What qualifies as a rock band is arbitrary, obviously but let’s not got too bogged down with facts and details, especially if they aren’t mine. To me, the ten choices below are startlingly obvious, the ease with which I assembled them is testament to every grisly, obnoxious, stomach-churning quality they bring to the table. One of the overriding unifying factors is that they are such long-lasting bands. Not that there is anything intrinsically wrong with this but it is certainly true that their combined years of attrition contribute to my dislike of them. Actually, ‘dislike’ isn’t the right word – hatred; disgust; anger. Yes, anger. It infuriates me that they have got away with musical murder largely unchallenged. It infuriates me that many people adore them – why are they all listening to things wrongly? Why are they deaf and blind to the obvious? Why are people idiots? It might only be rock ‘n’ roll but we don’t have to like it.
#1 The Rolling Stones
The epitome of bloated, self-satisfied, white, heartless rock. Positively reeking of dust, furniture polish and gum ointment, The Rolling Stones have diluted blues, rock and soul to such an extent that I would completely understand if black musicians rose from the dead to exact their bloody vengeance. A vile band.
#2 The Clash
If UK punk wasn’t already one of the most depressing, embarrassing periods in music, The Clash can certainly claim to be its nadir. ‘The sound of the nation’s youth’ was apparently leaden riffs, hide-behind-the-cushion reggae and simpleton politics, which in the cold light of day was doubtless depressingly true. Inspired legions of unemployable nitwits to form a band, regardless of whether they were any good or not. What a disgraceful legacy.
#3 Pink Floyd
I simply can’t be arsed. I’m sure there are some good songs, maybe even good albums but who seriously has the time, patience or stomach to wade through it all? Concept albums created by perma-squinting tooth-suckers whose ponderousness and blandness were mistaken for wisdom. I don’t need everything to have a meaning, entertain us!
#4 Grateful Dead
Every bit as bad as you feared, the saving grace for The Grateful Dead is the self-contained world it exists in. Deadheads adore them but there’s virtually no cross-over – their songs rarely appear on radio and there hasn’t been any revisionism to elevate them from their little corner. A perfect reflection of the reality of the hippy life – abject boredom, yellowed fingers and bouts of diarrhoea.
I want to like Kiss. The excess, the costumes, the humour, the mythology, it all seems great. Sadly, they’re a band and therefore we have to factor in the music. Whilst not hateful it seems horrifyingly bland and empty, as if to apologise for how they look. In any case, rather like Bruce Springsteen, I have no business liking this living in England, whatever they’re rattling on about is completely alien to me.
#6 Deep Purple
A rubber duck of a rock band, seemingly harmless but actually harbouring stagnant water and many germs, there’s simply no real need for Deep Purple to happen. Lesser in all ways than Led Zep, Iron Maiden and Black Sabbath, they screamed of old men having a chat at a pub urinal even when they were in their flush of youth. Always sounds like you’re listening to them performing from inside a bin, which is quite apt.
The ‘troubles’ in Ireland in the latter half of the 20th Century were largely down to U2, with a footnote for terrorist activities and kneecappings, the latter being the lesser of three evils. Shipped around the world like Christmas cards from a herpes factory, their inexplicable success is a reflection of how the world accepts mediocrity as the acceptable status quo. In fact, I’d rather listen to Status Quo than this lot.
I know, low-hanging fruit, the thing about Oasis is that it was always so obviously awful. The image; the derivative sound; the monkeyness (as opposed to Monkee-ness), you only had to look at the people who liked them to know that they were to music what Michael McIntyre is to laughter.
I felt the list needed something in the alternative spectrum and Pavement are pretty much the definition of lank-haired…lank-everything indie rock. Nose-tappingly off-key and quirky, as if quirky is something to aspire to, AT LEAST TRY! See also, Radiohead.
I had The Smiths and New York Dolls as my reserves but I’ll stick with Television. Another band who I’ve returned to over the years, believing I must be listening to them wrongly but no, I’m definitely in the right. Years ahead of their time, in the sense that being this half-arsed wasn’t truly embraced until the 1990s, they’re no more than Steely Dan being played in a dishwasher at the wrong speed.