Tag Archives: Five Iron Frenzy

What’s the Best Five Iron Frenzy Ever?

This is too much fun. Squidoo just added a voting/ranking functionality (I learned about it because CFCC/CMS is ranked among the top 59 smartest organizations online, currently at #5 (!?) in the voting). So let’s try it out, shall we? (click through to vote)

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Update: Doesn’t look like their widget is working very well. If you can’t see the list above, you can go to my Five Iron lens to vote.

Leftover Reese Roper

Reese RoperLast week I interviewed Reese Roper, the former lead singer of the now defunct Five Iron Frenzy and current front man for the new pop-punk band Roper. The band released their debut album, Brace Yourself for the Mediocre (see my review), on October 19, managing to sell over 3,000 albums in the first week, earning them a spot on Billboard’s Heetseekers chart.

Below are some segments from the interview I probably won’t be able to use elsewhere:

Continue reading Leftover Reese Roper

Our Best FIF Ever

Yesterday I finally got around to posting my self-indulgant, retrospective Five Iron Frenzy article. In honor of that article, and in a previous tradition, I present my choices for a Five Iron greatest hits collection: The Best FIF Ever.

As usual, I had a hard time making up my mind, so I went with 2-disc set. The first set is the very best. The second set I’m calling B-sides, but it’s really all the other songs I like a whole bunch.

FIF. (photo by Kevin D. Hendricks

The Best FIF Ever
1) FIF Tribute (Fourth from the Last by The W’s)
2) One Girl Army (Proof That the Youth Are Revolting)
3) Cool Enough For You (Upbeats and Beatdowns)
4) Cannonball (The End is Near)
5) Me Oh My (All the Hype That Money Can Buy)
6) Handbook for the Sellout (Our Newest Album Ever)
7) Beautiful America (Upbeats and Beatdowns)
8) See the Flames Begin to Crawl (The End is Near)
9) A New Hope (All the Hype That Money Can Buy)
10) Banner Year (Our Newest Album Ever)
11) It Was Beautiful (The End is Near)
12) A Flowery Song (Upbeats and Beatdowns)
13) World Without End (All the Hype That Money Can Buy)
14) Anthem (Proof That the Youth Are Revolting)
15) Old West (Upbeats and Beatdowns)
16) Litmus (Our Newest Album Ever)
17) Farsighted (Electric Boogaloo)
18) Giants (All the Hype That Money Can Buy)
19) Something Like Laughter (The End is Near)
20) Blue Comb ’78 (Our Newest Album Ever)
21) Dandelions (Quantity Is Job 1)
22) Every New Day (Our Newest Album Ever)

FIF

The Best FIF Ever B-Sides
1) These Are Not My Pants the Rock Opera (Latin Pants) (Quantity Is Job 1)
2) My Evil Plan to Save the World (Quantity Is Job 1)
3) Combat Chuck (Upbeats and Beatdowns)
4) At Least I’m Not Like All Those Other Old Guys (The End is Near)
5) Most Likely To Succeed (Our Newest Album Ever)
6) Pre-Ex-Girlfriend (Electric Boogaloo)
7) Where is Micah? (Our Newest Album Ever)
8) Marty (Cheeses of Nazareth)
9) All That is Good (Quantity Is Job 1)
10) The Greatest Story Ever Told (All the Hype That Money Can Buy)
11) Farewell to Arms (The End is Near)
12) 451 (All the Hype That Money Can Buy)
13) Get Your Riot Gear (Quantity Is Job 1)
14) Where the Zero Meets the Fifteen (Upbeats and Beatdowns)
15) The Untimely Death of Brad (Quantity Is Job 1)
16) Mayonnaise Taco Monday (Cheeses of Nazareth)
17) Suckerpunch (Our Newest Album Ever)
18) You Gotta Get Up (Happy Christmas)
19) Oh, Canada (Our Newest Album Ever)
20) Arnold & Willis & Mr. Drummond (Upbeats and Beatdowns)
21) Far, Far Away (Electric Boogaloo)
22) Amalgamate (Upbeats and Beatdowns)
23) On Distant Shores (The End is Near)

Proof That the Youth Are Revolting

As I mentioned the other day, I went to my last Five Iron Frenzy concert ever. What a show.

I interviewed Keith and Micah before the show, which was fitting because I’ve interviewed both those guys several times before. The interview went OK and I think I got some good stuff. The opening bands were acoustic guy James Cameron, and rockers Holland and Bleach. I actually wore ear plugs for those three acts (I guess I’m like all those other old guys now). They were OK, but I wasn’t too impressed.

Five Iron rocked. Lots of between-song banter, lots of hilarity, lots of fun. They had a video screen behind the stage that played old school video clips during some songs, like shots of Canadian celebrities during “Oh, Canada.”

It was fun to sing a long one more time. I wish I could have been on the floor in the midst of the crowd, jumping around with some friends. Or maybe yo-yoing off in a corner. Instead I had to go by myself and found a seat in the front row of the balcony, which gave me an easy seat to save and a good place to take pictures.

As part of the interview, I did ask the guys what songs they would put on a Five Iron Frenzy hits collection (which they did say would be an inevitability). They basically answered by saying the songs they like to play live. They did say there would need to be a b-side with stupid songs (i.e. “Kitty-Doggy”), and they would probably need to balance out goofy songs with serious songs (i.e. “Oh, Canada” vs. “Every New Day”).

Of course only later did I discover they cheated. Their live set included an 11-song medley. Here’s the complete live set:

1) “The Old West” (Upbeats and Beatdowns)
2) “Handbook For the Sellout” (Our Newest Album Ever!)
3) “Where Zero Meets Fifteen” (Upbeats and Beatdowns)
4) “Cannonball” (The End is Near)
5) “Blue Comb ’78” (Our Newest Album Ever!)
6) “At Least I’m Not Like All Those Other Old Guys” (The End is Near)
7) “You Probably Shouldn’t Move Here” (All the Hype That Money Can Buy)
8) “Oh, Canada” (Our Newest Album Ever!)
9) “See the Flames Begin to Crawl” (The End is Near)
10) “Vultures” (Electric Boogaloo)
11) “You Can’t Handle This” (Electric Boogaloo)
12) “When I Go Out” (Quantity is Job 1)
13) “American Kryptonite” (The End is Near)
14) “Phantom Mullet” (All the Hype That Money Can Buy)
15) “Mayonnaise Taco Monday” (Cheeses of Nazareth)
16) “Pootermobile” (prefaced as being the best song they’d play: “You can go home now.”) (Cheeses of Nazareth)
17) Medley (including “A Flowery Song,” (Upbeats and Beatdowns) “Suckerpunch,” (Our Newest Album Ever!) “One Girl Army,” (Quantity is Job 1) “My Evil Plan to Save the World,” (Quantity is Job 1) “Pre-Ex-Girlfriend,” (Electric Boogaloo) “Combat Chuck,” (Upbeats and Beatdowns) “Dandelion,” (Quantity is Job 1) “Superpowers,” (Our Newest Album Ever!) “Cool Enough For You.” (Upbeats and Beatdowns) There were also two other songs in there I didn’t recognize. The first had lyrics along the lines of “We both break down and cry,” and the second sounded like “Goodbye you, you, you,” almost like a take on “We need you, you, you,” at the end of the Blues Brothers.)
18) “A New Hope” (All the Hype That Money Can Buy, originally appeared on Proof That the Youth Are Revolting)
19) “World Without End” (All the Hype That Money Can Buy)
20) “Every New Day” (Our Newest Album Ever!)
21) (accapella praise song ending)

Quite a show. I’ll have to post my pictures once they’re developed (yeah, I went old skool). I’ll also have to work on my choices for Best FIF Ever.

All of the Ska that Your Money Can Buy

Tomorrow night I’m going to my last Five Iron Frenzy concert ever. It’s the first of two shows in Minneapolis, on their farewell Winners Never Quit tour, which winds up in Denver on Nov. 22.

For those of you who don’t know, I have fond memories of Five Iron. I saw them live for the first time on January 1, 1997, braving a snow storm and a last minute change of venue. Since then I’ve seen them more times than I can remember.

I have two favorite concert memories, including yo-yoing at an outdoor festival in Michigan and a hot, sweaty concert in Minneapolis. At the festival I was in a full-on yo-yo frenzy when I realized a photographer was taking my picture. I tried to play it cool and pretend I didn’t see him, but then my string broke, sending the yo-yo 30 feet through the air. Thankfully, no one was killed. The Minneapolis show stands out because a bunch of my friends went, including my Mission Control co-host Josh Lewis, my self-proclaimed best man ever Tim Yenter, and my soon-to-be-wife-but-not-even-girlfriend-yet. If I remember, this was one of the many crowded and unbearably hot New Union shows where Jeff the Girl twisted her ankle while lunging for the door to get some cold winter air (assumably prompting the line in “Superpowers”: “Everyone in the band can’t stand me / just because I fell off the stage / and kind of by accident, I broke the / promoters legs.”

Ah, the memories.

Before the show I’ll be interviewing the band one more time (I’ve also interviewed them more times than I can remember), and hopefully writing a sappy retrospective piece for ReALMagazine.com (or anywhere that will give me some cold, hard cash for my troubles). I’m trying to develop some killer questions for this final interview. Let me know if you have any brilliant ideas. My best question right now is what songs would you include on a FIF greatest hits collection, should such an album ever be compiled. I’d have a hard time answering that one myself.

The End is Near

On Monday Five Iron Frenzy announced the end of an era. They’re calling it quits. It’s kind of sad when your favorite band from high school throws in the towel. But they’ve had a pretty long ride, especially considering that they burst on to the scene with a specialized style of music that really didn’t last long. But you gotta love ’em.

Of course, Five Iron is going out in style. They’re planning to have one final hurrah in 2003 and call it quits at the end of the year. In the spring they plan to release a B-sides of album of goofy songs. The tentative title is “Cheeses of Nazareth.” In the summer they plan to release their final studio album, and then go out one last tour, which will be called “Winners Never Quit: The Farewell Tour.”

The Consolidation of Christian Music

It really frustrates me that all the best things seem to die. Just when you think you’ve got something good going, you lose it. For those of us into Christian music, such a time is upon us. Let me clarify that, those of us who like good music that also happens to have decent, God-honoring lyrics. I’m not referring to the cheese that is much of contemporary Christian music.

And when I say cheese, I’m talking about much of the stuff that flows out of Nashville, the well-known capital of country music, and the little-known capital of Christian music. Most of this cheese is drivel, void of originality, free of any hint of freshness, and lacking in basic musicianship and decent song writing. As an example, adult contemporary group 4Him. For ordinary people that example would be enough. 4Him? What kind of a name is that? But it gets better. Their new album? Walk On. It just so happens to be the title of a hit U2 song from their newest record, which came out one year ago. Coincidence? Or cheese? You decide.

Squint Entertainment, former home to such respectable–no admirable artists as Sixpence None the Richer, Burlap to Cashmere, and Chevelle. All three bands earned major mainstream accolades, and I won’t even get into Squint’s non-mainstream successes, Waterdeep and PFR. Not to mention the band Squint was toting but had not yet released an album, L.A. Symphony, a highly acclaimed rap group from the West Coast. Well, say goodbye. Squint records unfortunately closed their doors, sending their bands packing. Last word was, Nashville cheese-inspired record company Word was picking up the assets and would continue the tradition of Squint, adding many of their alternative artists to the Squint label. Word’s record for alternative acts is a little weak. Most of them release one album and disappear, perhaps a second and then fade into oblivion.

Although there is hope. I recently heard that PFR had signed with Rocketown Records, the slightly more respectable Nashville label owned by dyed in the wool-CCMer with one time mainstream power, Michael W. Smith. Rocketown is also home to the CCM-adored Chris Rice, the extremely promising Ginny Owens, who played Lilith Fair dates after releasing her debut album, and newcomer Shaun Groves, who has the intelligence and song writing chops to make a real dent in the Nashville cheese.

The other Squint bands are up in the air or on their own. Burlap to Cashmere appears to be with Brooklyn Beat/Squint Entertainment, according to their latest newsletter. Sixpence is shopping around, and I smell major label deal. Chevelle has been awfully quiet lately in the CCM circles, probably because they just signed with Epic Records for an early 2002 release, while Waterdeep will probably languish on a Nashville label that doesn’t understand their indie appeal.

Add to the list of cool labels in question 5 Minute Walk Records, home to the status-quo-crushing Five Iron Frenzy, folk-rocker Justin McRoberts, and former home of the meteoric W’s who are no more. 5 Minute Walk has been the California label, bringing a wave of fresh air to the Nashville crowd. Apparently 5 Minute Walk’s future is uncertain, which is a major blow to those of us who hoped Christian music could actually be cool. Apparently it’s not a financial decision either, which makes the whole thing even stranger.

Unfortunately that doesn’t leave us with much. There’s Essential Records, the young upstart that somehow snagged all the cool bands, Caedmon’s Call, Third Day, Jars of Clay, and then keeps throwing out these so-so money bands that are only following the crowd (read: FFH and True Vibe). There’s Forefront Records, the decidedly younger version of every Nashville CCM-label. Everything they release seems to have a CCM-friendliness, with the exception of those who’ve been around to earn the right to say what they want — dc Talk. Of course there’s always the Tooth and Nail conglomerate, which includes the mainstream friendly BEC, the rap/hip-hop Uprok, and the loud SolidState. Of course Tooth and Nail bands are consistently underground favorites that seem to languish around with a few hits here, a few flops there. The BEC bands usually have the most potential lately they haven’t seemed to garner much mainstream attention.

Alas. Sometimes you need to vent and long for days gone by.

Resonation

It’s amazing how songs stick with you despite the passage of time. Yesterday I dug deep into my hard drive and read a story I wrote five years ago. 1996. Today I dug deep into my CD archives and listened to a CD that came out five years ago. Five years ago I was a Junior in high school. It’s amazing how the songs you listened to in high school will always be with you. Well, some of the songs. I have a box full of bad decisions under my desk I’m trying to unload on somebody.

I threw my Five Iron Frenzy Upbeats and Beatdowns disc in the CD player and listened to it at work. That was Five Iron’s debut CD, and as I listened to their later work today I noticed a definite change in style and sound. I also noticed how good their debut CD was. The energy and passion made my foot tap and my lips mouth the words. I kept whispering lines, and I’m sure I annoyed my coworkers.

I’m guessing the CD resonates with me so much because of what it means to me, and not necessarily because it’s the best CD of all time. That’s somehow encouraging. Music, or any artistic endeavor for that matter, doesn’t have to be the best. It simply has to resonate within a few lone hearts.

Dandelions are Beautiful

You say the dandelion is a weed. You ignore its simple beauty, and classify it as a pest. You call it ugly. But it’s not just about a dandelion. Look at the children. They enter school and life so vibrant and open, and in a few short years they’re scared. They won’t draw some wild-eyed, fanciful picture anymore. They’re convinced that they must color within the lines. They think the dandelion is a weed too. But it doesn’t stop there. Look at the young woman. She sees her body in the mirror, and images from magazines in her mind. She’s no cover girl. The two don’t match. She must be worthless. Society has crushed her concept of beauty, and now she no longer fits that category. An inner battle is fought, and too often her body will lose, and the pounds will come dangerously off. She thinks the dandelion is a weed too.

But don’t they see? It’s a magnificent flower. It adds balance to the vast green field and puts amazing splotches of color everywhere. A dandelion isn’t a weed.

“Lord, search my heart, Create in me something clean. Dandelions–You see flowers in these weeds.” (“Dandelions” by Five Iron Frenzy)