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The Covers XIII: “Cinnamon Girl.”

September 6, 2020

I like picking cover tunes that are at least somewhat different from the original recordings. This one counts.

I’m not a huge Neil Young fan. He’s got the sort of voice that gets on my nerves after a few songs, like the voices of Bob Dylan, Robert Plant, and Geddy Lee (from the band Rush),  but I really like some of his songs. “Old Man” and “Heart of Gold” are my favorites, but I like this one quite a bit as well.

What would a cinnamon girl look like? I picture a brunette with light brown eyes – the sort of look I’m really attracted to.

Anyway.. this is one of Neil Young’s rockers. It’s fun.

Since Neil Young is such a legend, I’m not going include info about him.

The song is an original by Young. It was released on the “Everybody Knows This is Nowhere” album in 1969.

According to Wikipedia..

“The lyrics have the singer daydreaming for a girl to love, singing that he waits “between shows” for his lover.[8] Young has said that he wrote the song “for a city girl on peeling pavement coming at me through Phil Ochs‘ eyes playing finger cymbals. It was hard to explain to my wife.”[5] The city girl playing finger cymbals is a reference to folk singer Jean Ray.[8]

Here is a photo I found of Jean Ray:

img_2007

She was part of a folk duo I’ve never heard of until today, called Jim and Jean.

And here is the original version of the song, performed live by Young in 1991.. some hot women in this video!

 

 

Alright then..

Type O Negative..

Their cover can be found on their fourth album, “October Rust,” which was released in 1996.

Why the name?

“Steele came up with the name “Type O Negative” after hearing a radio advertisement requesting donations of type O negative blood.[26]

More about the band..

“Type O Negative was an American gothic metal band formed in Brooklyn, New York in 1989,[3][4] by Peter Steele (lead vocals, bass), Kenny Hickey (guitar, co-lead vocals), Josh Silver (keyboards, backing vocals), and Sal Abruscato (drums, percussion), who was later replaced by Johnny Kelly. Their lyrical emphasis on themes of romance, depression, and death resulted in the nickname “the Drab Four”[5] (in homage to the Beatles‘ “Fab Four” moniker).[6] The band went Platinum with 1993’s Bloody Kisses, and Gold with 1996’s October Rust, and gained a fanbase through seven studio albums,[7] two best-of compilations, and concert DVDs.

— Wikipedia.

Back in the ’90’s, I was aware of Type O Negative, but had probably only heard them once or twice. The alt-rock station I listened to back in Modesto played some heavy groups as the big four from Seattle: Soundgarden, Pearl Jam, Alice In Chains, and Nirvana, as well as other bands such as Stone Temple Pilots and Smashing Pumpkins.

I do not know why Type O Negative did not get airplay on this station! They had a very heavy, very dark sound, which would have fit in well with the Seattle bands, especially Soundgarden.

But nope, I didn’t hear them.

I became a student broadcaster at the college radio station at a small university near Modesto, and quickly got into a LOT of music that wasn’t mainstream. Many many indie bands, and lesser known groups.

I would not have been allowed to broadcast the bands I mentioned, the ones that got regular airplay on the commercial stations, but Type O Negative was just obscure enough that I could have played them over the airwaves.

But still, I never attempted to listen to them, I don’t know why.

One reason could be that the band was considered goth metal and associated with the goth scene. I only had one friend who was into that stuff. And he was the only goth person I could put up with.

He was a hardcore Marilyn Manson fan, loved horror movies, mostly wore black, and occasionally liked books on satanism and demonic magic.

And yet he was easy to get along with and not particularly creepy.

I don’t remember him mentioning this band, but he might have. Whatever band he mentioned was easy for me to take no notice of, because he was into it.

I did buy a goth sampler album from the most notorious and evil store in malls at that time, Hot Topic.

I thought the music was ok, but never really got into it.

And I never paid much attention to Type O Negative much more recently.

And I don’t know why.. why now?

Most of their songs I don’t care for. Their lyrics are dark, disturbing, sometimes heavily sexual in a rather creepy sort of way, and occasionally quite blasphemous.

Ironically, or perhaps not so much, the singer, Peter Steele, became a Catholic. Actually, more accurately, was raised Catholic, became an atheist, was for much of his life, and then re-converted.

Catholicism is gothic and morbid. Morbid? Oh yes. Catholics believe that when a priest blesses the bread and wine, it literally becomes the flesh and blood of Jesus Christ. Which the priest and parishioners then consume.

And of course the logo of the Catholic Church is an emaciated dead man with a crown of thorns, practically naked, and hanging on a cross.

Morbid? Yes!

I can see how that religion appealed to Steele.

Plus, he was fond of red wine.

Here’s some info on Steel and Catholicism:

In April 2007, Steele revealed that he began identifying himself as Roman Catholic in recent years, after decades of self-professed atheism.[15] In an interview with Decibel magazine, Steele explained:

There are no atheists in foxholes, they say, and I was a foxhole atheist for a long time. But after going through a midlife crisis and having many things change very quickly, it made me realize my mortality. And when you start to think about death, you start to think about what’s after it. And then you start hoping there is a God. For me, it’s a frightening thought to go nowhere. I also can’t believe that people like Stalin and Hitler are gonna go to the same place as Mother Teresa.”[55]

Peter Steele was the most macho-looking rock star I have ever seen. Dude was 6’6″ and a body builder. Also, he had a bad-ass look and a deep voice. And he played bass with a heavy, distorted sound to it.. quite rare. Most bass players like a clean sound.

Ironically, Steel suffered from mental health issues, including various anxiety problems, including bad stage fright. He also suffered from bi-polar disorder, other health issues, and was a heavier substance user. He looked like the epitome of someone with great confidence, but he was not that way.

He was also reported to be a very nice guy, generous and easy to get along with.

He was even a parks dept. worker in NYC. Park maintenance and etc. Really liked the job and had it for seven years before the band got big enough to pay the bills.

You might not be able to tell that from the interview just below..  But I think he and the woman who interviewed him were pals. Some people are playful in their insults.. a form of flirtation.

In the interview, Steele talks a bit about doing covers.

The interview contains some adult content.

 

According to one wikipedia article, Steele died of an abdominal disease called diverticulitis. Another wikipedia article reports his death as caused by heart failure –  aortic aneurysm. I don’t know what is true. Steele passed away on April 14, 2010. He was 48. The band broke up after that.

I’ve been thinking about Steele.. one of the most unique rock stars I’ve read about. I like unusual, creative people, who are pretty deep.

Also, no other band really sounded like Type O Negative. There were some other heavy goth bands, like Ministry and The Sisters of Mercy, but they didn’t sound like Type O Negative.

The other goth metal acts, the ones that got big, also had their own sound.. Marylin Manson and Nine Inch Nails. But I like Type O Negative best.

I may not like a lot of their songs, but I certainly admire their sound and originality and performances, even when they were doing covers.

Here is their version of “Cinnamon Girl.”

 

 

Next post is going to be another of the Type O Negative covers, and then after that on to other bands.

 

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