You can’t love everything. I’m not only dubious about and suspicious of people who claim to not hate any bands, I can’t value their idea of liking a band, if they like everything – or say that they do.
I’ve always maintained the list of bands I love is longer than the list of bands I loathe – and in a sense that’s true. I’ve focused on music that inspires me, that excites me, that means something to me, when writing Blog on the Tracks. But there have been occasions where I’ve written about a band or artist I despise, like this post here, about Billy Joel.
Sometimes more annoying than the bad band is the fans of the band.
The word fan is a shortening of fanatic – so of course you’re always up against it if you are seen to “attack” a certain band. Trust me; I was physically threatened over a review of Tommy Emmanuel recently. It was a fairly harmless (and hopefully accurate) review I thought (accurate, in that it was my opinion, I admitted I was in a minority). And in other lifetimes, or so it seems, there have been angry letters of protest by fans of Donny Osmond and Amici Forever. And a few others.
So that’ll happen, sure.
But it’s not the fans that put me off Donny Osmond’s music, or Amici’s muzak or Tommy Emmanuel’s stunt-busking. The musicians do that job for themselves; it’s just not the proverbial herbal cuppa tea for me. And that’s fine.
But what about bands that you absolutely cannot like because of their fans. Here’s five for starters. See how you go. Maybe we agree, perhaps we don’t. Be sure to add your own bands with fans that make you hate the bands below.
Queen: I’ve written, previously, about my battles with Queen, its music, its fans – and it comes down to the over-the-top hero-worship of Freddie Mercury as music’s great frontman, singer and songwriter. Was he talented? Sure, absolutely. Was he the greatest? He might have had an exciting moment or two. But Queen will ultimately be remembered for a Freddie Mercury impersonator who tours the world leading singalongs, the two members of the original band who just don’t know how to quit – literally. And the over-zealous fans. Actually in the case of all three it’s the fault of the fans. There is a Queen album I like – but I can’t go on record liking the band (beyond that one record). And that’s your fault, Queen fans. You’re making fools of yourselves – and you’re kidding yourselves if you think this band has any lasting influence. Apart from, erm, Mika. And Muse. How can the band feel good about that? That means, among the Queen fans to hate are Mika and the members of Muse too – double points there.
Muse: Apart from the obvious – this century’s Queen-derived pomp-parading prog-lite dreamers – Muse almost doesn’t count here. Because it’s easy enough to dislike the band for its music – inverted commas can be applied for almost everything this band attempts: “theatrics”, “spectacle”, “intensity”, “songwriting”. But its fans are a special case. And indeed a special breed. You’ve got to watch out – be careful wherever you go and however you tread. Muse fans can sneak in with the humans!
Animal Collective: If I want to hear a version of The Flaming Lips that lacks any charisma and occasional pop-hooks, then I can, these days, just listen to post-Yoshimi Flaming Lips. That Animal Collective fans make it even easier to mock the catastrophes of colliding cacophonies that Animal Collective hides behind, in place of actual music, gives just another – vital – reason to not engage with this band’s nearly musical activity. (You don’t really need that given the band has members with names like Geologist and Panda Bear). I went to an Animal Collective gig once. I was surprised to find that I had only been once. For everyone else there it was like a second coming. A giant big communal second coming. Have you seen that movie Jesus Camp? Okay substitute the Harry Potter-hating Christian extremists for washing machine-hating cardigan wearers and we’re almost there. Trade pitchfork-brandishing for Pitchfork-reading and the result is every bit as disturbing. You could film the audience of an Animal Collective gig and post the results, sound turned off, no music. People would praise it, just as they did Jesus Camp: “Wow, what an incredible documentary! Frightening – but has to be seen to be believed.” Etc.
Sigur Ros: The music is not transcendent, nor is it even ever-so-slightly magical. It’s just rather boring, really dull and that made-up language, “Hopelandic”? You might as well tell your parents you’re going to be a poet as soon as tell them you own a Sigur Ros album. Talk about colossal disappointments. It was okay for one album (almost) but beyond that it was taken way too far. And the people taking it too far are the fans. As always. Also, it seems, even Sigur Ros don’t really like their own fans – look!
There you go – five for starters: bands that I can’t get on board with because of the fans. I don’t hate the bands as much as I dislike the fans for being far too excited/excitable. So do you agree with some of these? Or do you have other examples of bands you can’t listen to because of the fans? Maybe you’ve been able to push on through even though the fans of the band almost give the group a bad name (Radiohead!).
Between late 2007 and early 2016 I wrote a daily music blog at Stuff.co.nz called Blog On The Tracks. I’m reposting some of the entries here because the discussion is still valid or entertaining or because you might have missed them the first time.
Click here to see the original post from 2012.