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,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:
I fucking hate this band." So, my question to you is, what is your most hated
internationally successful band? REM? Coldplay? U2? Bruce Springsteen and the
E Street Band? Bon Jovi? Oasis? Bring it on!
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.
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:
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.)
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.
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!