Guest Column: Five Albums That Will Change You By Family’s Jody Smith

Guest Column

In our ongoing series of guest columns, we’ve asked a bunch of metal’s heaviest hitters to provide us with a list of five crucial albums they think will change you — either for the better or the worse. Today, we hear from Jody Smith, the drummer for Family.

Creating 
lists 
such 
as 
these 
is 
always 
synonymous 
with 
the 
whole 
“if
 you’re
 stranded
 on 
a 
desert 
island…” 
conversation 
– 
questions
 that,
 for 
me, 
are 
directly 
dependent
 upon 
which
 side 
of 
the 
bed 
I woke 
up. 
For
 instance, 
if 
today
 were 
a 
Monday 
morning
 that 
followed 
a 
Sunday 
filled 
with 
bloody 
marys, 
wine,
 and 
beer,
 this 
list
 would 
likely
 have 
some 
death 
metal
 included
 on 
it. 
That
 said, 
today
 is 
not
 that
 Monday, 
and 
while
 these
 may 
not 
be 
records
 that 
will 
change 
YOUR 
life, 
they
 changed 
mine 
and 
if 
you 
haven’t
 heard 
them 
maybe
 you
 should!


The Meters — Rejuvenation
This 
was 
the
 first 
of 
my 
four 
drum‐centric, 
life‐altering
 listening
 experiences
 and 
it
 hinged 
on
 a
 single name: 
“Zig.” 
New 
Orleans 
is 
a 
town 
of
 badass 
drummers, 
and
 Joseph 
“Zigaboo” 
Modeliste 
is 
no
 doubt
 one
 of the 
quintessential 
New 
Orleans
 drummers. 
He
 also 
happens 
to 
be
 in 
straight 
‘beast
 mode’ 
at 
times 
on 
this record.
 Supported
 by
 a
 cast
 of 
fellow 
New
 Orleans 
legends
 (keys 
player/singer 
Art 
Neville,
 uber‐groovy bassist
 George 
Porter 
Jr., 
rhythm‐shark 
guitarist
 Leo 
Nocentelli
 and
 percussionist/singer
 Cyril
 Neville),
 this 
is
 the 
album 
where 
the
 group
 really 
came
 together 
and 
started 
crafting 
full‐on
 sing‐along 
funk
opuses.


From 
my 
first
 favorite
 jam 
“Just
 Kissed 
My 
Baby” 
to 
the 
slamming
 funk
 of
 “What’cha
 Say” 
to
 the 
swamp‐nasty 
tempo
 of
 “Jungle 
Man” 
to 
the 
twelve‐minute 
jam‐out 
“Ain’t 
No 
Use,” this
 record’s
 got 
it 
all. 
(Not 
to 
mention
 the
 closer,
 “Africa?!?!?!”) 
Given
 that
 the 
Meters
 started
 out 
as 
an 
instrumental 
band,
 this
 record 
is 
the 
convergence 
of 
the 
funk, 
the
 vocals, 
the 
songwriting…
you 
name 
it. 


James 
Brown — 
Love 
Power
 Peace: 
Live 
in 
Paris, 
1971
If 
The 
Meters 
were 
the
 gangsters
 of
 swampy
 New
 Orleans 
summer‐funk 
jamz, 
James
 Brown’s
 bands
 were
 precision‐based,
 up‐tempo
 groovin’‐ass
 SEX
 MACHINES
 that
 could
 bulldoze
 your
 house 
in 
one 
sitting!!!
 And
 NEVER 
was
 that
 more
 apparent
 than
 on 
this
 album…
it 
seems 
like 
the 
entire 
band
 might
 have
 had 
some
“cocaine
 snooters” 
right 
before
 they
 hit
 the
 stage,
 ‘cause
 these 
motherfuckers 
sound
 like
 they’re 
riding
 the 
white 
tiger 
straight
 to 
the 
pearly 
gates 
with 
swords
 n’
 shields
 n’
 shit!!!! 
FOR 
REAL!!
 


This 
record 
has 
an 
all‐star 
band 
comprised
 of 
the 
original
 JB’s:
 you’ve 
got 
the 
dual
 drumming 
anchors
 of
 John 
“Jabo” 
Starks
 and 
Don 
Juan
 “Tiger”
 Martin,
 the 
root
 of 
all
 funk 
bass
 playing
 Bootsy 
Collins, countered 
by 
the
 insanely
 funky
 rhythm 
guitar
 playing
 of
 Bootsy’s 
younger
 brother
 Phelps
 “Catfish” 
Collins, 
AND 
it’s 
all 
led 
by
 the
 Godfather
 himself
 ‐‐
 James
 Brown!!!!! 
Oh,
 and
 there’s 
horns,
 organs, 
and
 all 
sorts 
of
 other 
bad ass‐ness 
as 
well.



It
 starts
 with
 Bobby
 Byrd
 MC’ing 
and 
setting
 the
 stage
 for 
The
 Godfather
 to 
come 
out
 against 
the
 backdrop of 
grooves 
pounded
 out 
with 
start/stop 
precision…
you 
can
 already
 start 
to
 taste
 the
 electricity
 in 
the
 air!!!
 Then 
Bobby 
Byrd 
pronounces:
 “And 
now 
the 
star 
of 
the 
show, 
let 
the 
brother
 rap…
 JAMES
 BROWN!!!!” From
 there 
it’s 
a 
steamroller‐style 
set,
 including
 a 
killer 
version
 of 
“Ain’t
 It 
Funky 
Now” 
where 
Phelps “Catfish”
 Collins 
slays 
dragons 
with 
his 
axe, 
yet
 another
 “Catfish”
 killer
 in 
“Sex
 Machine,” 
followed 
by 
a
 high‐speed 
medley
 of 
“Papa’s
 Got
 A
 Brand 
New 
Bag/I 
Got 
You
 (I 
Feel 
Good)/I
 Got
 The 
Feelin’”
 and 
wild
 reprises 
of
 “Sex
 Machine”
 with
 segues
 into 
“Super
 Bad” 
and 
“Soul
 Power.” 


One 
of 
the 
most
 incredible 
moments comes 
where 

Brown 
hypes
 the
 crowd
 to 
an 
absolute
 frenzy 
prior 
to 
dropping
 “It’s
 A 
Man’s
 Man’s
 Man’s 
World,” only 
to 
be 
topped 
off
 with 
“Get
 Up, 
Get 
Into 
It,
 Get 
Involved”
 to 
close
 it
 all 
out.

 And 
to
 think
 that 
this 
was
 originally
 slated
 to 
be 
a 
triple 
release 
that 
never 
saw 
the
 light 
of 
day 
(due
 to 
Bootsy 
and 
his
 brother
 leaving
 for 
Parliament‐Funkadelic) 
until
 20 
years
 later
 when 
it 
was 
released
 as
 a
 single disc…
Better 
late
 than 
never!!!!!!!
 
 
 


Frank 
Zappa — Roxy 
& 
Elsewhere
With
 the
 vast
 catalog
 that
 is
 Frank
 Zappa’s 
output, 
sorting
 through
 the
 silly
 shit
 (lots)
 and 
pinpointing
 the 
gems 
can 
be
 a 
task.
 This 
record,
 however,
 to
 me 
is 
the
 pinnacle
 of
 Frank’s 
catalog
 and
 an 
absolute testament
 to 
the 
genius
 that
 was 
this
 prolific
 writer,
 composer
 and
 (often
 underrated)
 guitarist.
 One
 thing
 to 
remember:
 Zappa 
learned
 to
 write
 ORCHESTRAL
 PIECES 
by 
going 
to 
the 
LIBRARY 
and 
reading
 about 
it!! 
That
 is 
a 
true 
story! 
But 
I 
digress…



The 
players 
on 
THIS 
crazy 
record
 are 
a 
cast 
of 
(at 
times) 
15 musicians 
utilizing
 melodic 
percussion,
 horns, 
bass, 
guitar,
 two 
drummers,
 backing 
vocals
 and 
more.

 You 
have 
instrumentals
 like 
”Echidna’s
 Arf
 (Of 
You)” 
and 
”Don’t 
You 
Ever 
Wash
 That
 Thing?” 
(with 
dueling
 drum
 solos
 courtesy
 of 
Ralph
 Humphry
 and
 Chester
 Thompson),
 an
 ode 
to 
B 
movies 
and 
the
 prototype
 for
 the
 entire
 first
 Mr.
Bungle
 record
 called
“Cheepnis,” 
and 
the
 finale 
called
 “Be‐Bop 
Tango
 (Of 
the 
Old
 Jazzmen’s
 Church),” 
which 
features 
a 
bizarre
 skat‐style
 organ/vocal
 unison 
melody 
that
 is
 played, 
then 
sped 
up 
beyond 
comprehension
 WHILE
 members
 of
 the
 audience 
are
 invited 
up
 on 
stage 
to 
dance
 to 
it. 
Not 
to 
mention 
it 
is 
of 
course 
LIVE 
and 
with 
the
 exception 
of 
live 
guitar 
solos 
from 
other 
shows
 that 
Frank
 edited
 into
 this
 recording
 (yes, 
he 
actually 
did 
that), 
what 
you
 hear 
is 
what 
you
 get. 
AND 
THAT 
IS 
RIDICULOUS!
 It’s 
all 
totally
 fucking 
weird 
and
 totally 
Zappa.


The Police — LIVE!,
 (Disc 
1)

Ahh, 
the 
last 
of 
three
 LIVE
 discs
 to
 make
 this
 list!!!
 Not 
to
 mention
 that
 a
 trio
 is 
at 
the
 helm 
of
 this
 one…
 As
 a
 child
 of 
the ‘
80s, 
I
 was 
by 
no 
means 
immune 
to 
the 
barrage 
of 
hits 
the 
Police 
had
 over
 the
 years.
 It
 wasn’t 
until
 some
 years
 later
 (mid ’90s) 
that 
I 
really 
discovered
 their 
other 
recordings,
 and
 this
 particular 
CD 
exemplifies 
that
 youthful 
raw
 energy,
 punk 
attitude, 
and
 diverse,
 quirky, 
reggae‐tinged 
skill
 set 
possessed
 by 
the 
band.



It
 also 
seems 
to 
document 
a 
band 
teetering 
on 
the
 brink 
of 
superstardom,
 unconcerned 
with
 playing
 songs
 too
 fast
 and 
every 
other
 beautiful
 aspect 
of
 youthful 
naiveté.
 In 
addition, 
this 
show 
(recorded
 in 
1979) is 
just 
prior 
to 
what
 would 
be 
a 
transformation 
from
 quirky
 punky‐reggae
 club 
band 
to
 iconic, ‘
80s 
hit‐ writing 
arena‐anthem
 power 
trio.
 
Sting 
is 
in 
full
 form 
vocally, 
hitting 
all 
those 
high‐ass
 notes 
while
 simultaneously
 nailing
 the
 bass 
parts…
Stewart 
Copeland 
kills
 it 
the 
entire 
night
 as 
always
 (albeit
 with
 a 
little 
tempo 
rushing,
 which
 he 
was 
notorious 
for),
and
 also 
lends
 backing
 vocal 
duties…
and
 Andy 
Summer
 plays 
the 
syncopated/ethereal/rocking
 solo
 role,
 sandwiching 
himself
 between
 the
 two
 often‐colliding
 planets 
that 
are
 Sting
 and
 Stewart.


From 
the 
opening 
snare 
flams 
of 
“Next 
to 
You” 
to 
the 
reggae/punk 
sections 
of
 “So
 Lonely”
 to
 the
 blazing‐fast 
version 
of 
“Truth
 Hits
 Everybody,” 
you 
get 
the
 sense 
of
 The 
Police’s 
unique 
sound 
and 
the
 melding 
of
 aforementioned 
styles 
that 
made
 them
 so
 special.
 Throw 
in 
incredible 
versions
 of 
“Hole
 in 
My 
Life,” “Bring 
on 
the 
Night,”
 “Message
 in 
a
 Bottle,” 
and 
“The 
Bed’s 
Too 
Big 
Without 
You”
 and 
this
 might 
not 
only be 
the 
definitive
 collection 
of 
the 
band’s
 early 
songs 
but 
the
 best
 performances
 you’ll
 ever 
hear 
of 
them
 as 
well.
 When 
the
 Police
 played 
with 
all
 the 
bombast
 that
 was
 often 
missing
 from
 their 
early
 studio recordings 
it’s
 just
 too
 hard
 to 
deny
 it. 
Put
 that 
in 
your 
pipe 
and 
smoke 
it,
 bitches!!!!!!!
 
 


Stravinsky –
 The Rite 
of
 Spring
Originally 
composed 
nearly 
100 
years 
ago, 
these
 22 
minutes
 of 
extreme
 dynamics,
 thunderous
 accents,
 bizarre 
asymmetrical 
meters,
and 
bassoon‐induced 
creepiness
 has 
always
 amazed
 me.
 It 
was
 also
 originally written 
as 
the
 accompaniment 
to 
a
 ballet 
whose 
theme
 revolved
 around 
a 
pagan 
celebration
 of 
Spring,
 in 
which 
a
 sacrificial
 girl
 dances 
herself
 to
 death.
 Needless
 to
 say,
 the
 first
 performance 
caused
 a 
series
 of 
arguments 
amongst 
the
 crowd 
that 
nearly 
led 
to 
a 
riot.
 


Today, 
it 
is 
more 
often 
unaccompanied 
by 
the 
ballet
 and 
instead
 executed 
by
 huge
 orchestras. 
And 
having
 seen
 it
 in 
the
 flesh 
I
 can 
vouch 
for 
the 
amazing 
experience
 that
 it
 is.
 Over 
the 
years 
it 
has 
also 
been
 recognized 
as 
a 
seminal 
work
 of 
Igor’s, 
and
 as 
representing 
a 
turn
 in 
the
 very
 paradigm 
that 
was orchestral 
music 
in
 the 
early
 1900s. 
Boy, 
I 
wish 
I 
could’ve 
been
 there 
for 
the
 debut!
 Now 
go 
eat
 some 
mushrooms
 and 
go 
on 
a 
journey…
 


If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment or subscribing to the RSS feed to have future articles delivered to your feed reader.
About Chris Harris

Chris Harris is an internationally-published music journalist and writer whose work has appeared on the pages of Rolling Stone, IFC, Revolver, Alternative Press, and Radar. The former news editor for Noisecreep, Harris also served as co-host for the site’s weekly podcast, “Creep Show." Before that, he spent four years writing for MTV News.

  • http://www.facebook.com/andy.boyle.71 Andy Boyle

    Hard to think that a piece of classical music could create such controversy, but The Rites of Spring was so jarring for its time, and even today. And the names of all the movements are so metal!