Friday, August 20, 2010

America's taste in music has sucked a long time.....

I love Sporcle. It's a trivia site where you can answer questions on a wide range of topics with varying degrees of difficulty. From the starting lineups of the Pittsburgh Pirates from 1992 - 2010 to the words to the Soft Kitty song from The Big Bang Theory, basically anything anyone has an interest in, they have a quiz for it.

Anyway, I was going through it tonight and I came across a new music quiz - Can you name the popular artists who have never had a #1 song? It then had a list of songs, the years they came out and the performers peak on the Billboard chart. Here's the page the quiz is on then an example with the answer:

Can you name the Popular artists who've never had #1 Hot 100 hit (1955-present) on the Billboard chart? - sporcle

As I went through the quiz, I was amazed at some of the artists who have never made it to #1. After taking the quiz, I went to the Billboard charts to first make sure that was the case, then come up with a list of some of the worst songs ever to be #1. Here's what I came up with.

Singers/Bands that never made it to #1:

Peaked at #2
Bruce Springsteen
Green Day
Creedence Clearwater Revival
Bob Dylan
Moody Blues
Red Hot Chili Peppers
Tom Jones
Johnny Cash

James Brown
The Cars
Sarah Mclachlan

Led Zeppelin
Steely Dan
Alanis Morissette

Garth Brooks
The Pretenders
Willie Nelson
Bonnie Raitt

The Kinks
Little Richard

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
Joni Mitchell
Jackson Browne
Crosby, Stills and Nash

The Clash
Lynyrd Skynryd
Grateful Dead

Talking Heads
The Who
Patsy Cline
Van Morrison


Below #10 - Elvis Costello (19), Jimi Hendrix (20) AC/DC (23), Ella Fitzgerald (27), Bob Marley (51), Black Sabbath (52).

I'm not a fan of some of these people. I'd rather hear the sound of my teeth being drilled than a 29 minute version of Truckin' by the Grateful Dead or some Bob Dylan. But that doesn't mean I'm not stunned to hear that they were never #1. And I can't figure out how bands like The Who or Metallica and especially James Brown or Springsteen never made it to #1. You would think that the music that did make it to #1 had to be brilliant, moving pieces that raise the spirit and yet also compel you to get out on the floor and shake that ass. But no!!!! There are songs that have been #1 that are among the worst ever put to record, tape, CD or MP3, with one song so noxious, so foul, that it placed a stranglehold on our nation for months at a time.

Here are some of the so-called best songs of their era:

Disco Duck by Rick Dees

Don't Worry, Be Happy - Chuck D said it best.....

Rollin' by Limp Bizkit - I know no one who ever liked Fred Durst. His mom probably changed her name

We Built This City by Starship - Maybe the worst song is another....

Batdance and Cream by Prince - Now I love Prince, but both those songs were pieces of crap

4 songs for Jennifer Lopez - Wow....each one suckier than the last. What does she bring to the table now that Kim Kardashian has brought forth an ass for the new millenium?

Believe by Cher - South Park said it best, no need to add to it.

Gettin' Jiggy Wit it and Wild Wild West by Will Smith - Good thing the acting worked out. These were probably why there was no theme song to Hancock or I am Legend.

My Heart Will Go On by Celine Dion - and my stomach will lose all that is in it.

Butterfly by 311 - wow, just unforgettable tripe, Insipid poser rock. Made me long for the stylings of Sugar Ray. (not really)

Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue by Toby Keith - made me wish for a second I was Canadian

How You Remind Me by Nickelback/ With Arms Wide Open by Creed - Overwrought, fake singing and self importance coming out of its pores. A Christian band like Creed will make you question your faith in a deity that allows a band like that to celebrate in his name. Scott Stapp should have been hit with a lightning bolt years ago.

I can't really comment on most songs since 2008 because I've never heard of most of them. But that stupid Kesha song(I refuse to put a f'n dollar sign in her name and can't find the cent sign) was #1 this year for 9 weeks. But the worst abomination ever perpetrated on American music was a song that was #1 from July 11th to October 16th in 2009. Yes, the Black Eyed Peas "I Gotta Feeling". "Born to Run" never made it to #1, but this piece of shit with lyrics lifted from a 3rd graders notebook was #1 for OVER THREE MONTHS!!!! And you know what band was #1 for almost three months before that? Yep, the f'n Black Eyed Peas with a song called "Boom Boom Pow"that was #1 from April 18th to July 10th.. I never heard it, but I have to believe it's better than Baba O' Riley, Brown Eyed Girl, Smells Like Teen Spirit and Even Flow combined.

For just under six months, America's ears were hijacked by some of the worst prefab crap ever made. And combine that with the fact that Fergie had 3 #1 songs by herself before that and it makes me want to puncture my eardrums. Thankfully "My Humps" only made it to #3, or I may have lost faith entirely.

H.L. Mencken was right when he said "No one ever went broke underestimating the taste of the American public". We all like to think that the time we were growing up was so much better than it is now, but musicians have been throwing crap against the wall for years and we've been buying it. It's a matter of personal taste, but you can't tell me that Purple Haze is not as good of a song as Ghostbusters. But people looking back hundreds of years from now will see which one of those was a #1 song and we as a society are worse off for that.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

I once stood on a corner in Winslow, Arizona

While setting up for what seems to be her 563rd garage sale in the last five years, my mother came across my expandable file that I used to keep my records in back in the mid 90's. Some things were interesting (paystubs from when I was a bank teller/New Accounts Rep at Bank of America pulling down a hefty $7.45 per hour, a card from my mom, autographs from several Pittsburgh Pirates who all pretty much sucked) and there were some things that I couldn't throw away fast enough because they brought up bad memories.

In one of the pockets was a small folded up sheet of paper. On it was a list of cities starting with Monroeville, PA (Wednesday 10:00 AM) all the way across the country until Los Angeles, CA (Friday 10:00 PM). It was the list of cities I rode through as I took a Greyhound Bus across country over the longest 36 hours of my life.

I had been living with my grandmother for 8 months in the quiet little town of Bovard, PA after my mother and I decided we needed some space apart from one another. 3,000 miles was just about far enough to make us both comfortable at the time. During those eight months, I was able to piss off both sides of my family, get a 104 temperature from shoveling the walk after the biggest blizzard in 15 years wearing shorts and flip flops, work at a Burger King and get one of my female bosses fired for doing what was so eloquently documented in the song "The Humpty Dance" by Digital Underground, bear witness to history as I saw O.J. drive his white Bronco down the 405 while sitting in a bar where the DJ started a chant of "Go O.J. Go O.J.". start drinking again after being sober for almost two years and basically have a breakdown/realization that if every person you know in the world is angry with you, maybe it's because of you, not all of them.

At this point, I reconciled with my mother and she said I could come home if I went back to college and got a job. I readily agreed and my father said he would pay my way back to L.A. A plane ticket one way was $103.00 and it would have taken 5 and a half hours to get home. However, a 36 hour ride through the bowels of hell with Satan's minions was only $79.00. So, for the hefty savings of $24.00, he bought me a bus ticket. (BTW, I had to have my bags shipped to me, if I rode on the plane, I could have brought them with me as bags flew free then. My dad paid $41.00 to ship the bags...not a financial wizard was he).

The following was the list of cities I rolled through and stopped at over those 36 hours:

Monroeville, PA
Pittsburgh, PA
Wheeling, WV
Cambridge, OH
Zanesville, OH
Columbus, OH
Springfield, OH
Dayton, OH
Richmond, IN
Indianapolis, IN
St. Louis, MO
Springfield, MO
Tulsa, OK
Oklahoma City, OK
Amarillo, TX
Albuquerque, NM
Gallup, NM
Houck, AZ
Holbrook, AZ
Winslow, AZ
Flagstaff, AZ
Camp Verde, AZ
Glendale, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Blythe, CA
Claremont, CA
Los Angeles, CA

I only remember a few things from the trip. I sat in the back of the bus basically the whole way across the country and I think I slept about 23 minutes. Except for a 4 hour layover in St. Louis, the longest the stops were was about 15 minutes. I got out in Winslow, AZ....walked to the nearest corner....stood there for a second and felt like I had made my obligation to the Eagles paid in full. I ate candy bars because none of the terminals had a restaurant until I hit Amarillo.

From Amarillo to L.A., there was this little kid, about 4 years old, whose name was also Kevin. He wore a Bart Simpson t-shirt and raised hell the whole way. As he ran back and forth on the bus and crawled around, he got dirtier and dirtier and his shirt went from white to black. I myself smelled like an outhouse after Woodstock. My smell was getting to me, but no one else seemed to notice. By the time I hit L.A., I had a full beard, my hair was matted down and sweaty and I hadn't changed clothes in two days. Thankfully, there was no paparazzi at the bus terminal.

Seeing my mother and brother, I was so happy to have made it home. Looking back, I feel like that trip was the final threshhold between the person I was and the person that I soon became. I was changed after that, still had some problems, but at least I realized I needed help and it was time to start my life in earnest. I look at the other Kevin as how I had been acting and I left him behind on that bus. We walked out and Part Two of my life had just begun.

A final note. My mother was driving us home and I was sitting in the passengers seat as we made our way thorough a particularily seedy part of L.A. We stopped at a light and there were a group of 6-8 men on the other corner. They got up and started walking towards the car. My mom was oblivious to my telling her to go and finally, I reached my leg over and hit the gas pedal myself. We shot off into the night and a crisis was averted. :)

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Let's play catch up, shall we?

I haven't written a blog in a while. Actually it's been like a year. I don't know exactly why, maybe it's a lack of motivation on my part, but I am going to make a concerted effort to bitch here once in a while so the two or so people who read this can catch up on the ABC's of me.

Lessee, what's happened. I went back to school and finished my degree. I'm particualarly proud of this because I went to class everyday and didn't do too badly (Dean's List my second semester, combined GPA 3.5). My fiancee, friends and family had a lot to do with pushing me to show up and get it done. And I met some great people there too. Not that I'll probably ever see them again, but the fact they allowed someone twice their age to hang with them was nice of them. Maybe because I did a lot of the work, especially study guides and such. I was even older than some of the professors (up to 10 years) and some didn't get some of my references because they were outdated. That always makes someone feel good.

Speaking of age, I turn 40 in a couple months. When I was a teenager, I figured I'd be married by 27 and have some kids. Then when I was in college, I said 32, then when I was working, I said 35. I met the fiancee 5 1/2 years ago and we've been engaged for almost 2 years. It's not because we don't want to get married, it's just that the job situation has been ridiculous. After getting laid off 5 times in 2 years, now I only get offers to work at half the salary I was making before, which is basically what you get on unemployment. And if you were in the mortgage industry, it's like you are cursed and no one wants to hire you. There's a definite stigma.

Anyway, oh yeah, marriage. My friends are marrying and having kids and I want to be a part of that so badly you don't even know, but there's no logical way to do that if I'm not working. I had some promising leads, and some people said I was going to get hired, but then poof, the offers evaporated. I'm sick to my stomach about it on an almost daily basis. I feel like a burden on my fiancee and family. But we all will get past this, I know someone wants me. I hope someone does that is. I read there was a guy who sent out 847 resumes and finally got a job making half of what he made before. I'm at about 500 or so, and it's getting to be close to that time.

Both parents got sick this year and had to have serious surgery. I've always looked upon my mom as this force of nature, she was able to raise me and my brother by herself and handle everything work and life threw at her. Right before her surgery, we went to Paris for a week and she walked miles and miles all over Paris and Versailles and left me in the dust, a whimpering baby who couldn't keep up. So to then see her laying there in a hospital bed wrecked me. She's a lot better now. She's even going back to work next week. Like I said, she's really strong. Dad's ok too, he's been beating the odds for many years for many reasons.

So what am I doing while I look for work? I'm reading a lot of books, like one or two a week. Right now I'm reading Doyle Brunson's autobiography, which is cool. I also read a Bill Russell biography that was really good and can't wait to read the sequel to the Presumed Innocent book. I'm filling out applications and sending resumes and I'm trying to work out. I started a 30 day program on my Wii and I can feel some results already. I hang with my brother and fiancee. I try not to call my other friends that much because they have their own things going on. One just had a kid, one moved in with his girlfriend, one moved, one is buried in work cause it's his busy time of the year, etc. It's not like when we used to meet every Wednesday at Jerry's Deli or Enzo's and had dinner. I miss that, but I also know we grow up and apart eventually. I know if I needed them, they are a call away.

I didn't set out to be depressing, so if I was, I'm sorry. I will be getting to some more enjoyable subjects and I promise to blog a lot more. It's good to get stuff on