Sunday, August 9, 2009

The 5 Bands With the Most Insufferable Fanbases

It’s obvious that everyone has their own unique taste in music, and everyone likes different bands for different reasons. However, there are a few bands around that, for some reason, inspire the most annoying people who absolutely worship them either for stupid reasons or in ridiculously annoying ways. These are the five bands that I think suffer from this more than any others.

5. Tool
Okay, I’m going to be honest. I fucking love Tool. They were one of the most musically and thematically interesting bands to come out of the grunge-metal underground scene in the 90’s, and for the most part, they’ve only gotten better over the years. All criticisms aside, Tool features some extremely talented musicians, most notably drummer Danny Carey, who is without doubt the best drummer in rock, and is probably in the top ten in the world. Vocalist Maynard James Keenan, though sometimes annoyingly pretentious, remains an excellent frontman and voice for one of the best live acts in music today.

However, I must be honest and say that Tool attracts some of the more annoying fans of the bands I consistently follow. From my experience, the cultlike fanbase is composed largely of rednecks, nerdy quasi-goths, and wannabe spirituals. Even more annoying than these living stereotypes are their frequently vocal opinions. If you enjoy Tool’s music, you probably know that one of their central messages is the idea that people should think for themselves. While this is all well and good, Tool’s fans somehow exclude the band themselves from this mantra. Toolheads constantly watch the band’s every move, a practice which has lead to fans practicing religions that were made up by the band in order to fuck with said fans (Google “Lachrymology”). Even more annoying is the near-Messianic image some fans have bestowed upon Keenan, who eats that shit like candy and turns it into new ways to fuck with people. Now, I enjoy the fact that Keenan has a sense of humor, but his fans should probably realize at some point that he’s kind of an asshole. That doesn’t mean you can’t like him or his band; just take them for what they are.

4. Metallica
I had a hard time deciding who to put in this spot, but I eventually settled on Metallica, if only for the fact that I don’t really like them. I admit that I find Metallica to be one of the most colossally overrated bands of the past thirty years, and that fact might taint my view of their fans. I don’t think I’m completely unjustified in that belief, though. Mostly, I dislike Metallica for spawning hundreds of terrible thrash metal acts, such as…oh, fuck it. I hate thrash metal.

Metallica fans love to talk about the band in two ways: how “fucking awesome” their music supposedly is, and how incredibly influential they are. Both of these claims are flawed, and here’s why. First, Metallica didn’t write good songs. They wrote songs for people to call “fucking awesome” while swinging their greasy hair in my face. Usually this involves writing a decent riff and repeating it under inane lyrics about riding the lightning. I can’t think of other examples because I don’t want to go listen to their music again. Metallica fans are utterly convinced that the band members are the most talented people in the history of nerdy pale guys, and they are wrong.

Secondly, on the issue of perceived influence: Metallica fans love to tout how the band supposedly created a whole new genre, and how they have remained relevant for so many years. This is probably the more annoying claim. These people need to realize that influence doesn’t matter if the music wasn’t any good to begin with. Besides, this idea is simply wrong. Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, and other such bands did it first, and did it way fucking better.
Also, the band members are douchebags. Fact.

3. Pink Floyd
Again, I gotta be honest. I like Pink Floyd’s music a lot. Most of their catalogue, especially “Piper at the Gates of Dawn” and “Dark Side of the Moon,” is shockingly creative, and has the musical quality to back it up. That’s really all I’ll say, because I don’t like any other aspect of the band itself.
The group members have proven themselves time and again to be self-absorbed, whiny pricks. Except for Richard Wright; he was mostly cool. Actually, I’m really just speaking of Roger Waters and Brian Gilmour. Songwriting skills aside, neither of these individuals are nearly as talented as they think they are. In fact, they both think they’re so fucking good that they’re too good for each other. The near-constant feud between these two is annoying as hell, and I’m sick of hearing about it.

What about the fans, you ask? Well, the main problem is that their fans are mostly just like the band itself. Creepy, passive, and self-absorbed to the extreme, Pink Floyd’s fanbase is a suicide cult waiting to happen. They also suffer from Tool syndrome; that is, waiting with bated breath for the band’s next move, constantly praying for a reunion tour and whimpering at every failed attempt. That’s the other thing. I’m so tired of hearing about Pink Floyd reunions. They did it for Live 8, and it sucked. I’m sure they’ll do it again, and it’ll still suck. Waters and Gilmour have become washed up yacht clubbers, and no amount of moaning from their fans will change that.

2. The Grateful Dead
Far be it from me to deny the coolness of the 60’s-era San Francisco jam movement, but I don’t really like the Grateful Dead. Actually, they have some really good songs. They just couldn’t play them live. I’m serious. I hate the Grateful Dead’s live sound. It’s boring. I can kind of see where it might be fun to take a shitload of acid and get sweaty with a bunch of dirty hippies…wait. No, I can’t. That sounds terrible. I can’t stand hippies.

That’s what bothers me most about this band and their fanbase. The only way to enjoy their music is apparently to do what I just described. That is not a good statement about any band. These people are so convinced in how good the Dead are that they really don’t see how bland and uninteresting the music actually is in a live setting. They have no edge, no surprise, no energy. They’re one of the few bands that I just really don’t understand. I don’t get why everyone on the planet thought (and still think) they were the best thing since sliced bread. It just makes no sense to me, and I guess that’s why their fans annoy me so much. Maybe I’m just missing something, some delightful bounce to the music that makes them fun to listen to in a crowded room for four hours. I doubt it, though.

1. Nirvana
You probably knew this was coming at some point, but here it is anyways. I’m in the middle of the road on Nirvana. I don’t hate them, but I don’t really like them either. I certainly don’t understand the worship they get from again grunge fanatics and poser high school kids. Anyways, my problem with their fans is similar to my problem with Metallica fans. Nirvana fans love to preach about how Nirvana gave a voice to a generation, redefined music, yadda yadda yadda. I call bullshit.

Now, I don’t deny that Nirvana was a very important band in the grunge movement. Their muddy sound and dispassionate lyrics paved the way for dozens of post-grunge bands the world over. However, they’re definitely not the best band from the start of the grunge movement. Soundgarden was more musically complex. Alice in Chains was darker and more brutal than Nirvana could have ever hoped to be. Pearl Jam was so much better than Nirvana that it’s hardly worth talking about, not to mention far more relevant and genuine.

More important, though, is how Nirvana’s fans have betrayed the memory of their angsty hero, Kurt Cobain. Supposedly, Cobain’s reasons for committing suicide centered on his revelation that he had become what he started out hating. His initial rebellion against the social expectations of youth crumbled when the entire fucking country started agreeing with him. As pretentious as his motives may have been, worse still is how his fans have continued to emulate Cobain to this day. Through their efforts, a mediocre songwriter has become the subject of fevered rumor, the emblem of mainstream “rebellion.” Nirvana’s fans just don’t seem to understand that rebellion isn’t cool if everyone thinks it is.

1 comment:

  1. I definitely think you've got a good list with a lot of valid points. I'm sure you considered a lot of bands, and I'd like to know your "runners-up". Maybe that could be a follow up post. I know some of the names that I thought would pop up would be NIN or Led Zeppelin. Led Zeppelin's fan base probably isn't as bad as what you've listed, but I think they've leaked into a high school scene in some sense, so they could be a potential runner-up.