Welcome, once again, to our weekly rewind on the often weird, always entertaining and sometimes downright scary world of Kerrang! through the ages. This week we’re going back 22 years ago, for no reason other than we kinda felt like it, and what are you going to do about it anyway, huh?
It’s mad to think about the world 22 years ago. Not even Microsoft bigwig Bill Gates had Wi-Fi, a bunch of boffins were holed up in a lab putting the final touches to cloning Dolly the sheep for some reason and DVDs had just been launched in Japan.
Adorning the cover of Kerrang! on May 4, 1996 were Billy Corgan and D’arcy Wretzky from Smashing Pumpkins, back when they were still on speaking terms (presumably, we can’t be sure in fairness). They were bemoaning the fact that journalists apparently only ever asked them about being sad, not about their extra curricular proclivities. So we went to Amsterdam with them and let the debauchery unfold…
Before you got that far into the issue we were more concerned with our readers’ ability (or otherwise) to spell the word ‘guacamole’, which is just one of the big posers we put to Fear Factory vocalist Burton C. Bell in that issue’s quiz. Longtime, eagle-eyed fans of This Week In Kerrang! History (shhhh, let’s pretend we’ve done more than just two of these so far) will note how we’ve dropped the silly obsession with calling it a Kuiz. But we’ll get to all that when we get to all that. Firstly…
Check out all the sweet-ass swag we were giving away as our prize competition this week! You entered via the medium of scratchcard, which is kind of like a retro version of those annoying-as-fuck ‘click on all the boxes with road signs’ tests some websites force you to complete before proceeding, where you end up squinting to work out if the lo-res squiggle in the top left corner is or isn’t a road sign, only to fail 736 times and leaving you with an existential complex, questioning if you really are a robot or not after all.
But we digress. Quite a bit, actually. Sorry.
Anyway, win this comp and you could have scooped an Earache Records goodie bag with a bunch of actually really good albums and T‑shirts and a state of the art CD Stereo System, complete with cassette tape deck. What’s a cassette tape? Ask a hipster…
The big news this week was that those pesky political scamps Rage Against The Machine were up to their pesky political scampery on American TV, having been kicked off Saturday Night Live for the scandalous protest move of turning the stars and stripes upside down on their amps. They weren’t fans of the show’s co-host Steven Forbes, apparently.
Apropos of dick-all, there was this amazing photo of late-Soundgarden vocalist Chris Cornell being really into a magazine about dogs that appears to be simply called Magazine. So that’s cool.
And then there was this bombshell, courtesy of sort-of-grunge-but-not-really Bush frontman Gavin Rossdale, revealing that he once had a trial with Chelsea Football Club. Good at guitars and that? Then-married to Gwen Stefani? Obviously pretty handy with a soccer ball? As a Scottish lad with a frog in his throat once sang, some guys, they really do have all the luck.
So impressed were we by that really rather excellent bit of sliding doors-style rock’n’roll trivia, we wondered, ‘What other people in bands like a bit of a kick about?’ and placed our findings in the form of a list. Kind of like a proto-Buzzfeed thing with static text in place of GIFs. You’re welcome, Buzzfeed – we expect the cheque will be in the post any day now.
We learned that Chris McCormack from 3 Colours Red is a Sunderland fan. The only reason we’re highlighting that one though is that it provides a handy and definitely not-at-all clunky segue into this…
Yep, not only were we giving away kickass stereos, we were offering the opportunity for one lucky reader to have their barnet sorted out by the 3 Colours Red man. We referred to his own ‘do as the “electrocuted hedgehog”, which is a bit cruel in retrospect.
Then again, after big talk like this, maybe we just felt like taking him down a peg or 10.
It wasn’t all pisstaking when it came to our old mate, Chris, though. As you’ll see from the above, we did actually love him and his band, and awarded their stonking (hey, we can use that word here, this is a ’90s throwback after all) This Is My Hollywood tune Single of the Week. Eagle-eyed, longtime readers of This Week In Kerrang! History – you know the rest – will note how we sorted our K! ratings out by this point and made the guidelines as simple as ranging from ‘Bollocks’ (K) to ‘Essential’ (KKKKK).
Apparently we were also in the business of advertising JEANS back in 1996. Get your red tartans for £23.99! Fancy an upgrade to red tartan bondage? That’ll be £25.99. Just call the hotline for more ‘info’, apparently, but what more info you could possibly need? The descriptions seem plainly obvious to us…
We gave Ash’s classic debut album proper 3Ks. Sorry Ash. We got that one very wrong.
We also gave away this awesome Alanis Morrisette poster, which at least one K! staffer (have a guess who) admits they had hung in their bedroom in 1996. She probably never featured in the magazine ever again, truth be told. But let’s not forget that Taylor Hawkins (yes, that Taylor Hawkins) was once in her band.
Over to the letters page, then, where Mark from County Down was going to bat for poor Green Day, who were presumably under a lot of stress and having a moan about it in the press at the time or something. It’s kind of like that famous ‘leave Britney alone’ meme, but in print magazine form. Yet again: Kerrang! ahead of the curve.
And to our cover feature with Smashing Pumpkins, who were in such great form and saying so much outrageous stuff that we’re better off not republishing any of it here lest we spark the ire of the admittedly way more enlightened masses of 2018. Complete this sentence: It was a _______ time.
And because we’ve just today announced the glorious return of the Kerrang! Awards, check out this ad for our 1996 equivalent. That’s heritage, that is. And to think: this very trophy is probably, or at least possibly, residing with pride of place in a 3 Colours Red-shaped cabinet somewhere right now. We’d check Wikipedia to be sure, but that would spoil the fun (and the crap joke), wouldn’t it?
And, finally, as you probably already know, here at Kerrang! we give stuff away all the time. Free stuff sometimes, too. But nothing can have ever beaten this absolute beast of a freebie. Beer? For Free? Time machine, please.
More of this nonsense next week, rockers.
Surprisingly few have managed it, but here are the bands who have maintained the same line-up since first forming in the 1990s…
Pioneering Life Of Agony singer Mina Caputo opens up about letting go of the past, spirituality, and the Pride movement during the third instalment of Kerrang!’s Life Is Proud campaign.