Charles Aaron



  • Courtney Love / Photo by Getty Images

    Hole's 'Live Through This': Read SPIN's 1994 Review

    In the opening scene of Sid and Nancy, as Sid Vicious is led away by the cops and Nancy Spungen is carried away in a body bag, Courtney Love (as Nancy's friend Gretchen) emerges from room 100 of the Chelsea Hotel, teetering on spiky heels and sobbing, "She was really nice... She was!" Dressed like a matronly trick, Love careens out of the frame, as a flatfoot in a trench coat says of Nancy, "She'd go to bed with anyone as long as they were in a group." The messy scene —from Love's empathetic plea to the guy's callous dis — is like a Hole song waiting for three or four chords. It's poignant, it's absurd, and it's about Love piping up for girls with bad reputations.Of course, that can be dicey when you've got a bad reputation yourself (as a star-fucking careerist), and doubly dicey when you've got a bad reputation with other girls (as a two-faced plagiarist).

  • Ultimate Breaks & Beats

    Read SPIN's Review of the 'Ultimate Breaks & Beats' Compilation Series

    Once upon a time on Planet Hip Hop everything was up for grabs. DJs tricked B-boys into dancing to records they thought they hated. Steve Miller was just as funky as Rufus Thomas, if you caught him in the right light. And there were no quotes around reality — it was all real. Of course that was before any of the rest of us found out about it, gave away all the secrets and forgot what "B-boy" meant in the first place. But then again, that’s the story of pop music, which I get off on, so somebody else'll have to rock that violin. To start with the obvious. "B-boy" does not mean Beastie Boy, though it might as well for '90s SPIN readers, who consider Mike and the Adams the only act worth mention in year after year-end polls.

  • Kim Deal: The Breeders Leader Gets Pissed

    Kim Deal: The Breeders Leader Gets Pissed

    She's lying flat on her tummy on the carpeted floor of a wood-paneled TV room, legs scissoring playfully, elbows propped up, notebooks and legal pads full of scribbling scattered all around. Sports drones from the 20-inch set, but her hands are clapped tight over a Walkman's headphones, guitars blaring audibly. It's the reverie of an American girl, raised on rock's broken promises and suburbia's lame spoils, and Kim Deal has wallowed in it more than most.Like one of her teen fans listening intently to the oblique lyrics on the Breeders' 1993 platinum album, Last Splash, Deal is still trying to figure out what the hell she's trying to say.

  • R.E.M.

    The R.E.M. Method and Other Rites of Passage

    Athens, Georgia, 1985. The acid had lost its come-hither bouquet and the speed had snapped everyone's nerves like twigs. The run-down Victorians weren't such a steal anymore and the days of buying an armful of thrift-store dresses for a quarter were long gone. Two years before, People magazine had run a photo of a group of obscure local musicians gathered around a Confederate memorial downtown to illustrate an article about America's so-called rock renaissance. Considering that the South was where punk and new wave had been met, at best, with piss-off slurs, this was a little hard to fathom.

  • Underworld

    Drums and Wires: Read SPIN's 1996 Report on Rock's Dawning Electronic-Music Obsession

    San Bernardino National Forest, just like I pictured it — no skyscrapers, everything. But most of the 6,300 kids of all ages attending "Organic" June 22, at the Snow Valley Ski Resort in the mountains east of Los Angeles, probably would have waited in the parking lot at the House of Pies diner for this unprecedented lineup: Underworld, the Chemical Brothers, Orbital, an the Orb, full stage shows in tow. For once, an event involving electronic dance music (still referred to as "techno" by some of us nostalgics) actually appeared to be about the music.Then around 10 P.M., after openers Electric Skychurch, Loop Guru, and Meat Beat Manifesto finished diverse, if not revelatory sets, a startling voice boomed from the stage:"Hi, I'm Jed the Fish and you are live on 106.7 KROQ!"Heads jerked, bodies squirmed.

  • Snoop Dogg

    'Sir Real': Read SPIN's 1993 Profile of Snoop Doggy Dogg

    (This article originally appeared in the October 1993 issue of SPIN.)The recording of one of the most anticipated albums in hip-hop history was inching along leisurely. Hours of time were booked at Enterprise Recording in Burbank. But nobody seemed to care that the meter was running. In Greek, "leisure" means "to learn," and if that's the case, everybody working on Doggstyle, Snoop Doggy Dogg's solo debut, is gonna be a genius by the end of the month. Dr. Dre, mastermind producer behind million-selling albums for N.W.A, the D.O.C., Michel'le, and himself, sat under a lawn umbrella in the parking lot, chowing down on a bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken. "Yo, Orville!" he shouted, smiling affectionately (I hoped).

  • 24-year-old Biggie Smalls

    The Notorious B.I.G.: SPIN's '97 Artist of the Year

    One thing you learn early on, whether you’re a li'l ghetto boy or a spice girl, is that pop music, like life, is often beyond your control. The first time I heard the Notorious B.I.G.'s "Hypnotize," the preeminent single of 1997, I fell in love with it. Of course, I had no choice. Huddled in a Times Square studio next to worshipful fans, hangers-on, employees, and journalists; overwhelmed by a Sensurround-like sound system; blinded by BET flashing on countless video screens; and staring straight into the dark sunglasses of producer Sean "Puffy" Combs and the serene sultanesque countenance of Biggie Smalls, both flanked by Lurch-size bodyguards, I was part of what could only be properly described as a "captive" audience.After the music boomed to a close, journalists sheepishly accepted offers to pose for photos with Biggie.

  • What the White Boy Means When He Says Yo

    What the White Boy Means When He Says Yo

    In July of 1998, the future of youth culture was chillin' in the parking lot of a hip-hop concert in suburban New Jersey. Smokin' Grooves, the only annual package tour featuring rap artists, was in town, and as far as the eye could see, in varying shades of pale, were white boys and girls, jocks and nerds, preps and stoners, lounging against family-size cars, getting their brewsky on, or queuing up to be frisked. All the acts — Wyclef Jean, Busta Rhymes, Cypress Hill, Gang Starr, Canibus, a reunited Public Enemy — were black and Latino, and inside, some black and Latino fans pushed to the front of the stage. But outside, it was a Caucasion invasion.

  • charles aaron, spin

    Read Charles Aaron's May 2010 'Scenes From a Marriage,' Celebrating SPIN's 25th Anniversary

    I've been working at SPIN since fax machines were indispensable and phone conversations were unavoidable; and my tangential relationship with the magazine goes back to a time when Reaganomics and hip-house were serious personal concerns. What began as an extended hookup based around a desperate desire to find a music-related job in New York that wasn't totally soul-crushing has now reached a level of entanglement that often verges on the pathological. Hysterically self-righteous apologias, grim outbursts of disgust, mass consumption of prescription and nonprescription "medication." In other words, a marriage. And what's more, a marriage that revolves around listening to records and glorifying or betraying the people who make them. Daft, huh? People, or at least friends and family, sometimes ask how? Or why?

  • Kid Rock

    Rap-Rock: From 'Punk Rock Rap' to Mook Nation

    Back in the 1970s, when Afrika Bambaataa dropped the Rolling Stones' "Honky Tonk Women" into his DJ set at, say, the Bronx River Community Center, the earth didn't move under his turntables. He wasn't issuing a stirring racial or political manifesto. But ultimately, that's exactly what he did. By using rock'n'roll — then the corporate bully pulpit of white guys (often mimicking African-American artists) — as just another piece of vinyl set decoration, Bambaataa decreed that rock was no more crucial than funk, reggae, soul, disco, jazz, salsa, novelty records, or whatever else constituted a hip-hop groove. Soon, it became common for DJs to scratch in bits of rock records — Billy Squier's "The Big Beat," the Monkees' "Mary, Mary," Steve Miller's "Take the Money and Run" — as a way to give the crowd a sly tweak, to flaunt their vinyl guile.

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