A couple days ago there was a huge David Bowie celebration. Tons of artists took part in this by performing Bowie’s songs. A good portion of these performances were accompanied by Mike Garson, David’s longtime piano player. Among the people performing on this night were, Trent Reznor, Billy Corgan, Dave Navarro, Ian Astbury, Gavin Rossdale, Corey Taylor, Taylor Hawkins and so many more. I saw a few of these performances floating around and there were 2 that really stood out to me. It’s no surprise that the ones Trent Reznor performed were my favorite. He picked “Fantastic Voyage” from Bowie’s album, Lodger as well as “Fashion” from Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps). He was joined by Mike Garson and Atticus Ross on both songs along with his wife Mariqueen on the latter. Both of these turned out great. I do have to say that Trent’s dance moves during “Fashion” are quite fun to watch.
During these odd strange times, there have been a slew of bands doing fun covers (check out the Two Minutes To Late Night folks for some really great ones). One cover I heard recently, that I’m really enjoying is by one of the bands I’ve featured on here many times, Interstelar. They did a version of AC/DC’s “Highway To Hell” and defintely made it their own. Singer Jason Kothman’s voice makes this very cool and unique in a very bluesy sort of way. Do yourself a favor and crank this one up and have some fun!!!
One thing I genuinely enjoy about cover songs is when bands really make an effort to make it their own. Whether it’s changing up the vibe or arrangements, the new interpretation often times can take the song to new heights. A great example of this is The Smashing Pumpkins version of Joy Division’s “Transmission.” The Pumpkins take on it is spacey, borderline psychedelic and even transcendent at times. It’s different enough yet still pays homage in a very distinct way.
The Smashing Pumpkins- Transmission (from Adore Deluxe Set):
The Smashing Pumpkins- Transmission Live 98:
The Smashing Pumpkins w/Davey Havok and Peter Hook- Transmission Live 2018:
Last night, I was thinking of movies I haven’t seen in a long while and Lost Highway popped in my head. From that point, I had a couple songs stuck in my head. One was Nine Inch Nails “The Perfect Drug” and the other was the cover that Marilyn Manson did of “I Put A Spell On You.” This track was originally featured on the Smells Like Children EP. The original version of the song was done by Screamin Jay Hawkins but, is most famously done by Creedence Clearwater Revival (and that’s the one I associate it with most). This is definitely an interesting take on the song and fits perfectly on Lost Highway. Enjoy!
The 2001 parody movie, Not Another Teen Movie had it’s moments of hilarity but, the best part of the movie truly was the soundtrack. There are so many great cover songs on it. One of my favorites from it is Scott Weiland’s version of Depeche Mode’s “But Not Tonight.” The song is originally a B Side to the “Stripped” single by Depeche Mode. It was written during the bands Black Celebration era. Scott’s version is quite different but, it’s equally impactful. There’s a real warmth to Scott’s version too.
Many years ago, the mighty Cave In did something daring and courageous. They took on one of the greatest bands of all time and put their spin on one of their best songs. That band would be Led Zeppelin and the song was “Dazed and Confused.” Seeing as though Cave In is the type of band that is willing to take a chance and expand upon what they’ve done, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that they would tackle such a song. Just listen to their opus that is Jupiter (which by the way just turned 20 years old this year). Not only did they pull it off in a great way, they even went as far as opening their sets with their version of it a few times in the early 00’s. If you are a lucky one out there that owns their Anomalies Volume 3, you get the almost 11 minute long version of it. This is just the 6 minute live version but, it’s worth every second you listen.
Cave In- Dazed and Confused (Live at Marquee Theatre 2003):
And just because it’s awesome, listen to Jupiter while you’re at it!
During this age of quarantine, there is a lot of free time on musicians hands. Some are being very productive with writing new records and experimenting with new things. One of the things I’ve noticed is there is a huge flood of covers being done. A lot of them however are pretty meh and bland but, thankfully there is the people at Two Minutes To Late Night to save the day. Most recently, they conjured up a pretty impressive set of players to cover the Rush song “Anthem.” I’m not a big Rush fan but, this was too damn good not to share. Also if you haven’t seen the Rush documentary (I believe it’s still streaming on Netflix) you should check it out. It’s quite good. Anyways, this cover features Danny Carey of Tool on drums, Bill Kelliher of Mastodon on guitar, Les Claypool of Primus on bass, Stephen Brodsky of Cave In/Mutoid Man on guitar, Jordan Olds (aka Gwarsenio Hall) on guitar and Claudio Sanchez of Coheed and Cambria on vocals. What a killer job they did on this. Enjoy!
One of the best things about going back through a band’s catalog is finding all the things you forgot about. Over the last couple years, I’ve rediscovered my love for The Smashing Pumpkins, and through my journey, I keep finding so many wonderful gems. For example, in the deluxe edition of Pisces Iscariot, there are so many great songs on the bonus disc. This cover of Neil Young’s “Cinnamon Girl” was one I forgot about. It’s really a very cool cover with a different vibe, a la 90’s. The Type O Negative cover of this song is still the best but, the pumpkins sure do a damn good job with it.
I was talking to a friend the other day who is doing one of those post an album cover without explanation things on social media. One of the ones he posted was an album cover by The Donnas. It’s been so long since I’ve listened to them that it sent me on a little bit of a dig back through their catalog. While doing so, I remembered they did a pretty awesome and fun cover of the Kiss song “Strutter” for the soundtrack to Detroit Rock City. So for the fun of it, here’s that cover for you to enjoy.
One of my favorite new(ish) bands, If It Kills You, has released a stunning version of the Fugazi song “Rend It.” For those of you that don’t know, “Rend It” is on the Fugazi album, In On The Kill Taker (which is my favorite Fugazi album). This cover is true to the original but, with just enough oomph and grit to make it their own. Do yourself a favor and play this loud and when the mood strikes to start moving around to the music, go with the flow! And while you’re at it, check out the EP, Infinite Hum, by If It Kills You. It’s superb.