Tuesday, December 18, 2018

“Maybe you weren’t on my side all along…”

14.  DINOSAUR JR “Out There” (1993)
From the album “Where You Been”

…Or, more relevantly for me, from the soundtrack to “Wayne’s World 2”, as owned by me on tape in the early-to-mid nineties.  I (mis?) remember there being a printing error on the inlay, which led me to believe this was the first track on side two, when in actual fact – shock horror! – it was the last track on side one.  Boy, I hope someone got fired for THAT blunder.

I remember said soundtrack being slightly under par, particularly in comparison to the first “Wayne’s World” soundtrack; then again, it might just be that I’d had more experience of music by then and found it perhaps less surprising, plus that it coincided with my swing away from largely American rock to British indie music, as a quick review of the respective tracklistings show the sequel to be the superior offering.

With more of a focus on classic rock, including Golden Earring’s road ode “Radar Love”, the Joan Jett version of “I Love Rock ‘N’ Roll” and Edgar Winter’s sublime instrumental workout “Frankenstein”, and a version of The Carpenters’ melancholic masterpiece “Superstar” that not even the hateful Chrissie Hynde can drag down, it simply hangs together better as a coherent whole.

That’s not to say it doesn’t have its problems – nobody needed “What’s Up?”, let alone a second 4 Non Blondes song, and the two Aerosmith live offerings are execrable, and I say that as an Aerosmith apologist.  I draw the line at apologising for “Dude Looks Like A Lady” though – it wasn’t cool to say that then, it isn’t cool to say it now, and it needs throwing into a flaming bin, right next to “Ace Ventura: Pet Detective”.

When I got that tape, I didn’t know that much about Dinosaur Jr, other than having their track “Start Choppin’” – from the same album as this, as it turned out – on a compilation called “Loaded”, which I’ve written about elsewhere.  This is the heavier of those two, but very similar in layout – hooky, solo-laden grunge guitar mini-epics with a slack drawl crooned over the top.  When I say ‘solo-laden’, I’m not lying; the song STARTS with a guitar solo, and there are at least two other solos throughout.  It’s like ZZ Top in flannel shirts with cracked amplifiers, and it’s really, really good.

It blew me away the first time I heard it (well, technically; I must have heard it in the film, but I certainly didn’t recall that when listening to the soundtrack), it blows me away today.  It completely blew me away at Nightmare Before Christmas 2006 in Minehead’s Butlins, when a quaint English holiday camp was invaded by Iggy and The Stooges and about 12,000 grunge, punk and stoner bands.  And when I hear this I’m always transported back there – full of beer, fat of gut, ill-advised of fashion choices, watching a profoundly grey haired J Mascis tear into that opening solo.

Join us next time for a band who were known in the “Eighties”, but still active around the “Millennium”, and are best heard from “Outside The Gate”!

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