute to a mutual friend - and maybe share some personal
> moments with eachother.  If it ultimately leads to future musical
> collaboration, that's great - but that would really be a by-product of
> why they got back together in the first place (and it would be unfair
> for fans to place any sort of expectation in this).

        This is well up to John's normal standard of balance and I leave
it in because I can't better it :-)

> > No, my dislike is not because of her style, talent or delivery. I just
> > can't
> > get used to a female voice in my rock n' roll. Like I said, its my own
> > little hang up.
> Paul Stanley once said, "How can you understand rock and roll if you
> don't have balls?"
> Of course, he made a living out of wearing makeup... ;-)

        There are so many men who don't understand rock'n'roll despite a
full set of equipment that I don't think they can be mandatory :-)

> > > Uh, guess what?  Jon Shirley didn't write the lyrics to "Harvest Moon".
> >
> > I'm assuming that BD did? Its always been hard for me not to like any
> > BD song.
> Yes, I believe he did.

        Yup, it's a Buck song I believe, and the only one on _Heaven
Forbid_ on which the lyrics don't annoy me. I can manage `Hammer Back',
but the rest of Shirley's verbiage strikes me as taking the bluntest tools
available to express one very simple idea. Pearlman he ain't; Meltzer he
ain't, hell he ain't anyone who previously wrote for the band really. Only
`You Weren't The One' reaches his level of banality IMO. Which is odd,
because his prose isn't too bad - tries too hard to be Steven King but
shows much more imagination and variety than these lyrics. `The Horsemen
Arrive' shows he can do better, I just wish he would, or that they'd get
their words somewhere else.

> >  But as an Album, Trepanation never had the
> > feelin' of internal cohesion that Epon. or the other 3 had...
> I feel the opposite - Trepanation was much more "cohesive" than
> Eponymous.  Box of Hammers is also very cohesive.  The other albums less
> so - which really is to say that there are more stylistic variations on
> them.    But, to each his/her own...

        I have to say, _Box of Hammers_ is the only one of the first 4
(haven't got PoW yet - priorities, like eating and so on) I think really
makes it as an album. Well, that's unfair, _Trepanation_ is to my mind the
most consistent product, but I think that adherence to the sound damps
some of the material a bit - sharper production or just less fuzz might
have helped a few of them considerably I feel. On the other hand I can see
how the band wanted to record something more organic than _Eponymous_,
which is assuredly super-fine in production but was recorded to
click-tracks and sounds too, well, slick and robotic. Its material is
however brilliant - nonetheless, it's only _Box of Hammers_ that for me
matches up to BOC for sheer excitement. The others are just rock albums -
they're very good, hey, they're probably better than several BOC albums in
empirical terms but they don't have that spark, that magic that BOC still
always have. The loud tracks on _Malpractise_ come close also.

        My point being, if I can still remember, that I think
_Trepanation_ *is* the most cohesive tBS album, and that compared to the
others that's its failing. BoH every time for me. Yours,

ObCD: V/A - _The Elf & The Hawk_
 |  Jon Jarrett (01223 741219)           jjarrett at
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