AS TRIBUTE ALBUMS mostly suck, perhaps it's appropriate
that the music world's most unlikely and reluctant icon should
be given the "treatment" by one of our most inscrutable
and willing iconoclasts. Joined by ex-Mothers Of Invention drummer
Black, Chadbourne gets into a free-spirited and free-form state
of mind we acolytes call "Beefheartian."
The duo nails it from the git-go with a sneaky update of "Buggy
Boogie Woogie," Chadbourne picking through a mutant jazzrock
extrapolation and Black thrumming happily along. A country-blues
"Willie The Pimp" and a bottle-neckin' "Sure 'Nuff
'N' Yes, I Do" follow. Then it's time for the Trout Mask
Replica portion of the program, and since the original album
resembled chaos to many upon its release, so too might this endurance
test. Hey mamas and dadas: Nobody said it was gonna be easy! (Write:
Fire Ant, 2009 Ashland Avenue, Charlotte, NC 28205)
One Nation Records
HEEL TO THE MASTER, Snoop Dogg and company--George Clinton
and P-Funk are back. Getting up there in years, Clinton hasn't
lost a step in his music or his wit. Dope Dogs, the most
recent release by Clinton et al, has everything you'd expect from
the Detroit funk ensemble: lysergic-bent Hendrix guitar work,
Battlestar Galactica vocals and underground comic album art. P-Funk
tips the hat to those who've aped their groove, and then shows
how it's really done. If you hear Public Enemy, Dr. Dre, and the
Beastie Boys in the mix, its no mistake--Clinton was literally
making people move while they were still in diapers. Add Clinton's
CIA/War on Drugs conspiracy lyrics and disses of everyone from
George Bush and Oliver North to radio blowhards Rush Limbaugh
and Ken Hamblin, and you've got a seven minute party.
USELESS, BUT MARKETABLE. First off, this whole industrial/goth/dance
schtick became passé the minute Nine Inch Nails hit the
Woodstock stage. And alterna-nihilism the choice of musical America?
As if! "I'm sticking pins and needles in the stinking rotten
flesh..." sings Skinny Puppy without a trace of irony in
"Candle." To paraphrase the Butthole Surfers, going
down to Florida, gonna let a death metal band stuff a red hot
tire iron up my ass. In the meantime, watered down stuff like
SP and Ministry sells because it's all image and no guts.
Still, kids will be kids, so they need role models. The band
goes out on a high note leaving behind a dead junkie. As any spark
of creativity is missing on this final record, the overdose makes
for a great PR hook, one which American has not been slow to exploit.
Was that Skinny Puppy--or "Sheep" or "Lemming"?