's blog

It's been a week now since my last dose of Gov't Mule and I am still content.  As a longtime fan I had gone to the show with a touch of apprehension.  This would be my first time seeing the Mule since the departure of recent bass fixture, Andy Hess.   The Kinder Revolution tour, which runs through a two-night stand at the Fillmore in San Francisco on November 22nd, is Jorgen Carlsson's first trip out with the group.  I confess to not digging up any info on the man, because I didn't want to form an opinion before hearing him live.

This was my first trip out to the Carnegie Music Hall of Homestead and I have to say that I am thoroughly pleased with this venue.  Dig this:  once inside you can actually leave the venue and re-enter.   Let me repeat that.  This venue has no code against re-entry.  I was dumbfounded by this.  It seems every venue in town refuses to let you go outside and catch a breath of fresh air or take a little walk around the block if the mood strikes you.  Some venues are even charging you to get a wristband so you can take a cigarette break (without naming names, I'm looking at Carson Street on that one).  The absolute freedom of the venue was refreshing.  The two bands performing within it even more so.

Back Door Slam, a blues-rock power trio from the Isle of Man, who fit perfectly with Gov't Mule's sound opened the night.  It's easy to see why Warren Haynes and company chose them to open.  They have the same spirit and level of talent of the early trio version of Gov't Mule.  They must have played a thousand notes and each one of them was the right note.  I'm looking forward to the next Pittsburgh show from this group.

I do miss Hess's dirty rock 'n roll groove, but was not disappointed by Carlsson's playing.  The band came out fired up with a rendition of Black Sabbath's "War Pigs," despite the one-song absence of Danny Louis on keys.  Then they jammed on their own composition "Painted Silver Light" from their debut disc.  The set covered a lot of ground, but had a definite early-Mule bent.  They reprised "I Think You Know What I Mean" (from Life Before Insanity) into Zeppelin's "When the Levee Breaks" back into "I Think You Know What I Mean" like they did at their Byham Theatre show a few years back.

In the second set, after a nice leisurely walk around the venue of course, "Temporary Saint" was another highlight.  Warren's voice had that cool Southern ache that only his guitar could match for emotional force.  A few tunes later the band left Matt Abts to stun the audience with ten+ minutes of primal drumming.  He rocked his first solo with sticks, his second with mallets, and his third with his bare hands.  The theatre went nuts.  The band's encore saw the return of Davy Knowles of Back Door Slam trading solos with Warren on the Muddy Waters tune "Champagne & Reefer" and Cream's "Politician".

To me the evening's two sets played out like a sweet long road trip.  I'll most likely be picking this up from Mule Tracks and playing it in my car religiously.  Now I just need a destination...

reprinted from

Set 1
War Pigs Trio-without Danny Louis
Painted Silver Light
A Million Miles From Yesterday
Slackjaw Jezebel
I Think You Know What I Mean->
When The Levee Breaks->
I Think You Know What I Mean
No Need To Suffer
I Shall Return
Lay Your Burden Down
Little Wing

Set 2
Get Behind The Mule
Temporary Saint
Left Coast Groovies

Champagne & Reefer with Davey Knowles
Politician with Davey Knowles


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awesome blues Carnegie concert Gov't Mule groovy guitar Homestead rock

I would urge that when thinking of the best songs of the 90's for our current poll that you give a nod to the tragically under-appreciated songwriting talents of Brad Nowell and his group Sublime.

I'm not going to vote on this poll because I would simply be copying the tracklist of 40 oz. To Freedom, or that of Sublime.

I realize that for a thousand artists the 90's were a prolific period.  You had your Smashing Pumpkins, your Pearl Jams, your Rage Against the Machines, your Faith No Mores, your REMs, your DMBs, your Black Crowes, your Nirvanas, your Ugly Kid Joes (haha no..... okay, maybe I loved them ), your Flaming Lips, your Portisheads, your Bob Dylans (Time out of Mind), your Eric Claptons ("Tears in Heaven" - hate on that song and we're no longer friends), your Princes (link not entirely related), your White Stripes, and so on all cranking out gems, but looking back, nothing is more "Nineties" to me than Sublime.

I'm sure it has something to do with turning fourteen and all of a sudden hearing a song about a hooker on the radio, but something about their self-titled disc jumped out and grabbed me.  I didn't get into Sublime until after Brad Nowell (lead-singer/songwriter/guitarist) passed away from a heroin overdose.  Their fame, in fact, skyrocketed with the posthumous release of Sublime just two months after the incident.  Hearing "Wrong Way" and "What I Got" naturally led to their back-catalog, two albums that did not disappoint.  Instead they opened up a world of other music to me.  I grew up on classic rock - the Rolling Stones, Zeppelin, and Pink Floyd.  That's all I ever really wanted out of life:  some girls, the hammer of the gods, and to not go batcrap crazy but still have my pudding

From Sublime you get to the Grateful Dead, you get to Bad Brains, you get to Bob Marley.  I cannot stress enough how mind-blowing that synthesis of influences was for me.  That's like traveling in three different directions at once.  And all of it couched in stories of the streets written with a keener eye and quicker rhyme than any of Nowell's contemporaries could offer.  Brad Nowell was a musical genius.  He infused his music with an all-pervading sprituality and generosity of insight.  It's unfortunate that because of his band's skate-punk tendencies they don't get any respect.  You have to look past the fact that he was, at times, a dirtball and a junkie to see that Bradley was a journalist and poet and Southern Californian prophet.  A definite inspiration.

I would recommend that you give a listen to the following tracks before our poll ends:

Don't Push   -  40 oz. to Freedom

Badfish  -  40 oz. to Freedom

40 oz. to Freedom - 40 oz. to Freedom

Pool Shark - Robbin' Da Hood

Greatest Hits - Robbin' Da Hood

STP - Robbin' Da Hood 

Boss D.J. - Robbin' Da Hood

What I Got - Sublime

April 29th, 1992 - Sublime

Under My Voodoo - Sublime

Santeria - Sublime


Pawnshop - Sublime


You will be glad that you did.   You can't leave Sublime out of the 90's equation.


PS - I made a great Sublime mix cd if you're interested in going a little deeper into the band's catalog.

Surgeon General's Warning:  There is some explicit language on all of Sublime's records. 




90's Bad Brains Bob Marley folk Grateful Dead hip-hop music poet prophet punks reggae ska skateboards Sublime
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