Jana Says

Living life from cover to cover


Concert favorites: A Jana and Erin playlist

This entry is part of 8 in the series Playlists


Last Thursday of the month means it’s time for another playlist with Jana  and Erin – a playlist with a twist.  Often, we try not to choose themes that you’ve seen time and time again.  This month we’ve decided to highlight significant songs from concerts we’ve attended AND that concert was monumental to us for one reason or another. 
JANA:  1. The Right Stuff” by NKOTB. New Kids and Tiffany was the first concert I ever went to. With my parents, sister, best friend at the time and we saw them at Westbury Music Fair. I was in 4th or 5th grade (roughly the same age as my daughter, incidentally, who just went to her first concert this past summer. We took her to see Weezer. So there’s that). And my love of live music begins. 
ERIN:  2.  “You Give Love a Bad Name” by Bon Jovi.  I know.  It comes as no surprise that Bon Jovi makes an appearance on this list.  It was my first concert that I attended.  My mother took three 8th grade girls and one 7th grader to the Bon Jovi “Slippery When Wet” tour with Cinderella opening (who became another live favorite).  My love of Bon Jovi was cemented.
JANA:  3. “Big Talk” by Warrant. NKOTB was the first concert I ever attended; Warrant and Poison at Nassau Coliseum was the first concert I attended sans parents. Three of my friends and I went during the Cherry Pie tour and looking back, there were quite a lot of things that happened at that concert I didn’t quite understand. Now I do. Warrant was DIRTY.
ERIN:  4.  “King of Rock” by Run DMC – The summer after 8th grade, I went to visit my grandparents in rural East Texas.  A concert was coming to the Oil Palace in Tyler, Texas … a concert like this smaller Texas town had never seen – Run DMC with others (DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince, Public Enemy, and more).  My aunt and uncle took me, they sat in the back while I bounced and danced in the crowd.  My uncle claimed that my blond ponytail was easy to spot.  I loved the blend of sounds (and still do) that Run DMC brings, and King of Rock is especially foreshadowing since they are now members of the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame.
JANA:  5. “Subdivisions” by Rush. This is my absolute favorite Rush song of all time. We might have used it in a post before but #idontcare. I saw Rush for the first time in 1991ish (mostly because Mr. Big was the opening act. Yes, I was that person but in my defense, I was 14) and despite being there for the opening act, I walked away a Rush fan. This was also the gateway concert for my love affair with outdoor concerts. Thank you, Jones Beach.
ERIN:  6.  “Crackerman” by Stone Temple Pilots.  My college roommate, Katy, dated a beautiful boy named Gregorio.  We piled into my white Honda Civic and drove from our university town to Houston for my first “live” experience with Stone Temple Pilots (1995ish).  It was an incredible show, even with Scott Weiland completely off his face.  Since his death from a deadly cocktail of drugs, this first STP is particularly poignant to me in my memories.
JANA:  7. “Tainted Angel” by Southgang. I saw these guys on New Year’s Eve. In a bar. In Atlanta. When I was 14 (14 was a big year, evidently). It was pretty fucking cool. (Also, I might or might not have thrown this in because of Erin’s love for Butch Walker. I’ll let you decide).
ERIN:  8.  “Best Thing You Never Had” by Butch Walker. No, this ain’t no BeyoncĂ© song.  Jana mentioned my love for Butch, and my entry above talks about my friend, Katy…so, let me tell you about the time that Katy and I went to Vegas to “celebrate” her divorce.  The Wynn just opened, and we scored an amazing deal on a room.  We went to see the male dance revue, American Storm, and we had cocktails by the pool.  I told Katy that she needed to trust me – we were going to see Avril Lavigne at The Joint at the Hard Rock because there was this musician that was opening that I had to see…Mr. Butch Walker.  Seeing this song live is damn near close to a religious experience for me.  He’s touring right now.  Seriously.  If you like live music, do yourself a favor and go see him if he’s coming to a town near you. 
JANA:  9. “Ain’t Going Down Till the Sun Comes Up” by Garth Brooks. I bought my husband, then-boyfriend, tickets to see Garth Brooks in Philly for his 20th birthday. Decidedly not a country music fan, I had a lot of trepidation going to the show. Turns out, I can be wrong. This still reigns as one of the best concerts I’ve ever attended. The man played for 3 hours WITH NO BREAK. It was incredible. Also at that concert, the guy selling “popcorn, peanuts, crack cocaine”.   (Note from Erin: While watching this video as I was putting together this post, I got goosebumps.  His energy is infectious.  Garth is the bomb.  No shame.)
ERIN:  10.  “Between Angels and Insects” by Papa Roach.  Another time that I told a friend to “just trust me” and go to a show with me was to see Papa Roach.  Their first full album was out, and “Last Resort” was a single getting play.  I had the album (well, cd, but I still call them albums), and I wanted to see them live.  I convinced my friend, Shawn, to go with me because he likes rock shows.  When we left the show, we looked like someone had hosed us down with a garden hose.  We were soaked with sweat.  I am not sure I’ve ever lost that many calories in one show.  I picked this song because it was the one that I remember most for the crowd losing.their.shit when it played. 
JANA:  11. “Captain Jack” by Billy Joel. Returning the favor, the husband bought me tickets to see Billy Joel and Elton John. I had previously seen Billy during college but attending this concert was the fulfillment of a decade long dream. Dueling pianos at their finest. 
ERIN:  12.  “Here Is Gone” by the Goo Goo Dolls.  My two frontmen loves are Jon Bon Jovi and Johnny Rzeznik.  In 2003, they made this girl’s dream come true by touring together.  And, the Goo Goo Dolls were touring to support my favorite album of theirs, Gutterflower. 
JANA:  13. “Jesus of Suburbia” by Green Day. Perhaps the greatest song from American Idiot, and perhaps one of the most stellar shows I’ve attended. By the time we got to their concert at the Liacouras Center, we’d seen Green Day 3 times and this concert was about as close to perfection as you can get. 
ERIN:  14.  I couldn’t decide what song/band I wanted to list next, and “Gone Away” by The Offspring came on, which instantly took me to a memory that I love, so there you have it.  One of my best gal pals moved to Italy.  I went to visit.  We went to see The Offspring in Milan.  It was an unforgettable experience to go to a concert surrounded by Italians all singing along in English with this SoCal pop punk band. 

JANA:  15. “Absolutely Still” by Better Than Ezra. Laugh if you will, but I love these guys. And I loved, LOVED seeing them at Power Plant Live in Baltimore. FOR FREE, Y’ALL. Of course it was on the hottest day Baltimore has ever had and my sweet tea crush melted but still. Awesome. There’s something about going to see a once popular band but who wasn’t really that popular and who’s a little past their prime because you know all the fans are FANS. And they covered a Rush song.

ERIN:  16.  “Angel Eyes (I’ll Never Let You Go)” by Steelheart.  Talk about seeing bands a little past their prime……..I went to the inaugural Rocklahoma in 2007.  Glam bands, hair bands, hair metal, call them what you want.  My love for them will never die.  I was joined in a field smack in the middle of nowhere Oklahoma by others who still loved this music too.  We met people from different countries, different states, and different ages.  Many “big” names from this era were there (Poison, RATT, Quiet Riot, Twisted Sister, Vince Neil, Dokken, more) – but, when the lead singer of Steelheart belted out this song and still hit those notes, it is safe to say that the crowd was blown away. (Note from Jana: I am jealous as hell that Erin went to Rocklahoma)
JANA:  17. “Enemies” by Shinedown. Going all the way back to two weeks ago when I attended Carnival of Madness. I can’t even properly convey how I felt this concert in my bones. In my soul. Shinedown’s music speaks to me like no other band’s and to see them live…well, I can’t quite process it all yet, never mind write about it. AND. As if the concert wasn’t amazing enough, they opened up their set with Let’s Go Crazy. The real Prince version. Not a cover. 
ERIN:  18.  “All out of Love” by Air Supply.  They started their career over 40 years ago playing in Sydney restaurants.  I saw them play at the Sydney Opera House.  Let me tell you, there is something to be said for any band that can stay together for 40 years (the duo claim they’ve never even had a fight) and can fill a room full of people who will sing all of their songs word for word back to them. 

We left out plenty that we wanted to add, but this is no longer about us…tell us about your live music experience and a significant song from a monumental concert in your musical journey.

resized signature 2

Catchy songs about f*cked up things: A playlist by Jana and Erin

This entry is part 1 of 8 in the series Playlists

Last Thursday of the month means it’s time for another playlist with Jana  and Erin. Although June is our birthday month and we could have done birthday themed songs, we opted for something a little darker because let’s face it, that makes way more sense. Playlist

You know the saying “a wolf in sheep’s clothing” and how it means something sinister disguised as something sweet and cute? Well, that’s essentially the theme of this month’s playlist except we’re calling it “Catchy Songs About Fucked Up Things”. We actually had to whittle the list down, and I’m sure we could do a part 2, but for now, we’ll just go with these 12:

“Make it Stop (September’s Children)” by Rise Against. I (Jana) had actually mentioned this song to Erin pre-Pulse shooting because this song makes me tear up every time I listen to it, particularly when they list some of the kids–CHILDREN–who’ve committed suicide because of being gay. Post-Pulse, it’s even more poignant and a necessary inclusion. 

“Pumped Up Kicks” by Foster the People. School shooting song. We shouldn’t even still be talking about school or any type of mass shootings but that’s another topic for another time. 

“Fade to Black” by Metallica. This one’s about death and suicidal feelings. 

“Last Resort” by Papa Roach. Also about death and suicide. I (Jana) think that’s enough on this topic for now so we’ll move to something else. 

“Mr. Brownstone” by Guns N Roses. Drugs! This one’s about drugs. We struggled between using this one or “Dr. Feelgood” by Motley Crue so I’m mentioning the latter to sneak it into the post anyway. #sorrynotsorry

“Semi-Charmed Life” by Third Eye Blind. Another song about drugs. Meth this time, instead of cocaine or heroin. Not sure that we’re moving up or down but at least it’s not death. 

“Under the Bridge” by the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Also drugs but also about loneliness and desperation and isolation because of drugs. 

“Crawling” by Linkin Park. Another one about the battle with substance abuse, drawing on Chester Bennington’s own experiences. 

“Jeremy” by Pearl Jam. This is the first song I (Jana) was consciously aware of the lyrics and the meaning and having it impact me. Suzanne Vega’s “Luka” should have that honor but I was only 10 at the time of the song’s release so I didn’t pick up on it right away (I actually believe it’s one of the most heartwrenching songs ever). We’re showing the video for “Jeremy” instead of just the song because Erin feels that it’s the most impactful video ever made. 

“Wrong Way” by Sublime. A nice song about child prostitution. Maybe also a little child abuse. Bradley Nowell was masterful at writing awesome songs about fucked up things (see: “Santeria”, “April 29, 1992”, “Date Rape”) and who knows what else he could have done. Sadly, he’s a member of the 27 Club so we’ll never know. 

“Face Down” by Red Jumpsuit Apparatus. This one’s about domestic violence. It’s more obvious in subject matter than some of the others, and the band has done a lot of stuff for domestic violence prevention in the years since. 

“Manhattan Project” by Rush. Pretty obvious what this is about. It’s not as dark as some of the others so I (Jana) thought it was a fitting way to end the list. Also a good way to finally get Rush on one of these playlists. 

Honorable mentions: “Goodbye Earl” by the Dixie Chicks (murder, domestic violence), “Never Again” by Nickelback (domestic violence), “Janie’s Got a Gun” by Aerosmith (child abuse, murder), “Me and a Gun” by Tori Amos (rape), “Hurt” by NIN (so many things), “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” by Warrant (murder with a not so thinly veiled racist title), “Coming Undone” by Korn (mental health issues), “Adam’s Song” by Blink 182 (teen suicide). It’s a really long list. 

What are some of your favorite songs about fucked up things? 

Favorite forgotten hairband songs: A playlist

This entry is part 2 of 8 in the series Playlists

Jana of JanaSays.com is in her late 30s, and Erin of TexErin-in-SydneyLand is in her early 40s.  #noshame #oldladieswin 

 Aquanet … Spandex … Blue eyeshadow … MTV … BIG HAIR … all of these things were part of our childhood and teen years.  So was the genre of music that gets a lot of teasing (pun intended) and ridicule known as Glam Metal, Hair Bands, Cock Rock….but these bands and songs are beloved by the two of us.  In fact, as we got to know each other, we instantly connected with our mutual love of books and hair bands. This is not the list of songs that are played in sports stadiums or classic rock stations.  C’mon.  Admit it.  You guys know Welcome to the Jungle, Every Rose Has Its Thorn, and Livin’ on a Prayer.  You probably even know Pour Some Sugar on Me, Cherry Pie, and Here I Go Again. (You’re probably singing one of them in your head right now. You’re welcome.)

These are the songs that you have to turn to a specialty station like SiriusXM’s Hair Nation (in the U.S.) for a chance to hear them. Or be an avid fan of this music from days gone by.  This list is a combined effort of our favorite forgotten hair band songs.

1. Wait for You by Bonham – 1989 – Do you recognize this name?  John Bonham, the drummer of a little band called Led Zeppelin, who died in 1980…he had a son named Jason Bonham.  He can play drums too.  He had a band that had a song, and this is it.

2.  Call to Your Heart by Guiffria – 1984 – Honestly don’t remember anything about Guiffria except this song.  And, this is a good song. 

3.  Edge of a Broken Heart by Bon Jovi – 1987 – Back in the day, pop radio had djs and you could actually call and request to hear your favorite songs.  The local Houston station (104 KRBE) had a “Top 8 at 8:00” most requested program.  From Erin: “I’d wait for this song to play, so I could record it on my cassette tape each night, so I could have an entire cassette of just this song playing over and over.”  The work and commitment we had to give for our favorites…..

4.  Burning Like a Flame by Dokken – 1987 – To be honest, we could give you a whole list of Dokken songs of fantastic songs from Dokken, but this is a fave.  From Erin: “Is this the time that I tell you about getting my picture taken with Don Dokken when my friend was getting beers or going to the bathroom, and she’s the one that really loved Dokken and she missed the photo opportunity??”

5.  Tell Me by White Lion – 1987 – Don’t know many girls
that didn’t find Mike Tramp (the lead singer) pretty dreamy back in the
day.  The last time I (Erin) saw him was 2008, and he was still pretty dreamy. 

6.  Coming of Age by Damn Yankees – 1990 – Once upon a time, a supergroup was formed with a member of Night Ranger, a member of Styx, and Ted Nugent.  Fun fact from Erin: “I saw them open for Poison in Fargo, ND.”

7.  Bang Bang by Danger Danger – 1989 – From Jana: “They were my
favorite and I was obsessed. Meeting Ted Poley and Andy Timmons was the
highlight of 8th grade.” 
No other words are needed.

8.  Love Song by Tesla – 1989 – Serious now.  If you aren’t going to listen to any other of the songs on this list, listen to this one.  It truly is one of the greatest anthemic love songs ever created.  Yes, we are biased about this list, but we speak the truth about this song. 

9.  Dirty Love by Thunder – 1990 – This British band has 9 studio albums, 7 live albums, and 22 singles released.  Sure, they’ve had a lot of band members in and out during that time…but that’s more albums produced than Taylor Swift or Rhianna or One Direction or many of the other big sellers of popular music.

10.  Big Talk by Warrant – 1989 – Awww Warrant.  The band known for Cherry Pie.  In fact, that song was part of the demise of lead singer, Jani Lane, who died a few years ago from an alcohol fueled death.  They really were a talented band.  (Feel free to fast forward the first minute of this film clip.)  R.I.P Jani

11.  One in a Million by Trixter – 1991 –  This song hit radio airwaves the same year as Nirvana and Pearl Jam.  Poor Trixter was just a little too late for any serious music people to listen to them.  Wait.  We ain’t about those music snobs anyway.

 12.  Mad About You by Slaughter – 1991 – Not sure this song made it to the music charts.  There were actually some songs on this album that got more airplay.  But, we’re rebelling and going with this lesser known gem for our list.

13.  Tainted Angel by Southgang – 1991 – We knew this one was a given.  Erin loves Butch Walker (he’s the hunk of a brunette guitarist in this video clip).  Admittedly, most of the love is for the artist that Butch is now.  (No joke.  He is a hugely talented singer-songwriter-producer-and yes, guitarist.)  Jana saw Southgang in concert New Year’s Eve 1991.  Jana frickin’ wins!

14.  I’ll Never Let You Go by Steelheart – 1990 – This is Jana’s favorite power ballad, and it was going to be left off the list “because his voice may hurt the ears of others” (that’s actually verbatim), but Erin said “Hell no!  I’m totally including Steelheart!”, and here you have it.  (Get to the chorus – the vocals are seriously insane!)

You really have no idea how difficult it was for us to narrow down this list.  It was like selecting our favorite child or something (even though Erin doesn’t have a child, but she does have step-children, and Jana has one, so obviously, that one is the favorite).   So, really, this was more difficult than picking our favorite child.  We’re still questioning how
Ratt, Cinderella, Mr. Big, Skid Row, Firehouse, Whitesnake, and others didn’t make this list.  But, we wanted to  keep it short enough that you may stay with us.


If you’re actually still with us, tell us some of your favorite songs from big hair bands.

resized signature 2

Under the Covers with Erin and Jana: A Playlist

This entry is part 3 of 8 in the series Playlists

So, about a month ago Erin and I put together this crazy awesome playlist of hairband songs (WHAT?! You missed it? Well, you’re in luck because it’s still available for your listening/reading pleasure) and then we had the idea that we should do yet another crazy awesome playlist. Except this time we decided we’d take rock band covers of non-rock band songs. Think things like Train covering Aerosmith’s “Dream On” (which I suppose is really the reverse of what we’re trying to do here). DAMN. SO GOOD. Also, you should listen to Pat Monahan singing “Love Me Two Times” with the surviving members of the Doors. Well, the ones who were surviving in 2009. I think at least another one is dead now. I’m digressing big time here, as a music fan does when discussing music but perhaps I should circle this back around to the main point of the post. 

Cover songs. That Erin and I picked for you to listen to and assembled into a handy list. 

Have at it and let your ears feast on these:

Mr. Big, “30 Days in the Hole” (originally by Humble Pie)

Disturbed, “The Sound of Silence” (originally by Simon and Garfunkel)

Social Distortion, “Ring of Fire” (orginally by Johnny Cash)

Guns N Roses, “Live and Let Die” (originally by Wings)

Halestorm, “Bad Romance” (orginally by Lady Gaga)

I Prevail, “Blank Space” (orginally by Taylor Swift)

Steel Panther, “Don’t Stop Believin'” (originally by Journey)

Marilyn Mason, “Sweet Dreams Are Made of This” (originally by The Eurythmics)

Seether, “Careless Whisper” (originally by Wham!)

Van Halen, “You Really Got Me” (originally by The Kinks)

Metallica, “Turn the Page” (orginally by Bob Seger and The Silver Bullet Band)

Shinedown, “Simple Man” (originally by Lynyrd Skynyrd)

Breaking Benjamin, “Enjoy the Silence” (originally by Depeche Mode)

Fall Out Boy ft/ John Mayer, “Beat It” (originally by Michael Jackson)

To summarize:


There were a TON of great covers we left off the list in the interest of space and time and not wanting to bore anyone. But let us know–what are some of your favorite cover songs?


resized signature 2

Thanksgiving playlist with Erin and Jana

This entry is part 4 of 8 in the series Playlists

Ordinarily Erin and I do these playlists on the last Thursday of the month but since the last Thursday of this month is Thanksgiving, we’re bringing it to you a few days early. Also, we usually group all of our songs into one big list; this month, we’ve broken it down because we wanted to explain why we’re thankful for the songs we picked. So when you’re done reading my picks, go visit Erin to read hers. 

When Erin and I thought of the idea for this playlist, I thought picking songs would be easy. After all, there isn’t a day that goes by I’m not thankful for all the music in my life. But as I narrowed down the list, it became increasingly difficult to choose (only picking about 5 or 6 songs didn’t help). So I added some criteria: songs that I’ve listened to for years, songs that transcend stages of my life, songs that have a special meaning, and songs that I go to when I need something specific. 
I confess that it didn’t make it much easier to pick but it helped some. So here’s what I’ve got for you:
Count on Me by Default–This song was a loose interpretation of popular when I was pregnant with the child way back in 2006 and maybe it was the pregnancy hormones, maybe it was the lyrics, but every time I heard it I got a little (read: a lot) weepy. It still makes me choke up at times and if I ever made a playlist of songs for my daughter, this one would be at the top. So, I’m thankful that this song gives me words to say to her when I’m at a loss, or the words that I will say to her when I can’t.

Reach for the Sky by Social Distortion, Troublemaker by Weezer, and The Middle by Jimmy Eat World–I’m lumping these songs together because they’re my go-to songs for motivation or when I’m feeling down about my career choices or stage in life or just a case of the blahs about everything. They’re my kick in the ass trifecta, if you will. Every time I listen to them, it gives me just the mood boost I need to realize I didn’t make all the bad choices and eventually, I’ll get to where I need to be. I’m thankful for these songs because it’s nice to have some rockin’ jams to help me when I’m feeling like crap.

This is the Time by Billy Joel–I know! A HUGE departure from the rock songs you’re used to from me. But once I explain, you’ll get it. If there was ever a song that encapsulated nostalgia for me, it’s this one. Not only does it bring up many, many fond memories of sleepaway camp, but I feel like it’s what describing living in the present and cherishing all the moments should sound like. I’m thankful for this song mostly because it’s just so beautiful. (see also: Here’s to Us by Halestorm)

Subdivisions by Rush–If you read Ready Player One, you most likely remember (or don’t) the reference to this song. I threw a bit of an excited fit because it’s basically my favorite Rush song. I first heard in high school, around 1991 or 1992 (it was released in 1982 but I was 5 so it makes sense that I didn’t hear it for another 10 years), and my first thought was “OMG, this song! It gets me! This is exactly what it’s like living here!” And then it was on repeat on my CD player. I’m immensenly thankful that this song came to me at a time in my life when I needed it and helped a very weird, very lonely girl feel not so lonely and weird. 

Honorable mention: If You’re Going Thru Hell by Rodney Atkins. Yes, it’s a country song. Yes, I know that’s WAY off base for me. But this song meant a lot to me when I was in the deepest recesses of my depression and I’m thankful for its understanding and message that yes, things are bad now but don’t let it get you. Ask for help. It’ll get better. 

I had a dozen or so other songs I could have used but many of them are by women and Erin and I have a playlist devoted solely to badass women coming up in January and I didn’t want to duplicate songs.
While these are the ones that stand out, I’m mostly thankful for music in general. It means as much to me as books do. I appreciate music like some people do a painting or a photograph and it makes my life that much fuller when I can put a song to an event or memory. It reminds me of people who’ve come and gone, times and places I might have forgotten, and helps me work through emotions, good and bad. 
music quote
What are some songs you’re thankful for?

resized signature 2