Lists: 5 good bands that are kind of unlistenable now because their frontmen became insufferable
By David Malitz
It’s a sad truth - the older you get, the lamer you become. This is not exactly 100% science fact, and the Bill Murrays, Nick Caves and, uh, Betty Whites (?) of the world seem intent on proving otherwise. But they are clearly exceptions to the rule. This reality is often harsher in rock-and-roll, which has always been the playground of the young. But sometimes what happens later in life makes it impossible to enjoy what came earlier. With Sting coming to town this weekend we decided to look at five rockers whose later-in-life actions (and music) have rendered their quality music unlistenable.
Does it get any worse than Sting? That’s a serious question. It’s easy to get into “So Lonely” or “Can’t Stand Losing You” but then you picture Sting playing lute while in the backseat of a Jaguar as the Royal Philharmonic soundtracks some tantric sex act and you just have to turn it off.
Clapton Is God, Ginger Baker is rock’s best drummer and Jack Bruce ain’t too shabby himself. All power trios wish they had the power of Cream. It’s basically the opposite of everything Clapton has done with himself since then, from guitar faces to inspiring John Mayer to having his own signature Fender T-Mobile cell phone. Rock-and-roll! At least he helped inspire this hilarious “Mr. Show” skit.
(You know Bono's after the jump - who else?)
It’s Family Feud. The question is: “We surveyed 100 people and asked them to name a sanctimonious rock star.” Could that question even make the show? Wouldn’t 100 people just answer “Bono”?
If you think Gene Simmons is crass when it comes to objectifying women, that’s nothing compared to how crass he is when it comes to being a shameless corporate shill.
A couple years ago I deleted “My Aim Is True,” “This Year’s Model” and “Armed Forces” from my iTunes. Partly because those songs are all so internalized but also because he just seems like an uptight and humorless dude. (Maybe it was always the case - "Elvis was really ambitious. He was overtly and dangerously ambitious, I suppose," his old labelmate Wreckless Eric told me a few years ago, and that was about young Elvis.) You aren’t fooling us with those guest appearances on “Colbert” and “30 Rock.”
Honorable Mention: Lou Reed
It’s hard to defend much of what Reed has been a part of over the last 30 years, from “My Red Joy Stick” to his crotchetiness that knows no ends (which I got to experience firsthand at SXSW two years ago). Not to mention his mediocre-at-best output and that soul-crushing moment when 16-year-old me saw him at 9:30 club reading lyrics off a teleprompter at a 1997 concert. Still, none of this changes the fact that the Velvet Underground is the greatest rock band in the history of music, and their albums will never be tainted.
July 7, 2010; 1:30 PM ET
Categories: Lists | Tags: Bono, Elvis Costello, Eric Clapton, Gene Simmons, Lou Reed, Sting
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