There's one superstar each in Angry Ranting Music Journalism and its bastard sub-genre, Paranoid Jerk Metal Journalism. Late Monday yesI'mstillworking, in rolled the latest newsletter from Bob Lefsetz, music industry gaddabout. The Lefsetz Letter examines the music business, shredding RIAA pretenses and scolding the fossils atop major labels. In today's "That Nickelback Song," Lefsetz, with his barely-veiled anti-hipsterism, declares a war on egghead rockists and his love for 'Mutt' Lange, producer of Def Leppard and ex-producer/ex-husband of Shania Twain. (He banged the maid, remember?) It's so entertaining that I believe I shall post the entire fucking thing right down there. It's all part of my sick god complex. 

A reminder: Lefsetz is talking about music business, not music. A caution: Beware the run-on and under no circumstances undertake reading aloud without proper training. The HooM! Chair recognizes Bob Lefsetz:
Imagine crossing Shania with "You Shook Me All Night Long" and adding in a guy who can barely sing who made his name singing anthems for guys who believe in brewskis and girls who have more dreams than triumphs. You'll end up with Nickelback's new song, entitled "Gotta Be Somebody".

This is a head-turner. It's not the Nickelback you've known, but something more akin to Boston, a sweeter, rocking sound. And I'd like to tell you it sucks, but IT DOESN'T!

First time through, you're scratching your head, because it's so DIFFERENT from what's come before. But the SWEETNESS enraptures you, the same Beach Boys sunniness/singalong quality that Mutt added to AC/DC.

And, once you've finished deciding it's trash, but that you've got to hear it again to be sure, you dial it back up and you say... FUCK, they're gonna get a TON of airplay. MUTT'S DONE IT AGAIN!

Where could Nickelback go? Their first hit was by far their best. If this were a different era, with more rock on Top Forty, they would have been a one hit wonder. But in an era where you've got to scream like James Hetfield or be an emo boy to have any cred, no one makes straight ahead rock anymore. Nickelback's got the field to itself. And, because Chad Kroeger is just too old and too unattractive to play the sold out pretty boy, he can't, and they end up with some weird CREDIBILITY!

Not to you. You hate Nickelback. And I can understand your position. But no one is listening to you, except maybe your spouse. And rock purists are known for being single, for being geeks. But, if you've got a life, if music is not the number one thing in your pantheon, you're going to drive down the boulevard with "Gotta Be Somebody" cranked and you're gonna feel GOOD!

If you hate hip-hop, if you hate Mariah/Christina melisma and Pussycat Dolls confection, you're going to gravitate to "Gotta Be Somebody" like a rock star to K-Y.

Even though the downloadable MP3 is ripped at a 260 VBR, the track still sounds pretty bad. This isn't mastered for quality, not for acute listening environments, but shitty car stereo systems. The girls with big hair and the guys who are waiting for mullets to come back will be banging the dashboard and Nickelback will be counting the dough while you sit there with your sinking portfolio, bitching.

This ain't that different from Def Leppard's breakthrough, "Pyromania". Rick Rubin might get all the press, but the real record producer, the giant in stature not size, is Robert John "Mutt" Lange.

He cut his teeth doing soundalikes in his native South Africa. He can write every song on your album and sing it too. He's the ultimate hands-on operator. Which Rick Rubin's clients might not need, but so many do.

The more you listen, the more the flourishes reveal themselves. What's that distant, crying sound in the intro? Like a guitar played over the hills and not quite so far away? The Cher-like bed to the verse, with Chad singing an actual melody. The disco-like drums and then the way everything drops out and you're ASSAULTED when everything comes back in. This is the sound that sold in excess of 100 million albums. It's Mutt's signature. Credible rock/country with a poppy sheen laid on top. If Chad weren't straining his vocal cords and you got a nineteen year old babe to sweetly vocalize it would sound exactly like PURE POP FOR NOW PEOPLE!

Actually, just like all those profiteers covered and sold covers of Kid Rock's "All Summer Long" on iTunes popsters should IMMEDIATELY cover "Gotta Be Somebody". It would be much better with even...Avril Lavigne covering it. Better yet, SHANIA TWAIN!

Shania's done. Hate to say it, but Mutt had the talent.

Don't evaluate this musically, but as a business proposition. And you care about business, otherwise you wouldn't be ranking out all the big Top Forty hits. Mutt and Nickelback have threaded the needle, made the perfect song for TODAY! And I'll bet the album is loaded with tons more. So, while everybody on TMZ and Perez can barely go platinum, this album will sell and sell and sell. [all sic]

Download "Gotta Be Somebody." Subscribe to the LefsetzLetter. 



One of Knocked Up's touching scenes is Harold Ramis talking about drugs with his son, Seth Rogan. "No pills or powders," Ramis' policy reads. I hope to cover that with my hypothetical kids, time permitting. But for now, my plan is to use those quiet father-son moments before the young man's wedding/arraignment to reaffirm the heavy sleaze rock ideals cherished by our family for generations: D. Toys, B-Boys, Ratt, Badlands; Love/Hate, Lynch Mob, and Junkyard. Stay with the bluesy, powerful bands with hot guitarists. The less smiling the better, good drummer a plus. Sex song to drug song ratio 1:1 tops. I'll only be reminding him of something he senses innately, since he'll have been conceived at next summer's four-day Rock Gone Wild event in Algona, Iowa, Aug 20-23. So far, Dangerous Toys (yay, above) and Junkyard (super yay) join Helix (uh) and Saigon Kick (why not) as RGW's confirmed bands, though it's just common sense that members of Slipknot will be joining the latter for rousing medley "Love Is On The Way/Circle." I've gone 'rock wild' before, but can only predict what 'rock gone wild' looks like; I assume it involves Taime Downe and Vince Neil rubbing their knockers together. Yeah, savor it. 




I wasn't born a drummist, drummism was taught to me. My first guitar teacher began the indoctrination with rude jokes, asides, and folk tales. 'How many drummers,' he once asked me, 'does it take to screw in a lightbulb?' I didn't know. 'None. They have machines for that now.' It was shocking, but I was very interested in learning those wicked sweeps in "Hangar 18" and kept quiet. At his weekly theory course, someone asked if it's okay to play sitting down and was greeted with barely veiled disgust and the derisive reply 'What are you, a drummer??' Once when we got into an elevator with a drummer, P*** abruptly started blathering about Dave Grohl being an 'instrument traitor.' How embarrassing.

That guitar teacher was one of the city's best players and the other was my uncle, also a rabid drummist. At family gatherings, I'd be leafing through Rip magazine when he'd whisper to watch out, the drummers are taking over everything. Did I want a drummer dating my sister? Or even my brother? 'But I don't have a brother'. "That's because of drummers!" he'd bellow. "Next thing ya know, they'll want their drums placed center stage." He'd already seen a band whose drummer stood while playing. And what about those bands with TWO drummers? Drunkenly, he'd slur "Hey! How can you tell if the stage is level? When drool's coming out of both sides of the drummer's mouth bwa-hahahahaahaaaaa!" My aunts would exchange glances. "What do you call a drummer with no girlfriend? Homelessssss!"

I know this is ugly talk but it goes to illustrate my long road back from drummism. The guitar players in my life tried to be protective, but just ended up warping my attitudes. My life became small as I turned away from friends, lovers, and family who were part or full drummer. I recoiled from bands like Rush, Refused, and King Crimson. Lars Ulrich's drum accompaniment to Cliff Burton on "Anesthesia (Pulling Teeth)" was viewed as an act of drummer aggression. I hit bottom when the building manager sent a drummer to replace my windows, prompting me to launch into a shameful drummist tirade. But those days are long gone; in fact, just last week a drummer did an upgrade on my computer and I neither blasted the keyboard with canned air nor mashed it with handi-wipes. In fact, I am 100% clear of anti-drummer feelings as Behold ... The Arctopus' Charlie Zeleny explains the blast beat, courtesy of Sick Drummer's video channel on Metal Injection. Enjoy, learn, and remember: Fight Drummism! 



Take it from me: In the music industry, most people won't condescend to even speak with anyone of lesser value; If you can't provide money, drugs, or power, don't bother even parting your lips, loser. Looking at you, Joe McIntyre of New Kids On The Block, who can't fathom how Meat Loaf has more pressing matters than entertaining him on set. The little pimple told OK!
During a break I tried to talk to [Meat Loaf] about one of his songs that my cousin and his wife performed at their wedding. He just went, 'Who cares!'
Of course he did. Your cousin's wedding? That is boring as whale shit. That's pretty delusional, but then again you could be idiot Roman Keating of similarly dickless pop group Boyzone. Keating tells Angry Ape:
Thom Yorke from Radiohead was pretty rude. We were at the same hotel in Dublin and I went over to say hello as I'm a big Radiohead fan and he just blanked me. I still love the music -- he's just an idiot."
Bwaa-hahahaha HA! Can you picture this? Yorke's thinking: Oh look, there's that 'No Matter What' twat. Shit, he's seen me. Fuck this guy. He actually thinks he can talk to me, Thom Yorke? See that unnecessary 'h' in my name? That stands for 'haughty'.

'Hey man. I'm Roman. I'm a huge fan.'
" ... "
'How do you like the hotel? Cool sauna, huh?'
" ... "
'Tour's going pretty well, I see. You guys killed last night.'
" [blink] "
'Right. Cheers.'
" [sniff] "

Other notable snubs this week:
  • Cave-In bassist/least valuable member Caleb Scofield disses his ex-bandmates' new projects, which we agree with, and demands that Cave-In (above) resume recording and performing, which we also agree with. If we agree, then why are we arguing?
  • Don't believe the hype on Nachtmystium -- the members of this band are neither assholes nor nazis. But that doesn't mean Opeth won't kick them the fuck off their tour
  • There are few things as fun as playing alongside Jim Malone in Arsis. And yet bassist Noah Martin has left the band to return to college. Pfft. Doubt it. I think we all know the real story.


The always glamorous and relevant Emmys went awesome this year judging from all the excitement and rave reviews. And oh, the ratings, my stars. I didn't see a minute of it, as I was at the 2008 MALCOLM AWARDS. The food was great, A-List only stars were there (so no TV actors zing!), and my dress was stunning. But the Malkies aren't about celebrity, they're about honoring outstanding Malcolms worldwide. Here's a recap of the winners:

Malcolm Turnbull

Malcolm Young (above)

Malcolm X

Malcolm McLaren

Malcolm McDowell

Malcolm Proud

Malcolm Burns (producer, former member of ahem Boys Brigade)

Metal Malcolm 



Hey this has come up before, but check out the black-and-white examples of wise marketing: Enslaved, a band I don't listen to, is streaming their new album here. Trivium, a band I hate, is streaming their new album here. One record would've slipped by unbeknownst to HooM! and the other would've been ignored. One record slays, and the other is an encouraging improvement by a young, developing group.  

Making entire albums available is especially pertinent to heavy music. With some variation, this is how Metal people get into bands: You jump into your friend's car (or Scott Burns' pick-up) and dude presses play on some shit you haven't heard. You shred, you shrug, or you sneer. But you're poised to like it cause your wallet is no lighter and your bud is trustworthy (he got you into The Crown, The Ocean, and uh Scatterbrain). So streaming entire albums stirs up the same feelings, as the band themselves screech up alongside you in their Camaro let you give their new record a fair listen. Bravo Enslaved, Trivium. Listen up major labels!



Everybody loves an election year, and as the rhetoric heats up it helps to remember the words of Kang and Kodos from The Simpsons. Impersonating Clinton and Dole during 1996's presidential campaign, the space aliens stated to Kent Brockman that "it doesn't matter which one of us you vote for; either way your planet is doomed. Doooooomed!" 

So true. But Arizona thrashers Sacred Reich want to help. And those guys always seemed pretty informed on political stuff. From a band statement via Blabbermouth:
We've created and posted new audio about the upcoming presidential election. We feel strongly that this is a pivotal election and that our country is at an important crossroad. 

These spots illuminate the differences between Barack Obama and John McCain in two defining areas of policy, the economy and energy. We feel that the two [issues] are linked. Only through a forward-looking energy plan that adresses renewables will we be able to create a new 'green' economy that will ensure the future for American workers and stem the tide of global warming that threatens or planet. 
Before the internet, bands like Sacred Reich, Metal Church, Metallica, Suicidal Tendencies ... ok pretty much all Thrash Metal bands could rail against oppression in their music; take it or leave it, at least there was Metal going on amid the discourse. Thanks to the internets, the means with which artists can market directly to their fanbase allows them to also raise social awareness bling bling blah. And it's hilariously ironic that internet-jockeys berate Dallas Coyle from God Forbid and every other musician with the stones to risk their precious sales by throwing in with the good guy; to them, it's go evil or spare us the "opinions". NewsFlash: McCain is a turdlet and everything on the internet is an opinion. Oh sorry I mean good morning. Yes I'm wearing this shirt again. 



Okay this photo must be a high school dance or a scene from a CW show 'cause nowhere in this realm is there a Metal guy within taser range of that moist fox pack. I feel ya dude, you gotta rock your Pantera shirt no questions asked. But is it that your jaws get cold often? It looks like your hair is slowly attempting to strangle you with ya gawking ass. And psst! the dancefloor is for um dancing, tit-starer. You left your Metal bros with their discussion of why Reinventing The Steel is better than Cowboys From Hell and snuck up on that pseudo-hippie chick, now pounce! I woulda selected ol' yellow dress there though she looks how do I say this not easy enough?

While we're on the subject, the second best Pantera record is RTS, their final. The riffs, the grooves, the fury. So take that, Sergeant D. if that is your real name. Metal Dudes Out Of Dances!


Ugh this is tiresome but Testament is the latest Thrash band to irritate their fans (me) by slamming one of their own records. Singer Chuck Billy tells Terrorizer:

[1992's The Ritual] was actually written a lot heavier and thrashier, and at that time, Alex [Skolnick, guitar] was on tour with [goofy bassist] Stu Hamm doing some other gigs and coming back to listen to the songs we wrote. He was like, 'I'm not playing over the thrash parts! We need to slow it down and get some straight-ahead beats.' And when it did that, vocally, for me, it made it kind of boring because it's just one straight path, and it really slowed everything down and broke up the dynamics we created originally.

OK, I get it; you guys are humiliated about relinquishing creative control to Atlantic Records and your snooty lead guitarist. But every motherfucking song on The Ritual rips, propelling the unadventurous album atop the teeny pile of brilliant melodic hard rock records. These albums are elusive and originate from dubious sources: Take Lacuna Coil's Karmacode, a frustratingly riffless Korncore record with every snappy melodic (and harmonic) twist and turn in the book. And even though it's marred by dated, bubbly production, Karmacode slays, bront to fack. And of course the little-loved yet dud-free Skunkworks album (Iron Maiden singer Bruce Dickinson's foray into hooky rock). Monster finale on that bitch.

The HooM! search for more classics like these was rekindled thanks to last week's discussion on MetalSucks about Stone Sour and Shinedown. Loudly endorsed by MS commenters and Anthrax's Scott Ian, Stone Sour's Come What(ever) May found its way into my stereo but It only took three songs for my hopes to be dashed: CW(e)M starts strong with sing-along hard rock but sags under the foul mainstream production and too fucking much Corey Taylor dumbness. Shut up, sir. It's reminiscent of my first experience with 'La Vida Loca': dancing around with my toothbrush at first chorus, then fucking sick of it by fade out. Keep your eyes peeled in 2021 for Taylor and crew's apology. 

Shinedown, you're up. Don't disappoint me. 



If there's one lesson to take away from VH1's I Love Money, it's Karma Is A Bitch. To wit: Last week, my dear sweet rollergirls Brandi C. and Mmmmegan found themselves in the crosshairs of Pumkin (above left) and Toastee, those treacherous toads. And I'm here to say that Brandi C.'s retaliation was pure masterstroke: Between jags of adorable blubbering, a plan was hatched to cut losses and fix the rat finks for good. So, at elimination, Brandi cut short the proceedings with a heart-rending resignation, saving Megan from certain doom. By this time, P + T's dirty dealings had been exposed; Toastee was thrust into Brandi C.'s vacated spot and then eliminated. This week, that revolting slag Pumkin followed. And Megan remains. 

Sure, we miss Brandi C. But her defeat is overshadowed by the brilliant kamikaze maneuver that saved Megan and then some. We can never repay her but as a token of our appreciation, we throw the HooM! Horns all off up in Brandi's scene. It may not be much, but it's something; likewise, if your life is a bucket of shit at the moment, Metal has placed atop it a pretty flower (via Blabbermouth commenter defsteve) in form of a radtastic full show bootleg of Deftones' surprise show Thursday at Spaceland in Silver Lake. This band is very, very hungry and ArtistDirect reviewer Rick Florino struggles to contain himself. Download here and rock in tribute to Brandi C.!



A Deadly Pit At Early Hate Eternal Show, Klandathu 1997 

I'm not some toughguy so there's no apology necessary for my loving this song or even this one nor even this abomination. Each is a nice counterpoint to my Type O Negative problem*. And hey not all music has the ability to be as intense as, say, Hate Eternal's Fury And Flames, a 2008 Metal Album of the Year favorite that suggests that HE frontman Erik Rutan and crew belong to the race of mega-bugs in Starship Troopers. I hear your bowtie spinning but it's quite plausible is it not? Just visualize one of those shiny, black killing machines whaling on a quadruple kick drum set behind three bugs pummeling guitars. Each axe is in standard tuning too, but I'd estimate that with approximately six arms, they could comfortably manage 40 - 55 frets. The pictures you see of the 'guys' in the band indicate that since the movie was filmed, the bugs have mastered the ability to assume human form. I might be way off, but let's imagine that the Brain Bug captured in act III somehow got loose or took control of Doogie Howser's noggin, leading to a temporary suspension of all outlying interplanetary aggression while BB regrows his harvesting uh appendage. Next, we surmise that the members of Hate Eternal, being Metal people -- er bugs, being Metal bugs and thus of advanced intellect, objected to the regime's skull-lancing/brain-slurping policies and defected to Earth. They walk around like dudes and shit, but in the studio, they go BUG! Look on Hate Eternal and despair!

*Help me. I listened to "September Sun" like 20 times this weekend.



My little rocker cousins are a hoot. The girl is pretty emo, all beaten down by her high school's impenetrable social structure. Meanwhile, sources indicate that the boy, despite being a mere 14 years old, has surpassed me in coolness if for no other reason than that once he got a blowjob in class. I know 14 is the new 17, but dang. At his age, I was singling out the sluttiest, most suggestable potential fellaters and my reward was never more than boob-feeling. Not even boob-seeing. So that's quality work, which we all enjoy. 

As the cool older cousin, I am charged with hanging out with them and stripping away their suburban attitudes. It's an uphill battle; suburban kids are bad at Life. Life doesn't really happen there, but rather a hermetically-sealed replica of Life where no one is required to, y'know, learn how to treat a waiter who seems poised to secretly dick-rub your burger. They also strain to differentiate the 'caper' from the 'crime.' In general, they're willing to act only minimally, treating stop signs and cinema ushers as booming authority figures. 

We're off topic but my relationship with Spineshank is similar. Total dorks with some of history's worst lyrics ("Your disease is a fuck-ing waste of time"), the LA quartet was like a raw, unrefined teenager that would one day grow into a non-annoying, cool, street-fighting person. Then they broke up. But they're back with a new song. So, have they matured steadily while on hiatus? Or are we back to the fetal state of Spineshank cir. Self-Destructive Pattern? Huh, whadda ya think, Wu?



Look, boobs are terrific. And though 20% of life is thinking about knockers, jugs, and bazooms, these things don’t really fit in Metal. The distinct and timeless glory of gazungas puts them at direct odds with Metal as self-expression, because every straight man and I assume lesbian will roundly delete themselves just to catch a peek of jubbly, jiggly tits. Those things make beggars of us all. And Metal is about expressing the inner monarch, ruler, tyrant, god. I’m not trying to sound like Manowar. But when Revolver reports that Winds Of Plague keyboardist Kristen Randall snapped a pic of her funbags Suicide Girls-style and it turned up on fuckin Lamb of God's forum, I say "Curses!" My dick is thrilled, but I think that's just common sense. 

This is Metal, people. The principles of whiny, emo, suburban can-flashers must be expunged from Metal like racist relatives from a barbeque. And holy shit, how ungrateful and cynical is the dickless turd who posted this little nugget? And while HooM! is an ideal source for ethically iffy stuff like this, Revolver and Metal Sucks have relationships with bands and their publicity people – so to report this is kinda um disloyal or something. Meanies! I wonder if this band can survive with every live show, interview, meet-and-greet, appearance, video shoot, sound check, meeting, panel, and conference being disrupted by cat-calls, whistles, and brazen nuzzling? “Hey! Nips! Play ‘The Impaler ‘“ and “Yeah, and jiggle your rack for me!” It was less than a month ago that WOP fired their drummer for some unspeakable misdeed. Could Randall be next? 

Beep beep! Yeah-uh!



I'm a regular guy and as such I attend sports events, though my ejection ratio is about 3:1. It usually starts when people direct dirty looks (if they're pussies) and verbal abuse (if they're drunk pussies) in my direction when I opt not to stand at attention during the national anthem. Mostly it's laziness, but when pressed I usually remark that no where in the constitution do America's founding fathers state that basketball fans are required to screech some unsingable dirge en masse, a ritual imposed on us by business owners, not our elected representatives. Turns out some basketball players feel the same way, as Dallas Mavericks forward Josh Howard illustrates below.

Oh my. First he outs every pot-smoking NBA player to ESPN radio, then gets a collar for driving a car really fast, and now he publicly expresses disdain for rituals of symbolic obedience to his nation's government. (Why pay tribute to America at a charity event? Charity wouldn't even be necessary if America were as awesome as depicted in "The Star Spangled Banner.") Clearly, this guy is out of control. Everybody knows America rocks. Especially Texas. We better track down the white guy in charge of Howard for reassurance. Or we could just lynch him verbally via chickenshit comments on the anonymous internet. Or we could settle in the knowledge that Howard has his own views and the right to express them to camera phones. Just like my right to proclaim Misery Index's new record, Traitors, is full of potential national anthems. (Listen to all of it now.) These are songs to stand up and take your hat off to. Meet Josh and I halfway, America.


Metallica can't stop making asses of themselves, whether by gouging fans for their awful-sounding album, blocking access for media outlets who acknowledge the internet, or ambiguously urging concert-goers to cease filming during the band's show at London's O2 Arena. The members of the shit-ass awful ex-band are doing tons of press (even Rob!) -- and it's not just metal media, or even music media: Bullshit levels are so toweringly high that mainstream media lines up to soft-pedal ethics questions to two confessed sell-outs. And one whiny, clueless guitarist. 

It's funny because Metalli-apologists will tell you that, like them or not, Metallica is raising awareness of Metal. Which is a fallacy; no one is discussing Metal, just one former metal band. E.g. BrandWeek, who reports today that Death Magnetic's disturbing (in a bad way) cover art was designed by Turner Duckworth, a design agency employed by mega-corporations including Coca-Cola. Any musician -- let alone Metal musician -- should be ruthlessly slammed for turning to corporate, anti-Metal forces to make their shitty product reach its maximum sales potential. Good music doesn't need that kind of help. And the results of this unholy partnership? A big, brown, hairy vagina coffin. Bravo, Lars.

But wait -- there's a late entry in the race to history's awfulest cover art (above) courtesy the Donald and John Tardy, the voice and drums of Obituary. Though my ears are still weeping from the awful Obituary reunion albums, The Tardy boys unveiled their new "doesn't sound at all like Obituary" project The Tardy Brothers (too easy) and its cover image this week. Judging from this eyesore, maybe the Tardys could be enlisted to retool the much-maligned logo for NBA team Oklahoma City Thunder. Or a new line of really cool mountain bikes. Or an energy drink! Should I keep going? I'll just let myself out ...



Whenever some losebag starts wasting my life with a litany of work-related complaints, I take the opportunity to escape to my imaginary world of leisurely canoodling with Megan and Brandi C. (above) from VH1's I Love Money*. And I admit: That's a bit callous. Especially now that the tables have turned; lately I can't go two feet without groaning and barely suppressing the urge to face-knife somebody at my job. So for my lack of empathy, I apologize. I've been taken down a peg.

As penance, I muscled through the mind-bendingly mediocre new All That Remains album. Unambitious to the point of silliness and stripped of life by tappy, hyper-compressed production**, Overcome finds ATR striving to join the Fisher Price 'My First Metal Band' product line on toy store shelves right next to Avenged Sevenfold. Someone should rescue those guitar players. 

*Either the writing/editing on that show is tremendous or Brandi C. has the most cuddly, lovable personality ever.  Ever!
**I spotted you three minutes in, Suecof. Too bad there's no such show as Name That Producer.


Brilliant novelist/headband enthusiast David Foster Wallace was found hanged to death in his home on Friday at age 46. People with three goddamn names piss me off, but Wallace broke through my barrier of pettiness* with his larger-than-life book, Infinite Jest. At a hearty 1100+ pages, Infinite Jest is still too short; in lieu of empirical evidence, I'll just cite the crushing depression that sets in around page 850 as my proof. In a way, it's the book world's Pulp Fiction -- there's this hither-to unforeseen world, and everything's scary and funny. Wallace followed with an exhausting short-story volume, a tasty collection of his magazine features, and Oblivion, a brill-fucking-ant stories collection that hinted that the author was again ready to rock a novel after the atom bomb that was Infinite Jest. Guess not. Not to get all Bette Midler, but Wallace kinda saved my life with that hilarious, riveting book. Wish I could've saved his. 

But then again, my relationship with suicide is complicated and I'm can't help but feel a tad jealous and proud of Wallace; hey, the world is an open sewer. And in all likelihood, people like me contributed to his suicide with our selfish demands for more classics. (By this logic, shouldn't those assholes in Metallica have killed themselves by now? Ahem.) Ugh. Ya go through life drowning in fuckwits, comforted by the rare dudes who rock like you do, and then they're gone. This one's for you, DFW.

* Paving the way for American Psycho author Bret Easton Ellis, also genius 


When news first broke that Republican presidential nominee John McCain was using Van Halen sapfest "Right Now" in his bullshit campaign, the Van Halen brothers proved they still kinda have souls by issuing a statement that “permission was not sought or granted nor would it have been given [to use the song].” Whatever your reasons, good on ya, Ed. McCain's an assface. 

Well, not as big an assface as Sammy Hagar, who sings on the track from 1991's about-as-good-as-its-title record, For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge. Hagar totally misses the point to Rolling Stone:
“I got goosebumps from it; my fur went up. I was honored that a potential president of the United States used those words in a positive sense, like, ‘We gotta act now!’ Those words are an old Zen philosophy — it’s totally cool that they’re timeless.”
Look, Sam, I love ya but sooner or later you're gonna have to face the fact that you're a goddamn moron. Some bloodless ghoul uses your art to hustle mush-heads into sanctioning corporatist plunder and you're flattered? Fine. Then I expect a personal appearance to thank me for playing "Black and Blue" at my summer gang rape every year since 1989. I'll expect your RSVP by May 1. 



Hot off their, what, third masterpiece, Sacramento's Deftones are already popping up around the interslice to talk up their forthcoming sixth album, Eros. There is very little to dislike about the quintet, though frontman Chino Moreno's um antics may be a start. So the guy's a world-class shit talker. So what. His targets are deserving and hey, drugs make you catty and chatty. Let's see you pound a boulder of meth, endure a package tour playing before both Linkin Park and Metallica, and keep a smile on your rosy fucking cheeks. Maybe I'm being charitable because Deftones rule; whatever the case, Moreno was punished so let's focus on getting excited about his band's 20th (huh??) year. Moreno tells Rock Sound:
We’re trying to plan something where we’ll play five or six nights in a couple of cities; each night will be dedicated to one of our records and we will play it in its entirety. That would be special for us and a special anniversary thing for the fans, so we’ll see what happens. It’s definitely a party, and also a celebration of all the work we’ve done over the years.



Metal people, do you love wanky solo guitar music by Steve Vai, Buckethead, and John 5? Well, by extension, obnoxious R&B singers like Monica, Brandy, and Mariah Carey should be your cuppatea. You see, there two disparate breeds of music fans should -- nay, must come together to form a Metal-R&B Mutual Appreciation Front to smash hipster bullshit like jazz and indie rock. 

Don't laugh: Both guitar and singing virtuosos tend to place creativity and flawless execution above taste, judicious editing, and humanness. Both are acquired tastes, though I challenge any human to resist loving Chris Poland's magnificent Return To Metalopolis. Tasteful, technically outrageous, and addictive, Poland finds a counterpart in R&B's Ciara ("Oh," "So What" w/Field Mob). Unlike Poland, Ciara wisely did us all the favor of posing butt-ass in Vibe this month. It's a wise move; I often get distracted from the music while mentally undressing women singers. Ciara's helping to conserve brain power.