It’s that time again, boys and girls- after a month or so of digging, I present to you the latest batch of cover songs that stand out above the rest. Along the way, I was reminded of exactly why 311 should never be let near instruments or microphones ever again (their take on The Cure’s Lovesong), and was forced to ask the question: who the fuck told Atreyu it was a good idea to cover You Give Love A Bad Name? You don’t cover Bon Jovi, man. Even if you’re not a screamy little pile of dogshit. It’s not ironic, it’s not hip. Just… don’t.
But I digress. Here’s the jams, kids. Turn ’em up.
Cover: Electric Six
Like Electric Six needs any more reason to be awesome. This Peaches jam is a perfect fit, furthering suspicions that a collaboration between the two artists would induce mass fucking in the streets, fists pumping in the air, hair flying everywhere.
Original: Mississippi Fred McDowell
Another precious gem stolen from the kingdom of dead black blues heroes. But hey, Clutch can do no wrong.
What do you want? No apologies, no excuses. Not exactly among the best cover songs ever, but it’s a badass song, and reminds me of a time when shit seemed a lot less complicated. I don’t know anything about Klaxons, but I might have to give em a look after hearing this.
How Soon is Now?
Original: The Smiths
Quicksand was a rockingly awesome group out of the 90s New York post-hardcore scene that not enough people know about, and they made this Smiths jam their own. Check out their album Slip. These guys died out too soon.
Sympathy For The Devil
Cover: Guns N’ Roses
Original: The Rolling Stones
This Stones cover is the last track the band ever recorded together, a fitting final send-off to the true soul of Guns N’ Fuckin’ Roses. If only I could shake the picture of Scientologist vampires killing Christian Slater when I hear it…
Have A Cigar
Cover: Foo Fighters
Original: Pink Floyd
In the summer of 2000, Brian May of Queen teamed up with Grohl and the gang for this brutal Pink Floyd cover, which Dave affectionately calls “the most punk rock thing Pink Floyd ever did.” I happen to agree. It’s also on a movie soundtrack, but I’ve already made one reference to Tom Cruise.
Cover: The White Stripes
Original: Son House
On this Son House classic and Stripes concert staple, Jack White proves his blues chops beyond a shadow of doubt. Often, he’ll stretch the song to 7 or 9 minutes with thrashing epileptic solos and snippets of other songs. This easily qualifies among the greatest cover songs ever.
Friend Of The Devil
Cover: Ministry, Bridge School Benefit 1994
Original: The Grateful Dead
Ministry covering the Dead? What the fuck? Magic happens at the Bridge School Benefit, kids. That’s all I can say.
Masters Of War
Cover: Eddie Vedder & G.E. Smith
Original: Bob Dylan
Like I said on Vol. 1, this mix could have been comprised entirely of Pearl Jam songs. A cornerstone performance for any PJ fan, this Dylan cover is easily as passionate and poignant as the original. A then-28-year-old Vedder and SNL bandleader G.E. Smith took the stage at a star-studded Dylan tribute concert in 1992, breathing new life and urgency into a song written a full generation earlier. Sixteen years later, the ass-kickery hasn’t diminished a bit.
Cover: The Raconteurs
Original: The Undertones
The sound ain’t great, but the song fucking crushes, and inspired me to dig up the original after figuring out the guitar part and rockin it till the neighbors pounded on the walls. That’s what it’s all about, so by default it deserves a spot here.
Bring The Pain
Cover: Mindless Self Indulgence
Original: Method Man
I’m still trying to wrap my head around MSI, but there’s no denying that they took this one and ran like hell. Besides, anyone who would set himself on fire and walk through the crowd to scare off a beefneck asshole who kept throwing shit at him at least deserves a listen. I mean fuck, even G.G. Allin had an audience.
Cover: Pearl Jam
Original: Dead Boys
That’s right, more Pearl Jam. This crushing Dead Boys cover was side A on PJ’s 1992 fan club Christmas single. They’ve done a million versions of this song in concert, but this one’s particularly awesome. Oh yeah, and I took this picture standing next to Skwerl in San Francisco.
Cover: Chris Cornell
Original: Michael Jackson
This cover wasn’t represented properly on Cornell’s last solo record, but the energy and passion that sucked me into Seasons and Temple Of The Dog is evident in full form on this live version. I can’t stand most of the shit Chris has put out since leaving Audioslave, but this is a great interpretation of a pedophyllic weirdo classic.
Hazy Shade Of Winter
Cover: The Bangles
Original: Simon & Garfunkel
I grew up with this song, thanks to my 80s-pop-loving mom. I had no idea it was actually a cover. Consider it a prelude to a Best 80s Covers mixtape, taking up bandwidth on a server near you this fall.