Rock ‘n’ roll wankers of the century
- by Adrian Mack
Bruce Dickinson (Iron Maiden) – I wish the endlessly smug and narcissistic Iron Maiden frontman would fence himself in the knackers and once-and-for-all retire Phantom-like to his fucking medieval castle as a reclusive, shame-drenched castrato. It’s the only fitting end. Dickinson is your worst nightmare – a self-satisfied Head with enough money to make all his tawdry and stupid piloting-fencing-book-and-screenplay-writing dreams come true, and yet still somehow incapable of fixing his fucking mullet.
Travis Barker (blink-FUCK OFF)
Tommy Lee (Motley FŰCK OFF)
Tre Cool (Green Day. Asshole.)
Kenny Aronoff (every single cover of Modern Drummer magazine, ever) – As Charlie Watts has amply demonstrated for almost five decades now, a drummer is flattered by quiet mystique and good hair, not desperate, attention-seeking twattery. Enter Travis Barker, Tommy Lee, and Tre Cool – three men of middling talent and bottomless ego-hunger, all of whom in their own uniquely ass-picking way have turned the most deeply-wired and beautiful of the musical arts into an act of clownish self-abasement.
Kenny Aronoff meanwhile is the Dr. Cycloptic fuckwit who completely destroyed the John Fogerty concert I saw at Deer Lake Park a couple years ago. Only a Long and McQuade-sanctioned mook like Aronoff could make the cowbell in “Down on the Corner” sound like a Nine Inch Nails sample. What a fucking tosspot. Shit from my ass sounds better than that mongaloid’s 48-piece Yamaha.
Michael Stipe (REM) – Man, I really loved the weirdo mumbly version with hair that we got when Murmur came out in 1983. And it’s hardly fair, I know, to call somebody out for – gasp – changing, or anything (or being secretly replaced by a more focus group-friendly clone). But it doesn’t mean “Hollywood Stipe” (1990 - ) is any less exasperating, either. Last year’s album Accelerate was really good too, so imagine my distress when I turned on the TV a few months back and there he was on Gwyneth bloody Paltrow’s detestable Spain… On The Road Again show, being all bald, and sampling food in the kinds of elite European restaurants that would never in a million years allow peasants like you or me to darken their silk napkins. Gwyneth Paltrow! Chalk this up to my most trenchant and personal encounter with the righteous concept of Kill Yr Heroes!!
Ryan Adams (Ryan Adams) – I interviewed Mr. Adams a few years back, and for 10 horrendous minutes he acted like a petulant 12-year-old. And that was AFTER I told him how much I loved his new album. He’s like the Jared Leto of Ryan Adams.
Brandon Flowers (The Killers) – The only lady to make the list, Flowers is irritating in any number of subtle and/or obvious ways, but bitching about Green Day being “un-American” sealed it. Ugh.
Jim Morrison (The Doors) – Hey, I love the Doors too, but Morrison is precisely the kind of “visionary” you’d HATE if he ever ended up crashing your circle of friends, God forbid. What a serious pain in the ass Jimbo must have been, and as an artist – well, there’s more native poetry in Chuck Berry’s “Maybelline” than in Morrison’s entire recorded output as far as I’m concerned. The guy was a face, period. Runner-up is Ray Manzarek talking about Jim Morrison. Freaky-but-true Lizard King fact – while Jim was helping to manufacture an alleged counter-cultural revolution that ended up producing a lot of useless hippies, drug addicts, dead musicians, and money-grubbing mid-life boomers, his dad had recently finished manufacturing the war that started it all. Admiral George Stephen Morrison was commanding the Naval Forces at the Gulf of Tonkin when a staged incident allowed the U.S. to escalate the conflict in Vietnam. I think we deserve an explanation, don’t you?
Mike Love (Beach Boys) – The nasally self-appointed frontman of the Beach Boys presents an enormous and ongoing problem to those of us who adore the band he’s been implacably and patiently ruining since 1961. It’s not like you can listen to Beach Boys Today, or Friends, or Sunflower, and pretend that the whitest man on earth isn’t there, fouling up the party like some creepy cabbage-stink uncle with anger management problems, is it? What makes it so much worse is that Mr. Love almost always comes off as such an arrogant schmuck, most famously in behind-the-scenes footage from the Smile sessions in which the epically jealous no-talent is seen rolling his eyes while cousin Brian tries to go about the business of being a super-fragile genius. In other words, what a fucking asshole. But ultimately, it’s just impossible to ignore that even with his band’s record-breaking number of career lows – including anything they did between 1980 and next month’s performance at the Red Robinson Show Theater, or the fact that John Stamos was actually its touring drummer for a little while – Mike Love still remains the very lowest thing of all.
Beck (Beck) – You know, we got the tip off way back in ’94 when he couldn’t handle Nardwuar. Despite a lot of music that I think is worth defending, every critic’s favourite dead-eyed savant makes the list simply for reminding us that the Church has truly amazing and frankly pretty scary reach. Which personally annoys me very much indeed. I actually feel bad for the guy.
Dave Navarro (Rock Star: Supernova) – Erstwhile guitarist for any and all LA-based exercises in mercenary cashgrabs, the only man on earth who thought Zoolander was a documentary, and furthermore the only man on earth to have a life-size tattoo of his own face, right on his face (or so I’m assuming), Dave Navarro serves to remind us that some people come into this world annoying, fully-formed and independent of any stupid shit they do when they’re in Jane’s Addiction or the Red Hot Chili Peppers. In his defense, assholishness flows from Navarro like pure spring water from a hot desert rock, so it’s not as if a sense of wonder doesn’t accompany my seething hate.
Bono (U2) – Was there ever any doubt who would take the number 1 spot?* Not only the most annoying person in rock, but possibly the most annoying person in anything. Woodworking, botany, space exploration – you name it, if Bono was there, you’d hate him. There’s much to gripe about, but personally, I just don’t like the way he cozies up to fascists. Bush, Jessie Helms, Paul Wolfowitz, Tony Blair, the Pope, the other Pope – give Bono a photo op with a stealth Fourth Reicher disguised as a “democratically elected official” (HA HA HA HA HA HA HA, ahem) and there he is, on stilts, baffling all and sundry with his nonsensical quasi-beat poet hipsterspeak while accidentally advancing the cause of world totalitarianism and No Line On the Horizon CD sales. If he thinks that he can genuinely dazzle these people into compassion with his textured and sweeping yet commercially dynamite post punk mojo, then I humbly submit that Bono should familiarize himself with the tale of the the scorpion and the frog. The only other possibility is that he’s one of them. Which would be a damn shame, since I really, really want to believe in his sincerity. But whatever incremental difference Bono’s touted “work” is making in the Third World, the bottom line is that he’s a stooge witting or otherwise to the Corporatocracy, and we will never have a Bono who attacks or even privately questions the superstructure that causes all that suffering in the first place. That would be a bit like cutting off his nose to spite his solid gold Rolls Royce, right? Also, Bono’s singing voice actually gives me a rash.