**This is the first of three special bonus entries to our list of The Top 100 Albums of the Last 20 Years (and it was supposed to be for Labor Day, but I was too busy partying)**
Albums: Arizona Bay & Rant In E-Minor
Artist: Bill Hicks
Release Date: February 1997 (on the 3rd anniversary of his death)
[The former was recorded in December 1992; the latter between March & October 1993]
Producer: Kevin Booth
"Now we have women priests; what do y'all think of that? Women priests? Yeah, I think that's fine, women priests, ya know, so what. Now we have priests of both sexes I don't listen to. Fuck, I don't care... Have one with three balls and eight titties, I don't fucking care, ya know. Have a hermaphrodite one. I don't care. Have one with gills and a trunk, I might go to that service... [makes elephant noise] I don't give a fuck, OK? While I appreciate your quaint traditions, superstitions, and ya know... I, on the other hand, am an evolved being who deals solely with the source of light which exists in all of us, in our own minds - no middle man required, Ahahahaha. But anyway, I appreciate your little games and shit, and your putting on the tie and going to church... But you know, there's a LIVING GOD WHO WILL TALK DIRECTLY FUCKING TO YOU!!!"
- from Arizona Bay
I'm writing this because I feel you need to know about this man and these albums. I decided early on that the list would only contain music, but if I did include comedy releases, then these two classic albums would definitely both rank in the top 50. For me to try and sum up the importance of comedian Bill Hicks is almost futile, so I'm going to just say a few words here, and then post some things of interest so you can explore at your leisure. To compare music and comedy, if Lenny Bruce was Miles Davis or Elvis Presley, Woody Allen was The Beatles, Richard Pryor was James Brown, George Carlin was Bob Dylan, and Chris Rock is Chuck D or Rakim, then Bill Hicks was Jimi Hendrix and Joe Strummer at the same time. He called himself "Chomsky with dick jokes".
He was a fearless, incendiary performer. He pushed the boundaries of "good taste" to expose the hypocrisies of our society. He was worshiped by rock bands like Rage Against The Machine and Faith No More; Tool's Ænima and Radiohead's The Bends are famously dedicated to him. He was adored in the UK for the same reasons he was ignored at home: because he wouldn't sacrifice his integrity for commercial gains in the age of Rick Astley and American Gladiators. He didn't just speak intelligently on basic comedy topics such as sex, drugs, family dysfunction, and life on the road. While America was losing itself to the inanity of Jerry Seinfeld and Adam Sandler, these albums offered the definitive comic material on a wide range of the time's news events, from the L.A. Riots to David Koresh to the election of President Clinton and gays in the military. The E-Minor bit about Jay Leno remains one of the most raw, funny things I've ever heard. The way he tackled the first Gulf War, President Bush, and Saddam Hussein was so prescient, that some people a decade later have gone so far as to label him a prophet. But really, he was just a very smart, very funny man who still needs to be heard and learned from, more today than ever before. Bill Hicks died from pancreatic cancer in February 1994, at the criminally young age of 32. I know he's jamming with Jimi right now.
**NOTE: This material is as explicit as it gets, so if you're at work, you might want to wait until you get home to watch the videos.**
- Bill Hicks official site
- Bill Hicks on Wikipedia
- An excellent 1994 GQ feature
This a seven part documentary on Bill Hicks. Parts 4 through 7 cover the time these two albums were being made, as well as his passing.
- Bill Hicks: Outlaw Comic [part 1 of 7]
- Bill Hicks: Outlaw Comic [part 2 of 7]
- Bill Hicks: Outlaw Comic [part 3 of 7]
- Bill Hicks: Outlaw Comic [part 4 of 7]
- Bill Hicks: Outlaw Comic [part 5 of 7]
- Bill Hicks: Outlaw Comic [part 6 of 7]
- Bill Hicks: Outlaw Comic [part 7 of 7]