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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."

 

Watershed Rankings Day 3 (Songs 44-34) 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 3 (Songs 44-34) 

 

Click here for Day 2 of the Watershed song rankings.

 

Getting Ready (44): “The Fifth of July” really slows down when it hits this song. If this was on vinyl or cassette, would this be the last song on Side one or the first song on Side two. I’d hope for the former, but who knows?

Colin G. - This and "Obvious" are the first two songs we cut for 5th of July. We actually made a mini promo single and took it down to SXSW to pimp the upcoming release. I guess what I am saying is that in our minds, "Getting Ready" was one of the strongest tracks on the record. Nick, it seems that this ranking along with a low ranking of "Romantic Noise" that you aren't a big fan of this side of Watershed. In my opinion, it is this side of the band that makes the other poppier side so appealing. Otherwise, we would just be the Posies or the Gin Blossoms. I really like these lyrics.  

Joe O. - Great lyrics by Colin. What a universal sentiment, and I never thought of it quite this way until Colin wrote the song. Oscar Wilde once said, "There was never any smog in London until Charles Dickens wrote about it." Colin did that for me here. So, yeah, Colin and Dickens. Pretty much on the same level.

Ricki C. - Hey Colin, get a load of Professor Oestreich comin' with the book-larnin' with an Oscar Wilde quote, no less.  I forget, was Wilde in The Bullet Boys or Poison?  

Colin G. - He was the bass player in W.A.S.P.

Listen here!

 

Just For Show (43): I did enjoy seeing this performed live on Watershed weekend. Just curious, why was this included on the Single Series CD? There are a lot of better songs on “The More It Hurts, The More It Works” that deserved single status over this tune.

Watch this!

Joe O. - I wrote this song in my bedroom in a dive apartment above the High Street Radio Shack on North Campus, the one next to the Blue Danube.  I had been in a car wreck that morning.  The seat belt kept me from going through the windshield, which, looking back on it, gives the line "Don't lead with the chin, just to be safe," a little extra something.

Colin G. - Hurts/Works took a long time to finish so we released the single series just to get something new out while we were touring. "Just For Show" was probably just finished. We don't always have a master plan for things as such.

 

Sad Drive (42): The version that Colin re-recorded is so much better than this original. But I like the original and love the story in “Hitless Wonder” about how it started the set that landed the record contract.

Colin G. Appreciate the kind words and the solo version is a different beast altogether, but the original has "Nebraska" -esque charm that is hard to top. Once again, not sure if it is good, but it is something.

Joe O. - Sorry, Nick. The version that Colin re-recorded is nowhere close to this version. I'm biased, of course, because I was sitting in the studio when Colin gave this vocal performance, which is the vocal performance of his life. I still get chills listening to it.

 

Over Too Soon (41): This song is in a tough spot — between “Can’t Be Myself” and “New Life.” Still a very solid song and one reason this record is considered strong from start to finish.

Colin G. - Somebody has to have a hit with this eventually, right? 

Joe O. - One of the highs of my life is when Pat DiNizio of the Smithereens told me that this song is a hit. He's right. It is. For somebody, somewhere, sometime, it is.

Watch this! We couldn't find a band version but here is Colin playing solo at Andyman Memorial service. 

 

Twister (40): I happen to like the first record very much. Just wondered how this song became the title track of the record?

Ricki C. - Fucking number forty?  Nick, you've got "Twister" at number FORTY?  "Twister" (the song) is ABSOLUTELY in my Watershed Top Ten Tunes.  First off, it contains one of Colin's finest couplets ever - "So many times I've walked home and cried as the dark clouds became thicker / So many times I've looked at you and lied when I said I didn't care that you kissed her."  How many songwriters would address that sentiment to The Other Guy rather than to The Girl?   Brilliant, genius original lyric move.  Second, third & fourth: the overall simultaneously restrained but desperate tone of the vocal, the killer bass line from Joe, the atmospheric (pun intended) production touches throughout the song.  Fifth, sixth & seventh: the unison guitar & drums hook from Colin & Herb that moves the song into the chorus, Joe's vocal counter-melody in the chorus, Colin's scream that brings us to the guitar solo.  Need I go on to eighth, ninth & tenth?  Absolutely the first song that proved conclusively Watershed could be just as powerful mid-tempo as they were rocking.  I have not one doubt it should have been the title song of the first record.

Colin G. Holy shit! Ricki really likes "Twister." Performance-wise it is a stand-out from that era. Herb just owns those drums.

Joe O. - True fact: Colin is a fan of natural disasters. The real question is why did he choose to write about twisters rather than tsunamis, volcanic eruptions, or the attack of the killer tomatoes?

Click here for more info.

  

Sticky Bomb (39): We have officially hit the point in this list where the songs are interchangeable (ranking wise) for the next twenty or so.

Watch this!

Joe O. - For what it's worth, this is my 4-year old son's favorite song on Brick and Mortar.  It could be because of the swinging bass part, or it could be because he thinks the song is called "Stinky Bomb."

Colin G. - "We only fight about serious things: like who was better, The Beatles or The Kinks?"

 

Small Doses (38): Just a very solid, catchy song.

Ricki C. - ANOTHER killer Colin song that should've been much higher and absolutely should have been the second single from "5th Of July."

Colin G. - Enough with the Colin/Joe song stuff already. We woodshed all this stuff together as a band. And Tim Patalan added the crazy drums and timing changes. We literally played this like 75 times before we got the take. God bless Dave Masica. It should have been a single.

Joe O. - The line "throwing rocks at the moon" is a shout-out to Raleigh's The Backsliders, who released a masterpiece of an album by that name. Stop reading this and go buy that record.

listen here on spotify!

 

Half Of Me (37): This version is so much better than the League Bowlers attempt. Would have fit really well on “The Fifth of July.”

Colin G. - Joe played this for me at The Barn at Thundercreek and I was like, "Oh, that's a cool cover. Who is it? George Jones? Terry Anderson? Hank Snow? Hank?"  "No, I wrote it." "You wrote it? Damn." The League Bowlers version is better, though. Mike Parks on guitar rules. Come on. Listen here.

Joe O. - This was me trying to write a George Jones (RIP) song. It's nowhere in the same league as "The Race is On," but it ain't half bad. The first time we played it live was opening for Dash Rip Rock at Brothers Bar in Jacksonville, Alabama.

Rare footage of live version from Newport with "Maybelline" tacked onto intro.

 

Black Concert T-Shirt (36): This is the slower version found on “Star Vehicle.” It’s a very good song, but it can’t touch the remake on the next record.

Joe O. - The minute I planted a flag in the title, I was fired up. I thought: Watershed now owns one of the most ubiquitous symbols in rock and roll. I need to do more of that rock and roll symbol thing. Okay, my next mission is to write a song called, "I Got a Maglite in my Pocket." Just rolls off the tongue, don't it?

Watch This! Live from Independents Day 2013

 

Good Day (35): Love the lyrics and harmonica. The perfect segue between the great version of “Black Concert T-Shirt” and “Can’t Be Myself.”

Colin G. - This is the song that bumped "Sweet Kisses/Bitter Scars" off Hurts/Works. Tim had an epiphany and suddenly said this should be second track on the record. Mind you, we hadn't bothered to listen to this song in over a year so we all were like, "say what?" But Tim was adamant and a big part of working with a great producer is trust so we acquiesced to his wishes. I'm glad we did. Tim is right about most everything except that I need one more beer.

Joe O. - I love this song, too, but it's a weird one, a great song that didn't seem to fit in with the rest of the tunes on the record.  Patalan said, "Put it as the second track."  Embrace the weirdness.

Listen here!

 

Waiting For The Greatest (34): The lyrics in this song are brilliant. The story is great. The chorus and title just aren’t quite as good as the rest of the song. “Throw us on the soccer field, stop keeping score” and “We were free to think for ourselves as long as we agreed with them” hit home in these times.

Joe O. - Thanks, Nick. You and I are the only ones who think so. This is a tweak on a song that Poochie's band Twin Cam had already written and recorded. I always loved the Twin Cam song; I just thought that the verse lyrics could better tie-in to the chorus. So I asked our good buddy Mike Sammons of Twin Cam if he'd let me take a crack at writing new verses. He said yes, so there you have it. I love the story in this version, but I suspect that I'm the only one. Well, me and Nick. You should buy up every Twin Cam CD you can find. Second best band Poochie was ever in.

Colin G. - For the record, I dig this tune. 

 

Let's wrap up Day 3 with a full concert from Small's in Detroit, Michigan from the Hitless Wonder/Brick & Mortar tour.  Yes, the same Small's that is the first chapter in Hitless Wonder. 


Watershed Rankings Day 2 (Songs 55-45) 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! 

 

Watershed Rankings by Nick Jezierny  Day 2 (Songs 55-45)

Click here to read Day 1 (The Bottom Ten)

 

Wallflower Child (55): This is probably going to cause some debate. This is my least favorite song on Three Chords II. In fact, I’ve wondered why “New Life,” “Star Vehicle” or “Laundromat” didn’t get on the live record over this. I think about that type of stuff from time to time. I also wonder how certain songs are left off Greatest Hits packages. My two prime examples: "Stone In Love" for Journey, "Gimme Some Water" for Eddie Money. There are three better versions of “Wallflower Child" — Hoarse’s version is excellent, the one from Colin’s "Live From Cleveland” disc I bought from Ricki C. in Raleigh and the original Watershed version from one of the early recordings that I’m not ranking. This is the only case where Watershed made its own song worse!

Watch this! A fan making that version even worse from Comfest Bozo Stage.

Joe O. - I agree with Nick that Hoarse’s cover of this song is the definitive version. It also led to the Watershed/Tim Patalan partnership. The worst version of Wallflower Child is the tattoo that sits on my left shoulder.

Ricki C. - First off, and completely off-topic, regarding Greatest Hits, between the two of them Journey and Eddie Money have exactly ONE good, let alone great, song, that being Eddie's "Two Tickets To Paradise."   On the subject of "Wallflower Child," I remember thinking the first time I heard it WAY back in the day at Ruby Tuesday, "This sounds like a song The Monkees might have sung."  (In my 62 year-old world, a power-pop band writing a song that sounds like The Monkees is a positive notion.)  Plus how many rock & roll bands write songs for and celebrate the shy, retiring members of their audience?  Sometimes I think this is the song that established the Watershed "we're all in this together" persona that they honor to this day.    

 

I-65 (54): This probably would have made the “Bottom 11” if I hadn’t been driving on I-65 in Nashville when this came on the iPod two years ago. That was pretty cool, and so is the guitar in this song. 

Colin G. - I-65. Hmm. Is it good? Is it bad? Dunno. I do know that we approached our first record on Epic as the start of a musical family tree so that any direction we went after would make some sort of sense if you traced it back to its roots. Watershed never released another song quite like it though I guess the League Bowlers cover this ground. The more I think about it, this never should have been on Twister.  FYI - First performed at the Ronald Koal Memorial Show at the Newport Music Hall. RIP Ronald.

 

She Picks The Songs (53): This song shows Watershed getting closer to its signature sound. It probably should be higher on this list, but man, this is very hard to do!

Joe O. - Somehow I actually worked the word ipecac into a song. Good for me.

 

Superstressed (52): It never fails that this song comes on when I’m running late and in traffic. It’s what I get for having an mp3 disc of all Watershed songs in my car’s CD player for the past two years.

Joe O. - I don’t want to speak for Colin, but I think we were all pretty damn stressed at that time, fighting to hang on to the Epic deal. Frank Aversa, the self-proclaimed “King of Huge” got a great drum sound here, and Herb wails on ‘em.

Colin G. - When it's all said and done, Star Vehicle might be the record I am most proud of. It's not our best record, but we were left for dead on the side of the road yet still made a damn good record. Playing for pride. It was the first time but not the last. Plus it just rocks. Who is that on guitar anyway?

Watch this! Live from Slim's Downtown.

 

Romantic Noise (51): Great lyrics, but a little slow and not quite a ballad.

Joe O. - Not only is this a great song, it’s super-important for us because it’s the first thing we did with Patalan. Probably the single recording session that sticks with me the most.

Colin G. - Yeah Nick, pull your head out of your ass. Didn't you read Hitless Wonder? In all seriousness, the song probably doesn't get it's due because us assholes couldn't really pull it off live. Tim P. just produced it so well we could never make it live up to the recorded version. Great song though. One of my faves. 

 

Consolation Prize (50): “I’ll tease you like a slug teases a vending machine” is pretty memorable.

Joe O. -The line that I always like to sing is “I’ve been biting off erasers, so I can’t take anything back.”

Colin G. - Love this song. Got squeezed out of set by Anniversary. Herb's finest drumming and check out that tasty feedback before the last chorus. Yum.

 

On A Broken Radio (49): I like the idea, but I think because it’s the third ballad in a row at the end of “Brick and Mortar” that I don’t appreciate it more.

Joe O. - One of my favorite afternoons of the B&M sessions was hashing out these lyrics with Joe Peppercorn.  

Ricki C. - I TOTALLY disagree with "Broken Radio" being this far down the list.  It made a great closer to the shows on the "Hitless Wonder/Brick & Mortar" summer tour of 2012, coming after all the rock power & command of  "Black Concert T-Shirt" and other ravers during the encores.  Dare I say it brought a new depth to the Watershed show?   Maybe.  While we're on the subject, I'm also surprised to find "Set The World On Fire" so far down the list below at number 47.  Those are the two "Brick & Mortar" tunes fleeting member Joe Peppercorn had the biggest influence on, so maybe a pattern starts to emerge. 

Watch this! Live at the Bluestone.

 

New Depression (48): I once slid on some ice and my car ended up in a ditch while listening to this song. My car had no damage, until another car hit the same ice patch and T-boned me. What was amazing was I out there waving frantically at the oncoming traffic to watch for the black ice and the first handful of cars obeyed. Finally, the guy who wasn’t paying attention slams into my car about two minutes before my AAA tow truck arrived to pull me out. That wasn’t a good day.

Joe O. - I remember working on this song for months in the basement of 387 W. 4th Ave, where our good buddy Jeff Hassler was living at the time.

Watch This! Live from Frankie's Toledo on the tour that inspired Hitless Wonder. Poochie smokes.

 

Set The World On Fire (47): This is a good song, but I think so many on the latest record are better. I was a little surprised that this was the second single (or at least I think it was). 

Colin G.- Love playing this song. Sound-checked with it almost every night on Brick & Mortar tour. In retrospect, wish the keys were a bee sting louder in the chorus. Listen for them. 

Below: Live from CD1025 Big Room. Andymanathon 2013.

Give A Little Bit (46): This is still better than Supertramp’s original and the Goo Goo Dolls’ cover, even though they aren’t the same song. But they do have the same title.

Joe O. - For some reason I didn’t care much for this song back when Star Vehicle came out, but now I dig it a lot. The intro snare hit always takes me by surprise—not that I sit around listening to old Watershed albums. Much.

No footage of this song. But enjoy this mystery promo video. Who made this and why?

Get Over Me (45): Did you ever notice how many pronouns are in the song titles on Twister? I notice that type of stuff for no good reason.

Joe O. - Good call on the pronouns, Nick. Our buddy David Martin noted that same thing way back when. Whenever I hear myself singing this song, I always want to tell myself to “Lighten up, Francis.”

Ricki C. - Our first "Stripes" reference of the countdown. I love it. Can Wicked Scepter be far behind?

Let's wrap up Day Two with the legendary Reverend Todd Baker and his TV Show "What The Hell Was That?" live from Raleigh, NC in 2013. All kinds of great footage including an interview with the even more legendary sound man and longtime Watershed supporter Jac Cain. If you look close you may even catch a glimpse of Nick J. himself. 


Watershed Rankings Day 1 - The Bottom 11 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! 

This six-part series is the brainchild of Nick Jezierny, a former sports journalist who has worked at newspapers in Ohio (including the Columbus Dispatch), Texas and Idaho, and who obviously occasionally has too much time on his hands.  

(Comments on the rankings by Colin Gawel, Joe Oestreich & Ricki C. will be sprinkled liberally throughout the piece, and some videos will be thrown into the mix.)

 

Criteria: I took 66 Watershed songs from the major releases, beginning with Twister. I started this probably a few weeks after the release of Hitless Wonder. I was driving to Whitefish, Montana from my current home in Boise, Idaho for a vacation. On the trip, I listened to every Watershed song on random shuffle. It’s a 12-hour trip from Boise, so that definitely helped make the drive less painful. Anyway, two songs get reviewed twice because of the different versions ("Black Concert T-Shirt" and "If That’s How You Want It"). I took into account live versions of songs because “Three Chords II” is such a great record it wouldn’t be fair to rule out live songs. (Seriously, do you EVER hear the studio version of Peter Frampton’s “Do You Feel Like We Do?”) The live versions of some Watershed songs totally make them sky-rocket up on my list. Here we go, I’m sending these in groups of 11 so the list will last six days on Pencilstorm, should it be approved for publication.

 

Day 1 (The Bottom 11)

 

Studio Stuff (66): Total cop out, but let’s face it, no Watershed song deserves to be called the worst Watershed song, right? This isn’t really a song, just a bunch of noise that separates the good stuff on “Star Vehicle” from the rest.

 

Didn’t Exactly Lie (65): A little too country and slow for my liking, and the song is just too damn long.

 

Turn It On, Turn It Up, Turn It Loose (64): This probably should have been recorded by the League Bowlers. Just doesn’t work for Watershed that well.

Colin G. - Just to clear things up, the previous two songs were never considered actual studio tracks. To make a boring story just as boring, at one point the record Star Vehicle was changing labels and we had the masters in our hand for exactly one night so we decided to slip on a couple of B-sides before it went out to be re-pressed. The art work kind of makes them look like they belonged but "Star Vehicle" as intended was only ten songs. The bonus tracks were added as a sweetener for people who had already bought a copy. All three songs were recorded at Captured Live studios in Durham, NC where we spent a week and cut about 10 demos. Only these tracks have ever seen the light of day outside of Biggie's iPod.

Click here for info on The League Bowlers "Some Balls". The lost Watershed record.

 

What Would I Need You For (63): This is where the list gets hard. This song really could be 20 places higher, but for me, it’s the low point on the debut record.

 

I’ve Been Looking Everywhere / Born To Run (62): I love the song “Born To Run,” and if you’re going to cover it, give it some of your own personality. Needs a little Watershed-ification. The “I’ve Been Looking Everywhere” part is interesting and I gained appreciation for it while seeing it performed live at Slim’s in Raleigh, N.C., last year.

Colin G. I don't know how much more personality you can give Born To Run than taking a song originally cut as a Spector wall of sound rip-off and doing it as a three piece garage band. Just the song and no frills. I suspect Little Steven would love this version. And the fact we just slipped it in on the end of the record, spliced to another track….

 

Watch This! Live December 2012

 

Don’t Give A Damn (61): I’m not an Ohio State football fan. Living in Columbus (which I did from September 1991 to May 1998) was very difficult in the fall when you were overwhelmed by the Buckeye fans and media. This is the only Watershed song my wife will skip when it comes on in the car, and I don’t stop her. Of note, I do think it’s awesome it was recorded considering Watershed is a Columbus-based band that roots for Ohio State.  Watch This! 

 

Paint The Town Red (60): When I first downloaded this song, I didn’t realize it was a cover. Learning that made me feel better. Why? Because I found this after “Fifth of July,” and to me, this was a step backward for the band. As a cover, it makes sense. I still haven’t heard the original version. Listen Here!

 

I Deserve You (59): This is an excellent vocal performance, but it just gets lost on "Side 2" of Twister.

Watch This! No footage of this song, but very rare cover of Sinead O'Conner "Last Day of Our Acquaintance" after band plays "Johnny 99." Film from infamous Endo/Exo three night stand in Jacksonville, FLA.  The band refuses to talk about what happened, to this day.

 

Going Through The Motions (58): The only song I really don’t like on “Fifth of July.” I do like the execution of an idea. The song is called “Going Through The Motions” and the tempo is so monotonous, and the lyrics are spot on. Very well done, but it’s out of the 3-minute, up-tempo song structure of the rest of the album.

Colin G - The song was deliberately placed on the album to set up "Best is Yet to Come", which was deliberately placed last on the record. This wasn't necessarily a safe/smart choice but we felt it made the entire 5th of July record more interesting and still do.

 

Never Could Have Made It (57): A little too sappy for me, but it isn’t a bad song by any means.

Colin G - No sir. Joe Peppercorn shines. Sucks the sap right out of it Lindsey Buckingham style.

 

Wreck It (56): A very raw song that should have been the theme song for the recent movie of the same name.

Ricki C. - Let me say this, right at the outset of this list: I have NO MEMORY whatsoever of more than half of the tunes thus far, and I've been seeing Watershed since 1990.  Let me also say this at the outset: I've been a FAN of the band way longer than I've been an employee of the band.  (Point of fact: as late as 2005 I was still being referred to as "that Neil Diamond-looking guy who's always hanging around talking to Colin" by no less a personage than Michael "Biggie" McDermott.)  I have an insider's view of the outside, an outsider's view of the in.     

Watch this! We couldn't find much footage for these songs, but click here for a full pro shot Watershed Concert from the LC in Columbus in front of 1,500 people.

 

The Watershed Rankings series will continue on Pencilstorm for the next five Saturdays. 

Stay tuned.

 

Album Review: A Lost Classic / Samantha 7 - by Jeremy Porter

SPOTIFY PLAYLIST - LISTEN WHILE YOU READ!

Samantha 7 was a short-lived power-trio formed and led by one Bruce Anthony Johannesson – aka C.C. DeVille - the spiky-blonde-haired, shredding axe-slinger for the pop-metal-glam-hair band Poison. How I ended up with this obscure disc is a bit of a journey, so bear with me for just a bit of back-story. Remember VH1?  Remember when they had a show called “Rock and Roll Jeopardy?” It was basically a Sunset Strip version of the Alex Trebek-hosted classic, with rock stars as contestants and rock and roll categories for the answers for which they were to provide the questions. Jeff Probst of Survivor fame was the host. Sugar Ray’s Mark McGrath was a star contestant, as was C.C. DeVille, with his honest and innocent Spicoli-like LA-beach-bum-stoner with a hoarse Brooklyn accent persona and ditzy delivery that was ultimately overshadowed by his vast knowledge of all things rock. It was high art and great entertainment. What we’d give to have those days back, eh? As a gag, I bid $2 for the CD on Ebay as a Christmas stocking-stuffer for my better half, who had taken a bit of a liking to C.C. and his charming antics on RRJ. I set the CD aside for a few days until I was ready to wrap it. How could it not be terrible? I’ve never been a Poison fan, and never really considered C.C. more than you’re run of the mill shredder. I popped it into the player on a whim as I gathered the scissors, wrapping paper, and scotch tape. The music started, and after a few moments I stopped in my tracks, raised an eyebrow, and looked accusingly at the stereo.   

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Holy shit?!?! I Was Framed! had my attention right off. An upbeat powerpop-rock song that had all the energy of the New York Dolls, the melody, grit, and hooks of the first Cheap Trick record, and the raspy vocals of a punk-rock Bryan Adams meets Rod Stewart. The album has that feel throughout. Unlike Poison, it’s not raunchy and full of cheap innuendo. The lyrics aren’t exactly Springsteen-level, but they’re leagues above I Hate Every Bone In Your Body Except Mine. C.C. sings from the nostalgic mind of a confused kid about movie star crushes, long-lost and longed-for girlfriends, life in Hollywood, and the struggles of a hair-metal giant facing obscurity in the year 2000, long replaced in the public eye by Nirvana and the endless trail of cardigan-wearing pouting bands that followed. The record also has a loose, raw, under-produced (in a good way) feel, like three dudes walked in, plugged in, and let the tape roll. Oh, it’s got a sheen, it’s no demo, but nothing close to over-produced records like “Open Up and Say….Ahh!” and “Look What the Cat Dragged In.”   But most of all it’s got an honesty and innocence that lacks pretension and only comes from making music you love because you love to make it, and not for any other reason.

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 I Wanna Be Famous, their best known song, thanks to its use as the theme to “The Surreal Life” (with C.C. as a cast member) is a straight up rip off of He’s A Whore, but there’s at least a refreshing take that makes it forgivable. Good Day harkens back to the 90’s alternative bands reaching for that acoustic, strum-along hit ala Jane Says or Runaway Train. Every song has something you’ve heard before, but every song is fresh, honest, and fun. Sure, part of the attraction is that it’s just so unexpected, but damned if it doesn’t have staying power.    

Samantha 7 did a couple tours, including a set at Woodstock `99, and there has been the occasional reunion rumor, but it seems to have been a one time side-project as Poison has since enjoyed a resurgence that has them playing the summer shed circuit to sold-out crowds of cutoff-wearing housewives drunk on Coors Light, singing along and reliving their high school years. Can’t blame the dude for getting sober, going back to his bread-basket, and making a living, but if you’re looking for some honest, heart-felt, raw and fun rock and roll, give it a spin. It’s a lost treasure.   

Jeremy Porter lives near Detroit and fronts the rock and roll band Jeremy Porter And The Tucos - www.thetucos.com

Follow them on Facebook to read his road blog about their adventures on the dive-bar circuit -
www.facebook.com/jeremyportermusic 


Twitter: @jeremyportermi | Instagram: @onetogive & @jeremyportermusic | www.rockandrollrestrooms.com

Watershed Hullabaloo August 9th, 10th & 11th in Columbus, Ohio - by Colin Gawel

Watershed Hullabaloo August 9th, 10th &11th

It’s time for Biggie to fire up the van and get everybody together to play these Watershed songs we have spent the last 34 years crafting to sloppy perfection. So if you are up for it, we have three different shows for your consideration.

Friday August 9th Joe and I will be joined by Dave Masica for some songs and storytelling at the fabulous Natalie’s Coal Fired Pizza. It’s a one-of-a-kind show and….it immediately sold out. Don’t feel bad. Even my wife didn’t get tickets.

But who wants to attend some wussy unplugged show when you can get your balls to the wall the very next night at Ace of Cups? On Saturday August 10th doors are at 7 pm and the amazing Earwig will be opening the show, onstage at 8 pm. We are on around 9:30 pm. Folks, I ain’t going to BS you, it’s going to be a good one. If I were you, I would get your tickets NOW.

Beep Beep Beep Beep Beep says my alarm as I will be wiping the sleep out of my eyes for a 2 pm FREE show at Little Rock on Sunday August 11th.. Billed as Watershed and friends, we are going to have some gear set up in the corner and will most likely play not only some Watershed tunes but Bowlers, Bones and maybe a little Cheap Trick too. It’s more of a weekend wrap-up happy hour than a show. 

In other news, yes, Watershed actually has 7 new tunes about 90% finished but it looks like nothing will be hosed off and thrown into the limo before the big weekend. Still, keep checking back as we should have some new tunes out in the near future. Also, Pencilstorm will be running all kinds of Watershed content leading up to the show, including the complete Watershed song rankings to get you hyped. Hope to see you at the hullabaloo. - Colin

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