Written By Braddon S. Williams

Rollins Band: Weight

Henry Rollins first rose to fame as one of the lead singers for the seminal hardcore punk band, Black Flag. By the mid ’90’s, Rollins was fronting the Rollins Band, a hard rocking vehicle for Henry’s intense stage presence as an angry, intelligent guy with a lot on his mind.

Weight (1994) contained his best known song, Liar, a brilliant character study that spawned a highly entertaining video that gained even more exposure on an episode of Beavis & Butthead, truly a barometer for all that was cool in that era of grunge and attitude.

Rollins was never much of a singer, but had the good sense to surround himself with a monster backup band that featured Sim Cain on drums, Chris Haskell on guitar, and making his debut on Weight, the entirely badass Melvin Gibbs on bass.

Rollins Band delivered a lot of mean grooves and spiky rhythm shifts to accentuate Henry’s always entertaining verbiage.

In addition to Liar, Weight weighed in with Disconnect, Civilized, Wrong Man, Icon, Divine Object Of Hatred, Step Back, and Fool. Beavis & Butthead were quite enthusiastic about Rollins Band, and so am I.

Influences And Recollections of a Musical Mind

Written By Braddon S. Williams

Alice in Chains: Jar of Flies

Although technically not a full album, Jar Of Flies (1994) by Alice In Chains features some of my favorite songs they ever wrote, and certainly contains more great music than many proper length albums, then or now.

There is something about the primarily acoustic flavor of these songs that bring out elements that Alice In Chains truly excelled at, like the supernatural beauty of the way Layne Staley and Jerry Cantrell harmonized.

Sometimes 2 voices blend together and somehow create a third voice, something that kind of becomes its own entity.

It is hard to explain, but I have always heard Layne and Jerry as just one voice, one spirit.

Whatever you call it, or however you hear it, it is simply a glorious thing, and it is all over Jar Of Flies.

Check out Nutshell, Don’t Follow, No Excuses, and I Stay Away.

Alice In Chains kind of channeled that kind of spookiness and mystery that Zeppelin perfected on some of their acoustic based material, but filtered through their own version of the Seattle sound.


Influences And Recollections of a Musical Mind

Written By Braddon S. Williams

Nirvana: Nevemind

Let’s face it…this one started a revolution!

Nirvana’s Nevermind (1991) really put Grunge Nation on the map, and designated Kurt Cobain as the voice of his generation.

Nevermind came at just the right time in history, which just so happened to occur after the band chose Dave Grohl to be their new drummer.

Cobain wrote deceptively simple songs that stuck in your head for days and had really cryptic lyrics that either made no sense at all or hit the listener like revelations.

Whatever interpretation one had, the impact of Nevermind was undeniable.

For an album that initially wasn’t expected to sell many copies, it has racked up sales of over 10 million in the U.S. alone, and over 30 million worldwide.

From the opening guitar chords of Smells Like Teen Spirit, it became obvious that something both familiar and brand new was happening in Seattle.

Other future classics included In Bloom, Breed, Something In The Way, Come As You Are, Territorial Pissings, Lithium, and Lounge Act.

The entire album is brilliant, and sounds huge.

There is a reason that Nevermind is rated as highly as it is…it is simply an incredible creation.


Influences And Recollections of a Musical Mind

Written By Braddon S. Williams

Soundgarden: Bad Motorfinger

Although Soundgarden are rightfully acknowledged as one of the Big 4 of Grunge, there is far more to their sound than just plaid shirts and fuzz toned, down tuned guitars.

Badmotorfinger (1991) was their breakthrough album, and displayed more depth and diversity in their songwriting and in overall production values.

Seattle was definitely a hot spot of talent and creativity, and the entire scene was prepped to become a national happening. Badmotorfinger flew high on the soaring vocals of Chris Cornell, coupled with imaginative use of alternate tunings and odd time signatures which separated them from most of the hard rock pack of the time.

Songs like Outshined, Rusty Cage, Drawing Flies, Jesus Christ Pose, Slaves & Bulldozers, New Damage, Holy Water, and Searching With My Good Eye Closed were among the best stuff Soundgarden had written at that point in their career.

The album was expertly produced by Terry Date, who also did some incredible work with PanterA, among others.

In the wave of Grunge madness that swept the nation, Badmotorfinger remains one of the best albums ever of that massively popular genre.


Influences And Recollections of a Musical Mind

Dirt is the album that put Alice In Chains firmly in the big league. It is a brutally dark album, with death and heroin lurking in virtually every corner. There is raw beauty (the haunting vocal harmonies of Layne Staley and Jerry Cantrell are simply a force of nature), memorable story lines (Rooster, Down In A Hole, Angry Chair), and plenty of rock hard riffs (Them Bones, Would?) but overall, Dirt is a relentless ride through the perils of the drug life and it is a no-comprising, non flinching account of what Alice In Chains faced in the years of the early ’90’s. Is it metal or is it grunge? Who cares…it’s a masterpiece of despair with an iron core of never surrendering the fight for life…and it endures for its honesty and bravery. Art is rarely easy, and Alice In Chains found out the hard way.

Written By Braddon S. Williams

Influences And Recollections of a Musical Mind