Thursday, February 26, 2015

Top 100 Songs From the 1990s (No. 89)

89. "Disciples of the 3-Way"
Artist: fIREHOSE
Year: 1993

I had mixed feelings about fIREHOSE's move from SST to a major label. I mean, if you went way back with the Minutemen, how could you not be rooting for Mike Watt and George Hurley? Having said that, fIREHOSE on Columbia always felt weird. So much so, in fact, I couldn't even bring myself to use album art today. The huge parental advisory warning on the cover for explicit lyrics makes my skin crawl. fIREHOSE uses naughty words? No shit. I was tempted to choose "Formal Introduction" just to make myself feel better: "The way I like to screw... SCREW LOOSE!"

This is the '90s. So all I have to choose from is the Columbia era, but that's still better than no fIREHOSE at all. They are a band best experienced on stage (I saw them five times during this period), and 'Live Totem Pole' from '92 was their best moment from the decade. For this countdown, however, nothing from the seven-song EP really works. Using either of the two Watt-penned songs from the early fIREHOSE days would feel like cheating, and the rest of the lot are covers (albeit inspired ones). Although best described as a deep cut, I have always liked "Disciples of the 3-Way" because it sounds like something that could have been on 'if'n,' a period when the fellas embraced pop music while still jamming econo. Find this one on their swan song, 'Mr. Machinery Operator.'


The Swede said...

What a great band to see on your countdown. Blimey, I haven't heard anything by them in a long, long time and this sounds just marvelous. You're absolutely right, what an odd signing to a major label.

george said...

Now this is a damned fine song Brian. Sort of a lte 60s early 70s sound to it. By the way, I bought The Cosines album Oscillations album, and Spin-O-Rama.

Brian said...

George, Way to go, Mr. Money Bags. I have seen from your comments on other blogs that you have been buying a lot of music lately. It has been sort of a slow year for me so far. As for the fIREHOSE song, the band rarely used anything other that guitar, bass, drums, but this has some organ back there that aids in the sound of the time period you mention. I get the feeling some fans weren't thrilled, but I always liked this one. In fact, I have really been getting into both of the Columbia albums this week for the first time in years.

Swede, fIREHOSE was one of those early bands adopted by the majors just before that huge pack of indies got offers around '92-'94. Labels like Columbia discovered what they thought was an untapped and profitable vein in the industry. There were some successes but quite a bit more failures with the leap.