Buried Treasure: Probot – I am the Warlock (hidden track)

Probot Album Cover Warlock
Buried Treasure is a semi-regular feature that explores some hidden musical gems – the rare and forgotten B-sides, covers, hidden tracks, live versions and alternative takes that deserve some recognition.

Probot – I Am The Warlock

The big single from the Probot album was the track ‘Shake Your Blood’, featuring Lemmy from Motorhead. The first time I’d ever heard the track was when Lemmy came onstage to guest on the song on the Foo Fighters Hyde Park DVD. I hadn’t heard of Probot at the time so I was confused about why I couldn’t recognise the song. I had every Foo Fighters album, so why didn’t I know this song?

After some further research I learnt about the Probot album, one of Dave Grohl’s  many, many side projects. The basic premise behind the album is that Grohl had written a bunch of material that was too heavy for Foo Fighters, so he decided to make a dedicated heavy album featuring frontmen from some of his favourite metal and hardcore bands.  Because if you’re rich and famous and bored, why not make a metal album of with the most influential singers of your childhood?

In many ways, this paved the path for later Foo Fighters releases like Sound City and Sonic Highways, both of which featured guest musicians heavily.

The Buried Treasure from this album is the hidden track ‘I am the Warlock’, featuring Jack Black. It’s the last song on the album, playing after four minutes of silence after the final listed track ‘Sweet Dreams’. It’s funny because even though I know that the song is coming, it always gives me a fright when it starts.

Black and Grohl are long time collaborators. Grohl drummed on Tenacious D’s studio albums, and Grohl and Black have featured extensively in each other’s music videos. Tenacious D also opened for Foo Fighters when they set off earthquakes in 2012 at Western Springs.

‘I Am The Warlock’ is predictably juvenile, like almost anything that Black touches, but hey, it’s metal, so not worth taking too seriously anyway. If you can get past the crass content, the sludgy metal is pretty cool.

During the bridge you can hear weird whispers that remind me of something you’d hear in a horror movie (maybe something like Deathgasm?).Grohl has done this another time. The bridge in ‘Everlong’ by the Foo Fighters features three unidentifiable recordings played over each other.

It’s no secret that Black has musical skills. School of Rock was brilliant, and having seen him front Tenacious D in both rock and acoustic settings, I can confirm that he’s very talented. It seems a shame that he chooses to make such a joke out of the music he creates, but at least it’s fun.

Joseph James

Buried Treasure: The Clash – Train In Vain

The Clash London Calling Vinyl Album Cover

Buried Treasure is a semi-regular feature that explores some hidden musical gems – the rare and forgotten B-sides, covers, hidden tracks, live versions and alternative takes that deserve some recognition.

A few years ago when I was visiting my family in Nelson our neighbour came over for a chat. He already knew that I liked punk music. He couldn’t help it, really – he’d had to put up with hearing me practicing drum most evenings throughout my teenage years. And somehow he’d heard that I had started collecting vinyl records. He invited me over and generously gifted to me two LPs from his childhood: 999’s eponymous début, and The Clash’s London Calling. Our neighbour was probably the last person I would have expected to have listened to punk music in his youth, but I was delighted with his present nevertheless, and thanked him for it.

Which leads us to the song in focus for this segment of Buried Treasure: ‘Train in Vain‘, by The Clash, off the album London Calling.

First off, this song is well-known. It was actually a single. But it was also a hidden track on London Calling, so it counts as a Buried Treasure entry.

The Clash London Calling (1)                          The Clash London Calling (4)                               

                        No mention of the song ‘Train in Vain’, the last track on side D.

The song is considered hidden because it didn’t feature on the track listing. The song was initially designated to be on a promotional disc for NME magazine, but when that plan fell through the members of the band made a last-minute decision to include the song on London Calling instead. The album sleeves had already been printed though, so instead of opting to re-print with an updated track listing and additional lyrics, they decided to leave the extra song on the album unlisted, as a bonus surprise for their fans.

It’s a fairly upbeat song, led by piano and drums with open and closed hi-hats punctuating throughout. There is also some faint harmonica at times that adds to the pleasantry. However, despite the cheeriness of the music, the lyrics discuss a difficult relationship. Mick Jones, who penned the song, would often catch the train to visit his girlfriend. His efforts proved unfruitful, hence the title: ‘Train in Vain’.

Joseph James