Monday, June 09, 2008

Vappie Awards - Worst Of Music

First, as with the "Best Of" awards, this is simply restricted to rock, mostly classic rock, having to do with major rock artists that we've all heard on the radio at some time. I don't acknowledge rap or hip-hop in these things, I find those genres nauseating and not even worthy of taking the time to review or criticize them.

Worst Guitarist
Neil Young

He just never really learned how to solo, and should have passed that torch to a competent guitarist when on stage or recording tracks. Sure, he can play creepy organ passages, harmonica, and acoustic guitar, but he routinely plays intolerable electric guitar solos, like the endless solo in "Southern Man". Invariably, when performing live, he'd make a mess of a solo and dive into some supposedly punkish routine of breaking his guitar strings. It was tiresome at best, and not very entertaining.

Most Overrated Drummer
Charlie Watts

No question here - he's just boring and lazy at best. He can't even properly play a 4/4 high hat/snare beat without lifting his drum stick out of the way at the end of the measure. Just amateur skills that were never improved. I don't care that he played for the Rolling Stones. He still didn't show any talent in his work, seemed painfully bored with his job, and otherwise phoned in all his performances, be they on record or in a live context.

Biggest Jerk
Eddie Van Halen

A stubborn, power-hungry curmudgeon with all the attitude and ego to fuel his self-appointed cause. He took his Van Halen enterprise and did with it what he chose, always at the whims of his own arrogant logic and at the expense of himself and eventually, the fans that basically funded his wealth. He's ruined potential full scale reunions with David Lee Roth back in 1996 by not giving in to anything Roth said or did, but rather just sending him on his way, even though a tour that year would have been huge. He proceeded to fire DLR, bring in Sammy (who I didn't much like myself), be best friends with him, then coldly fire Sammy years later. Whatever Eddie wanted, Eddie got. His megalomania continued by hand selecting Gary Cerone for a dismal album (Van Halen III) and the only thing that rescued their popularity was the eventual interest engendered by DLR's recording two new tracks with the band a few years later. Then, once he successfully chased off his wife, he ate crow and decided it would be time to tour with DLR again, despite the absence of original member Michael Anthony. He's just constantly stubborn and cocky, and to his, and the band's, detrement.
Runners up: Ted Nugent, Dave Mustaine

Worst Classic Rock Song
Fame - David Bowie

Irritating and painful, with no real melody to it, and further irritating background vocals from John Lennon. Close behind is "Green Eyed Lady" by Sugarloaf. That song just makes me throw up.

Worst Live Act
ZZ Top

As I've said before, they stand in one place, don't change things up at all, and have absolutely no dynamics in their stage presence. It's basically watching two old men stand still, with another old man drumming (who is the most interesting member to watch), and the performance is just a tiresome reproduction of their recorded works. I've seen them in multiple venues, both small and large, and they were this boring, stagnant, painting on the stage, leaving me wondering why, despite hearing a string of popular songs, I wanted to leave.

Worst Crash - Airplane
Lynyrd Skynrd Plane Crash

Close behind were the crashes and deaths of Randy Rhoads and Richie Valens, but this was the death of multiple members of a very creative and relevant band. Three members died, including a brother and sister (Steve/Cassie Gaines) and of course, lead singer Ronnie Van Zant. Not to mention the loss of several others that weren't in the group.

Worst Crash - Vehicular
Marc Bolan

A sad story, as he was an incredible talent with monstrous amounts of stage presence. He made it through so many years of the excessive 1970s without giving in, as it were, to the temptations therein. Then, an unfortunate accident. He'll always be missed.

Worst Crash - Weight
Tie - Ann Wilson (Heart) and Stevie Nicks (Fleetwood Mac)

With Ann Wilson, she was very attractive in the 1970s and early 80s, then she exploded like a hot air balloon. As with Stevie, she was this dainty, winsome, petite, waif of a girl, hardly weighing in at 100 pounds, and then blew up like a puffer fish after around 1985. As it was once said, she switched from nose candy to just plain candy. Runner Up : Debbie Harry.

Worst Crash - Career
Peter Frampton

He could've maintained his 1976 "king of the world" status by just releasing more radio-friendly singles for the single-hungry radio market of the time. Then he just faded away from everyone's mindsets, and he didn't do much to clog that professional hole in the dam. Now he's popping up on Geico commercials, somewhat self-parodying much of his 15 minutes of fame, and that's his own choice.

Ugliest Band
Tie - Canned Heat & Grateful Dead

Canned Heat showed up on the revised film for "Woodstock", and they were just monsters. I'm not detracting from whatever talent for blues that they had, but they were butt ugly. As for the Grateful Dead, forget it. The only person that could have ever been desired by chicks would have been Bob Weir, but those are rather lean odds when the band had 6, or at times, 7 people. For God's sake, they had a member named "PigPen" at one time. This band seemed hell bent on growing long beards, looking like they smelled bad, and playing their stony set.

The "Time To Quit" Award

They just can't write good music anymore. All their material is sappy, commercially inspired, and without any real creativity or "edge", as they possessed in the 1970s. They actually showed a lot of promise in 1989 with their release of "Pump", but after that, things just got worse and worse. Generally when the retrospective boxed sets start coming out, you know that the shark has been jumped.

And Finally!

Worst Rock Album
Lou Reed - Metal Machine Music

It's widely accepted to be the worst, least tolerable release in rock history. Nothing more than feedback, screeching guitars, and painful effects. Widely thought to have been recorded as a joke, it had to take top honors.

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