Tag Archives: frank turner

TheLastWordIsRejoice: A Tribute To Mineral

You can’t possibly have missed the fact that Mineral are BACK and playing live again. Even though I bought my first Mineral album 15 years ago, I, like many other fans desperately excited to see them play live, had gotten into them when it was too late. They had already broken up by that point. In 1999 I completely fell in love with Mineral. I took the train on my own to London at some time that year with a weeks wages in my pocket with the sole purpose to find CDs I couldn’t find locally, I found ‘EndSerenading’ in the alternative section of Tower Records in Piccadilly Circus. I had heard of them but had never actually heard them, that was until the train ride home when I unwrapped the case, put the cd in my discman, put my headphones on, pressed play and shut my eyes. I was totally sold from the first note plucked on the guitar. ‘EndSerenading’ became one of my favourite records of all time, with ‘&Serenading’ my favourite song. It was hard, at the time, to find out much information about the band, the cover sleeve gave nothing away and I was gutted to find out from friends that they had split up already.
At the age of 19 I never would have believed you if you had told me that at age 34 I would have tickets to see them play, and yet here I am aged 34 with tickets to see them play live twice next February (February!! How perfect is that?) when they come to the UK for the first time ever.

I wanted to do something on the blog as a tribute to this legendary band and try and share with them the outpouring of love that has emanated since their reunion. This is a collection of writing containing the memories and feelings towards the band from friends, fellow blog writers, musicians and label owners.

me

Tom Mullen (Washed Up Emo)

I was introduced to Mineral thanks to a giveaway bin at the college radio station my freshman year. My first week I had signed up for a show and went to hang with the music director to find out what he was into and talk about the hardcore show I wanted to do. During that meeting, there was a box in his office that was labeled for giveaway. I caught out of the corner of my eye “Static Prevails” on vinyl and perked up to ask if I could pick through it. He said, by all means, that stuff was going to be given out at the next radio station meeting. In that box, among a treasure trove of emo goodness, was the first Mineral album. I was floored by this album and still are to this day. I never saw the band as I missed a show they played near my college by a month or two back when message boards and flyers were the way to promote a show. This band always left before saying goodbye and now we’re lucky enough to be around to see this band come back and play for those that never got to see them. Mineral may have been typecast into the emo genre, but if it’s a band people mention every time, I won’t be mad. They’re the true definition of the loud/soft, heartfelt and loud sound I miss when most of the “emo revival” is derived from the midwest. Mineral’s impact and influence will still be intact regardless of this tour and what’s next. It’s right for them to reform, so it should be right for us to show respect to a band that for many thought would never reunite. For myself, I’ll be screaming along right next to you and smiling every second.

min3

Oliver Craven (Crash Of Rhinos)

I’m not usually the guy from our band that does this sort of thing, but when asked to write a few words about Mineral I felt I had to. Through my teens, twenties and now into my thirties, they probably mean more to me now than even then.

A lot of people have come and gone in the time since I first heard Mineral. Family, friends, girlfriends, bands.
leaving school in 1999 and wanting to do nothing else except smash the fuck out of a drum kit and skate, I ended up meeting like-minded people through record shops and rock clubs.
I’m still close friends with most of these people now. Four of them were in Crash of Rhinos. It didn’t seem to matter back then that none of us really gave a shit about much else except jamming and skating. There’s a sense of freedom from that age that you don’t really get again. Mineral was the soundtrack to pretty much all of it.

Times like that are rare, bands like Mineral are rare, and kinda should be.
Makes it all the better.

A lot of those people will be back together for the first time in a long time the night Mineral play Nottingham in February. We’ve all changed a fair bit over the years, but I’m pretty confident as soon as Scott McCarver plugs in and the feedback starts wailing, it’s not gonna seem like it.

Favourite song then: A Letter
Favourite song now: A Letter

min

Lindsay Minton (Football, Etc)

I’m not totally sure, but I think I found out about Mineral on a message board the summer before I started high school. The song “Slower” became my anthem of the next 4 years. I somehow managed to put Zookeeper on in a basement in New Brunswick in 2007. Not only was Chris Simpson in the room, but also Kyle Fischer from Rainer Maria (playing lapsteel in the band Balthrop, Alabama). What an impact playing a show with my two biggest influences was for me…
Last Friday, I saw Mineral play their first show in 16 years. It was a smallish venue (capacity at 180). It’s kind of hard to describe it– but it was perfect. A bunch of mid-twenty to thirty-somethings standing around with their arms crossed, singing along to themselves. Hearing Mineral come from the stage, instead of the various sets of speakers and headphones I have heard them from over the years was absolutely refreshing. It was something my 14-year-old self never thought I’d be able to experience.

min11

Glen Bushell (Punktastic)

I was a bit of a latecomer to Mineral if I’m honest. I only cared about punk, grunge and metal pre-2000, until I saw At The Drive-In at Reading 2000 and it changed my life forever and opened my world up to a whole new area of music. After that I started to go to emo and hardcore shows in Margate and Canterbury, and I picked up the Mineral/Jimmy Eat World/Sense field split because I had just started getting into Jimmy Eat World, and I really enjoyed Mineral’s cover of Crazy. I picked up Endserenading after that, and it blew my mind. It was raw, impassioned, and very honest. It embodied every feeling I was going through turning from a teenager into an adult. From then on I forever compared every emo band to them, and even now in my 30’s when I need to find solace in a record, Endserenading, and also Power Of Failing are still my go to records. Finally getting to see them in the UK next year will be the end result of 15 years waiting and wishing to see them, and I’ll be honest, I may shed a tear or two with no shame during Walking To Winter, which is still my favourite song.

min10

Frank Turner (Kneejerk/Million Dead/Mongol Horde/Frank turner)

I first heard Mineral rifling through a friend’s record collection in 1998 or so, about a year after they broke up. I fell in love pretty quickly, and they became one of my foundational bands musically – I think I subconsciously still try to write and sing like Chris, and the production is pretty perfect for me as well. When I found out they were reuniting this year I lost my mind, booked my flights, and ended up playing an opening slot at the Brooklyn show, which was a dream come true.

min13

Ray Harkins (100 words or less podcast)

My exposure to Mineral was a complete blur. When you are 16 years old and shoving a bunch of music in your head, it’s hard to discern exactly when/where you heard something but Mineral immediately stuck out. I had begun the process of accepting that “non-screaming” music was okay and I was allowed to listen to it after my initial punk & hardcore blitzkrieg. “Gloria” was placed on the stereo by the guitarist of my band at the time and it was loud, fast but had these things that I later called “dynamics” that I wasn’t used to. It felt good to have a moment to reflect on the song, while it was still going on. This was 1996 and ever since that small exposure, Mineral loomed large in my life. I do remember that I specifically ordered the LP because I had HEARD that it included a lyric sheet (which the CD version did not). I was ecstatic to receive the LP (before I was a full fledged collector) and poured over the lyrics all night. Long live Mineral.

min9

Paul Waller (OHHMS)

I don’t remember how I came across Mineral but I do know that I was listening to Sunny Day Real Estate, Boy Sets Fire and the UK’s very own Sunfactor and Spy Vs Spy before I got wind of them. Somewhere along a very fuzzy line I had bought ‘End Serenading’ and just fell in love with it straight away. My initial reaction was that I really dug the vocals. It was slow to mid paced pop music with this askew melancholic edge that kept pulling me in. But that voice, this guy was so obviously upset about something… I don’t know his name and I don’t need to but that singer guy, he was the real deal, he had almost as great a voice as Jeremy Enigk from SDRE but there was far more passion in the vocal delivery. I wanted to give him a cuddle.

A big plus with ‘End Serenading’ was that the bass lines were pretty easy to learn. I remember spending a night on my own figuring out each song track by track until I could play all of side one and then doing the same for the flip side. Don’t know why I did that. I’m not a bass player, but if I could do it then anyone could.

Every now and again somebody asks me what I think of their first album? They say it’s better, harder, even more emo. Well, I do have a copy of it but I never listen to it. The front cover is so awful that I refuse to give it a chance. If a band is going to take so little care about the way in which they present a record then I dread to think what the actual music is like.

‘End Serenading’ is the only emo album I still regularly listen to.

I can’t wait to see them play some of it live next year.

min12

Lewie Peckham (Bearded magazine/Is this thing on?)

I first heard Mineral through a Pop Unknown track on the second Emo Diaries compilation ‘A Million Miles Away’ (those titles) in ’98 and the sombre pace of ‘Writing it Down For You’ reminded me of Red House Painters (A favourite at the time and pretty much still to this day). I saw that Pop Unknown had ‘Ex-members of Mineral’ printed in the little catalog you got with every Deep Elm release and took a chance on a mail ordered copy of The Power of Falling and was hooked from the opening notes of ‘Five, Eight and Ten’ and by the time ‘Parking Lot’ faded out in a screech of feedback i was a devoted wreck and i still am 16 years later.

I can never listen to Mineral in the summer. Much like American Football I know when to break out The Power of Falling and EndSerenading and it’s not during July and august, save that for Something to Write Home About and Clarity. When that first hint of autumn hits you, be it a slight chill in the air that stays there all day or a walk through a park with its grass obscured by fallen brown leaves. That’s when you can find Mineral filling my ears, their songs tightly held in place by my headphones and just for me only, an exclusive club for one.

min14

 

Kristy Diaz (www.recordnotcommodity.co.uk)

When The Power of Failing was recorded in 1995, I lived in Austin, TX. Just 11 miles away from Music Lane Recording Studios, in fact. However, the first time I heard that record, like many Mineral fans I imagine, was around 10 years after its release. I mean, it’s probably for the best, I wouldn’t have ‘got’ it when I was 8. My main concern was looking for snakes in the front yard.
I don’t recall anyone introducing me to them, but I was listening to a lot of Sunny Day Real Estate that year so I guess it was just association. I have a bias toward the urgency and imperfection that comes with a band’s first record, so whilst EndSerenading was great in its own right, The Power of Failing was, and still is, my favourite. In terms of highlights, it would be hard not to mention the guitars in If I Could and the intro to Take The Picture Now, but, perhaps predictably, Gloria always stood out.
To be a dick and choose a song that they didn’t actually write as a favourite, I was always super into their cover of Crazy, from the split 7” with Jimmy Eat World and Sense Field. The guitars are interchangeably gorgeous and infuriating, but mostly I love it because it’s a bit silly, too.

kristy

Kevin Duquette (Topshelf Records)

My earliest Mineral-related memory is having a bunch of records recommended to me after I had just recently discovered toe, Pele, Jimmy Eat World and American Football in high school. Mineral was in that bunch and I never quite made it to listening to it because — as a designer — I thought the album cover art was pretty awful (“The Power of Failing”) and chose to try many of the others first, eventually forgetting that one altogether. I went on a road trip that summer and a friend was DJing from the passenger seat, playing their albums over the car speakers. I eventually asked what it was we were listening to and realized I’d overlooked a pretty important band. I quickly remedied that when we got home.

min8

Morten Andre Samdal (Youth Pictures Of Florence Henderson)

I grew up being a skatepunkdude in the mid 90s (still am!), and me and my friends had this band. While the others listened to mostly fast punkrock, I looked for something a bit different. I tried my way through britpop, grunge and some other straight forward rock bands, but nothing really hit as hard as the fast paced melodic punkrock I loved. Not until I bought a bunch of records, with bands like Hot Water Music, Mineral, Alkaline Trio, Christie Front Drive and Jimmy Eat World, if I remember it correctly. Mineral was life changing. The record I first got was The Power of failing, and it hit me in the guts. The tender melodies wrapped in distorted raw guitars, and the way Chris Simpson dragged the words much longer than I ever thought was possible – I’d never heard anything like it. I got the other guys in the band to give it a listen, but they just laughed and said it was music for pussies. Not long after my band parted ways, and I started an emo-band. Mostly because of Mineral, I guess!
While bands like JEW, HWM and Alkaline Trio just got worse and worse over the years, Mineral and CFD were smart and disbanded, like a real emo band should do 😉 To this day, these two are my favourite 2nd generation emo bands, and I still listen to them regularly. I am so coming to London in February (hope they play that song).

min16

 

James Benwell (Fan)

I found Mineral through The Gloria Record and I found TGR through the guy working downstairs at Tempest Records (R.I.P) in Birmingham. It’s been a 15 year love affair that hasn’t faded. The rawness of The Power of Failing still sounds as visceral as ever and EndSerenading became the soundtrack to my winter nights, and made me wish it was winter the rest of the year round.
They’ve always touched a chord lyrically. Stories of love, the beauty in the world around us, and then songs like MD, perhaps a precursor to the likes of the latest Empire! Empire! album; so personal, so simple, yet so heart wrenchingly beautiful when told over a soundtrack that can make you feel like you want to tell everyone you know that you love them, or to fall in love just so you can find some words of your own.
I never thanked the guy at Tempest, I wish that I had. He’s the reason that I’m not deaf at 31 to the sound of the greatest band that i’ll ever got to hear.

min5

Gary Sleith (Good post day records)

I first heard Mineral thanks to the (Don’t Forget To) Breathe compilation CD. I bought it from Amazon, and at the time I was heavily into a few of the bands on it, bands like Promise Ring, Knapsack, Hot Water Music & Fireside, but I had never heard of Mineral. For me, their track on the record, ‘Rubber Legs’ was a real Jerry Maguire ‘You had me at hello’ moment…5 seconds in I was hooked and by the time Chris Simpson sings “your boy is all alone tonight but i will never forget how you taught me to stand on these rubber legs and fight.” at the end I was head over heels. I bought EndSerenading online immediately and connected with it in a way that I had only done with one record up to that point; Clarity. My favourite song on it initially was ForIvadell but when I listen to it today, I’m always blown away by &Serenading(probably the influence of Alex!) but if I had to pick a favourite Mineral song, I would have to go with ‘February’ from their self-titled 7”. For me, that track perfectly encapsulates Mineral despite being perhaps one of their, for want of a better word, “heavier” tracks and to this day I use it as a benchmark for truly great emo music, up there with songs like ‘E. Texas Avenue’ ‘For Me This Is Heaven’ & ‘Never Meant’

Thank you so much for reading xx

Contact us: http://www.facebook.com/isthisthingonblog, ittoblog@gmail.com, twitter @alex_itto @BonersaurJR

Advertisements
Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Bad Scene, NME’s Fault

As you may have previously read, I have been listening to a lot of Joie De Vivre. As it was confirmed by their recent brilliant gig in Brighton they are incredibly awesome. They have been described by many people as ’90’s emo revivalists’ which is fair, they do play in that Mineral-esque style. But the word ‘Revivalists’ got me thinking. To revive something than surely it has to die or go away in the first place. Emo did quite clearly die, but when? I can think of what a lot of people would reply but I think it may have happened before anyone started to panic at disco’s and the such.

A little while ago, after the Is this thing on? top 100 emo songs had finished, I was going through some old stuff and found something I’d been keeping hold of for 10 years. Something which had pissed me off so badly at the time that I thought must buy it, keep it, stash it in a drawer and then find it 10 years later to be pissed off by it again. The offending item was a copy of the NME from January 2002, harmless enough you may think but this issue of the New Musical Express just so happened to piss all over everything I was still very much in to at that point. The NME had done an EMO issue!!!

Anyone who has ever read the NME knows to take a lot of what they print with a pinch of salt. The amount of hype they apply to things is shocking at times, the same year they published this issue they had declared the Vines first album as the greatest debut album ever made?!? I mean, come on!! The NME wasn’t aimed at me, I read it from time to time to keep up and mainly because the gig adverts were quite handy back in the days that the internet worked as well as my back does. I was happy that they didn’t cover bands that I was in to, we didn’t need it to. We had other ways and means to find bands to fall in love with, like talking to each other and going to shows and talking to people there. And it wasn’t just the fact that they were going to write about bands that I liked but it was the manner in which they were going to do it.

At first glance you can see that it’s not going to be good. Look at the front cover:

What posessed them to make it look like a fanzine? They must have been trying to appeal to those that were already in to these bands whilst simultaneously educating those that weren’t. This didn’t work at all. It looks as authentic as those t-shirts that touts would sell on the streets outside venues in London when big bands were playing. Trying to make it look like they had made the cover by printing out the words and then using scissors, glue and a photocopier when it was obviously done by someone on a computer.

Opening the issue and turning to the middle you find 11 pages dedicated to Emo. Which is quite a lot, they are giving it a fair crack and I guess the first bit does an ok job. It begins with a page entitled what is emo? and goes on to explain a loose history mentioning bands like Rites of Spring and Heroin, predicts that Hundred Reasons and New End Original will soon be household names and finishes by surmising that Emo will be the death of nu-metal and will “steal punk rock back from the neanderthals.” The next 2 pages are given over to an interview with Jimmy Eat World which is fair enough, I love Jimmy Eat World and have done since the late 90’s. I never begrudged them getting a lot of attention and popularity as it never seemed to affect their ability to put out good records, although it was annoying when the audience at their shows would start to get younger and younger and would ignore anything pre Bleed American that the band would play. It’s the next few pages that really started to piss me off. (Well actually the next page was an ad for Telewest Broadband which boasted that you would soon be able to download “12 mp3 tracks in just 15.6 minutes”!! Woah!!! it was the pages after that were annoying)

The next 2 pages explore the world of emo. On the right of the page are a list of influential albums which include Embrace, Moss Icon and Texas Is The Reason so you start to think oh ok, maybe this won’t be so bad. But on the left the NME saw it fit to start ripping the piss out of the whole thing so then you think, oh right so they don’t get it then. Of course they don’t, this is the NME. They like to cover things so they can say that they have but they also love to slag things off so they can appear to know better than anyone. Nme loved to do this, build something up then tear it apart, which makes them no better than any tabloid newspaper. With Emo they did it in the same issue. The top of the page states “emo: the rules” and explains that basically all you have to do is cry. Open up, find yourself, dress like a librarian and cry some more whether you are in the crowd at a show or in the band themselves. “You can’t be in an emo band without crying, rolling around on the floor and beating yourself in the chest”. The only time I ever saw a band member cry at a show was when my old band supported Kneejerk in London and their singer/bass player, one Frank Turner, dropped to his knees at the end of the set with tears clearly running down his cheeks. This wasn’t a regular occurance, of course it wasn’t and Nme knew this. The fact that underground punk music of any of it’s many varieties was about community and being able to do it yourselves without the help of mainstream media was not enough of a story for them to fill an 11 page feature.

The cartoon cut outs of an emo boy and girl on the opposite page, pictured above, were enough to make you stop reading and wasting your time. It was one thing to try and be part of the scene by making the issue look like a fanzine and then namedrop some cool bands but then to make out that we were all a bunch of twats was just a joke. And it didn’t stop there.

The next page is a feature about Rival Schools, which lavishes them with praise, compares them to Nirvana and oddly boasts about how they are playing an NME show supporting Nickelback??!!?!? On the right of this page is the Are You Emo quiz. A test designed to prove to you that if you answer C to each question then you a definitely an emo. No questions like do you like emo music? or what’s your favourite Promise Ring album? No, just pointless questions to pint out that being in to emo means that you are shallow and fashion obsessed which to me is the NME in a nutshell.

Over the page is a feature about underground emo bands, such as Jets to Brazil, Garrison, The Get Up Kids and the Mars Volta (?!?), in which each band denies to have any link with emo whatsoever. And this is where you start to understand why emo died in the first place. No band liked to be called emo when it was the underground and zines calling them so, now that the mainstream press were doing the same there was no way these bands were going to accept it. Some quite clearly fought against it, The Get Up Kids and The Promise Ring both started making albums that sounded nothing like what had preceeded them. Bands that had barely any of the talent of these older bands started to break out and make money, partly because they were willing to play ball and then you have the grunge explosion of the 90’s all over again, although to a lesser extent. Those that were originally in to it moved on to other things. The last pages of the feature are about Hundred Reasons but I’d given up by then.

A few years later I was suckered in to this again. I noticed an NME front page declaring that emo was back. I was curious, what could they mean? I read the article which instructed me to check out a couple of bands, I hadn’t heard a good new emo band for some time and was willing to give it a shot. So, like they said I typed Fall Out Boy and Panic At The Disco into google and found their Myspace pages and oh my god. NME you fucking bastards, I can’t believe I fell for this. I slumped to the ground and wept, wept like the bastard they had accused me of being. Not really, I didn’t cry, they would have bloody loved that.

It seems ok to say you like emo again now. It has completely reverted back to how it was in the 90’s with bands playing amazingly brilliant music and people using word of mouth to find out about new bands. I just really hope it stays this way this time. I don’t know what i’d do if I walked past a newsagents and saw Algernon Cadwallader on the front cover of the NME. Please let that never happen.

I’ll stop my whining now. Thanks for reading xx

www.facebook.com/isthisthingonblog

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,