Tag Archives: special forces

Eugeology #17 – King Kobra’s Ready to Strike

After last week’s weirdness, this choice from Eugene was a welcome return to more standard ’80s hairband rock. Lots of guitar riffs, soaring lead vocals punctuated with backing vocals on the refrains – yep, that’s our ’80s hairband sound and we’re going to stick with it. And with a name like King Kobra, what else would you expect?

If we were using a 5 point scale I’d give these guys a solid 2.5. Didn’t love it, but it was about average. The lyrics and lead vocals were a little strained and more than a little than over the top at some points, but given the genre and the era, I don’t think you can hold that against them.

Of the ten tracks, I liked Shadow Rider and Dancing With Desire best, mainly because Mark Free’s vocals were, comparatively, more restrained and didn’t draw as much attention to themselves as on the other tracks. They also had less of the glam-band feel and fit what I’d consider a more traditional hard rock mold. Overall, the album wasn’t bad but it did have the feel of a debut, which it was.

Long story short – it wouldn’t hurt you to listen, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to get it.

Update: Just read Tim’s take and he is going to disagree with my review wholeheartedly, and I’m pretty sure Eugene will too. The trend I’m noticing is that they enjoy the hallmark features of 80s hairbands more than I do. I agree with Tim that the guitar play is strong without being over the top – I should have mentioned that in my initial review – and that Free’s got a helluva voice. I just don’t think the style is in my wheelhouse.

Links & Notes

Ready to Strike Wikipedia Page

King Kobra’s Wikipedia page

Eugene’s Take at Wheeler’s Dog

Tim’s Take at Useless Things Need Love Too

Eugeology #16 – Alice Cooper’s Special Forces

This is a review I struggled with because I just don’t know that I have the music-review chops to adequately describe what I think of this album, so let’s just make it simple: this album is weird. Why? Well, it just is. It doesn’t sound like other stuff I’ve heard from Alice Cooper, and it doesn’t really fit neatly any genre with which I’m familiar.

Just because it’s weird, though, doesn’t mean it’s bad. There are definitely some tracks I thought were kind of fun like You Want It, You Got It, You Look Good in Rags and Don’t Talk Old to Me, but I swear I couldn’t give you a single example of anything that it’s similar to in my experience. Hell, if I didn’t have the album’s Wikipedia page to reference I couldn’t even tell you the 5-year timeframe in which it was recorded. The year was 1981, by the way, and I challenge you to listen to it and say it really sounds like anything else coming out at that time.

Hate to be a broken record (insert pun groan here), but it’s just plain weird. I think I’ve decided I don’t overly like it, but I can’t really say I didn’t like it. I just don’t know what to do with it, or what to tell you about it, so give it a listen yourself and see what you think.

Links & Notes

Special Forces Wikipedia Page

Alice Cooper’s Wikipedia page

Eugene’s Take at Wheeler’s Dog

Tim’s Take at Useless Things Need Love Too

The Punkest of Almost Rock Stars

What to do after you've been kicked out of two of the biggest bands in rock? Go special forces of course:

Even with more than 20 years of perspective, Everman still doesn’t have a clear answer for what went wrong. “To be honest, I never had any expectations about the gig,” he told me. “It just ended.” In “Come as You Are,” the definitive book on Nirvana, by Michael Azerrad, Cobain dismissed Everman as a “moody metalhead.” Even worse, he boasted about not paying Everman back for “Bleach,” claiming it was payment for “mental damages.” In Nirvana — a band with a lead singer so famously tortured that he would commit suicide — Jason Everman was kicked out for being a head case…

Everman had always liked Nirvana, but he loved Soundgarden. Playing bass for them — on the verge of stardom as they were — was the most-coveted gig in Seattle — even one of Everman’s old friends, Ben Shepherd, auditioned. Soundgarden, meanwhile, had called Jason right away. “We knew things ended with Nirvana on less-than-ideal terms,” Kim Thayil, their guitarist, told me. “He didn’t fit with Nirvana? Big deal. That’s them. We’re Soundgarden. We’re a different animal.” In the first audition, he impressed them all. “Jason was the guy,” Soundgarden’s drummer, Matt Cameron, remembered. “Jason came prepared.” After the disaster with Nirvana, now Everman was playing bass for his favorite Seattle band. He couldn’t believe his luck. As he put it to me, “What were the chances of all that happening?”…

When Soundgarden returned home, they called a band meeting. Jason showed up on Cameron’s porch thinking it was about the next record. Thayil told me, “I thought I would be diplomatic . . . and wasn’t getting to the point.” He said Chris Cornell, Soundgarden’s singer, finally cut to the chase: It wasn’t working out, Cornell said. Thayil remembers thinking: We’re not behaving like a band. I’m not happy. No one here is happy. No one’s talking to each other. Just like that, Everman was fired again…

When he arrived for basic training at Fort Benning, his hair was cut, his nose ring was removed; he was as anonymous as every other recruit. At 26, he wasn’t an old-timer, but he was close to it. Training had been going on for about a month when Cobain committed suicide and Everman’s rock past was discovered, which gave more ammunition to the drill sergeants. There was a lot of “O.K., rock star, give me 50.” Everman insists he didn’t expect anything else…

I wanted to know every detail, but he wouldn’t say much. Or couldn’t. There’s a code among Special Forces: they don’t talk about what they do. I actually think this was part of the appeal for Everman. After having such a public rock face, he went for something that wasn’t just anonymous; it was classified. Mimi once met a couple of Special Forces guys who idolized Jason. “They didn’t approach like the usual fanboys who asked, ‘Your brother was in Nirvana?’ ” she said. “No, they came to me like: ‘Jason Everman is your brother?’ ” One turned to the other and said, “Dude, do you know what that guy’s done?”…

After he left the military in 2006, he used the G.I. Bill to apply to two places: Seattle University and Columbia University. He says he threw Columbia in almost as a joke. General McChrystal wrote a letter of recommendation. To Everman’s shock, he was accepted. “It’s almost like a dare that went too far — and it keeps going.” At 45, he just received his bachelor’s degree in philosophy.