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Monday, February 18, 2013

Bands that Confound (Vol.1)

Listen, we all cannot like the same things.  Some of us can sit down and watch Napolean Dynamite for a tenth time (just yesterday in fact, what is wrong with me?) while others are unable to get through the first 5 minutes.  You either like sushi or you don't.  Doc S just wrote a wonderful piece on wine, and the enjoyment it provides him.  As for me?  I hate wine.  In these parts that lands me very much in the minority.   I know at least five couples who have taken wine vacations.  They have vineyard hopped along the California coast as well as France and Italy.  I mean they friggin love wine.

That's cool.   Who am I to judge?  Follow what you are passionate about (no matter how odd) I say OK, there are things that are too odd that I could judge on.   But we can save the foot fetishist column for another time.

If you are a regular reader you understand my passion is music.  For the past twenty years I have tried to maintain an identity other than husband, father, employee.   I like to listening to and/or "discovering"  new acts.  Seeing a live show puts me in a joyous and celebratory mood.  Sometimes I lose myself in a moment, in a song, in a sound...  like now...

(13 minutes elapse with the author periodically getting up from his keyboard to dance, groove, and otherwise lose himself as he alludes to previously)

OK, I am back.  Before I could finish my thought I was taken away by Grizzly Bear.  See, that kind of passion.  My daughter is at a sleepover and my wife is at the gym (one of her passions) and my thought is to crank some tunes and rock out.  Not that I can play music.  I can't read music either.  But as all art is defined, I don't know what it it is, but I know what I like.  I like to listen.  And I like to think I am rather impartial with a wide range of tastes and varied appreciation.  I have gone through jazz phases (thanks to Thelonious Monk and Eddie Harris.)  In college I played Beethoven's 9th for a semester or two (thank Stanley Kubrick for that.)  Gram Parsons (bookstore B), Allman Brothers Band (Mike D-miss you pal), Yo La Tengo (Prof Jon), Rolling Stones (Tom S), Panic (T), and countless other bands, styles, genres have entered my bloodstream over the years.

It is impossible to like everything.  This space has railed against classic rock royalty Pink Floyd before. Am I not depressed enough to "get them?"  Were they played too often on Z-95 during my formative years?  I mean really, how many times can you hear "Money" or "Another Brick in the Wall" before thinking of it more as a punishment than reward?

In an effort to cleanse my musical spirit I offer you another act that drives me crazy.  How did they make it this big?  Is their sound really that important or are the masses terribly mistaken?  What, if anything, can I do to make them go away?

Or, how/why am I so wrong?

Green Day:  When Billy Joe Armstrong lost his cool at last year's IHeart Radio fest it seemed fitting.  Here is a guy who has built his reputation on a punk life style.  He, and his bandmates, had the requisite few chords, leather jackets, and authority challenging lyrics.  Throw on a little substance abuse and voila, PUNK GODS.

Except of course their songs suck.  Armstrong puts on a faux Brit voice and spits into his microphone.  His bandmates plod along with him.  Somewhere in the middle of it all a song is formed, I think.  "American Idiot""Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)"When I Come Around", and "Boulevard of Broken Dreams" have all become timeless classics.  Ask a 30 year old if they ever heard of The Ramones, Sex Pistols, or New York Dolls.  These guys are the punk standards of the 90s.  Just about everything in art is borrowed/stolen from generations before.  For every Backstreet Boy there is a One Direction.  Show me a Madonna and I will counter with a Gaga.

During my final year in college I was fortunate enough to take a Sociology of Pop Culture class.  Can you imagine?  3 credits to discuss and write about music, film, commercials, and just about everything.  Why does anyone leave college?  Why did I insist on doing it in 4 years?

Anyway, my professor at the time was quick to champion Green Day when they emerged on the scene during that time.  I challenged him, "They will never last!  This stuff was played much better many years ago.  A flash in the pan I tell ya!"

Is that the reason I hold such disdain?  They have performed sold out tours all over the World, produced a Broadway opera of their work, and recently released 3(!) more hugely successful albums.

I'm just the d-bag who thinks they are overrated jerks.  None of it makes sense to me.

Surely I am not alone, am I?

Join the conversation and tell me who mystifies you.

Find us here too:  Guide to Somewhere


  1. Psy. Gangnam Style. Really?? HOW? How in the world did this song ever become popular? I just don't get it.