Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Hate Aerosmith

I was minding my own business the other day changing clothes after working out in the gym in the attempt to stave off my own inevitable horrific early death. Normally there’s some sort of satellite radio/music service with somewhat unobjectionable crap playing over the speakers. You know what I’m talking about…One of the more recent U2 singles segues into a ten year old hip hop song like “Get Jiggy With It” so the suburban white folks can feel pumped up and funky when they spend 20 minutes on an elliptical machine.

As the sonic wallpaper did its job, I suddenly realized that there was an Aerosmith song playing. I don’t know which song exactly, but it was one of those power ballads they have exclusively done since they returned from the apparent dead in the late 1980s. At first I was OK with the whole situation, until I focused on the fact that Aerosmith might have basically sucked for 25 years. Suddenly that called into question my entire teenage admiration of Aerosmith, and make me question their place in rock’s hierarchy. As you can see, it was quite a situation that unfolded in the locker room…

Can we, as consumers and rock fans, discount the early great works of a band if their later output is so nauseating and pandering to commercial success that the very hint of it in the air makes us ill? Yes, I believe we can. I think it’s time someone stood up and said what needs to be said abut Aerosmith. These guys fucking suck. Now stay with me here…

1973-1976 represents the unquestioned era of greatness for Aerosmith. We’re talking about Dream On/Mama Kin/Walk This Way/Same Old Song and Dance/Back in the Saddle/Lord of the Thighs/Sweet Emotion/Sick As A Dog…Great stuff. That was four years of glory. Four! It seemed longer, didn’t it? But it was four years…

In the last 30 years here’s what they’ve done…1977-1984 they released a horrible live record, two bad studio records, and kicked the two guitar players out of the band because they were more fucked up on drugs than the other guys. In 1985 they “came back” with a horribly dated sounding record featuring the timeless single “Let the Music Do the Talking”. Two years later the timeless classic “Dude Looks Like a Lady” was released on the Permanent Vacation record (1987). Ironically, that song now applies to Steven Tyler, as he looks strangely like a 60 year old Californian New Age Grandma kept too skinny from an illegal imported African root that staves off her appetite while simultaneously making her oddly androgynous. Do you think if a grizzled truck driver with a nice Busch beer buzz on stumbled into Tyler on a turnpike oasis, he might think, “You know, if that old broad ditched that creepy rhinestone jewelry, I might bang her…”.

Let’s move to 1989 with “Love in an Elevator” and “Jaime’s Got a Gun”. Ugh…Those synthesizers sound great. No seriously. You should definitely mix them over the guitars.
They then publicly hooked up with “professional” songwriters to provide them with material since they couldn’t be bothered to write anything on their own. Four years of sifting through songs submitted to them yielded the now expected power ballad “Crazy” and big rocker (at least for them now) “Livin On the Edge”. Four years pass and the first release on the big Columbia contract Nine Lives release comes out. Quick, sing me a song off of that! We’re up to 1997 now, and 21 years past them doing anything of note.

Just Push Play comes out in 2002 and you know what you’re going to get when you see the 1982 styled “futuristic and sexy” metal robot on the cover. Clearly someone from Columbia should have stopped by the old studio to check out what was going on, or at least recommended a graphic artist. But then again, what more are you going to get out of these guys but something that sounds vaguely like the kick ass band of 1976? In 2004 they banged out a blues covers record, but made the now traditional mistake of dinosaur bands of putting too much sheen on the production instead of stepping into a studio and just playing the songs.

The way I add it up, it’s 4 years of greatness and 30 years of mediocrity. Sure, they moved units in the 90s. Hey, so did Creed. I don’t know why these guys keep getting a pass. Limp Bizkit (who is obviously a horific footnote in rock) can make the argument of having 4 solid years. So, are they on the same level of influence as Aerosmith? Maybe they are, no? So does that mean that Limp Bizkit is basically the same as Aerosmith? I guess it does…I guess it does. Try that on for size. Messes with your head, doesn’t it? It's true. Aerosmith sucks.

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Sunday, February 4, 2007

Hate the Vikings

It was last night as I enjoyed a bottle of 1998 CH La Couspade (great balance with a sweet collection of dark fruits like boysenberry, blackberries, and currant up front. Drinking very well and probably at it's peak right now.) that I noticed with great despair I had missed an opportunity to bet against the sorry ass Cleveland State Vikings at home against UW-Milwaukee. What could be more depressing than being stuck inside your house while arctic winds lowered the temperature to -17 wind chill knowing that only a few miles away one of the worst college sports teams in the nation was flailing away on the court in a 2 point spead game? Life can be cruel to those that don't pay attention to detail, and this was an example. The Plain Dealer sports page referred to Cleveland State's performance as "listless" as they were blown out last night. Hey, am I missing something? What could those guys have had going on last night in zero degree weather and 30 mph winds except that game? Everything in a five block radius from their campus in either closed on the weekend or vacant. Were those guys bummed out they had to play a game as opposed to hanging out at The Rascal House? What a bunch of stiffs.

Even by casual observation, anyone can tell that that there's as much "team spirit" at Cleveland State as in your average corporate team building exercise. Cleveland State basketball is a collection of guys that were pretty good high school ball players that ran out of options, and woke up in a dorm room on 18th and Euclid Ave. Even the guys from University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee have been overheard commenting during shoot around at the Wolstein Center "Man, this place depresses me. Let's get a win, and get back to Milwaukee.". Let us all make a pact to remind each other when Cleveland State plays, and take a close look at the number, shall we?