My name's Gavin, a.k.a. "defgav" as my username many places online and @breakdowncards on Twitter. I've been blogging over at Baseball Card Breakdown since 2013.
Now, for the first time, I'm branching out to do a separate, dedicated "set blog". Which set of cards inspired me to take such a plunge? Well, 1991 Pro Set SuperStars MusiCards, obviously!
What a wonderful/awful set! Some acts I really love, some I kinda hate, some I've never even heard of. But that's alright. Show me someone who is a fan of everyone in the '91 MusiCards set, and I'll show you one severely disturbed individual. But yeah, I think this will be a great project for me to branch out from baseball cards and into my other love: music.
And the blog won't be just about the music. I plan to make it a full-on look back to the late 80s/early 90s. From time to time, we'll be talking about video games, movies, toys, cartoons, and other stuff from the era. Sort of a sentimental look back at the world during my youth.
Some background on me:
1991 was right in the sweet-spot for me as far as music becoming an important part of my life. Late 80s, early 90s.. I was in that pre-teen becoming a teen age. Nearly starting high school but still finishing up middle school. I was splitting my allowance on baseball cards, comic books, and cassette tapes (and candy with whatever was left over). I was still into pop music being served up to me by mainstream radio and MTV, but also just starting to dig out off-the-beaten path bands that piqued my interest with snippets I caught here and there. I remember when Lou Reed's "Dirty Boulevard" got nominated for a MTV Video Music Award and they played a short clip of it during the awards show (they never seemed to actually play the video on MTV), and I was like, "Hey, what is THAT?!" And when Jane's Addiction's "Mountain Song" was briefly featured in an MTV News segment about hard-to-understand lyrics, it was eye opening to me, giving me a taste of the "alternative" wave that was just starting to break onto the scene. Nirvana came along and changed what was cool in rock music, pretty much killing off hair metal. Popular rap was still dominated by the likes of MC Hammer and Vanilla Ice, but The Chronic was just about to change the game. But yeah, seemed like the popular music scene was really pivoting across the board.
Me? Hey, I loved all of it.. or most of it, at least. And to this day I have a soft spot for the pop I grew up on, though I ultimately landed with my musical taste more aligned with alternative rock in the 90s-- and later indie rock in the '00s. But I still listen to a wide range of stuff. 1991 MusiCards doesn't include the likes of Smashing Pumpkins and Pearl Jam, but it does have Soundgarden and Sonic Youth. I could have done with less Madonna and more Nirvana, for example, but overall, it's a decent cross-section of popular music at the time. I'm sure licensing and record labels played a role behind the scenes as far as what acts made the checklist.
This blog may end up being an outlet for me to relive my musical education and reminisce about my days as a kid playing hooky from school to stay home playing NES and listening to the radio. While I'm essentially just doing this blog for me, hopefully it'll be an enjoyable read for anyone else who lived through that era (or are interested by it). I'd love to get plenty of interaction in the comments, hearing other folks' thoughts and memories of the topics of each post.
Here's the plan:
Each post will feature one MusiCard, in order-- even artists that have multiple cards in the set will still get a separate post for each card (though I reserve the right to change this policy in the future if it becomes too taxing)-- and I'll give a basic career recap as well as my thoughts, memories, and favorite songs. If I'm not familiar with the act, well, I'll have to do some research and find out about them via the likes of Wikipedia and YouTube. Discovering new bands will be part of the fun of the blog!
I'll whip up a special custom card for nearly every post featuring an act that isn't in the set. I'll try to match it up somewhat with the main artist of the post.. such as being a similar genre or perhaps a newer band influenced by the band in question... something like that. From well-known greats to hidden never-was gems.
Of course there will be plenty of music for your listening pleasure, usually via embedded YouTube videos. Also expect to hear cover songs, sometimes even recorded by yours truly specifically for that post.
So my plan for each post will look something like...
- Card front
- Card back
- Recap of band's career
- My thoughts & memories of them
- My favorite song(s) of theirs
- Maybe a cover song
- Probably a custom card of another band, perhaps tangentially related, and my thoughts on them
- Maybe a pop culture highlight from the era (film, tv show, video game, toy, comic book, or whatever) Stuff like this will be mostly for posts where I don't have much to say about the subject of the card. For example, Vanilla Ice has a bunch of different MusiCards... I'll likely run out of things to say about Vanilla Ice by his second card or so. That's when talking about movies and toys and crap will help round out the posts.
Sound good? I'm really looking forward to this deep dive into 1991 MusiCards and I hope you tag along for the ride!
As we kick off, I'd love to hear from you in the comments below..
Who are your favorite musical acts who were active back in 1991?
How about today?
Any feedback for me regarding the blog? What kind of stuff would you like to see here?
Fun idea, Gavin. Best of luck with the project. My only feedback would be to have fun with it, even if the set may be a lot to cover.ReplyDelete
With regards to the other questions, I was only eight years old for most of 1991, so popular music was really not yet a part of my life. I would say that was also the case when I was an adolescent, as I was almost always on a different page from my peers when it came to social things (case in point, The Beatles were my favorite band when seemingly everyone got into Green Day and the like). I did like Billy Joel at the time due to hearing a lot of his songs when riding in the car with my mom, with Tom Petty and No Doubt being performers active in that era that I grew to like later on. I am not sure if there are any current acts that I follow closely - I tend to like stray songs that I hear in various places, but have never been a concert-goer or one to buy full albums.
Thanks, Mike! First comment on the new blog! I'm down with all those bands you mentioned. Beatles/Joel/Petty is an unbeatable triumvirate.Delete
1. R.E.M., They Might be Giants, Smashing Pumpkins, Paul McCartney. I'm a late-90s kid, so I mostly consumed stuff in hindsight, which has been kind to a lot of these groups.ReplyDelete
2. Queens of the Stone Age, Foo Fighters, Radiohead, and I've been getting into Foals recently. I still listen to alt-rock stations, trying to find new good rock acts, but I'm worried the best might be behind us.
3. No feedback yet. Format-wise, should be good. I've been waiting for someone to do a card-blog that talks about music, because there's so many ways you can go in terms of subject, variety, etc. Should be a lot of fun.
Thank, Jordan! I love all those you mentioned, except for Foals who I'm not familiar with, though I'll definitely be sure to search them out.Delete
1. Depeche Mode. The 80's new wave was the music of my teen years. DM survived.ReplyDelete
2. Dierks Bentley. I pretty much listen to country now. Just can't connect with today's rock. Though 5 Finger Death Punch does work for me.
3. This will be a fun series. I love blogs that tie in music with cards. I just looked at the checklist. I hadn't really seriously thought about this set for years.
Yeah, I opened a pack or two back in the day but hadn't given the set much thought till Night Owl started posting about it a few months back and inspired me to start collecting it.Delete
Love DM. Not too familiar with Dierks Bentley or 5 Finger Death Punch, but I'll give a listen. Thanks!
Okay, for starters: I listen to/like MOST music. Back in 1991, I'd have to go with Guns N Roses. Now/Today I'd have to go with Zac Brown Band. (pimped it too)ReplyDelete
Nice.. thanks! Huge GNR fan. Zac Brown Band sounds good too from what little I've heard so far.Delete
1) Nirvana, Dead Milkmen, and R.E.M. are the first that come to mind.ReplyDelete
2) Do the Pixies count? Their reunion years have been kinda lame (not really the band without Kim Deal) but they're technically still around, I guess. Alvvays and Real Estate are a couple other non-reunion current bands I dig.
3) No feedback, just looking forward to seeing all the cards in this set! I have a handful, but I know there's quite a few others I've never seen before.
Thanks, Nick! I feel like you and I are on the same wavelength.Delete
My all-time favorite band, by far, is The Beatles, who obviously weren't active in 1991, but I suppose technically my favorite act who was active at that time--and now--was Paul McCartney. But in terms of artists who were around their peak in 1991, and had albums out that year, Billy Bragg, Crowded House, and PM Dawn come to mind. Bragg's Don't Try This At Home is my favorite album of the year. (Somehow I don't think there will be a Billy Bragg card in this set.) My favorite song of that year was "Monsters And Angels" by Voice of the Beehive. Michael Jackson was still going pretty strong, and Teenage Fanclub came out with a great debut album.ReplyDelete
I'm old and don't listen to a lot of new music these days, but Ben Lee is a favorite (and even he's been around a while).
Looking forward to the blog, and I'm sure I'll be here with a lot of pedantic comments (made my first already) and memories of the bands. Those prizes look great, but I think if I won I'd have to go with the Boggs custom.
Thanks, Brett! Next post coming up will have some Beatles content.Delete
Believe it or not, the only Billy with a card in the set is Idol. But maybe I'll make a Bragg custom before it's all said and done.
Thinking back to 1991 my favorite bands at that time were: U2, REM, EMF.ReplyDelete
Favorite acts today? Ugh, you get to a certain age and no matter how hard you try, the modern music just doesn't do it. I like Metric but wouldn't say they're a favorite.
Feedback: Finish. So few set blogs do.
Oh, Night Owl.. you're unbelievable! (Not often you see people coping to EMF being a favorite back in the day. Not that I'm one to talk. Hell, I was just listening to some Roxette today!)Delete
I will likely slow down to a post or two per week, but barring any major health issues (DID I JUST JINX MYSELF?!?) I vow to slog through till the end.
Who are your favorite musical acts who were active back in 1991? I'm an oldie and don't listen to music after the 70's.ReplyDelete
How about today? I'm an oldie and don't listen to music after the 70's.
Any feedback for me regarding the blog? What kind of stuff would you like to see here? Love the content. Was pretty comprehensive and looking forward to the rest. (I've also got a set of these cards--bought boxes for my daughter)
Wow, nothing past the 70s, huh? Your convictions are impressive, but hopefully this blog will inspire you to give a curious listen here and there, maybe finding something more recent you dig too.Delete
Back in 91, I was all country, all the time. Garth Brooks, Randy Travis, and George Strait were my favorite at that time. I later branched out into a more eclectic taste. The band that later became I all-time favorite was actually formed in 1991--Dave Matthews Band. Nowadays I really tend to hang around my favorites of yesteryear, but one band that I've really liked in recent years is Bastille.ReplyDelete
Cool. Country is one genre I never got into much, gotta admit. Dave Matthews Band was quite a force for many years. Checking out Bastille just now.. I'm digging it!Delete
Boston has always been a favorite but I think they were on one of their many hiatuses in 1991. They would release Walk On in 1994. Aerosmith was also a favorite. I know they were performing in 1991 because they've been performing since the before the Dead Sea was even sick. As far as the current artists, I don't really know any. There are songs I may like but no artist or band has caught my attention. I stick to 1957 - 1980 minus the punk bands and most disco.ReplyDelete
Right on. Gotta love Boston and Aerosmith. Hopefully maybe this blog will turn you on to some post-80s stuff you'll dig.Delete
Lou reed's new York is a fantastic album.ReplyDelete
In 91 I was enjoying new albums by rem and u2, but my favorite album of that year may have been Robbie Robertson's Storyville. There was also the late 1990 release from my favorite band, the replacements, that was still in heavy rotation in 1991.
Today, my favorite active band is the hold steady. Stay positive!
Having done a set blog and another with a finite subject matter, I'd say don't worry about having a strict format. These card subjects will be diverse and you may have things to say about certain artists that differ from other posts. Also, I'm here forbthe customs!
Good to hear!Delete
Love The Hold Steady!
And I'm gonna check out Storyville..thanks!
Looking forward to the blog. I will pimp it tomorrow on PadrographsReplyDelete
1. Aerosmith, John Mellencamp, Garth Brooks, Doug and the Slugs and Huey Lewis
2. The Chills, Livingmore, Kelcey Ballerini
3. Go for and have fun with it.
Appreciate it, Rod!Delete
1. 1991 me was all about R.E.M., Nirvana and They Might Be Giants. Also a lot of pop stuff, but that was the year that Portland got its first "alternative rock" station (an AM station oddly enough) and I couldn't stop listening to it in my basement while flipping through all of the incredibly valuable cards I bought in 1991.ReplyDelete
2. Well, the next three shows I have tickets to are Oh Sees, Stereolab and The New Pornographers. Definitely some favorites from various years. Parquet Courts and Eyelids are probably the new(er)(ish) bands I listen to the most as far as stuff from this current decade.
3. This isn't really advice, but I think I bought a box of these MusicCards at one point and am totally blown away now by recently reading that there was a Series II (?) and also a UK version. I am sure there are some cards in the set that I am not familiar with and am interested to see them/hear their stories.
Yeah, it's funny.. Series 2 packs each included a few Series 1 cards, plus a couple new cards. And the UK edition is pretty weird too in what they got that the US didn't get.Delete
The New Pornographers coming to Portland? AND it's on a Friday?! I might have to try catching that show.
Should be great! The last couple of shows they've done here have been terrific.Delete
This is going to be fun! My musical taste varies widely from yours, but I still look forward to reading each and every one of the posts. I prefer 50s and 60s music, and 90s-00s country. I have not listened to new stuff in years now, at least not regularly, and if I do it's country. In 1991 I listened to K104, the most popular station in the area then and now.ReplyDelete
1. The Beastie BoysReplyDelete
3. Based on what you have planned, you're pretty set. The only other thing that popped into my head was some form of rating scale based on your opinion of the band. Like 1 to 5 guitars. Anyways... I love this set. Looking forward to reading your posts. Are you eventually going to expand to the Proset Yo! MTV Raps set too?
Whoo-hoo! Excited to follow this blog. It's funny, but as I was thinking of what answers to give to your questions, it dawned on me how many acts from 1991 are still technically active today! Rather than list a couple dozen "favorites", I'm going to go with the last two artists I've seen in concert - They Might Be Giants and "Weird Al" Yankovic. The only feedback/suggestions I could think of might be a "Where are they now?" section. That would be interesting to see.ReplyDelete
Active in 91? How about the Tragically Hip? Active today? Guster! Thanks for the contest, looking forward to this site.ReplyDelete
I think in '91 I was listening really into Tesla and Motley Crue. As for groups today, I have gone more country and am into Brothers Osborne and Chris Stapleton.ReplyDelete
I like the "Where are they now idea" that Matt had.
I'm a 70s music guy...Eagles are my favorite.ReplyDelete
As for 1991, I'm going with Madonna, because I'm not sure of a certain band I know from then. Most of the 90s music is lost to me.
As for now, I like Katy Perry, and Rascall Flatts is probably my favorite band, my Princess took me to a concert in 2005... God Bless the Broken Road is "our song," married 14 years on October 21st.
I'm always gonna go with the metal acts, (and I'm still looking for some of their series 2 cards). In '91 I was into Queensrÿche big time. Also liked stuff like Slaughter and Van Halen with Sammy Hagar (better than with Dave).ReplyDelete
As far as the set goes, I like Led Zeppelin, BulletBoys, Bonham, Cult, Fates Warning, Heart, Kiss, Living Colour, Ozzy, Ratt, Lynch Mob and Twisted Sister. Plus, I wouldn't turn off Basia, Alannah Myles, and Jeff Healey Band.
But my favorite card is the first artist I ever liked (before I heard guitar solos) - Sheena Easton.
With the multi-card artists, you could showcase videos of their different songs in each posting.
In 1991 I can't say that music was a big part of my life. My buddies were listening to Classic Rock, many of which were no longer active. As I moved on to college in '91-'92, I was really enjoying Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains, and Metallica.ReplyDelete
Today, I still prefer to listen to music from decades ago, but I don't turn the station when Coldplay is playing.
I don't know enough to provide feedback! Good luck Gavin! Hit me up with a trade offer sometime. I have most of the '74s you want and can probably help with anything from the '70s or '80s.
1. Back in 1991, it was Billy Joel, Phil Collins, REM, Aerosmith, Garth Brooks, "Weird Al" Yankovic, and Boys II Men.ReplyDelete
2. Nowadays, I'm not much into the current music scene. I've been exposed to a lot of indie music from a show a friend of mine is the host of. For mainstream acts, I guess it would be Foo Fighters, Dave Matthews Band, and Bruno Mars. I stick with music from the 60's through the 90's with the Beatles as my favorite.
3. Looking forward to the many posts...it should be a fun read!
Love this set and I'm very excited about the blog. I'm definitely a hair band guy and was a teenager in the 80s so I listened to most pop as well.ReplyDelete
A favorite from '91...I was listening to mostly classic rock at this point, and most of them were not making new music (Led Zeppelin, the Doors, Jimi Hendrix). Poison was still active at this time, and I've seen them live a lot, so I guess I'll go with them.ReplyDelete
A favorite today...I like 21 Pilots a lot, though their latest album wasn't my favorite. I also like Greta Van Fleet, Dirty Honey, and Justin Timberlake.
As far as feedback for the blog, I absolute love the customs. I can't wait to see everything you come up with. Keep up the good work!
JT, The Writer's Journey
This comment has been removed by the author.ReplyDelete
Looking forward to seeing this set all the way through to the end. Being a metal fan, I was surprised at many of the inclusions in this set when it came out. Fates Warning, Voivod, and Forbidden among others. I'll write about this set one day, but nowhere near the depth you are taking it. Kudos!ReplyDelete
And thanks to JT for directing me here :)
This is awesome! Love your stuff. 1991 was right around the pinnacle of music for me, the late hair metal phase. The 1991 record that kicked the most ass was "Psychotic Supper" from Tesla, so they'd be my 1991 pick. And they're still around, but my favorite bands now are Thunder (the British rock band) and Butch Walker.ReplyDelete
Looking forward to seeing where this blog goes!
I just saw your contest mention, so I'll submit my answers here to go in addition to my previous comment.ReplyDelete
1) Metallica. Their self-titled album isn't my favourite of their albums, but it was one of THE big albums of 1991. They toured their butts off for it, and became known as a great live act. Unfortunately, I've yet to see them yet live, but I'd still say they are quite possibly my favourite band of all-time. Many of the first songs I learned on bass (riffs, to be more accurate) were Metallica ones.
2) King Crimson. Another of my all-time favourites, and may be best mentioned here as they were inactive in 1991. In spite of a whirlwind of lineup changes, Robert Fripp always manages to use this group as a means of bringing extremely creative musicians together. If I had to choose a favourite era of the band, I'd say the Fripp-Wetton-Bruford-Cross era from 72-74. They are in the midst of their 50th anniversary, and continue to live up to a high-standard of performing.
3) I like the custom card idea to add a connection to the featured artist. I appreciate blogs that are more than just photo galleries (though exceptions certainly exist), and I like to walk away having learned something new. If it's about music (I also write a blog at ArmchairMaestro.com), then all the better.