No Surrender in Luton: Blinded By The Light movie review - by Brian “Clash” Griffin

I just came home from an advanced screening of the new movie “Blinded by the Light” and I am overcome & reeling.  If you seen the trailer (you can watch it below) you know the story is about a 16-year old Pakistani Muslim named Javed Kahn whose life is changed by the music and lyrics of Bruce Springsteen. The actual movie covers that premise and so much more. It is a feat of incredible storytelling and its impact will stay with you long after you leave the theater.  

The film (directed by Gurinder Chadha and inspired by the memoir Greetings From Bury Park by journalist Sarfraz Manzoor) is set in the dead end town of Luton, England in 1987. Our protagonist, “Sad” Javed is living with his family, who immigrated to England from Pakistan years before.  He writes, chronicling his daily activities in diaries and writing poetry that no one will see. He feels trapped by his very traditional family, having to give all the money he earns at work to his father.  He doesn’t have a girlfriend. Javed seems lost and alone, but he has dreams of being a writer and wanting to do SOMETHING with his life.

Javed starts attending a new school, where he literally bumps into a person who introduces him to “The Boss of us all.”  That “Boss” is, of course, the music of Bruce Springsteen. The scene, where Javed pops his “Bruce cherry” is both revelatory and striking in vision and scope.  It perfectly captures the instant where Javed feels, for the first time in his life, that someone truly understands him and all he has endured. The image of Bruce’s lyrics surrounding and encompassing Javed as he listens to them is wondrous, depicting the power Springsteen’s music has to pull someone out of the utter depths of despair and give them hope to carry on.  I personally have relived this scene countless times throughout my life, with music ranging from Bruce Springsteen to Joe Strummer to Phil Ochs.

From that moment on, Javed becomes inspired.  He covers his room with posters of Bruce. He shares his poetry with his writing instructor, who believes he has great potential.  He now has the courage to ask a girl on a date and he finally starts to stand up against his father’s strict rules. He also makes a stand against the blatant racism that he, his family, and friends experience from the local National Front Neo-Nazis.  The undercurrent of racism is present throughout the movie’s run-time, ready to erupt at a moment’s notice, sadly mirroring the current situation we find ourselves in.

The film takes the viewer on a wild ride of emotions. Though billed as a “quirky comedy,” it does not shy away from real world issues (such as the above-mentioned Neo-Nazis, family pressures, loneliness & more), but these moments are intertwined with scenes of humor and pure joy. The scene where Javed, with his best friend and fellow Bruce fanatic Roops take over the school’s radio station, barring the door and blasting “Born to Run” is a pure act of Rock-n-Roll rebellion.  The film soars with amazing sequences where the cast breaks into song and dance, transforming into a Bollywood-like musical. It is a lot to take in.

I could go on and on, but a written review doesn’t do this movie justice.  At its pure heart, “Blinded by the Light” is a story about salvation.  Personal salvation through music. It is to be SEEN and HEARD!

And you will not find a film with a better soundtrack! 

Blinded by the Light Movie Trailer

Watershed Hullabaloo Weekend: The View From the Side of the Stage - by Ricki C.

Watershed Hullabaloo Weekend, August 9th, 10th & 11th, 2019

(editor’s note: Ricki C. had carpal tunnel surgery on both hands this summer, couldn’t type, has been out of commission for awhile, and now – unfortunately – the Pencil Storm readership is gonna pay for it. Strap in, folks, it’s gonna be a long one.)

WATERSHED / 1992 or so

A little deep background: I met Watershed in 1990 when I was a roadie for Willie Phoenix & the True Soul Rockers and they were still called The Wire. The Wire would open for the True Soul Rockers one Saturday night a month at a Columbus, Ohio, club called Ruby Tuesday where Willie maintained a monthly residency. To make a long story short: 3 or 4 months into their opening slots – after they had changed their name to Watershed – they somehow wrote an entirely new set of KILLER power-pop originals since the previous month (including “Rise,” my earliest favorite Watershed tune), got their asses moving onstage, and soundly blew the True Soul Rockers off the stage at Ruby’s. (Ironically that Great Leap Forward was probably largely due to Willie’s tutelage as he produced their first six-song e.p.) They also got 86’d as the opening band for that impertinence, of course, but from that point on I caught them live every time I could. From 1990 to 2005 I bet I saw ‘em close to a hundred times. From 2005 when I joined their road crew to now, I’ve seen ‘em a couple hundred more. And I’ve never ONCE been disappointed.

Which brings us to this past weekend: from being on the crew I’ve seen Watershed three nights in a row any number of times, but never in three more widely-varied rock & roll circumstances as The Watershed Hullabaloo.

The Friday night show at Natalie’s Coal Fired Pizza – Columbus’ absolutely premier listening room (as opposed to rock & roll dive) – found Colin & Joe seated on secondhand living room furniture that road manager extraordinaire/all-around Watershed tech mastermind Michael “Biggie” McDermott had somehow procured in some kind of time warp from the early 1970’s. Truthfully, I’m not crazy about the idea of rock & rollers performing sitting down, but it fit the concept of “two old friends swapping stories & songs around the campfire” vibe that Watershed was going for the first night of the Hullabaloo.

Opening with “Sensational Things” – a tune I’m DEARLY hoping opens the upcoming Watershed CD – Joe & Colin strummed through maybe a dozen songs, old AND new, peppering the set with the stories behind the songs, or just yarns that filled in the history of the band, and that’s a RICH history, boys & girls. They were then joined by middle-period Watershed powerhouse Mr. Dave Masica for a standing-up set of Watershed rockers, albeit it in a bass-less, acoustic, quiet hollow-body electric kinda frame of mind. A night of “Soft Rock Watershed” as the appearance was billed. They still woulda blown Bread off the stage. (Set-list for this show and the Saturday & Sunday gigs will appear in a future Pencil Storm blog entry.)

Friday night highlights: “Sensational Things,” “Plan B,” “American Muscle,” “Manifesto,” and Joe Peppercorn’s (the only past member of Watershed unable to make an appearance during Hullabaloo Weekend) “Set The World On Fire.”

At heart Watershed has always been a Saturday night rock & roll band. When they played on a Wednesday night after a (now-defunct) Columbus Chill hockey game in the mid-1990’s, they were a Saturday night rock & roll band; when they played third on the bill on a Tuesday night at some long-forgotten rock club during one of their innumerable Southern swings in the early 2000’s, they were a Saturday night rock & roll band; when they opened for Cheap Trick at a huge downtown outdoor festival on a Friday night, they were a Saturday night rock & roll band.

So, when you put Colin, Joe, Herb & Rick Kinsinger in front of a sold-out crowd of Watershed super-fans at Marcy Mays’ Ace of Cups – Columbus’ coolest rock club – on a warm August Saturday night you’d best believe you’re gonna get a fucking KILLER set of rock & roll music. So let’s check off the boxes on the rock & roll checklist:

1) Rockers – You got your “You Need Me,” you got your “Suckerpunch,” you got your “Black Concert T-shirt.” Check.

2) You got your heartbreaker ballads/slow tunes that set Watershed apart from the one-trick pony bands who only know how to pound, but never how to charm, because Colin & Joe always keep in mind that more hearts get broken on Saturday night than any other time of the week: “Over Too Soon,” “New Depression,” and “Anniversary,” for Chrissakes, one of the great power-pop ballads of all time. Check.

3) You’ve got your brace of brand-new songs, ‘cuz Watershed is never gonna be just a nostalgia act, chums: “Blow It Up Before It Breaks” and the GREAT new “Another Night In The Ruts.” Check. (By the way, the band enlisted Pencil Storm scribe Scott Carr to help out with stage duties to free up Biggie for the killer light display witnessed Saturday night, and Scott & I were trying to figure WHO’s song that was a cover of, before I checked with Colin on Sunday and discovered it is, in fact, another choice new original.) (But Jesus H. Christ, WHY didn’t they bust out “Sensational Things” at Ace of Cups? I’d have LOVED to get a full band Watershed airing of that on Saturday night.) Check.

4) Audience participation. You want audience participation? How about “How Do You Feel” and “Can’t Be Myself”? Check.

5) Flat-out great songs that should have been hits: “Obvious,” “Small Doses,” “Little Mistakes,” “5th Of July,” “The Best Is Yet To Come,” really too many too mention. Check & check.

Prime extra-musical moments of the Saturday night set: Joe throwing a tantrum AND his bass when his tuner kept screwing up; Mark “Pooch” Borror bringing the energy level up several notches in his guest slot on “Can’t Be Myself and “Anniversary.” Rick is a solid player and a stabilizing force in the band, but Pooch brings out some special sense of abandon and flat-out JOY when he’s up there with Watershed; Colin calling the show over seven songs into the set after “Black Concert T-Shirt,” and the band playing another 17 songs or so as an encore, before the “second encore” of “Sad Drive” and “Mercurochrome.” Genius performance move.

Okay, I’m already over my allotted 1000 words and haven’t dealt with Day Three of the Hullabaloo Weekend yet. Sunday was billed as “Watershed & Friends” and those friends included Jim Johnson (Willie Phoenix/League Bowlers), Dan Cochran (League Bowlers/Hilltop Lager), Marcy May (Scrawl/Ace of Cups) and Mike Sammons (Twin Cam.) Innumerable Watershed/League Bowlers/Lonely Bones/Colin solo songs and cover tunes from Willie Phoenix, Georgia Satellites, Cheap Trick & Chuck Berry all got played, the beer flowed freely, and – from my view at the side of the stage – the assembled multitudes had a rockin’ good time. (Again, set-list from Sunday to follow in a later Colin blog about Hullabaloo Weekend.)

Musical highlights of the Sunday show: “Battleship Chains,” “Twister,” “High Roller.”

I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: I’ve got the best job in the world. – Ricki C. / August 13th, 2019


(random closing thought: I was talking to Nick Jezierny - auteur of The Watershed Complete Rankings - after the show on Sunday, and he was saying if he did the list today, a ton of the rankings would be different, and that he should do the whole thing over again. I ABSOLUTELY agreed with him, and told him he should do it, but on the other hand his wife seems like a REALLY nice person and I don’t want to do that to her. Also - to my knowledge - Nick came all the way from Idaho for the Hullabaloo Weekend, so he should get some kind of prize or grant money just for THAT.)

(further random closing thought: for Pencil Storm readers with WAY too much time on their hands, here are some links to Watershed stories I did on my 2012-2013 blog, Growing Old With Rock & Roll…….)

Growing Old With Rock & Roll / Colin & the Stairwell

Growing Old With Rock & Roll / Watershed & Kamakaze’s

Growing Old With Rock & Roll / Watershed & The Somnabulistic Stickman Streaker

GOWR&R / The View from the Side of the Stage, part one

GOWR&R / The View From the Side of the Stage, part two

GOWR&R / My Ten Most Memorable Moments as a Watershed Roadie, part one

GOWR&R / My Ten Most Memorable Moments as a Watershed Roadie, part two

GOWR&R / My Ten Most Memorable Moments as a Watershed Roadie, part three

GOWR&R / “Suckerpunch” Live @ the Columbus Arts Fest, 2013

Watershed Rankings Day 6 (Songs 11-1) by Nick Jezierny


Originally published in 2015 - Watershed plays Columbus August 9-10-11 in the year 2019. Click here for details.

Find and play these songs on Spotify! 

Day 6 (Songs 11-1)

Click here to read Watershed rankings day 5


Manifesto (What I Like To Do) (11): Talk about a breath of fresh air. This little gem just kills it. “If Jerry was alive today, I’d kick him in the balls” is wonderful. The “I ain’t hurting nobody except my body” definitely is something that I really want to tell my doctor at my next checkup.

Colin G. - We knew going into Brick & Mortar we had to change up our entire approach to recording. With Joe O. living 600 miles away, we simply didn't have the luxury to rehearse and woodshed every idea the way we had the previous four records. More so, our actual time to record the record would be much tighter than the previous two, where we basically worked for as long as it took to make a record we were happy with. So we decided to embrace a more "Bob Dylan" approach to the project. We locked ourselves inside Curry House with Mike Landolt and just went from one song to the next very quickly: arrangements on the fly and very little second guessing. Once we had the song down, boom, Mike hit record and we went until we had a great take. Joe Peppercorn was critical to this approach as he provided a "Patalan-esque" musicianship that would be missing since we were tracking in Columbus away from The Loft.

Anyway….. after one long day in the studio I ended up at the Treebar. I then ended up back on the sofa at Curry House. I had this lick lying around and feeling buzzed & exhausted, I just scribbled down the words on a notebook and passed out. The next morning the guys showed up and I showed them the idea. Before I even brushed my teeth we made the necessary additions and subtractions and tracked "Manifesto."  

The point of this long-winded story is that if we had had the time to think about this song for two weeks or practice it 100 times, I can almost guarantee we would have talked ourselves out of it or ruined the fun with over-thinking. I'm sure somebody would have said, "Guys, you can't sing about kicking the deceased Jerry Garcia in the balls. That will kill sales in San Francisco." Instead we caught lightning in a bottle and Jerry got kicked in the balls. Win - Win.

Ricki C. - Nick Lowe's production credo for Elvis Costello & the Attractions' 1978 masterpiece album This Year's Model was "Bash it down and we'll tart it up later."  From all accounts - confirmed by Colin's explanation above - that pretty much sums up the Brick & Mortar prod-style.  In my rankings of Watershed albums I have Brick & Mortar second after The More It Hurts.  (Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know The Fifth Of July is great, but I think the songwriting on Brick just beats it out.)  (And on the Ricki C. rock & roll planet, songwriting ALWAYS wins out over production.  I'm a pretty firm believer in the proverb, "They shoulda released the demos.")

But I digress.......I love everything about "Manifesto."  (I heartily believe Joe Peppercorn would disagree with me on this point.)  I love the lyrics, I love the riff, I love that the song is serious AND fun, simultaneously.  ("Serious fun" is pretty much my definition of rock & roll.)  I love the line, "Underground Garage won't play this song because our name is lame / What else do you expect when you start in seventh grade?" because it's right on the money; if Watershed was called The Riptides or The Parachutes, Little Steven & Company would be all over 'em.

Most of I love that the chorus progresses from "This is what I like to do" to "This is what I wanna do" to, crucially, "This is what I HAVE to do."  Watershed aren't fly-by-night/listen-to-what-we-wrote-on-our laptops/in-ear-monitor/johnny-come-lately assholes, they are True Believers in the rock & roll, and I'm proud to haul their amps.   

Joe O. - "All the politicians together couldn't form one band, but if they did, I'd have to guess they'd sound a lot like Styx" is such a good line it makes me want to break stuff. In Minneapolis last weekend, Colin and I decided that if all the Wall Street investment bankers decided to form a band, it would sound like Bon Jovi. Also: When Colin pronounces the word "poli-tish-ee-ans," he's borrowing that from Ray Davies in the Kinks' song "Apeman." 

Did you know the extremely  talented Milan Karcic made a video made a video for "Manifesto"? 



The Fifth of July (10): Another gem from what may be the band’s best studio release.

Ricki C. - I would concur with Mr. Jezierny that this tune is a gem, and possibly Tim Patalan's production high-water mark with Watershed, but - as stated above - I still think The More It Hurts is their best studio release.  (Taking it one step further, I think The More It Hurts is the best album release ever out of Columbus, Ohio.  Second would The Whiles Colors Of The Year in 2004.  Third would be The Godz first album, back in the 1970's.)  (Yeah, I said that, and I put it in writing.)  (The best record ever out of Columbus SHOULD have been a Romantic Noise album - Willie Phoenix's all-time best band, back in 1978 - but that particular slice of wax never got recorded.)   

Joe O. - This song was made infinitely better by Tim Patalan, when he suggested that the verses needed twice as many words. Then he told me to phrase them like Van Morrison (actually he said Thin Lizzy, which is pretty much the same thing). You can hear this clearly in the lines "Feeling alright but not looking too cool, caught me peeking through the fence of your best friend's swimming pool. Radio playing my favorite song..." and so on.

Colin G. - Tim would leave us alone for long periods of time at The Loft and the only entertainment besides playing was watching a VCR. Around this time the ONLY video for ten miles was The Rolling Stones' Rock n Roll Circus. So we watched it. A bunch. Obviously, The Who performing "A Quick One While He is Away" is the highlight of the video and maybe western culture. So...... after 20 beers one night Dave started doing his spot-on Keith Moon impression while we were practicing "5th of July." "Dude, play it like that when we record it." "But I'm just messing around." "Play it like that." And so it was.....

Our best video was shot in 8 hours and cost $750; $200,000 less than the Train video being shot at the same time. (Or so we heard.) Which video is a better value? You be the judge.

Watershed for $750

Train "Give Myself to You" for $200,000


Broken (9): This probably is the song that wouldn’t make most people’s top 10 Watershed songs. (Of course, I’m assuming people other than myself actually think about stuff like this.) I just think it’s a ridiculously good song.

Joe O. - I agree, Nick. Definitely one of my favorites from Brick & Mortar. I always hear this song as being inspired by Springsteen. Colin hears it (especially the main guitar lick) as being inspired by Bob Mould. I'm right, of course, but either way, the song is great.

Colin G. -  Brick & Mortar was pretty close to being finished when one day, while driving back from Pittsburgh, I was listening to "Who's Next" and it was just crushing our record. As soon as I got home I told Mike Landolt to stop mixing and let me add another big 100- watt guitar to a couple of tracks. I promised one pass only. That extra guitar saved "Broken." You can hear it at the top. It's the one with balls. FYI - I think this was the only song we didn't play in Raleigh for the Watershed Weekend or whatever when we played like 75 songs. No reason. Just sort of forgot.

No footage of this one so enjoy Watershed covering the Scrawl classic "Charles" at Comfest in 1823. We have always had much in common with our sister band Scrawl. We both love Cheap Trick. We are both resented by real musicians for only using 3 or 4 chords. We both use two vocalists who play guitar & bass and who could possibly be dating each other. 



Black Concert T-Shirt (8): This is the song where Watershed announced what it was all about. I loved it when I heard the remake that kicks off “The More It Hurts, The More It Works.” Definitely on any workout mix on my iPod. I love the Black Sabbath-y riff in the middle of the song.

Joe O. - Both versions of the song are cool, but this one better captures the feeling of going to a live show, which is what the song is all about. Interestingly, Andyman Davis from CD101 (now 102.5) in Columbus always liked the other version better, because it has words in the bridge. Speaking of words, when we recorded the original version of this song for Star Vehicle, the producer, Frank Aversa, tried to talk us into changing "baby you don't give two shits" to "don't give two fish sticks." I love you, Frank, buddy, but that's wack. Even Mrs. Paul would agree.

Colin G. - The "Black Sabbath-Y lick" is actually "Paranoid." Tim talked us into doing this very late one night. We resisted for a million obvious reasons, but he captured a whole different version of the song. When the solo came I just played a Sabbath riff and I have no idea why. Tim - "flawless." So there you go.


Obvious (7): “Do shots first, ask questions later on” is as fine of an opening lyric as there is. Another energetic ball of fury to kick off a record.

Joe O. - Because of the "smelling the latest issue of Seventeen" line, lots of people seem to think that this song is about me going home with an underage girl, and given what I wrote in Hitless Wonder about how I met my wife, I guess I can't blame them. But come on. You don't have to be 17 (or less) to read Seventeen. You do, however, have to be 17 (or less) to read Maxim Magazine.

Colin G. - My memory of this song is we were rehearsing for recording the 5th of July in downtown Columbus on Gay St where Due Amici is now located. Our pal Jeff Mathis was rehabbing the building and being a rock n roll sort of guy, he let us use the space for pre-production for 5th of July. We had finally wised up and while getting ready to record we took six months off from live shows and just rehearsed new material four nights a week until we got what we needed. I remember one night, we worked on the bridge for "Obvious" from 8 pm until 1 am. That is ALL we worked on. Mind you, the bridge is like 15 seconds long. When we wrapped up for the night Dave just got up from the drums, looked at Joe and I and said, "One fucking bridge for five hours? You guys are crazy."

Suckerpunch (6): This is the live version. From the intro to the lyrics and the power in the recording, it’s a masterpiece. The song really hit home for me a few years ago and it became my personal mantra after getting screwed over at work. I really did get suckerpunched, and this version was helpful to me during that time. I have a friend here in Boise who just loves the solo on the outro (is that even a word?) of the song and he says he will rewind and keep playing it over and over. If I made this list two years ago, this would have been No. 1. It remains a favorite. “Now I’m passing out on a couch that can tell me some stories” is a wonderful visual. What a great tune.

Joe O. - I agree that the live version is the definitive version. The ending may be a tad overblown, but, man, whenever we play it, I'm like, "Damn, this band is rocking. Oh, wait. That band is us."

Everywhere I Turn (5): Just an extremely catchy song that I can’t believe isn’t a part of the band’s regular set. I would have made this the single from “Twister.”

Ricki C. - I must admit, I had not one memory of this song and was forced to pull out my Twister CD to see what was up with the Number 5 ranking.  Nick, I gotta respectfully disagree and put this tune somewhere down in the 40's.  And if Colin or Joe remember it right offhand, I'm gonna say they're lying. 

Joe O. - This one is pretty catchy. But Number 5? Seriously? This song is hard for me to listen to because the mix is so thin and trebly. Seems like all that money we dumped into the Power Station should have bought us a bass knob on the mixing board.

Colin G. - I remember Joe and I riding the subway out to Danny Lawson's house in the pre- gentrified Brooklyn to work on the vocal arrangements. We got some good work done, but waiting to return back to the city on an empty subway platform surrounded by the Turnbull AC's in the middle of the night, I wondered if it had been worth it. Even though we escaped bodily harm at the hands of a Warrior-style NYC street gang, I don't think it was worth it. Seriously? #5? Huh?

Let's just forget about "Everywhere I Turn" and check out this super rare video of "Anniversary" from Jack Cain's home, the Poorhouse in Raleigh, NC.

Star Vehicle (4): This is the song that turned me on to Watershed. Heard it on CD 101, and then I moved to El Paso, Texas, shortly after it came out. It’s amazing that I lived in Columbus for seven years when Watershed was on the rise and I never saw them live. I heard of them, but did not really know them. I was more of a Z-Rock listener and caught more shows at the Alrosa Villa or focused on national bands. I don’t think Columbus radio really backed the band enough in the early years. I began my love affair with the band from afar and preached about them ever since. Nothing beats coming down a great mountain bike trail in our Idaho mountains with this song coming through the headphones. Great track! This also should have been on “Three Chords II."

Joe O. - I can't believe that CD101 played this song. Q-FM? Sure, that would have made sense. The Blitz? Maybe. But CD freaking 101? That station has been way too kind to us (and I hope they don't stop).

Ricki C. - So you know how somewhere back in the rankings I said how much I enjoyed when Watershed would insert an entire song into the middle of "Mercurochrome?"  One night at some long-forgotten show when I was still just a fan/spectator before I was a roadie, the band inserted AN ENTIRE SET into the pause at the 3:07 mark.  Colin & the boys stopped DEAD at that point, went into another song and then just continued the show all the way to the end when they paused again AND THEN WENT BACK INTO the "Going for a ride" sing-a-long to end the set.  Fucking brilliant.

Colin G. - After getting dropped from Epic and all that, we had the title for the next album, but needed the title track. Probably our best attempt at Kinks meets Cheap Trick via kids from Ohio.


If That’s How You Want It (3): The Star Vehicle version is really immeasurably better than the original. It’s as if the band says “Screw it. We’re going to record this how we originally wanted” and then just gave the performance of a lifetime in the studio. The build up to the “na na na” part is tantalizingly awesome. I can honestly say whenever that part of the song comes on, the hair on the my arms kind of stands up. It’s really a tremendous tune. And even though it’s pushing 5 minutes, it doesn’t drag at all. It builds up and delivers. Was No. 1 until about 3 minutes ago when I rock, paper and scissored the final three.

Joe O. - The power of the "na-na-na," man. Journey knew it. Sha-Na-Na knew it. Whoever put the "ram" in the "rama-lama-ding-dong" knew it.

Colin G. - I kind of blew my wad on this one talking about the Twister version. Ranked like #256 or something.


Can’t Be Myself (2): Still don’t know how this song wasn’t a national hit. I included this song on my “I’m A Man, I’m 40! Life Soundtrack” that I put together back in 2007. While it borrows from The Replacements’ “Answering Machine,” it is not a ripoff in any way. This is simply what a hit song sounds like. How record labels passed on this amazes me. That it’s not No. 1 on the list also bother me.

Joe O. - I guess you could say this was a local hit. Hearing it in Ohio Stadium during game day was about the coolest thing ever. Other than AC/DC, Queen, and, strangely, Neil Diamond, not many bands have their songs blasted over stadium speakers. 

Colin G. - I like this song, but if I was going to have to pick one Watershed song that everybody would just go bat-shit crazy about I probably wouldn't have picked this one. But what do i know? I'm the guy on record saying, "Hootie and the Blowfish are a good bar band, but they will never sell any records." I'm glad people enjoy it and hearing it on the radio or over loudspeakers is always a treat. 

The Best Is Yet To Come (1): The live version of this song just kills it. The song has a killer bridge and the live performance on “Three Chords II” is epic. When the “yeah yeah” vocals speed up and trade off into the final push of the song, there is just nothing better. “Don’t forget they didn’t knock you out / you’re just sitting in the corner bleeding from your mouth” … well, just about everyone in the world has felt like that at some point. This inspirational song still gets played when my mood isn’t where it needs to be. Honestly, the studio version doesn’t crack my top 25, which goes to show just how incredibly good the live version of this song is. When I saw it performed at the Bluestone as the opening song last December, it was equally as cool. Deserves to be No. 1.

Colin G. - Lots going on in this little ditty. Do you know this was the official State of Ohio tourism song in 2011-12? It got chosen over a Rascal Flatts song. Not because it was cheaper. No way. Because it was better. As an interesting aside, I cannot name one Rascal Flatts album or song though I think one member may be named Gary. 

Joe O. - This is pretty much the Watershed philosophy. If we didn't believe it, we'd quit.

Please enjoy this super cool video shot from through the eyes of Dave Masica as Watershed takes the stage in 2013.

Alright suckers, there you go. Thanks for reading. Now please, go get a life why don't you?

Watershed Rankings Day 5 (Songs 22-12) by Nick Jezierny


Originally published in 2015 - Watershed plays Columbus August 9-10-11 in the year 2019. Click here for details.

Find and play these songs on Spotify! 

Day 5 (Songs 22-12) 

Click here to read Watershed Rankings Day 4 (songs 33-23)


If That’s How You Want It (22): The original version on Twister is a good song. It just lacks the balls of the remake on Star Vehicle. It’s like Jim Steinman overproduced it. It’s the only song on Twister that sounds like it is being held back.

Joe O. - Nah, Steinman didn't hold this one back. What held it back on Twister is that it was really new, and we didn't know how to play it yet. When we went into the studio to record it, I don't think we'd ever played it live. But by the time we re-recorded it for Star Vehicle, we'd been playing it for two years, so we decided to give the song the performance it deserved. 

Colin G. - Listening now, both versions sound pretty much the same to these ears. Good song though. Maybe we should recut for the third time charm. We must have played this every night for about ten years and then we just sorta stopped. Go figure. Couldn't help but watch the video below. Why is the dude taping stuck on Joe while it's obvious I am doing a bunch of exciting shit off-screen? Also of note, Joe has two waters on amp, I have one Bud and one water. Johnny Thunders would not approve.

Watch this! "If That's How You Want It" in all of its glory at the Newport Music Hall in 2000.



You Need Me (21): The thunderous drums are awesome. Really got to appreciate this song hearing it live at Slim’s on a Sunday afternoon while drinking cheap canned beer.

Joe O. - I like the way the line runs up the back of the stockings. I've always liked those kind of high heels too. You know, I... No no no no, don't take 'em off, don't take... Leave 'em on, leave 'em on. Yeah, that's it, a little more to the right, a little more....Everybody wants some. I want some too.

Colin G. - I know, right? And the crazy thing is: 1) We weren't influenced by "Everybody Wants Some." Wasn't even on our radar.  We were going for some kind of Bob Mould meets Cheap Trick thing as crazy as that sounds and 2) Nobody ever once said, "Hey guys, ya know, that sounds a lot like Van Halen." It wasn't until years later we actually noticed. A big shiny acoustic guitar was recorded to make it sound more like the band Sugar but it got lost in the mix. So yeah, I kinda do like the way the line runs up the back of your stockings

Watch this! You guys don't seriously want to watch ANOTHER youtube clip of Watershed performing "You Need Me" do you? Yeesh, that shit was played out years ago. How about State of Green covering "You Need Me?" That's the stuff.


Plan B (20): “Working on a Sunday night / Something didn’t go right” and “When you get to be my age, you shouldn’t be wearing a name tag” are yet another example of great songwriting. “I was going to write short fiction stories and now I’m writing bad checks just to pay for my groceries” also deserves recognition.

Joe O. - One of the best ever songs about what happens when the dream doesn't work out. This is essentially a precursor to Hitless Wonder.

Ricki C. - As a product of Catholic school in the 1960's - where I was smacked by nuns on a semi-regular basis - I've always been a stickler for good grammar in all instances, including rock & roll songs.  That being said, "It was funner when we were younger," is one of my favorite Colin lyrics of all time.  And the fact that he wrote it in his twenties makes it even better, though I have the uneasy feeling that line rings a lot truer in Colin's 40's (and my 60's) than it did then.

Colin G. - Considering Nick's aversion to our darker songs, I'm pleasantly surprised by this ranking. I think most everybody would agree this is a pretty cool song and also that it is virtually unplayable in any format of radio then and now. Thanks to Frank Aversa for giving it a shot on Star Vehicle. Also of note, if Pearl Jam wrote and recorded it, "Plan B" would be one of their five most popular songs. no?

Watch this! From Slim's in Raleigh.


How Do You Feel (19): This song has hit single written all over it, except for it was about a minute too long.

Joe O. - This is the song that got us our deal with Epic. It was a hit, kind of, in Chicago and Appleton, WI. Hearing this song played in drive-time on a big Chicago radio station is definitely one of the career highlights.

Colin G. - We did learn from mistakes other bands from Columbus made in the sense that we knew "How Do You Feel?" was the single and we didn't try set it up with something else or down-play it. Let's dance with who brung us and dance we did. It didn't work out, but at least it had it's chance. It always reacted great. It never failed. It just never succeeded. Nick's right though, it is too long.

Watch this. Promo video for "How Do You Feel?"



Lucky Day (18): If someone said to play a song that sounds like Watershed, this would be a candidate. I think it encompasses the greatness of the band.

Joe O. - I wrote these lyrics while camping on a beach in Sayulita, Mexico. Not much to complain about in a situation like that - except, you know, all the sunshine and sand. 

Colin G. - Dave Masica is a world class drummer and this track proves it.

Watch this! Click here to watch Lucky Day at Columbus Arts Festival 2013


Watch this! Video shot 8 hours and 5,000 beers after 5th of July video.



American Muscle (17): Brilliant word play in this song. The first few times I heard it I wasn’t necessarily a fan, but once I dissected the song, it became easy to love.

Joe O. - This is us trying to do a persona song, where you sing as a character that's clearly not you. (Ray Davies is the best ever at this.) I give myself a pat on the back for working the Davos World Economic Forum into a song. And, of course, for rhyming rupees with groupies.

Colin G. - Only Joe O. could write this song. And only Watershed would encourage him to keep going.  A rock song about bankers? Hells, yeah. Peppercorn and Landolt really fleshed out the vision and extra special thanks to Jerry from O.A.R. for putting together the horn section and just killing it.

Watch this! American Muscle Video



Anniversary (16): Songwriting is fantastic. The live version is spectacular. As I type this, I wonder how the hell this isn’t in the top 10?

Joe O. - This would probably be my #1 favorite Watershed song. I was playing the chords one day when the band was hanging around at Route One Recording, a studio in Mississippi. I had a vocal melody line in my head, but Colin was listening to me play, and in his head he had come up with a different melody. We decided to put them both together into a kind of duet, like Watershed's version of "Baby, It's Cold Outside." 

Colin G. - I would agree with Joe that up to this point, this is the definitive Watershed track. Tim deserves as much credit as the band. When we finish playing it live you can always feel the breathe kind of come out of the crowd. Even people who don't like us or don't care, can't help but to subconsciously acknowledge something special just happened. "Superior" has some of that too. Not sure if any of our other songs do. Maybe "5th of July."

Watch this! Anniversary 2011 Bootleg version 

Or Pro shot from the LC. 2007



Little Mistakes (15): The first time I heard this song I was thrilled because it showed Watershed was continuing its mastery of pop gems.

Joe O. - "Mastery of pop gems" is a stretch, Nick, but we'll take it. 

Colin G. - I cannot overstate how bad Dave Masica's health was when we recorded "Brick and Mortar." Two weeks before we were scheduled to begin Rick Kinsinger and myself got together with Dave and he could barely keep a beat. Mike Landolt asked me, "How is Dave doing? Is he ready?" Without hesitation I answered, "Hell yeah, Catman is ready to rock." Recording 101: Never show your producer any sign of weakness. Dave assured me he would be good to go but I had three drummers on my speed dial just in case his ailing back wouldn't hold up. Damn, if Dave didn't just manage, he crushed it. The first song we recorded was "Little Mistakes" and If I didn't believe in miracles before, I almost do now after watching him lay down this drum track. Listen to those fills at the end. Praise the lord. And booze. It's a miracle.



Laundromat (14): “Two dimes buy a little more time” and the chorus make this one of my favorites. Was kind of bummed it wasn’t played in any of the three Watershed shows I’ve seen. (Hint, hint.)

Joe O. - I like the line, "Or maybe you could hold my breath for me." The specific laundromat I have in mind here is the one at High & Maynard on North Campus in Columbus.

Colin G. - The very last song written for 5th Of July and we were really just running on fumes at that point trying to pull something out of our ass. Not much fun to play live without Pooch on guitar.

On another note, for you bootleggers, it's not a good idea to record right next to a Watershed stage. The volume will blow out your audio. It's not that we are Motorhead or anything, but....we side-wash our big 100 watt amps and turn them up for that  natural distortion ala Pete Townsend, Malcolm Young, Rick Neilsen, and so on & so forth. No distortion pedals.  The upshot is it makes us sound really big and the guitars don't bleed into the vocals. The downside for you front-row types in small clubs is that our stage volume is sorta deafening.

evidence is below.....


Don’t Be Honest (13): Another great song full of energy that really comes to life when seen performed live.

Joe O. - This is a good example of the Peppercorn/Gawel/Oestreich partnership. Catchy and rocking.

Colin G. - Sounds just like a Joe O. song but actually Joe P. came up with initial idea. Landolt chipped in with slow intro part.  Sounds just like Watershed.



New Life (12): Damn, I wish this song was on Three Chords II. OK, I will quit bitching now.

Joe O. - Tim Patalan can either accept the credit or take the blame for this one. I'll let Colin tell that story. Still, I like this tune because, as with "Anniversary," it ended up being an interesting blend of Colin's style and mine.

Colin G. We wrote three different versions of this. I liked #2 the best but Tim had other ideas. "I dig it. Let's just change one more thing. Change all the words to the verses and put in twice as many words and I think we will have it." I like this version too. It's the best one actually.

Ok, not much footage of New Life so let's address the elephant in the room.....

What's up with that other band Watershed from South Africa? Well, make no mistake, we are the actual Watershed as evidence of the video below when they claim they started in 1999. Sorry dudes, we were bad and we were nationwide way before that. We do occasionally get e-mail from confused fans inquiring about a song that isn't ours and we, naturally, claim it was on one of our records. This is funny. Those uptight bastards from across the pond do not find it as amusing and occasionally send us a message telling us to knock it off. To which we respond, "Oh yeah? Why don't you come over here and make us?"  

Watch this! The fake Watershed from South Africa showing no sense of humor and even less a sense of rock n roll. I suspect Train is their favorite American band.


Let's wrap up Day 2 on a positive note with a super-rare version on the never-recorded Watershed cult classic "Five for Two" from Ruby Tuesdays recorded at a 1927 rally to end prohibition.

Watershed Rankings Day 4 (Songs 33-23) by Nick Jezierny


Originally published in 2015 - Watershed plays Columbus August 9-10-11 in the year 2019. Click here for details.

Find and play these songs on Spotify! 

Day 4 (Songs 33-23)

Click here for Day 3 of the Watershed  song rankings


Youth Is Confusion (33): Very strong song. Love the screaming background vocals on the original live version. “Youth Is!”

Joe O. - This song rocks pretty hard, which is impressive considering that it essentially borrows the structure of a "Cathy" comic strip. Except in "Cathy" it would be: "Middle age is (insert something about cats, cupcakes, or chocolate)."

Colin G. - Jim Steinman loved this song. Never should have been first track on original 3 Chords  because the live version kinda sucked but... listening to the studio track it holds up well. Surprisingly, so do the lyrics which were written so long ago and we were even dumber than we are now, if that is possible.  

Old School! Watershed from Ruby Tuesdays sometime around 1893.

The Habit (32): Great lyrics and definitely qualifies as one of the greatest songs ever under two minutes.

Joe O. - Lose the wanky, over-indulgent, noodling guitar solo and you could get this song down to 1:30. By the way, everything over 3:00 in most songs is excess fat. I say 2:50 is the ideal length for a song, which, coincidentally or not, is the length of both "Obvious" and "5th of July." Hmmm. I wonder where Nick has those two songs ranked.

Colin G. - Cut in one take after a million beers at 3 am. That funky part in the middle was planned. Sure it was.

FYI- "The Habit" was used as the opening song for the TV show The Dudesons in some country far away. Watch this!

Words We Say (31): This likely would have been a lot lower on the list, but after seeing Colin perform it acoustic in Raleigh and hearing his live version from Cleveland, it got bumped up. If any of you haven’t heard that live CD from the Springsteen fanfest, you are missing out. Great stuff.

Joe O. - Great lyrics. This is the recording session that brought Joe "Schroeder" Peppercorn into the mix.

Colin G. - Was recorded with Watershed but then we went on a hiatus so Joe could write some book about some band so it ended up on my first solo CD. Finally ended up on Brick and Mortar. 

Watch this!      

Something Wrong (30): “You say this town is too small, you big shit / You call it a cow town, oh how you milk it” is genius. And any song that mentions Ace Frehley is OK by me. I love the venom flowing and the bitterness. Fabulous song.

Joe O. - This is a song from back when we worried about "credibility" and "the scene" and "being cool" and all that crap that only matters when you're young and don't know any better.

Ricki C. - Absolutely one of my top 20 favorite Watershed songs, and only Watershed would bury it as a hidden bonus track on the reissue of Star Vehicle, rather than save it up for the next record. (But then again, in 1996, who knew WHEN the next Watershed record was gonna be?)  I LOVE "us against them" songs, and "regular guys" vs. "hipsters" is one of my favorite topics, or hadn't Pencilstorm readers noticed?   



The #1 Killer (29): “You crawl into a bottle and try and swallow all that pain” is so freaking brilliant.

Joe O. - Yep. Excellent title and true sentiment. We should play this one more. 

Ricki C. - Great mysteries of our time: 1) The disappearance of that Malaysian airliner. 2) The continued popularity/existence of the Republican Party and Fox News. 3) How this song and "Sweet Kisses/Bitter Scars" were left off regular Watershed records. 

Colin G. - So Ricki has to bring up politics and cut our meager audience in half yet again.  Are we sitting by a hotel pool in Atlanta? As for the why, some songs just don't fit some records. This tune is best served kinda jammy and we never had the stomach to follow through on that sort of song. As much as we loved Crazy Horse, #1 Killer was always a 3rd set, late night barn-party type of song for us. It probably deserved/deserves better but whatever.


Slowly Then Suddenly (28): I really love the heavy metal slide guitar in the middle of the tune. The drums also kick some serious butt.

Joe O. - Colin stole the title from F. Scott Fitzgerald, and I ran with the lyrics from there. How the hell did we work a Bo Diddley beat into a punk song? This might be Dave Masica's shining moment on drums – especially on the live version from Three Chords II

Colin G. - We had been working on this all day when Tim asked, "What is the title of this again?" "Slowly Then Suddenly."  "Oh I get it. Very clever. But nobody else is going to understand what the hell you are singing about.  So at the end why don't you just add a part where you sing 'Slowly Then Suddenly' over and over?"  Watch this!


I’d Be A Liar (27): Another song that would have been a great fit for “The Fifth of July.” Just a quick, easy listen that is full of energy.

Joe O. - A quick, easy listen? Who are we, Loggins and freaking Messina? Michael McDonald? Watershed goes Yacht Rock? Come on, Nick. There's nothing easy about this song. The drums hit like a mule kick. And the line: "I wouldn't cheat my friend at playing cards, but cheating on you, honey, ain't that hard" is brutal. Can you imagine Michael McDonald singing that? Listen here!

Click here to visit Setlist FM and see if Watershed has played "I'd Be a Liar."


Sweet Kisses/Bitter Scars (26): When I learned this song was dropped from “The More It Hurts, The More It Works” I was shocked. This is a great song that has a different sound in a great way. Should have been a hit.

Joe O. - Whenever this song makes it into the live set, I can tell it's going to be a good show. I don't know if this should have been a hit, but it sure is fun to play.

Colin G. This video clip pretty much sums it up. Click here.


Nightshade (25): “Sipping cappuccino / well that’s just $3 coffee” ... just wonder what the folks at Colin’s Coffee say to that? Of note, I have never had a cup of coffee in my life. As a kid, I did a taste of coffee ice cream at Baskin Robbins and was so grossed out that I never have had the urge. Thankfully, there was no IPA ice cream to try back then.

Joe O. - Fun Facts: 1. I wrote these lyrics in a booth at the Blue Danube. 2. I stole "Go to hell" jacket and tie from Tom Wolfe. 3. When Twister came out, a critic slammed this song for the line "I bet you're uptown with the art school crowd, writing poetry that doesn't rhyme," saying that we were anti-intellectual. 4. That critic should have slammed us for the line "I spend my time waiting (wading?) in tears." 5. A good friend of ours had the line "It's better to die when you've got everything to live for" tattooed on himself. 6. That friend later died in a car accident, way too young, proving definitively that no, it's not better. It's not better at all. 7. Maybe these facts aren't so fun.



Mercurochrome (24): Fun song. The live version also is great, but not enough to elevate it into the top 20. 

Joe O. - When I was a kid my mom always used to put this junk on my cuts and scrapes, and, as everyone whose mom did the same thing to them knows, it stung like hell. She called it "the ouchy medicine" and said that the sting was how you could tell that stuff was doing its job. I was fascinated by that idea, that the short term hurt was supposed to take away the even bigger long term hurt. I guess this song extends that concept to suicide, but really, unless you're in Cheap Trick or under the age of 20, you should have long stopped writing songs about suicide.

Ricki C. - Nick, COME ON, number 24, "Mercurochrome," seriously?  Absolutely Top Ten Watershed here, even without the brilliant Watershed live tactic of injecting another entire song into the middle of the tune.  I remember all the times I was just another audience member (before I was a roadie) when Colin & Joe and the guys would launch into a little number from The Kinks, Johnny Thunders, etc. during the break and I - along with the rest of the crowd - would forget they hadn't even finished "Mercurochrome" yet, and then they would ROAR back into the last chorus.  One of the ten most brilliant live act stage-bits I have ever witnessed.

Here we go, footage that would make Ricki C proud.


One-Word Title (23): I’m a words guy (being a journalist for 22 years will do that) and this song with its great rhyming is one of my favorites by the band. “You make success feel like a disaster” is so true.

Joe O. - Another song that takes a dig at the hipster bands ("poster boys for the post-punk smart set") that seemed to get more critical attention than us. In fact, writing lyrics in a booth at the Blue Danube was probably me trying to do what I thought these same hipster bands did. I like the cool stuff I was able to squeeze into the words of this song, especially Ohio Blue-tip matches (strike anywhere!) and switchblade combs. Do they still sell either of those things?

Colin G. - Geez Nick, kinda of a stretch here. Actually, maybe the worst rating yet. Sort of a catchy Paul Westerberg idea that we never bothered to finish or even ever play live more than once or twice. Better than Mercurochrome? Seriously? As for lost Watershed classics, "Little by Little" or "Therapy" are light years ahead of "One Word Title". It has promise, but we never came close on this one. Our bad.

No footage of this song. Click here to enjoy Watershed covering Cheap Trick's "Reach Out."