Off With Their Heads

Bands/Musicians Who Don’t Deserve Cult Status

by John Paul McBain

1. Groundhogs.

Overly wankish. British to a fault. Too much boogie. I hate slide guitar in the “traditional” style.

2. Hawkwind.

Lose the saxophone, Mr. Brock. And could you please write something that’s NOT in E major? At best, considering their vast back catalogue, I might be able to fill one 90 minute cassette with serviceable music. Also very British.

3. Captain Beyond.

First record starts with a promise then lapses into overly-though out math metal. Emphasis on metal. What do fans see in these windbags?

4. Bob Dylan in the 70s, 80s, 90s and Today.

Fell victim to the “now” sound. His seventies and eighties catalog is a litany of hippie ideals, overwrought coffeehouse mumbo jumbo and marshmallow L.A. “mellow mafia” sounds. Hung out with The Grateful Dead (don’t worry they’re comin’) and lost his balls in the process. Turned into a pasty faced golem. Nowadays, resembles Nosferatu.

5. The Grateful Dead.

Dirty Hippies.

6. Gram Parsons.

Average songwriter, average singer (he aint no George Jones), rubbed elbows with the Rolling Stones, was partially responsible for the “No Depression” sissy country craze and died like a deified rock n roll martyr. Well boo hoo hoo cause you still suck. Chump.

7. French Bands.

The French think that they’re better than you. (Didn’t we save their asses in WW II?)

8. The Damned.

The first album is a classic. Then they lost Brian James’ attitude and songwriting. Singer and wacky bassist/guitarist battled for domination. End result was poorly executed punk rock and goth spittle. Singer sported a Bela Lugosi look. Came off like Count Chocula.

9. Tom Waits.

It’s not him. It’s his fans. For that alone I must condemn him.

10. Frank Zappa.

Same reasons as Waits. But that’s just the beginning. Big smarty pants know it all who felt the need to rub our noses in his awesome talent. Made fun of punk rock. When he parodied it on record and on the stage he came across as a frightened little brat. Frightened because he had built a career on soulless guitar wank. He felt threatened All technique, no substance. Reagan Youth had more talent and substance within their first record than Zappa could ever muster even with the aid of his chart reading, “you’re so funny AND smart, Frank!” stable of self-fellating session cats. Always fell back on laughs and fart jokes when he should have been working on a proper bridge. His fans are the worst. It’s like hanging out with Moonies. One guy I knew years ago would not listen to punk rock because “they’re not in tune.” He couldn’t play it either. He even made fun of Greg Ginn!

Best Non-American Guitar Player

My Reasons For Selecting George Harrison As The Best Non American Guitar Player Ever

by John Paul McBain

Eric Clapton. A big pussy. All of his stellar moments (his solo on World of Pain, Blind Faith, I Ain’t Got You…..uh..that about covers it) are nothing more than mistakes. Glitches. Fuck him and his slowhand.

Jimmy Page. Way too British. All that crushed velvet and nose sniffing arrogance. Plus Led Zep were too proficient. Proficiency = nap time. (Wanna hear Page in his prime? Pick up a collection of his mid sixties session work and witness a smarty pants whiz kid who didn’t give a fuck about nothin’. His solo on The Third Gear’s take of “Leave My Kitten Alone” is completely over the top and groovy.) And Pagey picked Robert Plant over Steve Marriot! What a chump.

Jeff Beck. His reputation amongst the fusion crowd soured me on him decades ago. He ruled the earth in the Yardbirds circa 1966 and his solo career started with a promise but that old Brit “I’m above all of this rock ‘n’ roll nonsense” attitude crept in and because of that (and losers like Jan Hammer) we were left to convince ourselves that “Wired” was a truly monumental album. It’s not.

Richie Blackmore. Did some mindbending work with Screaming Lord Sutch, made a Stratocaster sound listenable, was responsible for the best non-American seventies hard rock record, “In Rock”, then took himself (and his wizards hat) too seriously and dropped the ball. Has he died yet?

The Rest Of Em’. Peter Green. Yawn. Keith Richards. Wanker. Brian Jones. One of the best. Dead as a doornail. Eddie Phillips of The Creation. Up there on my all time list. The guy from The Who. Good from 1965 to 1970. Then bloody awful. Who else is left. Ah screw it.

That leaves George Harrison. Granted, he twanged inept on those early Beatles discs and even worse on the outtakes, at times sounding like he couldn’t even spell “guitar”, but boy oh boy did he improve fast. One would assume that as The Beatles songwriting kicked up a notch he felt the pressure to step out of his Carl Perkins worship phase and find his own thang but I still can’t figure out what the catalyst was. What was he thinking when he did the solo on “HeyBulldog”? His contribution to that track is instantly “musical” and druggy at the same time. First solo I ever learned note for note. Maybe it was all of that Eastern/sitar mumbo jumbo that sent him into space. Or good old THC. None of this matters cause when The Beatles called it a day he played his trump card with “All Things Must Pass”, by a country mile the best post-Fab record of them all. And the only good one for that matter. His songwriting, dynamics and slide solo on “Wah Wah” are the foundation on which his greatness rests. A standing in music history that even the Traveling Willburys can’t undo. Meanwhile, Paul smoked a lot of pot and remained loyal to his hairy hippie wife. These factors, and the love of his own voice, killed his career. Ringo. Ever succinct and steady on the skins. Completely devoid of talent as a solo artist. John. His groundbreaking 1st solo LP and then nothing for the next decade or so. Gave up greatness for an artsy fartsy loudmouth wife.

So in the end George is the last man standing. He’s the coolest Beatle and the best British export since…….hmmm…ah forget it.

What’s With All Of This Jeff Buckley Nonsense?

Frankly I don’t get it. All of that self loathing and choir boy innocence crap. And what’s with his teat lapping fans? Buncha goth/hippie college sissies who eat up every sub-Barry Manilow record his estate dishes out. I hate Buckley fans. They probably can’t take a punch so if you come across one of them during your travels clip em’ on the jaw for me, won’t you? Or even better, mention that you have connections in the record biz and you heard tell of a soul searching bootleg collection making it’s way through the offices of Sony entitled, “Have My Silk Shirts Arrived Yet?”- The Jeff Buckley Answering Machine Tapes Vol. 1 through 7. Discuss at length the palpable pain evident on the opening track of volume 3, “This is Jeff, can I get a large pizza to go?” Music for jellyfish.

Your Band Sucks

These simple tips will help make your next trip to the record store a much less confusing venture. Follow these rules and I promise that you won’t walk out with an Everclear CD.

  1. Is there a photo of the band anywhere on the packaging? If so, is the guitar player holding a seven string? Does the guitar have stickers and/or hot rod flames adorning it? If you answered yes to either of these queries put the record down and move on. These clowns are “extreme” and therefore are up to no musical good. Sid Vicious played bass with one string. Seven strings? Oh grow up.
  2. Does the band have a way too long thank you list? That always spells trouble. A sign that they are a pack of beer guzzling goons and most likely Metallica fans. A true punk doesn’t thank his own mother.
  3. Is the band’s name mono syllabic? Like Korn? Or Staind? And, like these two god awful bands, do they still use the 80’s metal wacky spelling variation? If so, AVOID AT ALL COSTS. One syllable bands are like cockroaches these days. Don’t give them your hard earned money. Starve them out of existence.
  4. Do they look “Punky”? Every Seattle band as of late is a mish mash of seventies New York and Johnny Thunders Junkie Chic. They have no sense of respect. Or taste. The Seattle scene is a big joke. Fucking bands even sing about themselves for cryin’ out loud. One of these days I’m gonna start ticketing these bastards for making complete asses out of themselves. “This is the Rock Police. Step away from the tattoo parlor and put your hands where I can see them. Is that a CBGB’s shirt under your leather jacket?” If you have to look punk then you aint no punk at all.
  5. Is The CD Close To Seventy Minutes In Length? Uh oh. Not a good sign. Nobody, and I mean nobody, is worth listening to for more than 45 minutes. Chances are you’re gonna get stuck with a mountain of filler and ballads.
  6. Is There A Hidden Bonus Track? Does it sneak up on you long after the record has presumably ended? Are they expecting me to jump up out of my seat and exclaim, “Wow, these guys are so tricky!” Just let me hear your damn record without all of those overplayed gimmicks. I hate it when people tell me, “No, don’t turn it off! Just wait for 10 minutes and you’ll hear the singer playing Kumbaya on the zither. It’s fuckin’ hillarious!” Yeah, real funny. I don’t give a fuck, I wanna hear Flipper NOW!

Happy shopping!