Saturday, November 21, 2009

A Day Late - Volume II - Thoughts on the Aerosmith Rumors and Why I'm Such a Hater

As you probably know by now, there are quite a few rumors floating around the Internets about the uncertain future of rock legends, Aerosmith.

I have no idea what exactly the truth is....maybe Steven Tyler is going to part ways with the band, and maybe they're going to try and go the Van Halen route. Maybe they'll decide it's best to stay together as is. And maybe it's all a publicity stunt. I've no idea.

But I do know that I don't care. Because Aerosmith sucks, and they have sucked since about 1993.

Ordinarily, I wouldn't give this much thought, but I made the mistake of posting on Facebook that I thought that losing Tyler just might be the only thing that could heal Aerosmith's chronic case of suck. And this annoyed an old friend of mine, who indicated that I just might be a hater.

Am I a hater?

Well, kind of. The fact is that I am NOT a loyal-at-all-costs music fan (which is something I'll blog about in more depth in the future).

The crux is this: when I've seen how good a band CAN be, I hold them to that standard as much as I possibly can. And when it becomes clear that they can't get it up any more - or that they can't be bothered to - I stop loving them and start resenting them.

Is it fair? Maybe and maybe not.

Do I make exceptions? I sure do.

But Aerosmith doesn't get a pass. Because Aerosmith sucks.

And before I lay out all of the evidence behind my hypothesis, allow me to be perfectly clear about something:

I fucking love Areosmith.

I fucking love "Toys in the Attic". I fucking love "Rocks". And I fucking love "Get Your Wings" more than anyone knows.

While the smart kids in high school were toasting their broken hearts to the Smiths, I was locked in my room alone listening to the likes of "Home Tonight" and "What it Takes". And to this day I still listen to "You See Me Crying" or "Seasons of Wither" when I'm in the mood to get my vag on.

You want more loud guitar and great hooks than those pretty boys in Cheap Trick can handle? Go download "Lick and a Promise" or "Sick as a Dog".

You want to hear the sound of freaking out on angel dust? I recommend "Nobody's Fault".

Ever wondered what it would sound like if Jeff Beck was American and completely slammed by vodka and barbiturates? "Round and Round" is the song for you.

When the Pump tour came to the Capital Centre, I spent weeks and weeks waiting for the night to come, and that stupid tee shirt I bought at the show became the go-to item in my wardrobe over the course of my senior year of high school.

I loved Aerosmith because they were legendary.

I loved them because they had a catalog that would take me years to acquire.

I loved them because years before Tommy Lee smoked his first joint, Aerosmith had already done every bad thing in the world.

I loved them because they were newly sober - something that was inspiring to a sheltered, suburban kid like me, who was dying for someone to show me that it was ok not to get drunk or high. (Even though I really was just waiting for an invitation).

So, yeah: I don't want any thin-skinned radio rock nerds telling me that I don't appreciete Aerosmith, when I bought that ridiculous "Rock in a Hard Place" album.


But, you know, once the decent started, it never really stopped.


I distinctly remember my first listen to "Get A Grip". "Living on the Edge" might have been a bold single and "Cryin" was pretty solid, but after just one listen it was clear that damn near everything else on the record was sub-par.

I also remember seeing the name "Desmond Child" appear as a co-writing credit on one too many tracks, only to find upon further research that names like Desmond Child, Jim Vallance, Glenn Ballard, someone named "Frederiksen", and some other guy named "D Solomon" were ALL OVER Aerosmith's songwriting credits.

(Mind you, this was BEFORE they paid Diane Warren for the biggest hit of their career).

((And, yes, I fully know who Desmond Child is, and yes I know he's a goddamned genius. My point is that he's NOT a member of Aerosmith, though he appears to have done an awful lot of their heavy lifting over the years)).

Anyway, after realizing they didn't write their own shit (and hearing them be a little dishonest about it in a shitty music documentary), it was just a question of realizing all of the other things I hated about Aerosmith.

...Like the terrible fucking double entendres that have become a prerequisite to every goddamn Aerosmith song.

...Like the performance with Britney Spears.

...Like the videos that suggested that perhaps Mr. Tyler might have wanted to go down on his own daughter.

...Like the fact like Tyler and Perry look more and more like somebody's embarrassing drunken cougar grandmas with every passing day.

Now, if I wanted to take the high road, I'd admit that "Jaded" is a very fine song, and that "Falling In Love (Is So Hard on the Knees)", despite being an abortion of pun-smithing, had a really tight chorus.

But guess what? Hired help on both songwriting credits.

So anyway, Aersomith, I give up. Do whatever you want to do. You've lost me.

But if there's one thing I want them to know, it's this:

I'm not a hater, I'm just jaded.

And you're the one that jaded me.

Monday, November 16, 2009

A Day Late - Volume I - Thoughts on the Chuck Biscuits Hoax

So, the computer shit the bed a few weeks ago and it took a while for me to replace the power source and get some new RAM installed. Now she's purring along like the community-wrecking porn peddler that she is, god lover her.

And that means I'm back to my half-assed, last-to-market, never-been-proofed blog.


Speaking of last-to-market, how about that Chuck Biscuits story??

I first read about it from my muse, the lovely Carrie Brownstein (on her blog - via cliche!), and I'm not going to lie: it DID stop me in my tracks.

Chuck Biscuits is one of those musicians that for some reason I just imagined that no one else really gave any thought to. Maybe because I'm a drummer, maybe because so few people took Danzig seriously, and maybe because the punk bands he was in were so.....(forgive me)
fringe and dated to my ears by the time I had developed any sort of musical consciousness, but I just figured he was among the obscure artists that I would always consider to be mine and mine alone for adulation.

So when word reached me that he'd died, I was sad in a way that I couldn't even bother to try and explain to anyone.

You know, it's funny the thoughts that come to you when you get that sort of news....

I remember how he'd quit/been fired from Danzig right before I finally got around to seeing them in college, and how I was totally unsatisfied with Joey Castillo as his replacement that night at the Tower Theatre...Not so much because there was anything wrong with Joey, but because he wasn't Chuck, with his quarter-note, clang-thud combo which was basically the heartbeat of that awesome, awesome, awesome first Danzig record.

I sat there at my desk, taking an inventory of my favorite work of his. How the opening tracks of Danzig III and Danzig IV showcased some of his most powerful drumming. How his stint in Social Distortion gave the rhythm section a great big load of muscle, while still -- somehow or another -- making things swing.

But there I was at my stupid job, reading that Chuck Biscuits - drumming idol and unsung hero - was dead. And feeling a little bit alone in my sadness over it.

Imagine my surprise when the exceptionally elaborate hoax was exposed, and blogger/Danzig authority James Greene, Jr. received a virtual burning in effigy in the blogosphere for reporting on it! (Never you mind that everyone from Monitor Mix to too-cool-for-you Brooklyn Vegan jumped on the false story and pushed it out as fast as they possible could have).

Seriously, the hatred towards Greene was pretty astounding. And while, yes, I admit to being saddened at the news of Chuck's apparent death, and, yes, I was relieved to learn that he was still alive, I couldn't quite fathom how ANGRY some of the commentators on Greene's blog were.

What does this all prove?

1. The Internet is a weird place. Its a platform for screwed up people to say crazy shit. And that's mostly ok.....until you start messing with people's lives.

2. The Internet is a beautiful place. Who on Earth knew that a guy like Chuck Biscuits had so many fans, or that they felt so strongly about his legacy? The outpouring of fond memories for Chuck was something I found wonderful (and on a selfish level, rather validating of my questionable tastes).

3. The Internet is a great place for making yourself look like a doofus. I'm talking specifically about that person who was crying about being stuck in a state of false grief over Greene's mis-reporting. I hope that person goes to bed every night thanking his or her lucky stars that they haven't yet learned what real grief fells like.

4. Blogging about stuff that perhaps only you care about might not be worth it. Because believe it or not, someone else out there shares your fascinations. And they're just dying to piss all over you the minute you mis-step.

And that's in bad taste.