Monday, January 21, 2008

TOP 5 WORST ROCK BANDS OF ALL TIME...
This is a can of worms which perhaps shouldn't be opened. I learnt that the hard way just last Saturday night when I broached this topic in a drunken round-table discussion at a party full of various low-rent rock 'n' roll scenesters. I was sober as a judge - still on the wagon am I - but the booze was a-flowin' and soon voices were raised. I found it hard to find five bands off the top of my head whose careers absolutely disgusted me to no end, though I did manage to throw around a few names. Pretty much everyone present agreed that The Police must surely be mentioned. Their combination of old-hack prog/fusion musicianship, shameless leaping on the New Wave bandwagon, cod-reggae bog-rock and the mere presence of Sting gives them a frontrunner position. I - and others present - would also give special mention to Faith No More and the Red Hot Chili Peppers, if only for the very special, deeply painful nature of their music and zillions of imitators they have spawned, and that's despite the fact that Flea and John Frusciante seem like pretty OK guys, and Mike Patton runs a label that's released a handful of really great albums (not featuring him, by the way).
But then opinions diverged... One friend and noted "muso" - let's call him "Sven" - thought that Metallica and Queen should be placed in such a list, to which I howled cries of protest. Well, not so much Queen; whilst they're a band I've avidly disliked for most of my life, at this point in time I find their music strangely camp and amusing as opposed to loathsome. But Metallica? That entry strikes me as just goddamn ludicrous, not only because their first three albums are actually really good (actually, they're great and essentially bereft of the negative ingredients which have put me off 99.9% of heavy metal my whole life: rampant machismo/sexism, brainless escapist/fantasy-oriented lyrics and endless displays of virtuosic wankery), but because their musical downfall over the last 10-15 years has been hilariously tragicomical.
I gave as good as I got and shot back w/ a doozy: The Clash. Why? Their almost complete inability to "rock" or write a half-decent tune (and I'll make exceptions for "Tommy Gun" and "Rock The Casbah", both of which I like), their phony-baloney "rad" politics which put them on a par w/ Bono and Sting, and... well, actually, I was playing the devil's advocate. I certainly don't think The Clash are one of the Top 5 Worst Rock Bands Of All Time - they're not even close (even though I don't like them) - though some time you just have to wave a red rag to a room full of bulls.
We didn't even get started regarding the Spin Doctors, Matchbox 20, Hootie and the Blowfish, Candlebox, Primus, Bush, Dread Zeppelin, U2...

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hey, Dave: nice to see that your comeback has been faster than one expected (I was thinking about the so-far 7 months hiatus of pal Eric from Something I learned today blog, or the definitive farewell from Jay- another real Clash-bashing guy- of Detailed Twang's fame)at first.
You've definitely waved the red rag, my friend. In fact, I regard the Clash as one of the 5 top BEST rock bands of all time (Maybe due to the fact that I grew up on them and the Sex Pistols as a teenager, so I might be biased), and both of us haved discussed this issue before: sometimes a band rubs you in the wrong way, and that's a very respectable feeling (it happened to me with the Chili Peppers, Pearl Jam, Smashing Pumpkins, any other overblown Post-Grunge crap getting airplay in the 90's, and even the Beatles, whose altar boy-manners and their pansy music I couldn't bear years ago- now I really appreciate their contribution to Popular music, even if I don't play them at home, cos eventually, some zealot at the radio will do for me).
But, c'mon, Dave, I'll bet my balls that you don't think of "Guns of Brixton", "What's my Name" or "Janie Jones" as not being half-decent tunes...

Speaking of the others, well... the Police, really annoying band sometimes, but their members could play their instruments, specially the drummer; I loathe the Red Hot Chili Peppers- some of them might be cool people and connoisseurs of the California underground/ Punk scene, but that doesn't justify their ridiculous surfers-high-on-testosterone image, and in the top of that, their absolute LACK of substance in their songs-. Faith no More? I bought their "Real thing" Lp in 1989, and really liked it at the moment, but God, it sounds dated today.
I got nothing against some of the best Queen stuff (Night at the opera, mainly), you know it's really camp stuff, but fine as a guilty pleasure, anyway.
Metallica? I'm with you, their first 3 albums are almost flawless (I truly love'em since I was a kiddo) in that heavy metal sense, but their post-1990 output is so shitty, laughable and godawful that would put them at the top of that list by itself.

For me, it's really tough to think of a top 5 worst bands ever, without relying on objectively crap bands/ artists, like 4 Non Blondes, Rod Stewart, Ugly Kid Joe, Scissor Sisters, Supertramp or Genesis. If I had to consider "universally acclaimed artists", I'd better think of some of'em as overrated- and always in my point of view-, or just artists that I don't get too much, such as David Bowie, Lou Reed, the Strokes, Van Morrison, Pavement or Guided by Voices.

That's said.

Mrow said...

Yeah I think we can all agree that any band with even indirect BUCKETHEAD connections is gonna chart high on this kinda list

Dave said...

Anon: I have heard ALL those Clash songs time and time again and they don't budge me an inch, and don't even get me started on the GREATNESS of the Beatles! Stewart Copeland IS a truly great percussionist, but that's no excuse for the music of The Police.
Man, can't believe you got that Faith No More album back in the day. I HATED that band so much... but then again, I thought "We Care A Lot" (the song) was kinda fun in its day when it would be played on Rock Arena and Rage, though that was a different band in some ways.

Pavement: over-rated though inoffensive
Guided By Voices: had a few brilliant albums and a bunch of so-so stuff I've mostly ignored
Strokes: rubbish through and through
David Bowie: lots of great things in the '70s; pretty much all crap thereafter
Lou Reed: occasional flashes of brilliance and brilliant idiocy amongst a whole bunch of turds
Van Morrison everything the guy did up 'til the mid '70s is fucking BRILLIANT; after that it's VERY patchy, often downright terrible
That's my 2 cents!
4 Non Blondes, Ugly Kid Joe... I'm right there w/ ya...

Jay said...

I'm going with JANE'S ADDICTION, still the single most annyoing band I've ever heard.

Anonymous said...

Aerosmith. That's all I have to say on that.

Still baffled why anyone thinks Queen is a rock band.

Dave said...

Jane's Addiction were certainly named by various folks on the night. Fuck-awful band, but not up there on my list, if only because some of their songs "rock" in a kinda cheesebag Led-Zep-meets-LA-punk way... I guess. Don't mean I like 'em!
Aerosmith??!! No way. Some of their '70s stuff I like. Maybe Aerosmith post 1980...
Queen most certainly were a rock band: bass-drums-guitar battling it out like 'rock' bands do. Doesn't mean you gotta think they were any good, but they were indeed 'rock".
A friend's defense of The Clash was they they were a "pop" band, not a "rock" band, and therefore should never be on such a list. What rot! They most certainly were a rock band: just a really bad one.

richard v said...

why hasnt anyone proferred foo fighters?

Dave said...

Foo Fighters have been mentioned... In fact, if I was to list a Top 5, I'd probably throw them in there. Their post-grunge corporate frat-boy date-rape soft-rock is the stuff of nightmares... and what is it about Dave Grol which is so irksome?

noisejoke said...

Late to the game as usual...

I understand the back and forth over the Clash. Listeners get struck distinctly by their earnestness or preciousness, depth or phillistine like dabbling.

But, I'm amazed so many readers cant' give credit to or understand the better Aerosmith and Queen records. Aerosmith "Rocks" is simply one of the best hard rock albums ever. The guitar and vocal arrangements are enough to qualify it. Queen were startlingly unique and weird and intentionally fun and funny. GREAT bass/drums/guitar interplay and individual artistry. Oh, yeah, same for the singer.

But you all can go back to your third rate Am Rep band b-sides. As if any of your 80s drummers could be worthy of wiping down Roger Taylor's cymbals.