There’s this guy at our website who calls himself Morgasm – it’s a cute mash-up of his first name, Morgan and I think his last, Gasmondsen. He’s from Canada. He knows how to play the drums, guitar, piano, and the triangle and he has lived and breathed music since childhood and then studied the theory of it, so to speak, for several years at the university level and Morgasm believes music is an objective medium. He’s earned that right.
Though I avoid his opinions at all costs, so I don’t get angry, I have genuine respect for them. Morgasm can speak to that science of music, from the intimidating story problems of reading layered notes to utilizing pinus massoniana rosin found only in the most communist forests of red China for diligent violin bow maintenance.
But, that all being said, guys like Morgasm constitute only about a quarter of a percent of the population. Face it, the rest of us are flailing about wildly, simultaneously stupid and pretentious. Bestowing lifetime achievement awards on funkified dumbshits like the Red Hot Chili Peppers and saying things like “you know, Clapton is top 5. I mean, his output was obviously less intense and in your face than some of his 60’s and 70’s counterparts – Hendrix, Richards – but he had that touch of subliminal subtlety that resonates still.”
Shut the fuck up!
Throughout the history of pop culture entertainment, critics should have been forced to eat crow thousands of times over. But they never have to – never made to choke down a feathery, harried black bird that ought be served up to them on silver palates in their ivory towers because nobody holds them accountable. They’re just allowed to ignore prior idiocy like it never happened and change perspective with the popular prevailing winds and wait for other critics to reach a consensus and they know it and we know it and we still never murder them in their faces like they so deserve.
Did you know that Black Sabbath was destroyed in the press for the first part of their career? Their debut, now considered by all to be a classic was dismissed as “sludgy” and “dopey” and only worthwhile to potheads. Same thing with the Beastie Boys. Panned universally by the exact same 45 year old losers who will say things today like “Yo I was there. I was there when they were beatboxing in Brooktown, when it was all taking off!” There are countless examples like this – snobbish reviewers catch up years later to actual fans, the people who truly appreciated an original trailblazer from the very beginning.
And of course, on the opposite end of the spectrum, accolades are showered on the same jerkoffs year in and year out , predictably and prolifically and probably profitably. Rolling Stone magazine is obviously the devil and not the cool devil worshipped so recklessly by the subjects of this piece and their kindred spirits, but in fact the kind of snotty, tweed jacketed, horn headed noseplug who will stamp 5 worthless stars on anything David Gilmour sharted out after a night of pickled eggs and drinking. This magazine, completely useless without a barely clad starlet on the front cover, and its ponytailed cabal of writers – Fricke, Wenner, Sheffield, Kurt Loder – continues to hand out blue ribbons to late career “legends” with the same kind of incestuous musio-political favoritism their only tolerable component, Matt Taibbi, accuses the GOP of.
Mick Jagger’s 2001 release, Goddess in the Doorway attained the coveted 5 out of 5 star ranking. The album features cameos by such stalwarts as Lenny Kravitz, Wyclef Jean, and Matchbox 20’s Rob Thomas. Seriously, Lenny Kravitz? Am I supposed to be excited that the music world’s Carlos Mencia co-wrote and played on this Billboard 500 poison? Have you ever heard a single song off this record?
The list is long and distinguished and stupid. Metallica’s St. Anger – 4 stars. If the exact same record, with the exact same songs had been released in 1983 it..well, it would have been the end of Metallica. Obviously.
Bruce Springsteen’s The Rising – 5 stars. I saw about 40 copies of this in my town’s used CD store – right before it was bulldozed to the ground.
His 2012 release, Wrecking Ball – another 5 stars. And named Rolling Stone’s best album of all of last year. I’m sure he plays bunches of songs off it live in concert.
SPIN isn’t all that much better – shoving misfire garbage like The Black Eyed Peas down our throats by at one time hilariously casting the outfit as socially conscious rabble rousers while completely ignoring bands on say, Epitaph. And they do the same thing as RS when it comes to their aging college faves. I love Sonic Youth but they’ve been shit for awhile now, producing directionless noise for the sake of making noise and SPIN still gives them generous reach arounds upon receiving any new free gift baskets from Geffen.
This kind of delusion of course, is not limited just to paid writers. The guys at Ruthless are just as bad. If you don’t ascribe faithfully to the brilliance of NomeansNo you are cyberbullied, which has lead to four suicide attempts by Matt Cale.
Everyone at Ruthless Reviews also likes Iced Earth. They go out and they buy Iced Earth t-shirts and then they tuck their black Iced Earth t-shirts into their above the knee jean shorts and have shitty nights and make fun of me for liking Motley Crue.
Tom Waits and Nick Cave are gods and if you don’t appreciate Donna Summer here, ironically or otherwise, you just don’t know, man.
Furthermore, some of our friends from Finland regularly glorify Mayhem and although I don’t speak demon and therefore can’t listen to their records I have no real beef with the band itself as I’m sure they’re really nice guys, with wives and kids and… What’s that? What now? His brains? What the…..Jesus! What the fuck is wrong with you freaks?
Anyway I’m just saying, relative to all the above – just because a musician is not commercially successful it doesn’t automatically mean they’re great. At all times. And in all endeavors.
And finally, we get to the point of all this. The Crue were obviously quite commercially successful – which of course means nothing but they were also amazingly influential. Whether their haters want to admit it or not.
Guns and Roses, Hall of Fame members, are revered by critics – and for good reason. But do you really think there would be a “Sweet Child O’ Mine” if there was no “Home Sweet Home” before it? I get that Motley’s true mainstream pioneering of the power ballad, the muscle love song, is also responsible for a shitwave of shitsongs but in and of itself, it was good. It’s a good song with emotion, heavy power chords, melody, and in a rare deviation from his later screeching, pretty strong vocals from Vince Neil. But that’s all subjective, so let’s get to the facts – “Kickstart My Heart” is the everloving shit and you know it. A monster riff repeated indefinitely in your head and genetically designed for treadmill running in your late thirties.
Their debut Too Fast For Love had a youthful exuberance kids weren’t finding in the metal coming from the isle by gruff, angry men like Judas Priest, Motorhead, or the aforementioned Sabbath. Now, some people may say that’s a good thing. “We want our metal rugged” But those people can fuck off. Love was tuff, and on it the new boys from L.A. married glam to punk to hard rock in a polygamous orgy of teenage angst anthems that The Runaways tried to. but could never write. The record is cited by several of today’s artists such as um The Donnas and Papa Roach as an early inspiration.
Shout At The Devil stands the test of time and even non-fans find themselves admitting as much. Nikki Sixx’s underrated songwriting and lyrics might be at their career best. You know, these guys are ridiculed and I don’t get it. Compare these verses:
He’s the wolf screaming lonely in the night, the blood stain on the stage
He’s the tear in your eye, been tempted by his lie
He’s the knife in your back, he’s rage
He’s the razor to the knife oh lonely is our lives
My heads spinnin’ round and round
In the seasons of wither
We’ll stand and deliver
Be strong and laugh now and..
With this, by critical darlings The Police:
I don’t want to spend my time in hell
Looking at the walls of a prison cell
I don’t ever want to play the part
Of a statistic on a government chart
There has to be an invisible sun
It gives it’s heat to everyone
There has to be an invisible sun
That gives us hope when the whole day’s done
“When the whole day’s done”? How hackneyed, insipid and uninspired is that? And all their shit is like that, and everything Sting has done since. And I didn’t even stoop to just posting lyrics from that Doo Doo song either.
And while The Police are now and forever fellated by music “journalists” (as if that’s a thing) and always will be, the pure poetry of “Shout at the Devil” is dismissed, somehow, as fluff. “Oh lonely is our lives”, “seasons of wither…stand and deliver”. I’m sorry, but I mean this with all sincerity…Slayer’s lyrics from that time were pretty stupid in comparison.
Furthermore, I know three people, one of them is me though, who have said “Knock ‘Em Dead, Kid” is their favorite song ever. And these people are way cool too.
Honestly what the music world needs right now is another 11 songs like those on this 1983 LP. And a helluva a lot less boring, tired Foo Fighters.
If Shout was the last thing they did before say, dying in a spectacular four seater Ferrari crash following their appearance at the U.S. Festival in 1983, the members of Motley Crue would be undisputed legends. But it was at that point they made the most controversial move of their career, actively catering to girls, and alienating at significant percentage of their audience. And I understand some of the feelings of betrayal and while many consider Theater of Pain the weakest output of their regular musical span, I still believe it to be fairly strong – I’d offer the spirited rebelliousness of the cover “Smokin’ in the Boys Room” to the cadence stomp of “Louder Than Hell” as evidence.
And not to get all Behind The Music, as that’s not the point of this write up, but 1987’s Girls, Girls, Girls, title notwithstanding, found the group in the throes of its most gnarly debauchery and impassioned cries for help as the specter of substance abuse curtailed a European tour and led all four members into one form of therapy or another. And that’s what really bothers us true, frustrated fans.
“Dancing on Glass” a swing-rock chronicle of Nikki’s heroin dependency, replete with background gospel singers, and the more hard edged “Five Years Dead” are powerful stuff. Lyrically speaking. So why are we supposed to feel like the Crue is any less earnest than say, The Velvet Underground when discussing the subject of addiction? I don’t remember hearing about Lou Reed when he was 24 years old waking up in a dumpster in Hong Kong as the only English speaker in a 2 mile radius. And that’s the kind of crazy shit the Crue did for us – to a man, they engaged in the kind of stuff we could only dream of while also living some of our worst nightmares. And, as if they felt they hadn’t made their point, one band member went ahead and died for a little while, and then came back to life and shit. Has anyone in Modest fucking Mouse ever done that?
See, what we’re talking about here is The ROCK AND ROLL Hall of Fame not the, you know, Square Dance Touch Her Lightly On Her Arm Hall of Fame. Motley fucking pushed the envelope WAY past Led Zeppelin and the Rolling Stone’s mild exploits and really, nobody has quite done it like them before or since. From the brilliant rewriting of The Lord’s Prayer on “Wild Side” to the hammerfisted riffage of “Dr. Feelgood” and all the hooks and anthems and Tommy’s awesome orangutan upside down drum bashing, these guys were pop-metal pioneers and deserve some goddam acclaim.
Shortly after it’s release as a single, a strip club owner, in I believe Dallas, told the band’s then-manager Don McGee that from that day forward, “Girls, Girls, Girls” would be played on scheduled rotation in his establishment forever on. And if the drunken promise of a sleazy titty bar proprietor doesn’t mean anything anymore in this big old world then you tell me, just what the heck does?