Alt Rock Autumn; October 2nd
Let the series role.
Today is a tremendous autumn day. It’s a brisk sixty five degrees right now and I have an away game at Westfield State today. Weather app is telling me it’ll be seventy two at kick off. And guess what’s blaring through my AirPods on this bus ride? Some sweet Alt Rock.
Now I’m not just listening to any Alt Rock. I’ve got the Counting Crows on with one of their biggest hits, Mr. Jones.
It’s a bit of a change of pace from yesterday with Today by the Smashing Pumpkins. Today had a soft guitar sound with distorted guitar sprinkled throughout. Mr. Jones has a consistent upbeat guitar with I believe a tambourine in the back. And you cannot forget about the awesome vocals from lead singer Adam Duritz.
Mr. Jones is the third song off of one of the best albums of the 90’s in my opinion. August and Everything After is loaded. Mr. Jones is the huge hit, but is accompanied by tracks like Round Here, Omaha, Rain King, and Ghost Train.
What’s extremely interesting about the song is that Duritz said in a 2013 interview that the song is about him, but he named the song after his friend Marty Jones, the bassist from The Himalayas.
The song is about wanting to be a big star. Shit, I feel like ninety nine percent of people want to be big stars. I want to be a big podcast star and in the song, Duritz sings about wanting to be a rock star.
In that same interview, Duritz said “It just seemed like, you know, we couldn't even manage to talk to girls, ... we were just thinking if we were rock stars, it'd be easier. I went home and wrote the song,".
He’s referring back to a night where he and Marty Jones went out to watch Jones’s dad play. He was a Flamenco guitar player and was performing in San Francisco with his old Flamenco group. Following the show, the group went out to a bar called the New Amsterdam.
The lyrics start to make more sense now.
In said bar, they saw Kenney Dale Johnson who was a long time drummer for artist Chris Isaak. Kenney Dale Johnson had multiple girls on his arm and the two, Duritz and Jones, knew right then and there that they wanted to be like that.
In the song, Duritz opens the song with “I was down at the New Amsterdam” recounting the night.
Duritz follows the line with “Mr. Jones strikes up a conversation, With a black-haired flamenco dancer, You know she dances while his father plays guitar, She's suddenly beautiful, And we all want something beautiful”.
One of my favorite lines though from the song is “Mr. Jones and me, Tell each other fairy tales” and the reason relates back to Alt Rock Autumn and the whole season.
When I think of autumn, I think of my friends and I hanging out listening to this type of music. One instance in particular from a few weeks ago was when I was heading out to UConn for a weekend with two of my college teammates.
The weather was perfect.
We had the windows down driving through the backroads of Rhode Island and Connecticut listening to the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Counting Crows, and Bruce Springsteen. We talked about what we wanted to do after college and our “dream” scenarios. This was our fairy tales.
Just an unreal song and one I heard at a young age on my iPod shuffle so it’s kind of stuck with me through my whole life.
Tomorrow for October 3rd, we’ll be looking at another smash hit. One from the Red Hot Chili Peppers off the Blood Sugar Sex Magik album.