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The best Steppenwolf post, ever

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Ah, indulge me, I was an impressionable little kid at the time
and ALL the cool "biker" guys listened to em.....today some of their stuff sounds dated to the point of being goofy (imagine listening to "Don't Step on the Grass, Sam" with a straight face and thik about the "seriousness" of that anthem at the time of its writing.

So, Stepponwolf were vocalist John Kay, guitarist Mike Monarch, bassist Rushton Moreve, keyboardist Goldy McJohn, and drummer Jerry Edmonton (the bulk of them came from Sparrow, Kay's previous band).....they were at the top of their game from about 1968-1973 or so, and enjoyed a career in which they began to take themselves so seriously that the almost serve, today (along with maybe Uriah Heep) as a "real life" Spinal Tap.

However, that isn't to say they didn't record some damn good shit....thier first LP ("Steppenwolf") is quite an enjoyable blend of hard rock, psych, and blues-rock, with a version Hoyt Axton's "The Pusher", as well as fine singles "Sookie Sookie" and the anthemic "Born to Be Wild".....some of the lesser known stuff here is quite good as well here, perhaps you don't recall "The Ostrich", "Your Wall's Too High", and"Berry Rides Again", if not, listen up this is a cool period piece and a legit 4-star album.

"Steppenwolf the Second" ups the psych content a bit, with mixed results, stuff like "Tighten Up Your Wig" and "Faster Than the Speed of Life" don't always hit the mark, and the aforementioned pro-marijuana anthem "Don't Step on the Grass, Sam" has more hilarious lyrics than a Tenacious D album.....the big exception: "Magic Carpet Ride", a great heavy-psych single. Rumor (ONLY rumor to my knowledge) is that "Magic Carpet Ride"'s lyrics disclose info about Kay's college fraternity hazing, hrd to imagine Kay in a college though (just kiddin!)....

OK, next up is "At Your Birthday Party", which more or less sucks, save the fantastic single "Rock
Me". "Monster" is when Kay began to take himself "seriously" as an "artist" thus giving us this abomination of a concept album about God knows what all.....THIS is a hilarious period piece right here, it's probably a 1.5 star album, but you'll want to hear it if you haven't.

They released a double live LP along the way too, it's never been regarded as very good, but I have a kind of a soft spot for it, for some reason we used to play the shit out of it, and all the "classics" are here, and who wouldn't want a LIVE "Don't Step on the Grass, Sam".....really it's not bad, the stopping "Born To Be Wild" goes on a bit too long, but there are some rocking moments (in particular "Hey Lawdy Mama").

By the time of "Steppenwolf 7" this was pretty much a done deal, steal hilariously dated but not nearly as enjoyable (unless an 8-minute track called "Ball Crusher" sounds appealing). My collection of regular releasesnds with "For Ladies Only", an awful disc with crap like the title track and (oh God) "Jaded Strumpet".......anyway, they gave it a decent run and cranked out some good hard rock for awhile, and at the end day, that is fine....they released a couple more albums, I don't have em, but I am sure they suck.

I do have a disc full of pre-Steppenwolf "Sparrow" stuff, definitley worth a listen, some good hard rocking tracks and some fine clues as to where this was going. Also a 1967 live set from Sparrow at the Matrix. Definitley moe Steppenwolf and related that you will EVER need!


Mid 1980's a small bar here in my area of Soutehrn Ohio advertised that "Steppenwolf" were playing
there, of course, I thought they were longgone....paid my three bucks, and what do you know? There was John Kay backed up by a bunch of kids, and they cranked out "Magic Carpet Ride" and "Born To Be Wild" note-for-note (not like they were all THAT complex) and, although I usually HATE that stuff, I am glad I went.

Hoping this post brings back a memory or two for some of ya, just another part of the soundtrack to my twisted youth!

STEPPENWOLF-01 Sookie Sookie/02 Everyody's Next One/03 Berry Rides Again/04 Hootchie Kootchie Man/05 Born To Be Wild/06 Your Wall's Too High/07 Desperation/08 The Pusher/09 A Girl I Knew/10 Take What You Need/11 The Ostrich

STEPPENWOLF THE SECOND-01 Faster Than the Speed of Life/02 Tighten Up Your Wig/03 None Of Your Doing/04 Spiritual Fantasy/05 Don't Step on the Grass Sam/06 28/07 Magic Carpet Ride/08 Disappointment Number (Unknown)/09 Lost and Found By Trial and Error/10 Hodge, Podge, Strained Through a Leslie/11 Resurrection/12 Reflections

AT YOUR BIRTHDAY PARTY-01 Don't Cry/02 Chicken Wolf/03 Lovely Meter/04 Round and Down/05 It's Never Too Late/06 Sleeping Dreaming/07 Jupiter's Child/08 She'll Be Better/09 Cat Killer/10 Rock Me/11 God Fearing Man/12 Mango Juice/13 Happy Birthday

EARLY STEPPENWOLF-SPARROW RECORDED LIVE AT THE MATRIX 1967-01 Power
Play/02 Howlin For My Darlin/03 I'm Going Upstairs/04 Corina Corina/05 Tighten Up Your Wig/06 The Pusher

MONSTER-01 Monster/02 Draft Resister/03 Power Play/04 Move Over/05 Fag/06 What Would You Do (If I Did That To You)/07 From Here To There Eventually

LIVE-01 Sookie Sookie/02 Don't Step On the Grass Sam/03 Tighten Up Your Wig/04 Monster/05 Draft Resister/06 Power Play/07 Corina Corina/08 Twisted/09 From Here To There Eventually/10 Hey Lawdy Mama/11 Magic Carpet Ride/12 The Pusher/13 Born To Be Wild


STEPPENWOLF 7-01 Ball Crusher/02 Forty Days and Forty Nights/03 Fat Jack/04 Renegade/05 Foggy Mental Breakdown/06 Snowblind Friend/07 Who Needs Ya/08 Earschplittenloudenboomer/09 Hippo Stomp

BEST OF SPARROW-01 Twisted (Audition Version)/02 Goin' To California (Audition Version)/03
Square Headed People/04 Good Morning Little Schoolgirl/05 Bright Lights Big City/06 Hoochie Koochie Man/ 07 The Pusher/08 King Pin/09 Goin' Upstairs/10 Baby Please Don't Go/11 Tomorrow's Ship/12 Isn't It Strange/13 Goin To California/14 Twisted/15 Green Bottle Lover/16 Tighten Your Wig/17 Too Late/18 Can't Make By Yourself/19 Down Goes Your Love/20 Chasin Shadows


Links in a wee bit!

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