OK, BEFORE I get lambasted for using an ethnic slur, I am a member of the tribe. Despite being raised Boston Irish, my ethnic makeup has at least as much English (maybe more) as Irish. As a friend who was giving me a ration of shit for "turning traitor" and dating English guys said when I told him as much said, "What do you do? Hate yourself on alternating days?" I was amused.
Anyway, I listen to 'FNX regularly. Which means I hear a fair bit of music by English bands. I've been listening to FNX since 1981 before they even were WFNX--when they were WLYN, Y-102. I was listening to Duran Duran six months before MTV discovered them; it pretty much goes that way for a lot of the alternative bands that become the next big thing. (Arcade Fire? Been listening to 'em for a couple of years. I know, I know, nothing compared to how long some of you have been listening to them, but better than the Lady Gagging and Marshall Doesn't Matter fans who were pissed about the Grammys this year.) I was being tortured with Kings of Leon long before the pop stations decided the rest of the world had to have that whiny voice inflicted on their ears.
I have weird hearing: I can't cope with certain timbres. There are quite a few bands I can't listen to because their harmonies hurt my ears (Yes and Rush are a couple of good examples). I also don't have a lot of tolerance for whiny, nasally voices. Now, the U.S. produces quite a few whiny voices (Kings of Leon immediately comes to mind), but the Brits seem to really be able to corner the market not just in the number of them, but also in the number of SUCCESSFUL whiners. And it really gripes my arse that the US fanboys just fall all stooooopid in lurve with them and elevate them beyond their deserve.
Top two offenders: Radiohead and Oasis. (I refuse to recognize Coldplay as an alternative band. They're just boring-ass whitebread bullshit pop. Great orchestration, but Chris Martin's voice is as flat as his talentless twat wife's tits.)*
I don't get it. Seriously. Radiohead has three songs that I actually enjoy, and the fanboy musicgasms that the alternawankers have over them just pisses me off and alienates me further. Yeah, yeah, good on them for their brilliant anti-establishment marketing ploys--I will definitely give them their props for that. But Thom Yorke's voice makes me want to a) pierce my eardrums with stilettos; and b) rip out his vocal cords and strangle him with them. And the lyrics... I just want to hand him a razor blade and let him get it over with. ("OK Computer" is on the radio right now... I want to rip my ears off and make Thom Yorke eat them and drink the blood pouring out of my head for this torture. Excuse me... ahhhhhhhh... silence but for the clacking of the keyboard.)
Radiohead has a new album out. The alternawankers are having fanboy orgasms so hard, I'm expecting my radio to have a nasty white crust on it.
And then there's Oasis. When the Gallagher Brothers first inflicted themselves upon the music scene and declared themselves better than the Beatles, one of FNX's loooooongtime DJs used to play a soundbite from some Brit film of a yob yelling, "WANKERS!" And I approve. There's only been one of their songs that I could stand and that's "Champagne Supernova." Beyond that, Liam Gallagher's voice... worse than Thom Yorke's and not as melodic. And their personalities left a lot to be desired. When the announcement was made that the band was breaking up, I was PSYCHED! And I wanted to just smack the DJs having a whinefest over how sad it was. Nothing sad about it--a blessing. Two utterly disfunctional dickheads who need to grow the fuck up and get some therapy. And again, the alternawankers were just being too stupid for words about it. You'd think someone had died instead of a band that had been self-destructing for their entire career and broken up a gajillion times had temporarily called it quits. (At "press time," after declaring that Oasis would never exist again, ever, Noel Gallagher is putting Oasis back together with an alleged all-star line-up. He doesn't need a therapist--he needs a proctologist for one of the most public cases of rectal cranial inversions ever suffered in UK music history.)
Sooooooo... Liam Gallagher has a new band called Beady Eye. And FNX interviewed him and another band member a few weeks back. I was deep in a project and didn't bother to click off the radio. Rather than the interview deepening my antipathy, I was actually convinced to give the new band a chance. The song isn't bad--with age, his voice is getting a little less whiny. Still a bit too much of a Beatles wank, but then, the Beatles were fuck-all amazing, and a little hero worship isn't a bad thing. As long as he avoids his brother's idiocy, I'll give them a provisional thumbs-up not automatically change the radio station (which is my normal reaction to Oasis). The fangasms aren't as hard as for Radiohead, but still... my gagging reflex has kicked in.
I'm even getting sick of Muse; I like them, but really... enough. Matthew Bellamy's voice grates on me at times--he's this weird amalgamation of Freddie Mercury and Thom Yorke, and it doesn't always work.I just have an issue with hero worship. Seriously. The they-walk-on-water-and-RULE-and-can-do-NO-WRONG! attitude that the alternawankers have towards so many bands... Fuckin' fanboy music nerds. CAN'T STAND 'EM! Especially because so many of the bands they champion just aren't that amazing, at least to me. REM is a good example. Good band, good songs, NOT exciting. Just... NOT exciting. Good, though. Michael Stipe is another front man who pisses me off. There were times in the 90's I just wanted to smack him and choke him with a PETA poster. Trent Reznor... *sigh* I dig NIN, but get a little sick of the Trentgasms. I love Nirvana's music and still feel like Kurt was murdered by the junkie whore, but he's not a god. Amazing and sad, and his music hit a place in my soul, but his personality made it hard for them to turn him into a saint. Besides, Kurt was a punk. Punks don't make good saints. Johnny Rotten has proven that. Love that cranky old fucker and hope he goes on forever. Ditto Iggy Pop--Iggy is bloody amazing. That is a man who should have been dead years ago, but he's still goin' hard. And looks friggin' amazing! Five feet one inches of pure wiry muscle and over 60... *shakes head* Love 'im. Ditto David Bowie--there's a painting in an attic somewhere aging for him.
I'm not good at hero worship. Yeah, I go into paeans of fangasms over Jim Jefferies, but at the end of the day, the reality is that he's a human being--a decent bloke who's been through a fair bit of shit, and rather than wallow in self-pity and self-destruction, he's turned his rage and pain into some damn funny shit. He's not perfect--some of the shit said on the podcast has bothered me, annoyed me, upset me, offended me, but hey, that's the way it goes. If you're going to go along for the ride, you take the misses with the hits, and the bottom line is that while it may be unscripted, it's still a SHOW--a show called "Talkin' Shit," done by two comedians trying to push their careers to the next level. As a live performer, I love Jim--seen him twice, planning on seeing him at least two more times over the next six months, maybe even a third time if I make it up to Montreal (although that will depend on many other factors which I am not going to discuss because I don't want to jinx it). As a person, I don't know the man. I only know his work and what he has publically revealed about his past that fuels it.
A lot of the folks reading this did not know me before I started writing this blog; those that did will tell you that that has ALWAYS been my philosophy about my own writing/performing--I can't change what has happened in my life, but I will damned if I'll let the bastards win; therefore, it becomes fodder for art. (And yeah, I've put enough hard work on my craft to know what I'm doing now has passed beyond "expressive therapy" and moved towards viable career. And I have enough self doubt to keep me humble and know that I have to KEEP working on it; the day you think you don't have any way to improve, that's the day you quit because you've lost your edge and your perspective. And fuel my "Oh, my Gods, I SUCK SUCK SUCK SUCK SUCK AND WILL NEVER, EVER BE SUCCESSFUL!" anxiety attacks.)
So, dear fanboys, put it back in your pants and get a life.
Time to put my radio back on--song's over. :-D
*Wow. That was REALLY venomous and vituperative. Can you tell I really don't like Gwynneth Paltrey? If not for her parents, she would have ended up a waitress in a karaoke bar--NOT that pretty, NOT that talented. And honestly, if you have to tape a strapless dress because you're as flat as a prepubescent boy, wear something else. Please.