I first heard about Applehead from one of the more oddball places to get music recommendations from: I had helped out with the Saturday evening service at a homeless shelter in Omaha with my youth group back in 1995, and one of the residents there came up to me afterwards to chat a bit, which is when he showed me his cassette copy of Meaning, which he proudly proclaimed as “rockin'”. Unfortunately, it took me a good ten years to locate a copy for myself to listen to, because at that time Ocean Records and all things associated with the label had become hard-to-find out of print items. And the affordable copy I was able to snag was a cassette bought from Rad Rockers back in the day. Still wrapped in its original cellophane, but still a cassette copy. And try as I might, I still cannot locate at least a decent MP3 download to purchase off of any of my usual suppliers of my habit. My MP3 rip from that cassette I have still has to suffice for now.
Just to get the technicalities out of the way, Applehead is really the second solo release from one time Crucified guitarist Greg Minier. The reason for releasing it under the Applehead logo? My guess is that it has to do with the change of musical styles from the first solo record. While the Minier release was an awesome crossover thrash disc, the music on Meaning is what you would generally call “Grunge”. Fortunately, though, due to it being released in 1992 and not the later 1990s, this release may actually be the first actual genuine Grunge album released into the CCM market at a time when Grunge was still at its zenith of popularity in the mainstream market, and not the crappy “post-Grunge” that flooded rock radio after 1995.
Normally, when you say “Grunge”, I tend to shrug and go “meh”. But, listening to this Applehead release, I have to admit that the music on Meaning falls more under the “really good guitar-driven Grunge rock” rather than the “pretentiously self-important douche rock” that I normally associate alternative rock with. Every song on this album has a nice heavy guitar hook rooting things, with a heavy foundation normally found in the earlier works of Alice In Chains, very Jerry Cantrell style. It’s stripped down hard rock that drags you in and keeps you there.
I found myself surprisingly enjoying this release, despite my preconceptions of the Grunge and Alt. rock styles of the past. It’s well produce, and the fact that Greg Minier is credited as having played all of the instruments is very impressive, to say the least. It’s a pity I’ve had trouble finding this on at least a CD format, in a non-ludicrous price. I would prefer having this re-released as an MP3 download, like a lot of out-of-print albums have been getting. Until then, though, I did a good enough job transferring my cassette copy to MP3s to listen to on my media player, so until then, I am contented to have that. Seriously, though, you should check this release out, if you can.