Headbangers’ Brawl is a weekly column where Metal Insider’s Bram and Zach take a moment to debate and analyze two opposing sides of a topical issue occurring in the world of metal and/or the music industry.
This past week, RollingStone.com posted a photo gallery highlighting the “20 Most Memorable Duets of All Time.” At the same time, we also found out that The Dillinger Escape Plan’s Ben Weinman was old camp buddies with Maroon 5’s Adam Levine, officially becoming the oddest pairing of friends we could think of. With all of this in mind, Bram and Zach got to thinking. Thus, in this week’s Headbangers’ Brawl, the two discuss the best and worst collaborations in the metal/hard rock world, as well as a few “dream” pairings they’d love to see become a reality.
Zach: One that stands out in my head as “the best” is when Dave Grohl recorded “Shake Your Blood” with Lemmy for the Probot project. At the time, it seemed weird to see Lemmy playing with a Foo Fighter/Nirvana member. But not only did the song end up awesome, but actually sounded like a Motorhead song. It also proved how big of a metal fan at heart Grohl really was.
As for the worst, well for me that’s easy: Slash performing the end of “November Rain” with Jamie Foxx and T-Pain at the Grammys. This may be more personally devastating for me because not only is Slash my biggest influence as a guitarist, but it was the ending solo of “November Rain” that inspired me to even pick up the instrument. So it’s sad enough to watch Slash allow T-Pain and Foxx to piss on my favorite guitar solo of all time, but to see him actually join them in said act all for a few extra bucks is even more depressing.
Bram: Dave and Lemmy hooking up for the Probot song was cool, but in all, so was the entire Probot album. Not only was Grohl wearing his influences on his sleeve, he actually got most of them to record with him. And all of the songs sounded like songs the original bands could have recorded, not just the Lemmy collaboration. And while it could have been released on pretty much any label, for him to go with a tiny label like Southern Lord just gives him more cred.
As a matter of fact, I’m going to give Grohl even more credit. He could just sit around shitting out Foo Fighters songs like “Learn to Fly” and cashing checks, but his work on Queens of the Stone Age’s Songs for the Deaf is stellar, and he seems to enjoy sitting back and letting Josh Homme and John Paul Jones have more of a spotlight in Them Crooked Vultures. From King Diamond to Led Zeppelin, Dave Grohl is like the kid in high school that gets along with the jocks, geeks and stoners.
As far as the worst collaboration, where do I start? Just because people get along with each other backstage is no reason for them to record music together. I’ve already written about Coal Chamber and Ozzy’s disastrous Peter Gabriel cover. And far more recently, I’ve thrown up my hands about “Porn Star Dancing.” But one of the most annoying collaborations ever might be Swizz Beats featuring Metallica and Ja Rule. Granted, I doubt any of the three were in the studio at the same time, but to be given an unused Metallica track and putting the then-ubiquitous Ja Rule on top of it might have sounded like a good idea at the time, but – wait, it didn’t even sound like a good idea at the time! Rock and hip hop aren’t necessarily a bad idea (see Run DMC, or even Kid Rock’s “American Badass,” also using Metallica), but when it goes bad, it goes really bad.
Z: Oh God, I’ve been successful in forgetting that ever existed until now….ahhhhhh get out of my head Ja Rule!!! I remember watching Metallica’s Some Kind Of Monster and seeing a few clips of them
getting proposed by the producers to record that track (can’t remember if it was bonus footage or actually in the movie). Originally they wanted DMX to do it instead of Ja Rule…as if that would have been better. Though let’s face it, it’s still not the worst rock/rap collab ever. That title goes to Puff Daddy and Jimmy Page. Actually, come to think of it, the entire existence of Methods Of Mayhem might take that crown. No Tommy Lee, I do not want to get naked with you, Fred Durst, Lil Kim and George Clinton.
Not to go off on an even further Dave Grohl kiss-ass fest, but I would love to see him work with Ozzy in some way since I know they tried to previously. During the Down To Earth sessions, Grohl was asked to write some songs for the Prince Of Darkness. Wylde bashed him and said the songs were pop-shit, but Grohl revealed that the songs he submitted (which Ozzy never used) ended up on Probot (“My Tortured Soul” and “Sweet Dreams”). If he was to write songs that were as heavy as those, then I’d love to see Ozzy give Grohl another shot.
A collaboration I would have loved to seen (but for obvious reasons will never happen) is the Zakk Wylde, Dimebag Darrell and Kerry King’s “G3” type tour that the three were planning to do prior to Dimebag’s death. That would have simply been awesome to see. In a similar vein, I remember hearing way back that Vinnie Paul still has the recordings that were done for Damageplan’s second album but wasn’t sure what to do with them. One option was to get a bunch of Dimebag’s favorite singers to appear on each track. That would certainly be cool to hear.
How about you, Bram? Any dream collabs you’d love to see?
B: There’s the long in the works, then cancelled Tapeworm project that would be great to see the light of day. That was Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross’ project that never released any material. To hear those two with Maynard James Keenan, Page Hamilton and Phil Anselmo, all who worked with the project before it disbanded in 2004, would have ranged somewhere between the “almost but not quite” vibe of Puscifer to quite possibly the most awesome collaboration ever. Apparently, an album’s worth of demos have been recorded, and it’d definitely be interesting to hear what it sounds like.