Wednesday, September 12, 2007

No Pill's Gonna Cure My Ill, I Got a Bad Case of Interviews

Doc wanted to dish out a dose of my own medicine, so he sent me this very in-depth interview. I'll have you all know that my interview of him was merely a throat culture compared to this colonoscopy he's just given me. Ah well, it may not have always been pleasant, but I'm sure all of this probing was for my own good. Take a look at the results...

1. You have your finger on the rapid pulse of our nation's pop culture. In your opinion what were the top five worst trends/fads/fashions of the last twenty years, as well as the five best?

Worst trends: Reality TV, fanny packs, Crocs, the heroin-chic look and blackberries (especially the trend of "walking-and-texting")
Best trends: Reality TV, file sharing (even if it is illegal), the "green" movement (even if I probably don't do that much to help it), sunless tanning products (the ones that don't streak, anyway) and blogging (of course)

2. You are a music lover. What are the top five most overrated/underrated artists or groups in the last twenty years?
Yes I am...making it impossible for me to answer this quickly. I can't just list the artists and say nothing about them. And I can't just say a few words about them. Well, you asked for it. This will be quite a lengthy response and we're only at question #2.

Top 5 Overrated Artists
a. Madonna - She came on to the scene well before 1987, but is obviously still a huge star. It still amazes me. Britney Spears isn't on this list because, although she's tremendously famous and popular, no one actually gives her any serious credit. Yet, Madonna was and is still regarded highly as an artist, when she's basically Britney Sr. Sure, she sings a little better and is a lot smarter, but she didn't do anything to change the face of music. Of course, I won't argue that she had a huge influence on pop culture as a whole, and she probably deserves her inevitable spot in the Rock 'n Roll HOF. But it will be for more rolling (literally) than rocking.

b. Nirvana - I'm sure all the Nirvana disciples will come out of the woodwork to stone me, but I don't care. As a huge Pearl Jam fan, I am sick and tired of hearing PJ constantly compared negatively to Nirvana - a band that, if Kurt Cobain hadn't killed himself, would most likely have broken up years ago. I do like some Nirvana songs and I certainly don't think they were a bad band, but overrated doesn't even begin to describe how they're treated in the press. And they were always well-liked, but after Cobain's death, the world tried to turn him into some Christ-like figure and suddenly the band's contribution to the music world was blown hugely out of proportion. I'm not saying they don't deserve their place in music history. "Smells Like Teen Spirit" still personifies the death of hair metal and a return to gritty rock 'n roll. I absolutely think that they changed the face of music at the time. Do I think they did it all by themselves? Hell, no. "Grunge" (hate that label) was an entire movement and Nirvana just got lucky enough to be the first representative to hit the mainstream.

c. Janet Jackson - Another one who first gained popularity in the early '80s, but was still chugging along until her recent disappearance off the face of the Earth. Like Madonna, I never understood why so many people gave her so much credit for having an impact on the music scene. She never brought anything new or interesting to the table. As crazy as her bro Michael is now, he was still a great artist back in the day, always trying to innovate. I remember hearing MTV VJs wax philosophical about "Rhythm Nation" and it just made me want to hurl. Then she turned into your average sex kitten. And what has she done for us lately, besides adding the term "wardrobe malfunction" to the pop-cultural lexicon?

d. Oasis - Arseholes. They do have a few good songs (in fact, "She's Electric" is in my new Fall playlist over there in the sidebar) but after listening to the best, you really don't need to hear the rest. These guys are pompous jerks who ripped off The Beatles, tried to charmingly convince everyone into thinking that they'd really improved upon them and then actually believed their own bullshit.

e. The Smiths - Man, if anyone should've committed suicide, it was Morrissey. What a whiny little bitch.

Top 5 Underrated Artists
a. Squeeze - Big shock, right? Now, Squeeze released their first album way back in 1978 and they enjoyed some success in the early '80s. But since your question was specifically about artists in the last 20 years, I think they fit here because after 1987's Babylon and On, they seemed to disappear. Although they experienced some revolving door band member action, the core of Chris Difford and Glenn Tilbrook remained intact and they were still making records up until their last in 1998. It is almost impossible to find any latter-day Squeeze records in America unless you buy them from eBay or something. In the '90s, none of those records got much, if any, radio airplay and a lot of fans (myself included!) in the U.S. thought they had broken up again. Luckily, I'd been able to catch up with those lost records over the years and discovered that even though the strong "new-wavey" sound was gone, Squeeze were still creating great pop music thanks to Difford's clever, witty lyrics and Tilbrook's musical mastery. And don't even get me started on Glenn Tilbrook's voice or we'll be here all day. I believe I may have said a few things about him here before.

b. Crowded House - Although their 1986 debut had some hits and they enjoyed a spurt of success, Crowded House was never the giant radio staple that they should have been and still should be! They continued making great records from 1988 - 1993 and officially broke up in 1996 until their recent reformation. Like Glenn Tilbrook, Neil Finn has one of the most gorgeous and recognizable voices in pop music and like Squeeze, Crowded House knew how to craft lyrically complex songs with accessible melodies and super hooks. I haven't heard many songs from them that couldn't have or shouldn't have been hits. And the new CD is fantastic!

c. John Hiatt - Again, this is an artist who's been around a lot longer than 20 years, but he's never gotten the proper credit. He's better known for being the guy who everyone successfully covers! But, if you haven't ever heard a Hiatt record, you're missing out. I would suggest Slow Turning or Perfectly Good Guitar for the beginning listener. They're both a little bit country, a little bit rock 'n roll, but the former is more of the former and the latter is, well...more of the latter. Did that make sense?

d. Maria McKee - I've mentioned this gal on my blog before and with good reason. She simply has an amazing voice. She started out her career in the mid-'80s with Lone Justice but has been quietly cruising along with her solo career since 1989. She's also sung backup for a lot of folks, including U2 and Counting Crows.

e. Tesla - I say this with absolutely no irony. I was just thinking about these guys yesterday. Technically, they started out in 1986, but what's one year more or less? They were always lumped in with the hair bands but they didn't have that look and they weren't formulaic. They just made really good, gritty rock music but with nice melodies...kind of like Def Leppard, another oft-maligned act. I'll admit that I haven't heard anything from them since 1994, but I wanted to mention them because I think they were one of the best "hard rock" bands to come out of the '80s.


3. You have been given the green light to produce a season of Big Brother, what ten of your blogger buddies would you pick for the show and why? Would you appear on the show or remain behind the camera?

I guess this is in retaliation for my Flavor Flav question to you, eh? Well, I've only watched Big Brother once and it was by force. It's not my scene, so I would definitely stay behind the camera. All right, don't anyone get upset if you're not in my cast...I'm gonna try to pick some bloggers quickly and without much thought. I guess each cast member has to have an antagonist, right? So I'd pit Beth against Pistols at Dawn, Write Procrastinator against Splotchy, Barbara B against Barbara L, Dale against Tanya, and Deadspot against Cube (purely for political reasons). I won't say who are the "good guys" and who are the "bad asses." Wait, I'm thinking of the Road Rules/Real World Challenge. Whatever.

4. You have a wonderful sense of sarcasm and snark. What are some of the best insults that you have ever used on someone? What is your favorite swear word?

Well, thank you. Let's see...after Tom Cruise's interview with Matt Lauer, I posted here that Cruise had a "PhD in jackassery," and for some reason that really cracked me up. I can't really think of any other specific ones though, because it's hard to remember all of the insults I've hurled. Especially during American Idol season. As far as my favorite swear word, someone asked me this before and I believe I responded with either the F-word or "balls," which isn't really that bad. I also splice words together to form new curses, especially when I'm so annoyed that I can't think straight.

5. You have the chance to help a fashion victim. He wears nothing but blue jeans, T-shirts, and work boots. He is 35 years old, blonde hair, blue eyes, fair skinned, 5' 10" and a medium build. What would you do to help this poor fashion less schlep?

You might as well ask Jessica Simpson to give you singing lessons. You, right? Or "a friend?" Well, whoever this fashion victim is wouldn't benefit from my fashion advice. I buy what I can afford, which isn't much. And, personally, I like guys who wear jeans and T-shirts. I'm not into the metrosexuals. Any guy who takes longer than me to get ready to go out is not a guy for me.

Well, I'm exhausted. How am I gonna help Joey Pants blow his candles out now? Thanks a lot, Doc.


Blowing Shit Up With Gas said...

Nah, I won't stone you for coming down on Nirvana (even though I'm a fanatic about them). But, I'm also a Pearl Jam fan. I know those two bands never "got along" for some reason... So, most rock & roll lovers usually like just one or the other. What's your take on the Foo Fighters? (my favorite band ever!).

Writeprocrastinator said...

A nice interview, Mr. Doc.


1) I'm going to layoff of you on the Nirvana, as Beth will jump all over you about Oasis.

2) Oh, sure, put me against Splotchy! Why can't I couldn't take on Paris Hilton instead? Geez!...

...who is Splotchy?

3) I understand that Squid Cock and Tommy Pee weren't actually fighting over Pamela, but a certain girl from Pittsburgh. Care to comment?

Dale said...

I appreciate being chosen quickly and without much thought for Blogger Big Brother (BBB)! Haha, I will have Tanya kicked out of the house so fast! I've never seen the show actually but I'd still oust her.

Speaking of which, Crowded House? Really? Hmmm.

Great colonoscopy Doc and congratulations on the speedy recovery Beckeye.

Tanya Espanya said...

Excellent questions, and excellent answers!

I would kick Dale's ass (yeah, in my dreams!).

And for the fashion victim, instead of jeans, try khakis and a polo shirt. Nothing metrosexual, just pick something up at Costco.

Les Becker said...

I still say bring back The Rat Pack. I thought Tony Bennett was the harbinger of that movement, until I remembered that the rest of them are dead.

Skylers Dad said...

Nice answers to Doc's tough questions. I think he should take over for Barbra wa wa, don't you?

He interviewed me also, I just posted my answers.

Beth said...

Serious agreements and disagreements here, doll:

Nirvana: Have to completely disagree with you here. Kurt Cobain's brilliance was his brilliant ear for melody; that's why everyone from Tori Amos to The Melvins to Paul Anka have covered "Smells Like Teen Spirit." I don't think a band's longevity equates its brilliance; looks what Jimi Hendrix did in just a few years.

Oasis: Surprisingly, I'm not gonna jump all over your (rather cute, I'm sure) arse about Oasis. I like their music quite a bit, and their bad attitudes make me giggle ... but, yeah, they're as ripoff-ness as Stone Temple Pilots.

You know, of course, my love for Squeeze ... which has probably burned longer than you've been alive.

John Hiatt: I knew we were kindred spirits! He's the best, isn't he? I've seen him live several times; always great.

You're quite the interesting chick, BeckEye. I think you should move to Atlanta and let me mentor you. I need an acolyte.

Beth said...

OOOH!!! I just saw my match-up with Pistols at Dawn. I've dubbed us the Donnie and Marie of the blogworld, y'know: "I'm a little bit music/He's a little bit NPR." That boy is going down!

Doc said...

I hope you had as much fun with this as I have. I see now that I need to expand my musical library, as I don't own a one of these.

Thank you Dear, this was a hoot! Anyone else want an interview?


P.S.- It was me as the fashion victim.

pistols at dawn said...

I also like being paired against Beth, and not just because I love being mentioned.

(I'm trying really hard to avoid a "going down" joke. It's difficult because I'm mentally 13, like all men.)

I disagree with at least half of your musical points. I kinda like Madonna. Nirvana was a far better singles band than Pearl Jam ever was (though I enjoy Pearl Jam as well). Oasis and Janet blow. Just listen to "Black Cat" and tell me that song isn't re-goddamn-diculous.

The Smiths, however, were awesome. I'd argue that other than the Pixies' Joey Santiago, Marr's the most inventive pop guitarist I've ever heard. The intro to "This Charming Man?" That's enough to make any sub par pop guitarist give up forever.

Beth said...

Sweet. The R.E.M. vs. Journey smackdown is on, Pistols! After I win said smackdown, we can then smack BeckEye down for (1) dissin' Nirvana and (2) stealing Tilbrook from me.

Anonymous said...

It just dawned on me that when one says: "In the last twenty years" this means you only go back to 1987!
I saw the Beatles at Maple Leaf Gardens in 1965. Perhaps I am getting on a bit.

Please note, I was still in my "terrible twos" at the time.

BeckEye said...

BSUWG - The reason they never got along is because Kurt Cobain said a lot of shitty things about them for no reason, as if he was the king of grunge and Eddie Vedder was ripping him off. Whatever. I like them fine, I just think they're overrated. I like the Foo Fighters, but they're just your average rock 'n roll band in my opinion. I do love Dave Grohl.

WP - 1) Ha ha, no she didn't!
2) You are a write procrastinator and Splotchy writes something about every 7 minutes. That's why I had to pit you two against each other. So see, there was some thought involved.
3) No comment, other than to you know that it drives me nuts when you leave all that space in your comments?

Dale - Don't even start in on Crowded House or I'll slip Tanya a shank to fix your wagon. I will be the producer of that show, you know.

Tanya - Thank you! And, I think you could take him.

Les - I don't know what kind of super powers you think I have!

Skyler's Dad - Yes he should take over for her, minus the fuzzy camera filter.

Beth - Sure, Nirvana songs had some great melodies, but how are they any better than the melodies that The Clash came up with, or even Heart (to go back a little further into Seattle history) for that matter? I'm not saying they're overrated because they were only around for a short time, but I just don't they did anything THAT great in the time they had. I think people credit them with too much, like reinventing rock 'n roll, when all they really did was bring real rock 'n roll back. And as far as Jimi Hendrix goes, yes he did an amazing amount in a short time but you don't hear anyone constantly comparing him to, say, Eric Clapton, and insinuating that Hendrix was better. They're both respected and not pitted against each other like Pearl Jam and Nirvana always are. And now see...I can't even answer any of your other comments because this is already too long. Oh, but I think you think I'm younger than I am. :)

Doc - Yes, it was fun, just made me use one too many thinking cells.

Pistols - Who do you think would win in a fight between Morrissey and Steve Perry? Between Johnny Marr and Neal Schon?

Beth - You again!?! Glenn says hi.

Rhet - The they were cavemen, right?

Writeprocrastinator said...

"No comment, other than to you know that it drives me nuts when you leave all that space in your comments?"

Well, it goes with number two...

I am a procrastinator, after all.

cube said...

I thought I heard my name...

Yikes, I'm supposed to fight someone named deadspot? Why couldn't you have picked littleoldblogginggranny, for Pete's sake?

Barbara Bruederlin said...

I'll give you a big hell yeah on John Hiatt! He is amazing and on a few songs, his voice gives me the chills. And I couldn't agree more on Janet Jackson (boring, even her tit) and Oasis (although they are funny as hell, but no screaming hell as musicians).
But I really must scratch your eyes out on the Smiths dissing. Okay Morrissey IS a whiny little bitch, but that's why we love him.

I am most honoured to be chosen for Blogger Big Brother and promise to pull out the knives during my underhanded attacks on Barbara L. As you well know, there is only room in the world for one Barbara and this one shall reign supreme. Bring it!

Turnbaby said...


Who wouldn't love a post with Squeeze, Crowded House, Maria McKee and John Hiatt that also disses Nirvana!!

pistols at dawn said...

Steve Perry is my World Leader Pretend.

I think that the resources of the world should be amassed to prevent Steve and Moz from ever fighting, when we could sacrifice so many lesser talents for our amusements instead.

Kendall said...

I came across your list of Overrated and Underrated bands and it's great. I wanted to invite you to a site that I run that is dedicated to that sort of thing. I'd love it if you would check it out and let me know if you have any feedback.

Coaster Punchman said...

Ha! Tom Cruise is king jackass. He is a true fucker. Sorry to swear on your blog.


Who Does This Broad Think She Is?

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I am a winsome muse who was sent to Earth to inspire an artist to turn a vacant building into the world's coolest disco roller rink. We fell in love along the way, and I foolishly gave up my immortality. When the disco craze ended and all the roller rinks were shut down, that lazy bum wouldn't get a job. We broke up and I was stuck on Earth with nothing to do and no one to inspire. So, now I write a blog.

What Do Others Think of BeckEye?

"You're like an idiot savant of terrible garbage entertainment." - Falwless

"You're my hero." - Candy

"Get yourself a life. Better yet.....eff off." - Ann Onymous

"There's no one like you." - Klaus Meine