In the Arena, 7/4

3 Jul


Happy Fourth of July! In honor of our nation’s birthday, this week’s blog focuses on my favorite American bands. With apologies to Grand Funk Railroad, here are my top all-American bands (in no particular order, I might add).

THE REPLACEMENTS – Regular readers of my blog aren’t surprised by this choice. Their albums “Let It Be,” “Tim,” and “Pleased To Meet Me” (which was recorded in Memphis) are three of my favorites of all time.

THE GRATEFUL DEAD – I can’t say that I’m a true Deadhead (that would be my wife), but the band was an American institution. I wish I could tell you about the time I saw them in New Orleans, but the memories are quite fuzzy. I do remember members of the Neville Brothers and the Bangles (!?!) appearing on stage that night. Rest in peace, Jerry.

AEROSMITH – One of the best rock bands ever. I’m not a huge fan of their recent (1989 on) material, but the seventies classics like “Dream On”, “Sweet Emotion”, and “Draw The Line” are phenomenal. Oh, and their Guitar Hero game is pretty cool as well. If only I could beat my daughter’s high scores…

WEEZER – Their latest album isn’t their best (it’s hard to top the blue album, “Pinkerton” or “Maladroit”), but “Pork & Beans” is a great rock song.

VAN HALEN – Only the David Lee Roth years qualify. Dave could get cheesy (see most of “Diver Down” and his entire solo career), but he was the perfect frontman for the band. And “Fair Warning” is one of the most underrated albums ever.

NIRVANA – The band that killed hair metal (thank goodness!). If only Kurt Cobain were still around.

PEARL JAM – Sometimes Eddie Vedder gets a little too political for my tastes, but their output in the nineties was excellent.

THE ALLMAN BROTHERS BAND – From Duane Allman to Warren Haynes to Derek Trucks, this band has featured some of the best guitar players in the history of rock. Still a great live band.

That’s my list. Remember this was bands only, so solo acts like Bruce Springsteen, Billy Joel, and Prince weren’t eligible. I’m also quite certain I left someone out, but I really need to get back to my regular job as arena director. Speaking of my regular job, the Mudcats continue their quest for a championship this Saturday, July 5, at 7 p.m. Have a happy Fourth of July and hopefully I’ll see you at Saturday’s game.

Now’s your turn. Let me know who your favorite American bands are! Who knows, maybe we can get them to play here at some point in the future…

Until next time,


14 Responses to “In the Arena, 7/4”

  1. sheenabarnett July 3, 2008 at 9:00 pm #

    Ohh, good topic, Todd.

    My picks?

    My Chemical Romance — As if my dear Scene readers don’t know that one already. 🙂 But this band provides the soundtrack to the Great American Teenage Experience – “I’m Not Okay (I Promise)” and “Teenagers” being prime examples.

    The Beach Boys — There is no song in the world that beats “God Only Knows.”

    The Decemberists — I don’t talk about my love for The Decemberists much but I listen to them at least 10 times a day…at LEAST. “Yankee Bayonet (I Will Be Home Then)” is a classic American song.

    Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers — Please, they’ve even got the song — “American Girl.” Tom Petty rocks my world.

    Smashing Pumpkins — All the 90s love usually goes to Nirvana and Pearl Jam (deserving bands, I admit), but there’s nothing like the Pumpkins. Billy Corgan screeching “Despite all my rage, I am still just a rat in a cage” is amazing, even 10 years later.

    Runners-up: Band of Horses, The White Stripes, Scissor Sisters, Green Day, The Ramones.

  2. Todd Hunt July 3, 2008 at 9:27 pm #

    Tom Petty gets included on my solo artist list. Smashing Pumpkins could (and probably should) have made my list, but I didn’t have room for everyone. “Gish” is one of my favorite albums. The White Stripes and Green Day are both impressive as well.

  3. Geddy Lee July 7, 2008 at 1:18 pm #

    Here’s a Top 10 list of great American bands not listed by Todd or Sheena:

    CHICAGO: Only the music before Terry Kath’s death count. The Chicago from that era belongs in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

    ZZ TOP: White man’s blues, Texas-style.

    KISS: One of the best live bands ever.

    HEART: No band had singers who could harmonize like Ann and Nancy Wilson.

    LYNYRD SKYNYRD: One word says it all – “Freebird!”

    NEW YORK DOLLS: One of the forefathers of American punk.

    RUNAWAYS: Set the standard for tough chick rock.

    GUNS ‘N’ ROSES: There’s no telling what this band would’ve accomplished had the original members stuck together.

    MOTLEY CRUE: Nasty boys playing nasty rock.

    THE 1970S-EARLY 1980S ARENA ROCK BAND OF YOUR CHOICE: Pick one from these greats and you can’t go wrong — Boston, Journey, REO Speedwagon, Styx, Cheap Trick.

  4. bigwoolymammoth July 8, 2008 at 12:33 pm #

    are you white stripes fans going to see jacks other band, the raconteurs, in memphis? sept 29th, i believe……i like both, but i think the raconteurs are better……but theyre apples to oranges.

  5. sheenabarnett July 8, 2008 at 12:37 pm #

    Hey Mammoth,

    Indeed – like any good music nerd, I got my tickets the day they went on sale! I saw the White Stripes last year and that was an incredible show. I have a feeling this Raconteurs show will be just as awesome. But yeah, you’re right — apples to oranges.

  6. bigwoolymammoth July 9, 2008 at 10:15 am #

    allsum, maybe ill see you there…the cannon center is supposed to be nice…..also going to see mark knopler in nashville next week at the ryman…..and MMJ the month after….been very pleased with the way my summer music schedule has lined up.

  7. Todd July 9, 2008 at 11:49 am #

    I’m still on the fence for the Raconteurs date. I did see the White Stripes last year in Southaven – what a show! Another good show coming up will be Blind Melon in Starkville next month…

  8. sheenabarnett July 9, 2008 at 12:14 pm #

    Dang, Mammoth, color me jealous!

    About the only huge show I’ve been to this year was Memphis in May. So I’m really super-hyped for The Raconteurs. It seems like last summer I went to concert after concert but this year’s been slow for me.

    Mammoth, are you huge into indie rock? Have you heard about the big gigs coming to the Lyric in Oxford, like Drive-By Truckers, Conor Oberst and Neko Case?

  9. bigwoolymammoth July 9, 2008 at 12:42 pm #

    no, not really a big indie guy….but will usually give anyone a chance. i knew the truckers are playing the newly revamped lyric theatre oct. 1st and have heard that gov’t mule is coming too, but havent heard a date. ive never heard of the other two, but saw them on their calander. my friend tate moore, of kudzu kings fame, just opened up a pizza joint right across the street called square pizza. $2/ square, so stop in and check it out if you are over that way……he will appreciate the bizz.

    sigur ros is interesting if youve never gotten to listen.

  10. bigwoolymammoth July 9, 2008 at 12:44 pm #

    todd, ive been impressed with the new look blind melon……and i really didnt think i would be. heard the last show at ricks was rawking.

  11. bigwoolymammoth July 9, 2008 at 1:11 pm #

    i see where i misspelled knopfler above(dire straits) anyways, if your bored and looking for some new tunes might i suggest…..the new mastersounds(british guys playing funk, just allsum)…becks new album is super(i might not supposed to have it yet, but i do)….levon helm band(of The Band)….dr. johns new album is good…

    if you like my direction i can keep you going for days.

  12. sheenabarnett July 9, 2008 at 2:26 pm #

    Wow, I didn’t know that about Tate Moore. I interviewed him two years ago when I started at Scene. Pretty cool.

    Yeah, send your suggestions away! I’m always looking for new music/artists to check out.

  13. bigwoolymammoth July 11, 2008 at 1:42 pm #

    been listening to these guys today….they are touring with lucero.

    also, blue mountains new album should be out by next month.

  14. sheenabarnett July 11, 2008 at 9:32 pm #

    Ah, Glossary. I got their album from a friend of mine a few months ago. I’ve never taken the time to listen to the ENTIRE record, but a few songs I’ve heard here and there are really awesome. Got any favorites?

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