Continuing with this series, I bring to you Dave Jerden, a man responsible for producing some of my favorite albums of all time. When people tell me “the 90s sucked” when it comes to music, there are plenty of albums he’s worked on to prove those people wrong. This is very difficult for me to whittle down to ten, because I’m leaving out albums by Red Hot Chili Peppers, Social Distortion, Mary’s Danish, Fishbone, Bullet Lavolta, Rattlebone, and Biohazard!
10. Last Crack – Burning Time – This album is so ahead of it’s time, especially given the progressive metal explosion of the last decade.
9. Poe – Hello – This album was known more for the title track, which appeared in the Kevin Bacon film Stir Of Echoes, and its other singles like “Angry Johnny”, both great but “Choking The Cherry” and “Trigger Happy Jack” really sold this album to me. I still listen to all of these tracks on a fairly regular basis.
8. Sweet Water – Sweet Water – A band from Seattle that should have been at the more popular than they were, their EP, and self-titled album is full of tracks that should be mentioned along with a lot of the bands that are still looked to as part of that city’s 90s explosion. There were more bands beyond Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden and Alice In Chains, a lot that were swept under the rug in favor of those listed.
7. Stabbing Westward – Darkest Days – This album is a master piece, there was a time that it wouldn’t leave my CD player, and then it would go with me in my car, then back in the house, etc. It is industrial hard rock at its finest.
6. The Offspring – Ixnay On The Hombre – The band has in my mind never released anything better than the two albums produced by Jerden, this one, and the follow up Americana. He was able to give the band the sound they needed, and the cohesiveness the tracks needed to make them classics. I could easy swap this album for Americana on the list.
5. Jane’s Addiction – Nothing Shocking – Love them or hate them, Jane’s to me is alternative hard rock’s Led Zeppelin. Pulling for hard rock and metal, vaudeville, Bowie, and essentially anything that they were into. People point towards the Seattle bands listed above as the ones that put an end to the glam metal movement on MTV, but Jane’s Addiction was just as important, and influenced all types of rock based bands, hell even Sepultura has covered “The Mountain Song”. If you’ve listened to their first album, you’ll hear the instant difference between the before, and after with this album, and the follow up Ritual De Lo Habitual, which again, could easily be swapped for this album.
4. Sacred Reich – Independent – The band’s one and only album with future Machine Head drummer Dave MccLain, Jerden’s hand could be heard instantly with the opening notes of the band’s title track. Never a band to shy away from trying something different, “31 Flavors” anyone?, the album is full of songs that deviate from their past, the Pink Floydesque “If Only”, the Sabbathy “Crawling”, the ballad “I Never Said Goodbye”. The band expanded their horizons, and still hammered you sonically at the same time.
3. Alice In Chains – Facelift – The album that introduced the world to AIC, the opening riff to “Die Young” catapults you into a musical journey that sonically meanders through strait forward hard rock like the opener, to the swampy dirge of “Man In The Box”, to what is that a piano on “Sea Of Sorrow”? Slide? It’s little details like that, that have helped make an album like this special, and most would point to Jerden for helping include little things here and there that jump out at you all of a sudden, regardless of how many times you listen to the album. He went on to produce, Sap and Dirt also.
2. Armored Saint – Symbol Of Salvation – Angst, frustration, determination, exhaustion! This was the last album to contain Dave Prichard’s guitar, and it was a struggle for the band to put together given everything that surrounded his death, coming home to Metal Blade, and an assortment of other things that eventually lead to the band splitting up. Jerden was there to help shape this album, and push the band in a way that resonated with the audience. So much so, that the band is playing the album in its entirety on an upcoming tour.
1. Anthrax – Sound Of White Noise – The start of what people have deemed the Bushthrax era. The only gold album by the band, the first with John Bush on lead vocals, and yeah, that was him on Symbol Of Salvation also, did Dave Jerden working on that have anything to do with Anthrax choosing him for this album? Jerdent pushed the band to extremes on this, layering guitars, orchestration, and doing things that years earlier the band and fans alike may have scoffed at. But you still see plenty of people out there mentioning in social media how this is their favorite Bush-era album, or flat out their favorite album by the band.