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[Kace Presents]The Alphanumerics Of Modern Music: The Kace Era

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  • E is for Eric Clapton.

    Connecting excellent riffs that are in tune both in rhythm and feeling are as easy as breathing, maybe even easier for Eric Clapton. Well accomplished both as a solo act and also as a member of several bands and elsewhere by 1977, Eric was already having to deal with the expectations for greatness, especially from his admirers. He was even credited as God once according to some graffiti. Mr. Clapton took it all in stride and kept strumming his guitar. Throughout the 1980's, Eric continued to play, recording notable songs like "Forever Man" and "Bad Love." He was poised to continue marching on through the 1990's. Then tragedy struck.

    In 1990, two of his roadies died in the same plane crash that would claim the life of another guitar king, Stevie Ray Vaughan. Less than a year later, Eric would lose his son who was only 4 at the time. The result of a grief no parent should have to face, Eric poured his soul into "Tears In Heaven," a poignant ballad dealing with the loss. In 1992, Eric would have one of the more revered MTV Unplugged performances, including a reworking of his Derek & The Dominos hit, "Layla." The 1990's really became a contemporary light period for Eric, having other softer hits like "Change The World" and "My Father's Eyes." Eventually though, Eric would find himself rocking out once again in blues inspiration form, even getting to team up with BB King along the way. And through every great solo and notable song, he made it look easy.

    "Bad Love" is the music video of choice. It really highlights what that late 1980's adult contemporary mainstream rock sound was like. As a bonus made of win, Phil Collins plays drums and sings backup. Eric would also make an appearance in one of Phil's videos at the time, "I Wish It Would Rain Down."
    "Bad Love" by Eric Clapton
    Will rule the World for a snack


    • E is for Eurythmics.

      On their own, Annie Lennox was a heck of a singer and David A. Stewart was really good with instruments and production. Together, they were Eurythmics, a duo that helped shape 1980's Pop. The production put together with a powerful voice made for some great music. They utilized MTV, scoring a big hit with "Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This)," notable for Annie's powersuit in the video. From there, Eurythmics would spend the rest of the decade being a worldwide sensation. In the 1990's, the duo would split to pursue other projects. Annie Lennox would have a great solo career and David A. Stewart would have his own project that would include teaming up at one point with stellar saxophonist Candy Dulfer. Eurythmics would eventually reunite to some success, though they're still forever remembered for their great 1980's run.

      "Here Comes The Rain Again" is the music video of choice and my favorite song by Annie and David together. Not only is it a great Eurythmics song in its design, but throw in the orchestral majesty of Michael Kamen and the great becomes even greater.
      "Here Comes The Rain Again" by Eurythmics
      Will rule the World for a snack


      • E is for Evanescence.

        In 2003, Rock got a new wrinkle in the form of Evanescence. Amy Lee's voice combined with a style that's been described as everything from straight up rock to metal to gothic, the band has managed to become one of the more notable names of the 2000's. What the future holds for Amy and the gang is unknown as only time can tell with that. For what it's worth though, it's been a good run so far. They also had "My Immortal" which thankfully isn't being shoved down society's throat as much as it used to be. Great song, though.

        The music video is "Bring Me To Life" which is the song that started it all. It started off as boredom in a restaurant and led to an epic little masterpiece with Graeme Revell (yes, fans of The Crow film, that Graeme Revell) leading the orchestra for this song.
        "Bring Me To Life" by Evanescence
        Will rule the World for a snack


        • E is for Everclear.

          Everclear. Named after some sort of alcoholic beverage, their music at times sounded like the result of the kind of epiphany would could have while wasting away in a drunken state. In those precious moments of vulnerability come ugly truths and they can pour out of one's soul just like those liquids poured in. And with Everlcear, there are no second chances, just a raw fury of emotion.

          It seems that there are either personal episodes in the songs themselves or personal episodes of my own that are forever attached to Everlcear's music. I still recall my introduction to their music during the Midnight hour of Halloween night 1995. I had just rode from North Carolina to Maryland with one of my Uncles. Spending the night in the apartment I was staying with my parents in at the time, I knew I was going to have the place to myself for at least the remainder of the evening and most of the morning until they showed up from the same trip. Autumn 1995 was an exciting time to be in Maryland. My Dad was there on business and I was there, because High School was done and I had nothing to do. Cal Ripken Jr. was breaking Lou Gehrig's consecutive games record in MLB. The Cleveland Browns were announced as being a sacrificial lamb for the sake of Baltimore. And Baltimore was celebrating the Grey Cup run of the Stallions. The music was great. The OJ Simpson Trial was coming to an end. And there I was on a Friday night...a Halloween Friday night, showing up at the apartment, knowing I was gonna watch Mystery Science Theater 3000 at 1 AM and filling the time before that with music videos on MTV. One of those videos was "Santa Monica." Eating my Chef Boyardee Roller Coasters with meatballs (which they should so bring back), I became a fan.

          There was "Heartspark Dollarsign" which spoke of the tribulations attached to an interracial relationship. "Everything To Everyone" which comes with a story so personal and borderline insane, I'm almost afraid to even hint at it here. "Father Of Mine" which tells a story of a young man growing up without his absent father, a story I'm thankful not to relate to. There's "Wonderful" and then there's also "AM Radio" which samples Jean Knight splendidly while paying tribute to classic hit radio from the 1970's. And there's "When It All Goes Wrong Again" which I think everyone can relate to at some point. Between 1995 and 2001, Everclear represented a major part of my personal soundtrack through life. Not so much before or after that, but I'll not hold that against them.

          The music video is for "Everything To Everyone." There have been times where I've treated it as a dedication to others and other times a dedication to myself. Autumn 1997 was just crazy. You had to have been there and there's really no other way to explain it. Those who were there don't share the tales with strangers. And those who don't may never know and that's just fine. I'll share this much. I didn't sleep much during that time. It was Twisted Metal 2 and the movie Casino playing all day. It was loving and lusting and fighting. It was leaving before Sunrise in order to not burst into flames. It was the impromptu party. It was throwing a frisbee around down from a courthouse at 2 something in the morning. It was personal and times it was painful. It was a reminder of where I stood in the world and what I was up against. It was me rambling. None of this makes sense to you, I'm sure, but it does to me. In short, you had to have been there.

          "Everything To Everyone" by Everclear
          Will rule the World for a snack


          • F is for Faith No More.

            Kicking off the letter F is Faith No More, a band too different for mainstream and in 1990, too different for alternative. Whatever the category they were meant to be in, they were a rock band first and foremost. They were around in the late 1980's, but it was "Epic" and just as important, the music video for "Epic" in 1990 where FNM started getting a lot more attention. They were poised to be one of the more notable bands of the 1990's in their ability to stand out. Little did anyone realize just what was on the horizon in 1991, with Nirvana, Rage Against The Machine and White Zombie among others bursting upon the scene. It didn't seem to matter to the FNM'ers though or their fans. They had a great Commodores cover in "Easy." They paid homage to the Alfred Hitchcock masterpiece Vertigo with their video for "Last Cup Of Sorrow." By the end of the 1990's, Faith No More was no more. Years later, there would be a reunion edition for the occasional concert, but their main run will always be from the end of the 20th Century.

            The music video of choice is "Epic" and it's an obvious one to go with. From Mike Patton's mannerisms while performing the vocals to the "Master" shirt to the controversial fish flipping about to the literally explosive finale, it was "Epic" indeed.

            "Epic" by Faith No More
            Will rule the World for a snack


            • F is for Fatboy Slim.

              In terms of the Big Beat sound that has emerged from the 1990's, there are candidates for Head Of The Class. One of the leaders in that struggle is a guy named Norman Cook, also known as Fatboy Slim. When he isn't DJ'ing or dealing with other projects, Norman adopts the Fatboy Slim persona and shows off his skills. Whether it's in his own music or videos or specially remixing songs by others, like "Brimful Of Asha" by Cornershop, Fatboy keeps busy and usually has options to choose from when figuring out what to do next. Chartwise, his main success has been in his native United Kingdom where he has scored some big hits. In the United States, he's still been successful, but it appears a lot of his success is aided by the music videos that accompany the songs. From the destruction of various objects in "Gangster Trippin'" to Spike Jonze portraying a dance instructor who has his troupe perform on a busy sidewalk in "Praise You." And there's Christopher Walken's effort in "Weapon Of Choice."

              "Weapon Of Choice" is featured here for the video and this isn't Christopher Walken's first go-around in this artform. He was also a nice Angel Of Death in Madonna's "Bad Girl" video. In "Weapon Of Choice," perhaps he's the same Death character just enjoying a boring day off. Christopher does love him some dancing. No word on how he feels about cowbell.

              "Weapon Of Choice" by Fatboy Slim
              Will rule the World for a snack


              • F is for Feist.

                There are only so many people who can say they've collaborated with everyone from Peaches to Stephen Colbert in a recording studio. Feist is such a person. She was a member of a group called Broken Social Scene, but would eventually branch out on her own, scoring some success in her native Canada. She's garnered a niche following in the United States and elsewhere and while it could just be a nice flash in the pan, it could also just be the beginning. I like her voice.

                The music video is for "1234" and for anybody wondering, that's pronounced "One-Two-Three-Four." A bit quirky, a bit cute and some great choreography all blend together with this visual representation of a song that was basically presented to Feist in her tour bus. There's such a positive vibe with this song, I can't help but grin a little whenever I hear it.

                "1234" by Feist
                Will rule the World for a snack


                • F is for the Fifth.

                  2004. I remember different things about that year and one of them was my relentless pursuit to listen to everything that I could, music wise. At that time, I was dabbling around with internet radio and even though I had a diverse lineup of music in my library already, I was never opposed to listen to something new, be it mainstream or otherwise. Also at the time, there was a place in Fayetteville I'd go to called the Dragon's Lair. Comic books and fun conversations are the order of the day whenever I'm able to drop by there and this particular day was no different. On this day, however is remembered as the day that B-Man of the Lair introduced me to the music of his band, the Fifth.

                  The Fifth had already garnered an audience for itself in the Fayetteville area and became a much welcome change in the local scene which while not without other bands was also ripe with Beach Music. Roy Cathey, B-Man and the rest of the Fifth crew set out to let people know that this is also an area of quality rock. And so, the legend continued to grow. I've been to some of their shows and the atmosphere is something that should be appreciated by everyone at least once. You see, with the Fifth it isn't just about the band and their music. The Fifth is a family. It's a state of mind. It's hard to describe to the unfamiliar. What I can say that might be a little more understandable is that their popularity expanded past North Carolina into the rest of the world. Very modestly and without much help from the more mainstream area of rock, the Fifth have found themselves to be favorites from everyone from Ft. Bragg to the battlefields of Afghanistan and Iraq. From Virginia to Japan. From local appearances at various establishments to international audiences online. Their fans, the Fifth Faithful are part of the family itself. Through personnel changes, professional stuff, personal stuff and all the insanity that comes with rock and roll, the Fifth and its Faithful have perservered.

                  The music video is "The Gift (Just Take It Back)" also known as "Roy's epic acting!" For Roy Cathey, the previous twenty-plus years have been quite the journey. From his days with Cold Sweat in the late 1980's to the Fifth in the 2000's and present, Roy borrow a bit from Ric Flair, sweat, bled and paid the price to show the world his ability to rock, regardless of what radio was into and regardless of styles were generally accepted or not. He's become a testament to dedication to the craft. And most importantly, for both Roy and B-Man, I can call them friends. Why? They're just cool like that.

                  "The Gift (Just Take It Back)" by the Fifth
                  Will rule the World for a snack


                  • F is for the Fifth-NJ.

                    And so, this list has two different bands with the same name. Same names will happen. After all, when Nirvana burst onto the scene in the Early 1990's, it turned out there was already a Nirvana that had existed in the United Kingdom for years. These things can happen and bands laying claim to, "the Fifth," is a notable example. From what I can tell, there have been bands from Tennessee to California all having used that name. Eventually, the, "Will the real Fifth please stand up?" deal would have North Carolina's version step up. Honestly, if not for Roy Cathey's Fifth, chances are, I wouldn't even be familiar with the others. Of the others though, there was one that in the 2000's was going strong and that was the Fifth of New Jersey. This particular Fifth band has a different style, but while not scoring the big record deal they did manage to play Madison Square Garden as an opening act for Weezer, which in itself is a pretty cool achievement. From the Jersey Shore to the New York City Metro area, the Fifth-NJ has carved a nice niche for themselves and also managed to gain a following online.

                    "Kinked Head" is the music video featured here. It's pretty much performance footage of the Fifth-NJ playing the clubs, rockin' and rollin'. And I like the microphone stand!

                    "Kinked Head" by the Fifth-NJ
                    Will rule the World for a snack


                    • F is for Firehouse.

                      When the 1990's began, Charlotte's own Firehouse looked poised to become the band for the final decade of the 20th Century. Conventionally speaking, there was a decent argument for the notion. They had the skillset, the looks, some mainstream appeal and their sound represented a natural evolution of what had worked well enough in rock the previous half-decade. As it turns out, the Early 1990's weren't really about the conventional. The hair/glam look and style was finding itself kicked to the curb in favor of the Seattle scene. It was a time of revolution in rock, but it appears Firehouse didn't bother reading the memo. Good thing, too.

                      People can say what they will about Nirvana, Alice In Chains or Soundgarden, etc. All great bands as far as I'm concerned. Despite that and the raging wind of grunge blowing through, Firehouse marched onward, unafraid and not intimidated. The first half of the 1990's may have belonged to Nirvana, from the sound to the legacy, but Firehouse was able to still maintain its presence during that time. They had the standard rock of "All She Wrote" and "Reach For The Sky." And they also knew how to utilize the love song/power ballad with "Love Of A Lifetime" and "I Live My Life For You." And while the Music Revolution would come and go, Firehouse would keep going, even if it required a change of pace.

                      Satisfied with their success in the United States and discovering an international audience ready to embrace them, it was on to touring other parts of the world. For all of the various casualties, musically speaking that took place during that turbulent time of the 1990's thanks in large part to the Seattle invasion, Firehouse remained unconquered. In retrospect, they may have been among the truest rebels of that period.

                      The music video of choice is, "All She Wrote." It's not so much about the video itself as it is the song. In terms of Firehouse tunes, it's easily my favorite. And dig all that hair! For what it's worth, that young girl who at one point in the video gets to sing a couple of words on camera with the band? I seem to recall about half the white girls in high school my Freshman year having that hairstyle. Why I remember these things? I have no idea.

                      "All She Wrote" by Firehouse
                      Will rule the World for a snack


                      • F is for Fleetwood Mac.

                        With Fleetwood Mac, certain things are just going to be ignored right off the bat. The Pre-1977 years where they went from digging the blues to their conversion into adult contemporary and rock. The professional turmoil and changeover in lineups and the personal turmoil involved within that lineup. Aside from my quip that it's a good thing Reality TV wasn't really a thing back in the 1970's, because Fleetwood Mac would have been prime fodder for it, none of that really matters to me for their inclusion on this list.

                        For Fleetwood Mac, 1977 started with them getting their first Billboard US #1, "Dreams." From there, it was numerous hit songs and settling into to the 1980's and the MTV Generation. Their videos for "Hold Me" and "Gypsy" were mainstays on the young channel. Also during the 1980's, their three main vocalists, Christine McVie, Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks would each enjoy solo success. The late 1980's also saw more success although by 1990, it seemed clear that the group wasn't the same without Lindsey around.

                        In 1992, "Don't Stop" became a musical tool for Bill Clinton's Presidential campaign and from that, Lindsey's reuniting with Fleetwood Mac would occur. In the 1990's, Fleetwood Mac reestablished itself in the adult contemporary scene. In the 2000's, Fleetwood Mac became one of those older bands a nice portion of the younger generation would come to appreciate. And while this list of artists goes by 1977 as its starting point, there is one song from before that time that is worth noting here. That song is 1975's "Landslide."

                        "Landslide" has stood the test of time and may even be more appreciated now than it was in the mid-1970's. It was covered by the Smashing Pumpkins during a time in which their popularity was ever-increasing. In 2002, the Dixie Chicks had their cover which became part of the Political circus of Mainesgate or whatever it was being called. The popular TV show Glee (featuring the seriously awesome Jane Lynch...oddly enough, I've yet to find myself interested in watching, despite Jane being made of Win) also had their own rendition of "Landslide." Getting back to Fleetwood Mac's original, its most intriguing usage came from a memorable episode of South Park in 2011.

                        The music video of choice is "Little Lies." Christine's on lead vocals while Lindsey and Stevie share in the backing vocals and it all just blends nicely with the music. "Little Lies" would be Fleetwood Mac's first #1 on the Adult Contemporary chart, with future #1's in that category being, "Everywhere" and "As Long As You Follow." I guess Christine McVie just brings out the best in Fleetwood Mac when it comes to the contemporary. At least chartwise.

                        "Little Lies" by Fleetwood Mac
                        Will rule the World for a snack


                        • F is for Fokis.

                          Fokis is a true independent in the realm of Rap & Hip Hop and in the 2000's, displayed a very blue collar attitude when it came to achieving success in the music industry. Relentless time in the studio or on the road, from concerts to parties to radio appearances, Fokis has managed to earn a following. From the lyrics in his songs to the cartoony logo on the t-shirt, Fokis has displayed a focus on his dedication to the craft. And there's something to be said for the t-shirt, because I still have a Fokis shirt. Fits a little tighter than it used to ten years ago, but that's neither here or there.

                          "Back On Da Block" is the music video featured, with the concept being that his music being akin to an underground drug of choice for those looking to get their fix of good independent rap.

                          "Back On Da Block" by Fokis
                          WARNING: Salty language involved in the video!
                          Will rule the World for a snack


                          • F is for the Foo Fighters.

                            When 1994 began, Dave Grohl was drumming for Nirvana. Fast forward to the end of the year and with that band disbanded in the aftermath of Kurt Cobain's death, Dave knew he was going to need something to do. Thus, the Foo Fighters came into being. Pat Smear, who had been with Nirvana in its final stages and had also gained some noteriety as part of a punk band years earlier called the Germs (and there's that "Raspberry Beret" music video by Prince & The Revolution where he's hanging out) joined up. In 1995, the Foo Fighters began rocking their way into the hearts of fans everywhere.

                            The Foo Fighters have been much celebrated, not just for their sound, but for their music videos. They've been able to spoof everything from Mentos commercials to Falling Down, but don't let that distract you from their ability to rock. Into the 2010's, the Foo Fighters are still going strong and don't appear to be letting up anytime soon.

                            "Everlong" is the music video of choice and in retrospect, almost has an Inception vibe to it in terms of all the dream jumping going on. The Colour And The Shape is an album worth getting for guitar aficionados.

                            "Everlong" by the Foo Fighters
                            Will rule the World for a snack


                            • F is for Foreigner.

                              With a mixture of British and American for the lineup, Foreigner was always going to be foreign somewhere to someone. In 1977, Foreigner started making its impact with "Feels Like The First Time." They achieved chart success and were a staple for the mainstream rock scene in the late 1970's and early 1980's. They worked with the excellence known as Mutt Lange and gave the world "Juke Box Hero." In 1984, Foreigner hit a high watermark with "I Want To Know What Love Is." The rest of the 1980's was spent making a few more hit songs, including some ballads for the contemporary crowd. Lou Gramm, Foreigner's lead singer would eventually see some success as a solo artist. From the 1990's onward, Foreigner has managed to soldier on, sometimes with Lou and sometimes without. Either way, they were able to make their impact.

                              "That Was Yesterday" is the music video and is indicative of a genre of music video that was becoming really popular, the "get some concert footage and make a nice day in the life kind of montage out of it to a nice tune." That same technique would be utilized by everyone from Bon Jovi to Def Leppard to Janet Jackson. It was also the follow-up to "I Want To Know What Love Is," which was a nice way for Foreigner to remind any new audience members that they were more than just a band that was good at the slow songs.

                              "That Was Yesterday" by Foreigner
                              Will rule the World for a snack


                              • G is for Garbage.

                                Butch Vig, Steve Marker and Duke Erikson had the studio and the pedigree to make things happen when the time was right. Once Shirley Manson was added to the fold, that time became now. Prior to the end of 1995, the first thing that would spring to mind when hearing the name, "Butch Vig," would be his work with Nirvana. By the end of the of the following year, it was all Garbage. I didn't notice as much at first. "Queer" got some airplay and I thought, "'s decent." Then "Only Happy When It Rains" started getting more play. It's hard to describe what it was like listening to that song in completion for the first time. It was a thing of beauty. At the time, all I wanted to do was write a little and draw a lot while listening to music. In early 1996, there was different stuff to enjoy, from Jo Dee Mesinna to La Bouche to Def Leppard. "Only Happy When It Rains" really stood out for me. Then there was "Stupid Girl" which made one of the greatest usages of a Clash drum track (outside of a Clash song itself) ever. There was "Milk" and "#1 Crush" which were haunting, erotic and even a bit creepy. "Push It" and "I Think I'm Paranoid" showing that the previous years were not a fluke. Into the 2000's, Garbage would have tunes like "Cherry Lips (Go Baby Go!)" and "Run Baby Run" as the group settled in. Into the 2010's, Garbage remains active. But when I think of Garbage, I'll always think of 1996 and what my world was like back then.

                                "Only Happy When It Rains" was the only choice I considered for the music video spotlight here. They actually did that video at the same time they were working on the follow up, "Stupid Girl." Other songs may have scored higher on whatever chart, especially "#1 Crush" which scored a #1 of its own on the Modern Tracks chart. To me, "Only Happy When It Rains" will be the definitive Garbage song and of my favorite songs of any kind by any artist.

                                "Only Happy When It Rains" by Garbage
                                Will rule the World for a snack