Friday, January 30, 2015

Weekend Listomania's Greatest Hits: Special A Mighty Wind Edition

[I first posted this one back in 2009, and what strikes me most upon revisiting it is that I was hard pressed to nominate somebody new for the list -- i.e., somebody who arrived on the pop scene too late to make it in the first go round. Whether that speaks to the general blandness of most contemporary pop rather than to my general age-influenced indifference and ignorance of it I would not venture to guess. In any case, as you well know, I have deigned to do some rewriting and I even added a couple of nominees just to keep you all on your toes. -- S.S.]

Post-Beatles Pop Star Who is (or Was), Indisputably, a Huge Asshole!!!

Self-explanatory, obviously, but I've decided not to nominate anybody based solely on their politics. My feeling is that the name of this blog is PowerPop, not Pissed-Off Lefty or National Review Groupie, so out of a decent respect for the opinions of our diverse readership, I myself won't be dissing...oops, almost gave the game away there.

That said, if the rest of you guys feel the need to trash our Pop Star betters for no other reason than their ideological proclivities, feel free. My hands are clean.

And my totally top of my head Top Six is:

6. Sting

Not that I have any particular animus toward the guy, but I figured I'd just beat the rest of you to the punch.

5. Leo Sayer

Never buy an album from a man who looks like he should be singing the lead in Pagliacci.

4. Billy Corgan (Smashing Pumpkins)

C'mon, you knew I was going to do this. Billy Corgan, ladies and germs: His pretentious cueball noggin, his orchestra and his chorus.

3. Nicki Minaj

I carried on about this talentless lump of suet the other week, but at the risk of flogging a deceased equine, let me simply say, and for the record, that if she thought it necessary to set her hair on fire for attention she unquestionably would do it.

2. Mike Love (The Beach Boys)

For a zillion obvious reasons, not the least of which is that it gives me yet another opportunity to post the most awesome photo in rock history. Honorable mention: Occasional Beach Boy John Stamos, who's so big a putz he actually cheated on Rebecca Romijn.

And the numero uno living braying jackass in pop music indisputably is...

1. Neil Tennant (The Pet Shop Boys)

An entire career based on his seething resentment of the fact that nobody took his favorite disco records as seriously as he did. What a jerk.

Awrighty then -- who would YOUR choice(s) be?


cthulhu said...

Don Henley is widely viewed as the most humorless person in the music industry. I still like "Dirty Laundry" though because it's so nasty and it has a terrific (uncredited) guitar solo from Joe Walsh.

Jimmy Page did some pretty reprehensible stuff too.

Anonymous said...

Neil Peart
Robin Guthrie
Robbie Robertson
Jackson Brown
Jerry Wexler (assuming Muscle Shoals' depiction of him is correct)
Alan Douglas

The Kenosha Kid said...

John Lennon (!) besides beating up wives, there's this:

In 1967, (The Turtles) rhythm guitarist Jim Tucker left the band, allegedly after being publicly insulted by John Lennon when the group were in England on a promotional tour. Tucker, a Beatles fan, apparently never got over the experience and quit the group and the music business.

Anonymous said...

Actually, I have the lyric sheet and personnel credits from Henley's first solo album and Joe Walsh IS listed as playing the first guitar solo on "Dirty Laundry" (Steve Lukather plays the second solo). F.Y.I....

J. Lag

Anonymous said...

Concur on Mike Love who should be near the top of anyone's list.

Here's a few more:

David Crosby - a complete phony and all around jerk.
Stephen Stills - also a jerk.
Lou Reed for a lot more than Metal Machine Music.
Gene Simmons - Kiss Kaskets anyone? And most of the girls he's had were low quality trash.
Axl Rose - certifiable
John Fogerty - wallowed in hatred for decades. Shoulda put aside his differences and played with Creedence at Hall of Fame.
Phil Spector for obvious reasons.
Bonnie Raitt who very rudely turned down an eight year old girl who asked for an autograph in the lobby of the Wiltern, snottily telling her not to bother her as she was busy chatting with Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson. The little girl cried after the rebuke.

Donovan - after a very iffy show at the Wilshire Theater in late 2005, Donovan was gracious enough to invite us back to his dressing room. He was more than friendly and I told him I had recently read his book. In the middle of the conversation he turned his back to us for a moment. When he turned back around his personality had completely changed. He pulled his dick out. Sandy and I looked at each other uncomfortably. Then he pissed on the carpet. When finished relieving himself he screamed at us like a nut case telling us to get the hell out of there. It was the weirdest thing I ever saw! His manager, who I think was Linda Lawrence's brother, met us in the hallway and said that sometimes Donovan forgets to take his meds.

Vickie Rock

P.S. Not a fan of Don Henley as a solo act at all, but, in his defense, how can a humorless guy like him get up on stage with Mojo Nixon and sing along with a tune called "Don Henley Must Die."

P.S.S. Jackson Browne's a nice guy. Really easy to talk to and down to earth. I think the spousal abuse shit is blown way out of proportion in his case. I told him he needs to write more stuff like "Redneck Friend" on several occasions.

richard_thunderbay said...

Gary Glitter. He's on trial as we speak for being a child molestor.

Billy B said...

None of his bandmates were too impressed by Brian Jones. Ritchie Blackmore was pretty much an asshole.
Ronnie Montrose fit in that category also, too.
The Van Headache brothers. David Lee Roth.

Brooklyn Girl in Queens said...


steve simels said...

The really big surprise of Keith Richard's autobiography, for me, was how little he had to say about Brian Jones.

Obviously, Keith thought he was an asshole, but was just too nice to speak ill of the dead.

Billy B said...

Steve -

I think Keef always felt guilty about stealing Anita from Brian. He's said as much. That had to make for some uncomfortable situations within the band...

Gummo said...

Really, steve? I'd have to go back & look again, but I thought Keith was pretty nasty about Brian, especially considering how he gushed over non-bandmate buddy Gram Parsons.

I just finished the Lou Reed bio, Transformer. I love Lou's music, but yeah, he was a true blue asshole.

Robbie Robertson (which pains me because I love his work with The Band -- you know, the guys he fucked over every way possible).

Mike Love. Just because it can't be said enough.

steve simels said...

Vicki, I hae a soft spot for Jackson Browne.

The week of the No Nukes concert, a friend of mine who worked in a mid-town credit card brothel told me that Jackson checked in to the place for the entire week, and charged the whole thing to Geffen Records.

Also, the girls all loved him because he was a great tipper.

True story.

Anonymous said...

Simels, you left out the punchline to Jackson Browne at the brothel: The girls liked the tips, sure, but mostly they liked that they did not have to do anything sexual for him, just sit in the Jacuzzi and listen while he told them Eskimo folk tales!

Anonymous said...

It's all about the mukluks and fur gloves

Vickie Rock

Anonymous said...

Another guy who probably belongs on this list is Johnny Rivers, of "Secret Agent Man"/"Poor Side of Town" fame. A couple of friends of mine - one a local radio announcer who tried to interview him, the other a woman who sang background vocals for him on a concert date - had encounters with him and said he was, to put it charitably, a bit difficult.

J. Lag

edward said...

Most of what I have read about Bob Dylan indicates he is personally an ass. But then, he's Bob. Whatcha gonna do?

Never sure how much of John Lydon is an act to live up to his Rotten nom de rock, but if he wants to present as a jerk, so be it.

No first hand knowledge of this, but I've been told Liz Phair is a people using bitch.

Surely, there must be more obnoxious ladies not named Yoko for this list.

steves said...

No list of Pop Assholes is complete without the inclusion of David Crosby and Joe Jackson.

There. That's better.

pete said...

I opened for Leo Sayer in the '70s and he was a nice guy - to me, anyway - although he was hard on his band.

pete said...

Zappa, check. Stills, check. Fogarty, check-plus. John Kay, check-double-plus. Al Kooper.

Anonymous said...

Roger Waters is a dick too.

While not really a big star, Maria McKee was one of the biggest prima donna CUNTS I've ever had the misfortune of encountering. I only base this on one horrendous experience in April of 1996 at the Galaxy Theater (now the Observatory) in Santa Ana. The show, and the album she was touring behind, both sucked as well. I think by the end of the night, everyone in the place, who you could count on your hands and toes, hated her guts. Management swore that they would never have the little bitch back. I can't even begin to tell you. It was a complete meltdown before, during and after the show.

But Johnny Rivers? C'mon. He let me use his Auto Club card after a gig when I had locked my purse and keys in the car. I hung out with him and his keyboard player as their gear was getting loaded out and we were waiting for the locksmith. That's way beyond the call of duty.

Vickie Rock - Off to a second night of old decrepit Patti Smith.

steves said...

Wow! How can we get to this point in the list and no one's mentioned Justin Beiber?

We must be getting old.

Anonymous said...

Much as I love Creedence, Fogarty definitely belongs on the list. He barely managed to make up with his own brother, when Tom was on his deathbed.

Surprised no one has mentioned Bono. The UK music bloggers tend to find him insufferable.


M_Sharp said...

Ted Nugent
Gene Simmons
Jerry Wexler- screwed both Stax Records and Rick Hall of Fame Studios.

Mark said...

I'm saddened -- just a tad -- to hear that John Kay is on this list. What a great voice, and what a real-life great backstory.

And boy, for a good ten-year period beginning in the late 1960s, Terry Knight sure caught a lot of shit.

Anonymous said...

aside from Jackson Browne's Ray Rice problem, he's nominated for the way he went after Joni Mitchell when she wrote a song alluding to his relationship to Daryl Hannah. He went on a national campaign to call Mitchell a sour grapes harpie who was just jealous because he had spurned her advances. His management must have pushed the story hard b/c I read it in the Columbus Dispatch, not some music rag. That puts you and your team not only in Ray Rice territory, but Baltimore Ravens land.

as for a brothel on the label credit card, not so out there. they probably just added it to the balance of his advance, and when he sales never recouped that, to the overall cost of business. one of the reasons cd's used to cost more than records, even tho they cost less to make, ship and display. fuckin one-percenter overhead.

buzzbabyjesus said...

Gee everybody's here. I worry one of my heroes, Ray Davies is eligible. Just ask his brother Dave.

buzzbabyjesus said...

And I don't think I saw Roger McGuinn mentioned yet. Nothing specific concerning him but it seems all his former bandmates mostly decide no not say much instead of saying anything bad. Roger and David didn't like that Gene Clark wrote all the best tunes.

Anonymous said...

I know he just died, and I know he's never really been a pop star, but Kim Franken-Fowley has to rank pretty high on the asshole-o-meter. At least he knew it and did it with panache.

With re: to Jackson Browne: The guy does have a bit of a temper. In the mid-nineties at a benefit show for Jorge Calderon's wife (she needed a liver transplant) a lone protester showed up. This guy was pissed off that rock stars were going to the front of the line for liver transplants (David Crosby) when the ordinary folks were left waiting. It was a largely acoustic show for the first part of the evening. This protester was hollering during the music and had become quite annoying. He was actually hurting his cause with his rudeness. Jackson jumped off the stage at the Palace in Hollywood, grabbed the guy by the collar and told him to shut the fuck up. He personally threw the guy out, much to the audience's delight.

Now with re: to Daryl Hannah. It was Jackson who called the cops because Hannah was ransacking the house. The police found no evidence of abuse on the night in question.

Also, I think it must have been Asylum Records that picked up Jackson Browne's MUSE whore tab. Don't think Geffen Records had been established at that point.

Vickie Rock - Seeing Patti Smith this weekend was like seeing Grandmama Adams doing punk rock. And I didn't know Rich Robinson of the Black Crowes was gonna do a number in her set. That was a surprise. Too much Banga-Ghandi, however! And I always hated People Have the Power.

steve simels said...

Vicki--yes, Asylum. I regret the error.

Alzo said...

Ray Davies and Lou Reed are/were two of the finest rockers ever, but you wouldn't want to spend any time with them. Steve Marriott, too.
Hard to believe all of the knowledgable commenters here haven't mentioned Courtney Love. Blech.

pete said...

I've had several dealings with Roger McGuinn over the years - opened for him twice, interviewed him at least once - and he was always the sweetest guy you'd ever want to know.

Anonymous said...

Maybe we should give some of these people a break. They are living in a fishbowl and get pestered constantly for autographs, money, jobs, insight, friendship, photos, sex, time, praise, name it. During a 10, 20 or 30 year career even the nicest, best- intentioned person will have a few moments/reactions they didn't mean/are not proud of.
So sure, let's condemn the serial offenders, but give the rest the benefit of the doubt.

senormedia said...

If I spent the week in a brothel I'd hate to be remembered for just being a "tipper"...

DB said...

Late to the party but here's a female nomination: Chrissie Hynde.

Listen to her painful interview with NPR and you'll hear what other interviewers have found: She's a graceless clod.