In Pick Five, great artists pick five cover songs that matter to them.
Tomorrow, veteran rock band Local H releases its ninth album, the Steve Albini-produced LIFERS. It is a weird time to be releasing an album. Many major artists have postponed releases, with no way to properly promote them. One of the best live rock bands out there, Local H can’t play any shows to support it. So tonight they’re doing a live streaming show on their Facebook page tonight. Guarantee it will rock a little harder than the acoustic guitar’d singer-songwriters dominating the quarantine streams.
LIFERS doesn’t include any covers, but frontman Scott Lucas has been covering a new song every day on that same Facebook page. He has a different cocktail for each one, and even dresses up for some of the performances, from yacht-rock leisure to the Tiger King. It’s a long way from the self-serious stereotype of the ’90s grunge band. But even when Local H was a ’90s grunge band, they always had a sense of humor (see “Eddie Vedder,” “All the Kids Are Right”). And they’ve outlasted most of their peers, continuing to record killer albums to an extremely passionate fanbase. LIFERS is the perfect album title.
So we decided to ask Scott about his own favorite covers, which he ranked from number five to number one. Here’s what he said:
5. 7 Seconds – 99 Red Balloons (Nena cover)
Scott says: “This is probably where my fondness for covering pop songs by female artists comes from. I like the way Kevin sings it. There’s no snark. Total sincerity.”
4. Screaming Trees – What Goes On (The Velvet Underground cover)
Scott says: “In the ‘90s, tribute compilation records were everywhere. My favorite was this Velvet Underground tribute — ‘Heaven & Hell Volume 1’. And this is my favorite track off it. Lanegan nails it. As usual.”
3. Juliana Hatfield – A Little More Love (Olivia Newton-John cover)
Scott says: “I could make a list devoted solely to covers by Juliana. Her choices are always excellent. Her Olivia Newton John record is awesome.” [Editor’s Note: Juliana did her own Pick Five for us!]
2. Little Richard – Brown Sugar (The Rolling Stones cover)
Scott says: “Little Richard takes the Stones to school. Listen to that fucking vocal! It’s in the goddamn red!”
1. Pixies – Head On (The Jesus and Mary Chain cover)
Scott says: “The Pixies rock the SHIT out of this song. I loooove the original —but this is how you do it, man.”