Saturday, August 25, 2007

Riddle of the Eighties

Gotta admit, it took me a while to understand fIREHOSE, coming from my Heavy Metal Parking Lot aesthetic. "Too artsy and experimental!" I thought. "Where's the guitar distortion?", I whined. I didn't know about the Minutemen. I didn't know about SST Records, or the whole proto-DIY anti-corporate thing. Back then, corporate rock was the pinnacle to me!

When reconsidering the legacy of the Minutemen and fIREHOSE, you've got to acknowledge the musicianship. In both bands, three dudes play distinctly different riffs with distincly different agendas. Unlike, say, Phil Spector's Wall of Sound™, (where 23 separate instruments pound the same chord into a single sound), the Minutemen/fIREHOSE triumverates open up the aural landscape with an angular, jazzy approach. It's more John Coltrane than John Doe.

Though fIREHOSE never matched the Minutemen's inspired simplicity, they managed to create some of the most interesting music of the late 80's-early 90's, before indie was kool.

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