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Sunday, July 12, 2009


One of the highlights of my day is discovering a new bit of email from Chris (THE TWELVE) Weston, aka "Our man in Eastbourne." We're simpatico on just about everything and we often write back and forth to pick each other's brains for geeky minutia or answers to spur of the moment questions like this one that I got from him on Wednesday afternoon:

Question for you...
They just played "Night Swimming" by REM on the radio, and I thought to myself "Jeez,
I fucking hate this band."
So, my question to you is, what is your most hated
successful band? REM? Coldplay? U2? Bruce Springsteen and the
E Street Band? Bon Jovi?
Oasis? Bring it on!


As anyone who's known me even for five minutes can tell you, there are few things that get me foaming at the mouth like discussion of musicians and bands that I absolutely fucking hate, so I mulled over Chris's question and after careful consideration I replied to him with the following:

Those are all worthy choices so it's almost a tough call for me to single out just one, although Coldplay, Bon Jovi and Oasis never even registered on my radar; if I heard them I could just ignore them.

Gerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead: ineligible due to being deceased.

The only reason the Grateful Dead don't take the number one position on my list of rock acts that should immediately face public execution is because they only had a tiny smattering of their "you must be dosed to enjoy this shit" catalog that actually received airplay, and Gerry Garcia is currently dead and therefore no longer a threat. As for the others, here's my assessment:

The smugness fairly drips off the screen.

U2 started out kickass — "I Will Follow" blew my mind like few other songs when I first heard it back in high school; I think I was sixteen at the time — and then became a bunch of self-important cunts following "War," and while I do hate them they are also easily ignored. If I hear any of their post-1983 output, it registers in my head in the same way as the piped-in muzak heard in shopping malls. It's there, but I don't care. (Although I once heard a muzak version of "Thunderball" in a Burger King two decades ago that almost sent me on a killing spree.)


Are they advertising for their buttholes?

RE.M. offends me like few other bands because I remember them from twenty-five years ago when they were barely making a name for themselves as a cheap-to-hire college bar band and sang like they'd heard of the concept of "balls." Back then I genuinely liked "Wind Out" for its borderline-punk sound, but the second "Can't Get There From Here" happened they rocketed straight down the goddamned toilet into whiny art-pussy territory. The only song of theirs I give a pass these days is "Stand" and that's solely because it was used as the utterly incongruous theme tune to my favorite TV comedy series of the 1990's, the late, lamented GET A LIFE.


Bruce motherfucking Springsteen...Where to even begin?

Next to the Grateful Dead there is no band in existence that I hate more than Bruce Springsteen and the various permutations of his backup band. I have loathed his faux working class hero anthems since 1975 and my ire against him only grows as his career refuses to die. I find him phony, cloying, genuinely annoying, and I think his vocal delivery sounds exactly like he's sitting on the toilet grunting out the result of his hearty lunch at Taco Bell (by the sound of his overwrought histrionics, I'd bet good money he'd been chowing down on a double Nachos Bel Grande, a couple of Chalupas, and the "Fire" Taco Supreme). He turns up at the drop of a hat, regularly appearing on morning, afternoon and late night chat shows, and his hideous, ram-like visage is so ubiquitous that you can scarcely lift a toilet seat without seeing him. That noted, I will cut him some slack for the genuinely good "Pink Cadillac," "I'm on Fire" (which I think would work well as musical accompaniment in a creepy and atmospheric film about a rural serial killer), and "Born to Run," a song which is up there with "Stairway to Heaven" as the most overplayed song in radio history. "Born to Run" has made me laugh out loud since the day it came out because it's overblown to the point of utter madness — kind of a rock 'n' roll John Phillip Souza piece, if you will — and features the most blatant use of that awful Springsteen trademark: tinkly piano accented with sleighbells. And would you believe there was actually a serious concerted effort to have that song named as the official state song of of New Jersey? I swear to God!



Jared said...

I continue to be amazed that almost everyone's music taste is made in their early teenage years when marketers are aiming at them. Even the bands we hate are set in stone then. The reason Coldplay, Bon Jovi and Oasis never made it onto your radar is, just like me and most others our age, you had pretty much stopped listening to commercial radio aimed at teenagers by then.
All the bands you hate are from your commercial radio listening days. Think about it. There is not one overrated band from the 90's on your list. There were a lot of them. That's probably another reason adults stop listening to the radio. They can afford to buy music they like and not have to listen to songs they don't like played by some program director.

Xtina said...

But Kudos to REM for covering, "I Walk With A Zombie", origianlly done by Roky Erickson and The Aliens.

robseth said...

And I think anyone who presumes to set themselves up as an arbiter of taste and decides it's their job to save everyone from their poor entertainment choices comes across as an arrogant douchebag more often that not. To be honest dude, some of your musical choices completely baffle me, (G.G. Alin comes to mind), but I don't presume to tell you that you have awful taste. If you enjoy them, then great. Who's being harmed? I happen to like all the bands you exampled except U2, who I agree are a little pretentious, but even then I like a few of their songs. Does this mean we can't be friends anymore? :(

Scott Koblish said...

I don't think it's that as a teenager you are more (or less) attuned to what marketers want you to hear, I think that as a teenager, and later a college student, you just have more free time to think about bullshit- like musical "taste".

Satyrblade said...

You'll probably be amused to know that Michael "Insufferable Art Fag" Stipe was outed as "Twat Waffle," the obnoxious rock star described in Sara Barron's hilarious book (and preceeding newspaper column) People are Unappealing (Even Me).

At the time of the article's original composition, Barron was a gallay slave in a stuck-up New York restaurant. There, she'd heard tell of the enigmatic "Twat Waffle" - so named for his twattish demeanor and the demand one night that he have fresh blueberry waffles at 2:00 AM - a demand that sent the kitchen staff into a frenzy of late-night shopping because the haute cusine kitchen lacked several key ingredients for said waffles. "Twat Waffle" was an unnamed musical star whose stellar fame and friendship with the owner meant that he could bring his entourage to the restaurant after closing time and feed them all for free. The staff loathed "Twat Waffle," and Sara soon learned why.

Star-eyed Sara was intially excited to be serving a hallmark of her musical youth. Said excitment was quickly squelched when "Twat Waffle" refused to even look in her direction, dictating his orders instead through a condescending flunkie. He and his glitterati parasites kept the kitchen staff hopping until three or four AM, then left them nothing.

Not a single cent's worth of tip. After having just played a sold-out show at Madison Square Garden that evening.

Cue sound of Sara's star crashng hard to earth.

Sara didn't name "Twat Waffle" in her article, but enterprising NYC journalists tracked down the circumstances she mentioned, and outed Stipe as the offender. Sara got sacked, but obtained revenge by way of a series of interviews, a higher profile, and the aforementioned book, which I heartily recommend.

I will at least give Bono, Springsteen and Garcia points for their humanitarian efforts. Stipe, however, is an unredeemable shit-smear, apparently as odious in person as his grating whine is on record.

John Bligh said...

"Born To Run" as the official song of NJ??? feh... Everyone knows is should be Charles Manson's "Garbage Dump".

And goddamn, save for a few songs from 20 years ago, REM needs to be water-boarded to death.