Friday, February 27, 2009

Remembering "Don't Tread"

I woke up yesterday with one of the solos from "Double Coyote," Ted Nugent's blues-rock guitar duel with himself on Damn Yankees' second album, and realized I needed to hear it - and the songs that went with it - once again, so I downloaded it. I should note that I bought Don't Tread on tape from BMG when it came out in 1992 at the highly impressionable age of eleven, so that while other people grew up with the Nuge's solo work, I subsisted on the super group more than a few have insisted "ruined Ted Nugent." However, despite the slur (or maybe because of it?), I loved the album then - my first real hard rock purchase - and have ever since.

That said, I've come to realize what schizophrenic piece of work Don't Tread really is. Its release date probably didn't help - releasing anything to a rock audience in 1992 that didn't sound something like Nirvana seems like the career equivalent of trying to build a sand castle in front of a tsunami - but as Seth and I were discussing mere moments ago, that's peripheral to the music itself. By my count, in addition to the blues rock guitar duel, Don't Tread has two ballads, a country rock cut that morphs into arena rock, a handful of hard rock variations, and "Uprising," which - in what had to be a sign of the future - had my favorite riff of the whole album, a simple, thunderous piece of rock guitar that - when combined with the tribalistic drumming that surrounded it - had more in common with metal idioms of the day than it did with the rest of the album. While I love every note of Don't Tread, I can see why it wasn't such a hot seller: it takes a lot of patience (or the open mind of a kid exploring a completely new world) to get through something so convoluted.

No comments: