11/24/2009

X Does Not Mark the Spot

Fellow blogger Xmastime, had this to say about a particular point in Spin magazine's "16 Myths Debunked" (a feature we recently assailed for its dreadful numbskullery):

...FINALLY someone agrees with me that this smug, idiotic "Nirvana ENDED hair metal!" nonsense people have always tried to tell me is complete nonsense.
I don't now why, but it's very important for Nirvana's fans to place them on some strange artistic-cleansing level of "greatness;" it's not enough for them to think Nirvana was a perfectly good band, they also hafta somehow make them the righteous slayers of what they see as a "fake" music. The thinking of course is the second Poison fans heard Nirvana they realized which music was "real" and ditched Poison, and probably sat around their bedrooms being ashamed of ever having loved such "fake" music in the first place. Which, of course, didn't happen.

Nirvana was a good, if not original, band that sounded like tons of other bands but was at the right time/right place like any band that blows up. Nirvana fans want you to believe that people were led to the music shops to buy
Nevermind by some strange desire for "real music" in some weird "if you rock it, they will come" happenstance of zen-ness. Nirvana fans cannot accept that the same machinery that was in charge of making, say, Warrant bigger than Huey Lewis was the same machine that put Nirvana on every radio and tv across the land. No no, they want you to think, THEIRS was a real "grass roots" movement. Hmm.

Like any other music genre, grunge had it's day, and then ran it's course. One final thing for these "Nirvana killed hair bands!" idiots to consider is that if it can be said of Nirvana/hair bands, couldn't the same be said for boy bands and Britney/grunge? OUCH, right guys?
X, in agreeing with the contrarian retard who wrote the piece—who, for the record, once pontificated to us on the greatness of Poison at a party a few years ago—you have missed the boat completely, sir. (Note: We're not calling YOU a contrarian retard.)

A few things to consider:

- An album by a band whose previous releases were mostly confined to specialty shops—along with Tower Records which always catered to indie rock as well as the big ticket items (as opposed to the likes of Sam Goody, The Wiz, etc)—and was initially ONLY played on college radio and MTV's 120 Minutes, eventually went on to dethrone a mega, mainstream star's album from the top spot of the Billboard charts. That, my friend, is a fact. Pure and simple. No need to dis.


- No person in their right mind could ever claim that a motherlode of bands on major labels—regardless of their indie origins—was a "grass roots movement". That's patently absurd. We've never heard anyone who even remotely has a clue utter such idiocy.


- Sure, much of the hairband-loving flock resisted the Seattle/grunge/alt-rock wave. Absolutely. But the hordes of frat-boy knuckleheads that didn't—which Kurt Cobain would subsequently and bitterly complain about—did not come out of nowhere. These—along with your average, every day, Top 40 radio-listening folks of the day—are the ones who latch on to "the new thing", whatever it happens to be at the time. Poison and Warrant weren't "it" anymore; Nirvana and Pearl Jam were. Period. Was it because the latter were awesome and the former were not? We'd like to think so, but that can be construed as a matter of taste and not entirely the reason why.

What happened? People were tired of the flamboyant, glam nonsense—it's a cyclical thing—and they went for the new, cool thing which was different. And no one who lives or dies by these silly definitions wants to be left behind. Yes, Nirvana were at the right place and the right time. We agree. But it doesn't make Nevermind any less great, or Appetite for Destruction—another beneficiary of the "the right place/right time" scenario a few years prior—for that matter. If you recall, in the late '80s many fans of heavy music did not fully appreciate the intensity of Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer, Anthrax, etc and were turned off by the antics of the Winger-Warrant-Poison contingent, which they very much deemed to be "fake". These people went for Guns 'n' Roses in a really big way.

(Speaking of which, years ago, while over at a friend’s house, we sat in the living room chatting while MTV blared in the background. As some Poison video came on, one of our friend’s older brothers—and not a fan of rock music—walked in to get a bite to eat, looked at what was on the TV and chided us for watching “that crap”.

We told him truthfully that we weren’t paying attention. Moments later, as he came out of the kitchen with a sandwich and a drink, the video for
GnR’s “Sweet Child O' Mine” was on, and in between bites he managed to bellow, “See? Now that’s music!” and left. So, there is something to the idea of people latching on to what they feel is "real". But we digress.)


- Check your calendar: at the time the Britney/boy band avalanche hit, the Seattle/grunge/alt-rock thing had run its course: La Spears' first single was in '98; so was N'Sync's. Christina Aguilera's debut single was in '99. (Only The Backstreet Boys, of that new teenybopper wave, had a single prior to that: their first came out in 1995.)

By then, Cobain had been dead a few years; Soundgarden had broken up; Smashing Pumpkins had fizzled; and the rest—along with the one-hit/album wonders—had already had their day in the sun by '96, '97. Eventually, for the masses, as someone brilliantly once stated, the flannel shirt simply didn't fit anymore. So, what the boy bands and co. did was fill a mainstream chart vacuum, not slay any grunge dragon. It was already dead. Sorry, Charlie. (We're not pointing fingers but so called nĂ¼-metal may have blood on its hands, tho.)


In conclusion, "grunge" did kill hair metal. Not because of quality or authenticity necessarily, but because the fickle mainstream wanted something else, and moved on. (Quite a few hairbands themselves cut their hair, de-tuned their guitars and moved to Seattle in hopes of joining the bandwagon, btw.) However...

That a certain lack of artifice and pomp—and choice of wardrobe, lifestyle, and causes to support—made these new artists seem more "real" than the party-all-the-time hair farmers, is a distinct possibility for many if not all who embraced them. But you knew that already.

And if we mock these Nirvana haters, Poison apologists and Lady Gaga whores who "write" the kind of gibberish found in that Spin article, it's not because they dis a fave band of ours; it's because they are lazy hacks and two-bit clowns who don't bother getting their facts straight and who should know better. You know, the same fools that branded Wire-retreads in this decade with having a fresh new sound.

Yours in rock,
-KJ

1 comment:

Xmastime said...

"Yours in rock" = gold :)