Aerosmith Top 10

As I suggested, getting my Aerosmith Top 10 would be an interesting exercise. It was. I ended up with 20 contenders, so I just arranged them in tiers. As a special bonus, I have links to .mp3s of all these.

Update: Some search engine decided it was cool to have people coming here to get their illegal .mp3s. The blog went down three times for excessive bandwidth use. Thanks. So I’ve removed most, or all, of the links.
Update 2: The jerks crashed me again, so now I’m taking off all links. Sad.

The first album I ever got was Aerosmith’s Greatest Hits. In 6th grade, this and The Beatles ‘Red Album” were all that was being played as we all learned about Rock and Roll during recess (back in those days you could make it to age 11 without being exposed to rock music every day). When my birthday rolled around, I asked for the Asmith of course. (Asmith and Aerofuckingsmith are both preferred versions of the band name, I knew that at 11). After I got it, my older brothers tooks me aside and explained the facts of life to me. Parents could get me bikes, clothes, stuff like that. When you wanted some rock, talk to the brothers. At any rate, I played that greatest hits album thousands of times over the next couple years. To this day, I still think of Back in the Saddle as “first song, side 2”.

The next phase was seeing them live. It was my second concert. (My first one, Bob Dylan w/ Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers was very good but I had no idea who Bob Dylan was at the time.) It was 1986 in the stadium where the Patriots played. It was a hell of a show. There were 3 opening bands, one of them being Yngvie Malmsteem. The poor guy. He’d be playing his heart out, using all his energy to win the crowd over, then the screen would show Joe wiping down his guitar and everyone would go nuts. I also saw my first mob action, as tens of thousands of fans rushed through the cops to the open area on the field. But I digress. The point is that Aerosmith live is amazing. They were great then, and they still are. They played a song I had never heard called Seasons of Wither. I was blown away. The next day I bought Get Your Wings, and I was hooked all over again. I’ve seen them around 10 times, which in my book is respectable dedication while still having a life.

No discussion of Aerosmith is complete without a mention of Funk Soul Cousin (as I now dub him), he is truly hardcore. He has Aerosmith tatoos. He’s seen them 50+ times. He has all their signatures multiple times, and I think at various times they have all signed on his actual body. I have seen him on MTV in a sleeveless shirt shivering in the freezing snow for hours on Storrow Drive waiting for the boys to show up for the release party. Now that’s dedication. (By the way, his favorite Asmith song is Uncle Salty.)

Anyhow, let’s get on to the meat of this post, the top 20. Each group is in no particular order.

Walk this Way (would have been higher years ago, I’ve grown sick of it)
You See me Crying
Taste of India
Lighting Strikes (That’s right, with Jimmy Freakin’ Crespo)
Hoodoo/Voodoo Medicine Man
What it Takes – This deserves a special mention for the guitar solo, one of favorites ever. The reverse bends on that sing so purely… this is around the era where Joe Perry really started improving his guitar playing. He’s become amazing at bending to the exact right note at the exact right speed, he’s become an expert slide guitar player, he’s learned how to work outside scales — his toolbox gets bigger every year. He’s gone from being a great sloppy bluesrock guitarist to being a great guitarist.
Toys in the Attic
Lord of the Thighs – A great song title. On the same album as Pandora’s Box. They don’t name ’em like that anymore, no they don’t.
Last Child

Dream On (orchestral remake)- The original was a great song. It didn’t age that well for me, so I’m including the orchestral version they did with Michael Kamen at one of the MTV things.
Kings and Queens
Hangman Jury – I saw them 5 or so times on the Permanent Vacation tour. This was always the highlight. The lights would go off. Then a vague light would appear on the stage, and cross my heart, Steven Tyler and Joe Perry would be sitting onstage in rocking chairs, and I’m not kidding here, Steven would have a little table on the side with a glass of iced tea, and they would sit on the porch and do this song. Just wonderful.
Full Circle – I mentioned previously the New Year’s Eve show. I think it was going into 1999. Aerosmith has traditionally done New Year’s Eve shows every year in Boston, and they’re always great. I think one of them was used in the taping of the video for Angel. Through the good graces of Funk Soul Cousin, we were in the 3rd row. I’ve rarely been in the front rows for a show. If you never have, you should. It’s a whole different show when you’re that close. There were two highlight. One was during Sweet Emotion. Joe Perry was playing on semi-automatic. He was looking around with a strange smile on his face. He turned and looked right at me and FSC and gave a look that said “Hey you two, look at me. I’m Joe freakin’ Perry. I’m in the best rock band on earth, I’m kicking ass on the guitar, and I’m the happiest man on earth. Damn, I am so cool.” FSC and I agreed with him. The other highlight was during Full Circle. Right at midnight, they unleashed balloons from the celing. They brought out all the wives, girlfriends, crew and roadies, turned the lights up, and we all sang the chorus over and over again while the balloons came down and everyone kissed each other. (Not FSC and me. We watched the girls in front of us kissing. The front rows at good rock shows are dominated by incredibly hotties (un)dressed at their best. It can get very distracting.) Below is a pic from that show.
Aerosmith, New Years Eve


Train Kept a Rollin’
Sweet Emotion
Seasons of Wither
Woman of the World
Back in the Saddle

I’m surprised at myself that I have nothing to say about the top 5. I’ve played these all so many times, I barely need the record. I went to the bank yesterday and Back in the Saddle was playing on the radio. As I went to the ATM, I was still singing it to myself. I got back in the car 90 seconds later, and as the car and radio came on, I was perfectly in sync with the song. Try that sometime, you’ll be surprised how hard it is to do.
You’ll notice most of these songs are from the early years (before the first greatest hits album). All of the top 5, and 8 of the top 10. My older brothers simply do not acknowledge the existence of Aerosmith after 1985. I wouldn’t go that far, but there is sure a big difference between the eras. (The difference has a lot to do with drugs, most of the bands I love had their creative peaks during drug years. That will be another post.)

In the meantime, enjoy these mp3’s, and go get yourself a copy of Get Your Wings and Toys in the Attic! You won’t regret it!

I am such a badass
Your blogging author gets down with his bad self all those years ago. Notice the shirt, 1986 Done With Mirrors tour.

The Music Must Change

I grew up on the immortal WBCN. When they changed formats (I forget the name of their new format, alternocrap or something), I switched to WZLX. Now I switch between “Dave FM” and 96.1, both of which play generous helpings of the music I like.

One tradition I love is the Memorial Day top 500 countdown. Being a rabid Who fan, I would wait to see how well the boys did. I have distinct memories of an awful weekend of long sweaty manual labor spent tarring our driveway, and then getting yelled at for doing it wrong and having to do most of it over. The only redeeming part to that weekend was the radio. The Who always got in the top 10 with Won’t Get Fooled Again, and there was a good shot that Baba O’Riley, Behind Blue Eyes, or Pinball Wizard would also be in that year’s top 10. Of course, everyone was playing for second place, it went without saying that the number one song would be Stairway to Heaven. The number one Song Remained the Same. (I hope y’all are getting the bad music puns I’m throwing in here.)

Then changes came. Growing up, the radio station was very upfront about ranking them as the “best 500”. Then over the years, it changed to the “top 500”, then to the “most requested 500”. Wussier and wussier.

Which brings us to the current day. 96.1, the local classic rock station “counts down you 496 most requested songs”. OK, ignore the typo, what’s an “r” between friends? Ignore the most requested songs, which makes the results as valid as your typical internet poll. No, what really gets me is the 496. Ya see, it’s like saying “For 96” or “For 96.1”, get it? Do ya get it? Huh huh, do ya get it?

Here is the top 10:

What is up with Stairway being at #2? Now I’m a big Aerosmith fan (the New Years Eve show I saw from Row 3 is one of the highpoints of my life), but c’mon. C’mon! Dream On is just not in the same league as Stairway. It just ain’t. It’s just plain wrong to argue otherwise. Not only would Dream On not make my top 10, it might not even make my Aerosmith top 10. Hmm… maybe that should be my next post.

And — Foreigner!? Kansas!? Are you #@$@!!! serious!? They correctly put Boston’s best song up there instead of More Than a Feeling, but it’s pretty questionable to put it at number 6. If you’re going to mess with the classic top 10, you got to bring some serious heat. Enter Sandman is a great pick, but the rest is just heresy.

(BTW, The Who had 8 songs in the countdown, 3 in the top 100.)

A bunch of good links

Random items of interest I’ve come across lately (sorry if the links don’t work. Get a membership to Salon, it’s worth it):

A Meterman steals hundreds of thousands of dollars, quarter by quarter.

Tennesse forgets to pay the phone bill, finance commisioner gets stuck in elevator, can’t phone for help.

“Crazy old coot” repeatedly calls 911 to report a pizza place that won’t deliver to her.

1000 lb guy loses half of it. “I really don’t know, and I really don’t care,” he said when asked what would be his ideal caloric intake.

Another brilliant piece by The Poorman

This is news?

So let me get this straight. A 69-year old man mistakenly flies his Cessna too close to the White House, setting up a 9/11 panic that evacuates the capitol. And the FAA revokes his license. I am stunned that this is newsworthy. The FAA revoking his license evokes the same suprise in me as if the sun came up in the morning.

So, if this is news that they revoke his license, what does that say for the FAA standards? ‘Though hundreds of people have mistakenly flown into Washington’s restricted airspace, the FAA rarely revokes a pilot’s license for such an offense. In this case, the agency determined Sheaffer “constitutes an unacceptable risk to safety in air commerce.'” Holy Moley!

If you’re a fan of Mr. Sheaffer, don’t worry. He can reapply for a new license in a year.

The FairTax

There have been some great discussions over at Jabley. Anyone who is interested in the taxing system should read through that area.

There have been many good points raised about The FairTax. I am quickly becoming a proponent. However, I am still bothered by two implications of one big idea. The idea is that any given item is taxed once and only once, at the point where a consumer buys it from a business. Not before, not after.

Not before:
Companies are not taxed on their purchases. The stated reason was not the one I gave in the above paragraph. The stated reason is that business profits eventually end up in the hands of an actual person, which must eventually spend it, and thus pay tax on it. And that any money that remains in the business is by definition investment, and therefore worthy of tax-free status. It’s the second rationale that bothers me. Not all purchases a business makes are investments, and plenty of investments that citizens make are.

I got a good comment from Micah Martello. Among other points, he says that “People already do this very same thing under the current system. Instead of paying the income tax, payroll tax, social security tax, medicare tax and compliance costs when you give yourself a salary to but that car you just pay yourself less and have the company buy the car. It’s still tax evasion under either system.”

I disagree. The difference is that under the current system, when the company bought the car, it paid sales taxes. Under The FairTax, it does not. Under the current system, when the company got the money to buy the car, it paid income tax on that. Under The FairTax it does not.

Not after: Under The FairTax, once an item has been taxed, it is never taxed again. Buying a used item is therefore tax free. I have troubles with this too. I see three related issues.
1) As I posted over at Jabley, it creates a perverse incentive if the value of a new item is more than 23% over the value of that same item used. Jabley dubbed this “Taxitrage”.
2) Who is checking? I don’t see any way to enforce this except to actually have an enormous data warehouse checking the status of every item in the USA. It’s absurd. Businesses have a huge incentive to commit fraud. “Sir, we have a special sale on ‘used’ computers, wink wink”
3) As a consumer, I’d be crazy to buy anything new. Why would I buy a new home, and pay an extra 23% on that price? Why would I buy a wireless router new, or a book, or just about anything. If I can get it used, I will. What does this do to the manufacturer? It amounts to a 23% hurdle that must be overcome in order to get the consumer to buy your product. In fact, it is very much like a tarriff that a foreign country must overcome to sell their goods in the USA, and high tarriffs are generally considered bad economics.

(Point 3 also leads to a 23% incentive to recycle consumer goods, and additionally gives the poorer people a way to purchase goods tax-free. Maybe that’s the point, though I don’t recall seeing that anywhere.)

Paying at the grocery

I’ve been awfully political lately, here’s some lighthearted stuff to break the mood.

OK, you know those things that you use to pay with a credit/debit card at the grocery? This is one of the worst machines I’ve ever seen. I’ve used it well over one hundred times, and I still have to stop and read every button every time. Have you ever seen someone try to use it for the first time? You might as well be in line behind some who wants to pay by trading leftover kleenex — it’s gonna be a while.

The sad part is that 95% of patrons are using it to do the exact same thing — pay with a card. How hard is that? The price comes up, you swipe your card, you push yes. How many buttons do you need? Two? They have over 20. A standard numeric keypad. 3 keys that change their function depending what point you are in the process. Another 3 or 6 with various payment options. It’s insane. Think about this device the next time you use it. Then tell me I’m wrong.

Sadly, I feel just as strongly about this as I do the political material. There will be more posts on bad user interfaces in normal life. It drives me crazy. I actually spend time nodding my head while I read sites like this.

Update: Here is a pic of the interface so you can see how ridiculous it is.

Bush and the Media

Earlier, I said that the media let the Bushies get away with their lies. They have, so the Bushies lie more. If you can make up quotes about Gore, make up stories about Gore, and no one calls you on it, then why would you stop? Until the Bushies are shown some negative reinforcement, they have every reason to grow more secretive, more autocratic, more arrogant, more insular, and more deceptive. Yglesias says it better:

I used to get mad at the administration for trying to manipulate people all the time. I don’t anymore. You can hardly blame them. Everyone would act this way if the media were so casual about letting them get away with it. But now we’re well beyond letting them get away and deep into aiding-and-abetting territoriy.

The only difference between us is that I am still mad.