I started this blog back on July 2nd, 2013. My first post was for the ‘Big Iron World‘ by the Old Crow Medicine Show and my long run at that time was a mere 7 1/2 kilometers (click HERE). Big whoop. I thought at the time it might be a neat idea to chronicle the vast array of albums and music across all genres that I typically listen to whenever I workout. Well, today, I am happy to report that this post represents my 1000th post!
However, balloons are not likely going to fall from the ceiling (thank God too since that would ultimately be my worst nightmare come true) nor is it likely that anybody but Kelly is going to read and, thus, give a shit. So with that being said, I’m pressing on with today’s 11k fartlek run as planned. Of course, since Tuesdays seasonably pleasant t-short weather, it’s now windy and snowing so it’s back to the winter running kit – dammit! I’m not sure who to blame, Mother Nature or Old Man Winter, but one of these assholes is having themselves one grande identify crisis. Anyway, I have some good tunes lined up with the ‘The Grand Pecking Order‘ album by Oysterhead.
Now, how the hell the neo-hippie jam god (Trey Anastasio), the oddball bassist from Primus (Les Claypool) and the drummer from the Police (Stuart Copeland) ever got together absolutely defies explanation, but I’m sure glad they did. This, sadly, is the first and only album this misfit trio ever recorded and released back in 2001.
The album was recorded in guitarist Anastasio’s Barn recording studio and was, really, only was intended to be a single performance, but the project soon spawned this album and a mini-tour in support of the album. I managed to see them at Massey Hall in Toronto, Ontario. It was awesome.
Over the span of 13 tracks, the trio succeeds admirably at finding the common ground between their seemingly disparate styles. Make no mistake, the characteristic trademarks of each member are still firmly in place – Anastasio’s fluid guitar passages, Claypool’s monstrous low-end bass tone, and Copeland’s deft hi-hat and cymbal work – but unlike many albums by previous super-groups, ‘The Grand Pecking Order‘ never becomes a joyless, ego-driven wank-fest. Quite the contrary, the musicians seem to be carefully listening and playing off of one another at all times – and enjoying themselves doing so. This dedication injects electricity into the instrumental interplay and keeps the songs fresh and lively. Copeland in particular appears newly rejuvenated (‘Wield the Spade‘ being the perfect example), playing with an inspired abandon unheard from him in years; his energetic drumming practically leaps out of the speakers right from the beginning of the first track onward. Because Anastasio and (especially) Claypool both possess unmistakable singing voices, the songs naturally tend to remind one of their respective bands (‘Shadow of a Man‘, about an ailing Vietnam veteran, could easily slip into any Primus album), which on initial listening makes for a strangely unusual combination. I dig it like I dug my “heady nugs”.
With only two tracks exceeding five minutes in length, the group never loses sight of instilling concise, catchy hooks into their tunes, whether it’s the bouncy funk of ‘Mr. Oysterhead‘, the circular melodies of ‘Owner of the World‘, the bouncy ‘Polka Dot Rose‘, whimsical ‘Birthday Boys‘, or the ripping ‘Oz Is Ever Floating‘. The escalating ‘Little Faces‘ kicked off the first of the 2 minute intervals and, low and behold, I felt strong and powerful. Nice! The next few tracks (listed above) helped keep that pace strong and inspired. That last 30 second sprints to ‘Rubberneck Lions‘ and ‘Pseudo Suicide‘ were also a nice surprise since I don’t really remember connecting with those songs as much when I first heard the album.
Despite the cold wind and snow, today’s workout rocked – a great motivational boost and confidence builder three weeks into my Iron program – just what I needed! And, really, how disappointing would it have been had the workout failed with this being my 1000th post? Thankfully that wasn’t the case and I ruled the school up and down Thunder Bay and MacDonald Rd’s.
Here’s to another 1000 posts!