Castor Oil...sickeningly good

Monday, February 14, 2005

People get ready for a shit train's a coming

I have been witness to and indeed been involved in many musical trainwrecks throughout my glorious existence. Sometimes you can see them coming… slowly building in an every increasing wave of desperation and awfulness until the destructive force encapsulates any unfortunate in its path. Others explode suddenly in a single flash of inspired crap and bile that in an instant takes your breath, but sadly not your auditory function, away. Either way, the trainwreck is really something to behold and witnessing how the conductors (performers) handle the crisis is pretty interesting.

The trainwreck is different than just a shitty band with a shitty show embarrassing themselves with shitty songs, that’s called 99.9% of local music everywhere on the planet. The trainwreck is more of a happenstance of circumstance and ego than it is lack of talent, (although that always adds some nice fuel to the fire). Last night I saw a glorious trainwreck; one that included blank stares, grimaces, out-of-tune singing, lyric fudging, glaring, lithium driven psychosis and general awfulness exhibited by a cadre’ of the “superstars” of the music business.

The All Star Tsunami sing-along at the Grammys (available now on iTunes under the title – “greatest piece of totally atrocious shit ever recorded in the history of creation."), is a trainwreck of royal proportions. A chorale of luminaries singing the Beatles “Across the Universe” backed up by Velvet Revolver (in theory possibly good….heavy on the possibly).

First off covering the Beatles is rarely a good idea and more often than not a very, very bad one. Neil Young did an admirable cover of John Lennon’s “Imagine” at the 9-11 tribute and love it or hate it GnR did a rousing take on McCartney’s “Live and Let Die” years back but the actual Beatles songs while painstakingly replicated and reconfigured by zillions have mostly been mangled more than massaged. To pull off a Beatles cover that’s as at least as good or (rarely) better than the original takes some subtlety and lots of practice, neither of which were in any supply last night.

The Grammy folks assembled a Superfriends line-up for the chorale. There was Bono and Billy Joe, Norah and Stevie Wonder, Alicia Keyes and Scott Weiland, (they had to let him sing, he was part of the house band), and all the way on the end looking like a homeless guy about to rub his wiener against your leg and start screaming about the Lord was my man, Brian fucking Wilson.

Let me get this clear for all of you out there. I do not think Brian Wilson is a genius….at….ALL. Putting a Theremin and clicking spoons together 35 years ago on some namby-pamby pop songs does not make one a genius no matter what the roundheads in the alternative press and at the bar at the Galaxy Hut want you to believe. “Have you really LISTENED to Smile?” Well no motherfucker and neither have you. Smile is a record for pretentious twits to profess their love but if they were 100% honest for two seconds they would admit they 100% can’t stand to listen to it and would rather be jamming AC/DC. Brian Wilson was trying to out George Martin the one and only George Martin and simply succeeded in being weird for weirdness sakes. So please Mr. Wilson, go back to the isolated loner shtick so I don’t have to watch your pathetic shamblings and listen to your sonorous off-key voice anymore. Ok...thanks!


But back to the trainwreck. The song starts and Slash is looking like “Prom Slash” in his fanciest hat and velour smoking jacket, Matt Sorum is banging away like a gay steroid abuser, Duff is old crack-head Iggy Pop body looking Duff and they sound…..OK. The band sounded like a heavy metal band trying to play the Beatles true to from which, in retrospect, was exactly what they were. The result was a sound that was timid as the guys playing it probably had to be helpd back from cranking up the walls of amps by electro-shock collars. It would have benefitted from some rocking, at least that would have provided a filter for the shit soon to come.

After the intro the round robin singing begins and the wheels quickly start coming off the track. There’s something about Beatles songs that makes them (it seems) very hard to sing on-key. This was evidenced by one gazillionaire after another starting flat and half-ass mumbling their way through their “section” of the verses. Finally the RnB contingent got their turns and went 180 degrees in the opposite direction all a woah-a-woahing away and bludgeoning any sense of melody out of the song like a drunken New Foundlander with a Louisville Slugger and a room full of baby seals. I don’t know when this particular style came into vogue on the RnB “tip” but could we mercifully put it to rest? Let's just leave the gospel singing to mama Reefa and your local Baptist church. The Star Spangled Banner would appreciate it very much.

So the song goes on interminably and even Stevie Wonder sounds like total shit. An amusing moment was when Billie Joe from Green Day had his turn at the mic and just had a total “I’m going to fucking kill my manager for this” look in his mascara’d eyes. Weiland looked completely retarded, Bono looked bored, Brian Wilson still looked manic and panicked and the band looked like they were reconsidering putting up with Axl’s shit and getting back to where they belonged. The train was off the tracks and roiling towards destruction but it was pretty much just bad, not trainwreck status worthy, until about the last 30 seconds.

I guess the egos on the stage couldn’t resist being a part of a greater whole so everyone had to get in their last word. This led to 12 people all “yeah yeahing” and “whoo a whooing” and “sweeeeeet lawwwwwding” all over each other while Brian Wilson, Billie Joe and the fucking DRUMMER tried to hold the song together by monotoning the actual chorus to the song. All the superstars were looking around pissed off that they were not getting the spotlight so they just tried harder and harder to get it. It was stunning in its terribleness. Forget the fact that this song was ostensibly being put together to help the Tusnami victims because we all know that wasn’t in anyone’s minds at all while performing this lumbering turd. At the end it was heavily vested egos all one-upping the crap out of each other as the train went off the tracks, down the hill, over the cliff and into a fiery ball of wreckage at the base of Rock And Roll Mountain.

I think it was Alicia Keyes who was screaming…”LAWD LAWD LAWD” over and over again as I didn’t see Al Sharpton anywhere up there. Having reverand Al up there would have been cool, like when Dan Akyroyd sang on USA for Africa (and he’s a fucking Canadian comedian which should exemplify where the actual concentration on the music with these things stands).

Tim McGraw looked like a dipshit straight out of Kenneth Cole’s Country collection, Weiland was focused on by the camera RIGHT when he went bizarrely out of key on a yeah, yeah. One of the most egregious evildoers was Stevie Wonder who seems to be drifting into more of a Nipsy Russell character motif every time he gets on stage. Who knew Little Stevie would be so damn whacky?

As the song meandered to an end Slash hit the final note with a shrug. The perpetrators of the carnage all gave each other half-ass hugs and handshakes and left the stage except for Nipsy Wonder and Methadone poster-child Norah Jones who is almost as exceptionally bland as a presenter as she is as a performer. Stevie continued his shtick and I turned off the TV.

I can only imagine that if somewhere John Lennon got to watch it he would be laughing his ass off.

P.S. – Can someone explain to me the deal with modern country lyrics? If that’s the voice of everyman as evidenced by Tim McGraw’s opus to dying young we’re in bigger trouble than I thought.


  • Steve, you've outdone yourself on this one. Very Funny. Pete.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:15 PM  

  • Children hater.

    By Blogger Eye, at 1:00 PM  

  • and did you hear the awful "Free Home Alabama" train wreck? singing in key definitely was not en vogue Grammy night...

    By Blogger jeffro, at 3:26 PM  

  • Helter Skelter by Crue rocks.

    Great stuff here. Can you write a song about this train wreck? If only they had Peter Frampton, it might have worked.

    By Anonymous Castor Frat Friend, at 3:54 PM  

  • Effin' hilarious. And every word of it true! My roommate is one of those pretentious twits who love Brian Wilson and those of his ilk, and all I could think about watching the guy was Over-The-Hill Biff Tannen from the Back To The Future movies.

    Why not just pipe in Lennon until it's time to change the lyrics to fit the tsunami? Seems like the best way out of a bad situation.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:16 PM  

  • They sent their love down a well...

    By Blogger The Deceiver, at 12:51 AM  

  • Looking for green day concert date info tonight I came across this green day concert date post. I was impressed. I love green day concert date and am glad I found this post. Keep it up!!


    By Blogger unrepentant resources, at 6:45 PM  

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