Recently in an interview for Rolling Stone magazine, Noel Gallagher bemoaned the fact that rock and roll bands today have all the personality of geography teachers whispering in a map shop. He's kind of right. Take a look round at the music scene today and what was once the breeding ground for rampant narcissists and people who could start a war in an empty room, has now been replaced with automatons plying a horrible furrow of empathy and acceptance. Acceptance for each other's musicianship, albums, Chelsea boots. Like monks round a pottery wheel, today's rock stars are characterless. Reciting fish whispers where the rebel yell should be.
One of the great myths always wielded out in arguments like this is that it's all about the music man. Pure hippy bollocks of course, and the type of stuff revivalists always cling to like the fringes on their wet moss haircuts. That's half the problem of course. Today's music scene is full of revivalists. Miles Kane and his Brian Jones winkle pickers. Mumford and Sons and their Worzel Gummidge cardigans. Toy, eating their cornflakes out of a hollowed out Moog. These artists are so reverential of the past they daren't make claims to a grand future and certainly not one to upset their ancient heroes. It's temperance on a grand scale. It's even rumoured that at least one of these acts even has, wait for it, seeds on their rider. Exile on Budgie Street. you'd better believe it.
One of the most thrilling aspects of rock and roll has always been bad behaviour from talented hooligans or a snotty nosed bunch of malcontents rising up the horizon to kick the old guard up the arse. Think the Sex Pistols threatening to take a shit on Rick Wakeman’s synthesisers or the Jesus and Mary Chain claiming the Rolling Stones should have been melted down and made into horse glue after 1976. Adolescent? Yes. Funny and exciting? Of course. And that's before you even get to the great drug stories.
The writer Martin Amis once remarked that self destruction writes black on the page. He's right too.
Powders and pills may not be the breakfast of champions but they've certainly been the fuel for 99 percent of all the great rock albums. This is a rock star’s job. To meltdown under an avalanche of gak while treating the world like an African dictator about to butcher a whole village. Even the shit ones get in on the act too. Like Christina Aguilera infamously asking Boyzone to be moved ten degrees to her left one night at the met bar or Elton John ringing reception at the London Hilton and asking them to stop the rain outside because it was giving him a headache.
It's actually a moot point that Elton's wig piece could probably recall better stories than today's Fender wielding limpets. Like the prisoners on Tenko they mill about, complaining about bi-polar fog and burnt toast. Or even worse those bands who resemble Captain Peacock after a nervous breakdown. Twats in tweed, playing their instruments like they're stroking a dead otter. It's enough to make you want to grab them by the lapels and shake them like a shit storm maraca.
The fright would probably kill them.
Classic rock put downs:
'Your face is no oil painting. Well it would be if Jackson Pollock worked with oils.' Ian McCulloch on Boy George.
'If Lady Gaga had a shit on a boiled egg people would call it art.' Noel Gallagher on the Gaga.
'The drummer in Def Leppard is so bad he should cut off his other arm and drum with his head.' Tommy Lee.