Mr. Big's "To Be With You" Was Hair Metal's Last Hurrah

Categories: Nostalgia
Screengrab via YouTube
Eric Martin of Mr. Big

Mr Big's "To Be With You" should qualify as the guiltiest of guilty pleasures, but there's no shame in rocking out to it. But why is that? Could it be how it's something of a final bow to the pre-Nirvana rock era? Is it the silliness of the video, which made us just like the band and their vibe that much more? Or is it just such a strong melody?

"To Be With You" has become a staple of hair metal compilations, often getting featured in their late-night commercials. A five-second clip of Eric Martin sitting backwards on a chair crooning in black-and-white is a pretty convincing argument to order a double-CD off the television. The song was a legit monster hit in the early '90s. But was it also hair metal's curtain call?

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Maroon 5: Some Things Are Better Left in 2004

Categories: Nostalgia
Photo by Tony Nelson; full slideshow here.
Maroon 5's Adam Levine doing what he's been doing for years.

In the summer of 2004, my taste in music was at a juncture that could be kindly described as "nascency."

Sure, the 15-year-old me was only a semester away from getting on the right track by diving headfirst into the Weezer catalog and not emerging for a couple months. But there was also the time I begged my dad to take my friend and me to see Three Days Grace two hours from home. I stupidly skipped my turn in my baseball team's starting rotation to attend that concert, which is doubly unfortunate because a hard-hit line drive might've knocked some sense into me.

Fast forward a few weeks, and I'm driving across Illinois and concocting a scheme to alter our family vacation for the sake of getting to a John Mayer concert at the Molson Amphitheatre in Toronto. Actually, I wish that were the whole truth. I was mostly hoping to get to the Molson Amphitheatre in order to see Mayer's opening act, Maroon 5.

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The CC Club brings back its old-school jukebox

When we put together May's cover feature, "An Oral History of the CC Club," nearly everyone we talked to -- bar owners and bar flies, journalists and rock stars -- had something to say about the bar's legendary jukebox.

Some of their tales were eulogies. About two years ago, the bar's owners ditched their old model in favor of an electronic, internet-equipped TouchTunes version. Now, though, CC Club regulars have cause for a toast: At the end of August, the bar's new managers decided to bring a classic juke back.

See Also: An oral history of the CC Club jukebox

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Nirvana's In Utero vs. Nevermind: Which is better?

It's been 20 years since Nirvana released their final studio album, In Utero. Recorded at Pachyderm Studio in Cannon Falls, Minnesota, the release is getting the deluxe treatment with a 70-song reissue, including a remastering of the original album tracks, B-sides, demos, and remixes of "Heart-Shaped Box," among others, on September 24.

Two years ago, Nevermind received a similar second look. But clearly one of these albums has stood the test of time better, when the 12 tracks of each are pitted against each other. Oh, I know, I know. "But what about Bleach?" "What about Unplugged?" No. These are the iconic recordings. It's Butch Vig vs. Steve Albini. A swimming baby against a winged study in female anatomy.

The overall outcome is surprising, especially given my vocalizations of both favor and displeasure at parts of both of these albums over the years since their respective releases. There are no two albums I have thought about or picked apart more -- although Licensed to Ill is a very close third -- in my lifetime. Picking them apart methodically was cathartic in a way I have trouble putting into words. Let the territorial pissings begin.

See Also:
Nirvana's In Utero studio site in Cannon Falls overhauled
Matt Mueller, former Pachyderm Studio owner, dies in car accident

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Top 10 CC Club stories submitted by readers


With Olivia Lavecchia

In honor of last week's cover story, an oral history of the CC Club, we asked readers to submit their own stories from the landmark south Minneapolis bar. You did not disappoint. We ended up with a couple dozen tales of booze-fueled shenanigans, ranging from dates gone awry to bar fights and projectile vomiting. Here are the 10 best (in no particular order):

Cover: An oral history of the CC Club
Extra: An oral history of the CC Club jukebox

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An oral history of the CC Club jukebox

Categories: History, Nostalgia

The bar back in the 1950s, when it was still the CC Tap and offered live music and dancing.
With Andy Mannix

When David Prass bought the CC Tap in 1974, it was a 3.2 beer joint that had live music and a stage. Prass re-named the bar the CC Club, and transferred the liquor license over from his father's old bar. Along with the booze came new restrictions on the kind of entertainment the CC could offer, including no more bands. But the bar could still have a jukebox.

Over the next decade-plus, as the CC Club became the center of Minneapolis's rock scene, its juke became legendary. The employees at the record store across the street would walk over with new records, and the bands who hung out there, including the Replacements and Soul Asylum, would drop off their singles to be added into the rotation. The juke became symbolic: If it was still playing, the bar was still swinging (several stories begin with some variation on, "It was like 1 o'clock, the jukebox hadn't been turned off yet..."). And if a local band's CD showed up in the juke, it was a sign they had made it.

About two years ago, the CC traded its carefully curated old jukebox for a digital one that can play thousands of songs. The greater catalog has meant increased revenue for the bar's owners, but also the feeling that, as Soul Asylum's Dave Pirner puts it, "That era is gone."

See Also:
- COVER: Here Comes a Regular: An Oral History of the CC Club
- Slideshow: Behind the scenes: The CC Club, an oral history
- Best Jukebox 1998 and 1999

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Why Public Enemy got into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and N.W.A. didn't

Photo by Piero F. Giunti
As hip hop grows ever longer in the tooth, the overall picture of what it meant in its infancy -- and still means -- becomes more clear. Some of it, like the rock, punk, funk and country before it, managed to transcend genre and enter into the cultural zeitgeist of America. The voting for the 2013 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees was announced yesterday and on the ballot were two pioneering rap groups who managed to do those things, both of whom still carry weight today: N.W.A. and Public Enemy.

Given the voter makeup (the chosen panel is shrouded in secrecy, but it's not a stretch to say it's made up of mostly old guard musicians and record execs) only one -- Public Enemy -- will be inducted come next April, but when the dust has settled afterward and everyone finally stops the second-guessing, it should be clear the right choice was made.

See Also:
Ice Cube's good days begin with Peace Coffee from Minneapolis
Public Enemy at First Avenue, 12/6/12
Chuck D: Yeah, I voted in the 2012 election

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Tay Zonday's "Chocolate Rain" summer was five years ago

Categories: Nostalgia

See Also:
Carly Rae Jepsen's "Call Me Maybe" can't escape Tay Zonday
Rain Man

Minnesota's been home to many artists who've exploded from our local scenes and captivated a nation, pioneering new methods of expression along the way. One such supernova, Tay Zonday, has made a career of posting original videos on YouTube through the continued success of his 2007 single "Chocolate Rain." One of the biggest YouTube videos of all time, it set off a phenomenon that crossed-over into mainstream television and lead to covers from some of the biggest names in music. Five years later, we look back at the Summer of Tay.

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Has Radiohead been dissected to death yet? OK Computer is 15

OK Computer is even older than Willow Smith.

Fifteen years ago on Saturday, Radiohead released a follow-up to The Bends -- which two years earlier had essentially cemented them as the new leaders of Brit Pop. Called OK Computer, the album almost single-handedly destroyed the Brit styling as we knew it. (The Spice Girls helped too.) The Bends was a leap forward from their 1992 debut, Pablo Honey, which successfully fused Brit Pop and grunge at times, and was at turns outright boring. But there was a marathon's-worth of steps between The Bends and OK Computer.  Does all of this rhetoric sound familiar?

Even if you have -- however improbably -- never listened to even one note of their music, you know Radiohead exists. Even if you despise them, their influence over the past nearly two decades is undeniable. But that question remains: Have they been talked about, picked apart, viewed under a microscope so frequently that it's hardly worth doing any longer? If you're still reading this, the answer is likely "no."

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Lady Heat Hot Soul Party trading cards -- debuts at Icehouse tonight

Photo by Erin Smith;
Icehouse opens on Eat Street (PHOTOS)
Slideshow: Icehouse Grand Opening

What's more retro than baseball cards? We'd say the hot, buttered soul of the '60s and '70s would certainly do the trick. A trio of familiar Twin Cities lasses launch a new Tuesday night dance series this week at the delightful new Eat Street restaurant/venue Icehouse, and the Lady Heat Hot Soul Party is fixing to be an authentic blend of dance floor enhancers that scream out for platform shoes and patterns as loud as the bass.

To celebrate this new venture, Gimme Noise has created trading cards for each of our celeb DJs. After the jump, collect all three!

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