Sunday, March 25, 2012

No. 802 – Divine Hammer

Performer: The Breeders
Songwriter: Kim Deal
Original Release: Last Splash
Year: 1993
Definitive Version: Live New Year’s Eve bootleg, 1993

Until I met Laurie nearly eight years ago, Antonio Alfonseca could count on one hand the number of New Year’s Eves that I can remember. That has nothing to do with having killed certain brain cells with alcohol but because my New Year’s Eves typically were so nondescript that they’ve been lost to the sands of time.

And that’s only partially due to not being with someone a lot of those New Year’s Eves. Between Beth and Debbie, I spent 12 New Year’s Eves attached, and I remember only two of them—one because Debbie got deathly sick that night and the other because it was 2000 zero zero party over oops out of sight … With Beth, I suppose a few of those times involved sneaking off for a little cardio activity, but because that was such a common occurrence when we were together, New Year’s Eves in particular don’t stand out.

So, yeah, I’ve never been much for New Year’s Eve. In fact, two of the memorable New Year’s Eves mentioned earlier are due entirely to what I watched on TV that night, because I taped the shows and listened to and/or watched them many times since then.

One was MTV’s New Year’s Eve bash from 1993 into 1994. Why? Nirvana was the headliner. As I’ve mentioned, I missed seeing them for real in November, so I wasn’t going to miss even a televised concert. Even if you didn’t see this show, you’re familiar with it. Almost every picture that newspapers used of Kurt Cobain after he killed himself—the one of him belting out a song in full throat with the medical mannequin in the background framed perfectly so that the mannequin’s angel wings look like they’re on Kurt—was taken from the MTV show (which was recorded in the fall, no New Year’s Eve night).

The warm-up act, so to speak, was The Breeders, who were very hip for a very brief time. If I recall correctly, they only showed two songs from them—Cannonball, which was their big hit, and this one. Cannonball was OK, but Divine Hammer was a great song. I liked it right away, and I bought Last Splash as a result.

The funny thing is, I never really liked the studio version. The live one from the New Year’s Eve show is a lot peppier, and consequently, when I put together my next batch of tapes, which I was listening to a lot in the mid-winter of 1994, I used the version off from the MTV show from the videotape I made. So when I hear this now, I think of driving around at night on job-related errands and one of the few New Year’s Eves from last century that I actually remember.

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