America’s First Rock Festival
Korn’s New Video Will Make You Think… That Korn Still Sucks
It’s not my fault I watched the new Korn music video. Look, any time I get a press release with the subject line “KORN Deliver the True State of the Union with New Video,” I am going to click through to the Rolling Stone premiere of that video. And when Rolling Stoneclaims that in the video “the band attacks governmental data surveillance and modern information overload,” I am going to watch the shit out that, even if the mention of Korn’s name—or just a backwards R—makes me involuntarily cringe as a deluge of embarrassing middle-school memories come flooding up from deep inside me. Korn wants to tell us about the surveillance state, guys!
Frontman Jonathan Davis told Rolling Stone, “We are all so caught up in watching crazy media on the internet and TV that we are manipulated into ignoring that our privacy has all but disappeared.” Whoa, dude, preach it! Did someone smoke a doob with Tom Morello at Lollapallooza? Imagine what that hard-hitting critique of the media-industrial complex would look like if you represented it via a combination of words, music, and visuals? Oh shit, I don’t have to imagine it—you just made it!
Anyhoo, the song is called “Spike in My Veins,” which might refer to some kind of heroin=media analogy, but the lyrics are just a nu-metal word salad—the chorus is, “Never gonna run away/ Seeking out my path/ But the pain always gets in the way/ Slowly watch me die / I’m insane, so dangerous/ Don’t you just get in my way.” So let’s ignore the Angry Yelly Guy’s Songwriter Handbook Davis is using and just focus on the images in the video, the first of which is a TV:
Oh, OK, this is like a video-within-a-video, huh? It’s a mashup of a bunch of news reports about Edward Snowden and the NSA revelations. Then our broadcast is interrupted:
Oh, a public service announcement. Alright, I assume this is, like a hurricane warning or—
OH SHIT IT SAYS DISTRACTION WHAT THE HECK DOES THAT MEAN SHH SHH DUDE THE SONG IS STARTING. (If you are wondering what the song sounds like, it sounds a lot like Korn.)
Here’s the band contemplating a bunch of TV screens, looking a lot like the tertiary characters from the later Matrix movies. What’s on those screens, you ask?
It’s the president—but on Jimmy Kimmel! Like he’s just a celebrity or something!
And… surveillance cameras? What—
Ohhhhhhhh, it’s the guy! The rapey guy, whatshisname, and #PRISM, like… That dumb song about bad girls was actually about the much-maligned NSA surveillance program? Or, is Korn saying he’s a part of PRISM? Fucking layers, people.
Reviewed: The Limp Bizkit Comback the World Has Been Waiting for
Oh shit—the game just changed again. Limp Bizkit has emerged from a ten-year hiatus from being popular to drop the video for their pant-tightener of a comeback single, “Ready To Go,” which features Lil Wayne laying down a guest verse. It might seem like an odd combo, but Weezy’s got form when it comes to terrible rock music, having previously paid more than just lip service to the genre by actually releasing 2009’s nu-rock family funeral, Rebirth.
However, his commitment to having awful taste was only truly cemented when he became the Justin Timberlake to Fred Durst’s MySpace, signing the band to his label Young Money in February of 2012. “Ready to Go” is Bizkit’s first Young Money single, and the first of their tracks to include a proper rapper since 1999’s legitimately good stoner-rap joint “N 2 Together Now" with Method Man. It’s also been uploaded to Vimeo (meaning that Limp Bizkit are serious artists now), so I thought it deserved a bit of an examination.
Let’s begin at the beginning: America is now the sort of place where Limp Bizkit logos have replaced traffic signs. Limp Bizkit aren’t just a nu-metal band, or a shortcut to the cringe mechanisms of a generation of twenty-somethings, they’re also a physical place. A place where every traffic violation is presumably punished by a man with a “chainsaw” who “will skin your ass raw,” where the army where Red Yankees caps, where women try to dance to metal on podiums and where the word “fuck” still shocks.
Sure enough, the track itself opens with Fred screaming "GO FUCK YOURSELF!" at no one in particular. Welcome home, old friend; your rage is just as directionless as it ever was.
Please Kill Me – Among the War Pigs
It’s amazing to me how many real-life Spinal Tap moments I’ve had. This always leads me to ask myself, “Did that really happen, or was I so fucked up that I just imagined it?” You know, tramping around a backstage construction area with INXS, searching for the stage door for an hour before giving up. Watching a groupie’s face melt after finding out the opening band she’d just gangbanged wasn’t Danzig, the headliner. And my favorite, watching the Ramones demand that me and the staff at Punk magazine cross out, by hand, all reference to them as a punk band in their cover story. They just didn’t think the term was “accurate.”
This month, Black Sabbath released their new record 13, and it shot to number one in the UK after its first week of sales. Now remember, that’s 43 years since “Paranoid” went number one in 1970.
I’m also reminded that some of the dumbest metal moments—some of those Spinal Tap flashes—have landed among the most profound experiences of my life. I had one of those bizarrely significant experiences with Ozzy Osbourne in Nuremberg, Germany, in the same stadium where Leni Riefenstahl made her epic Nazi propaganda film, Triumph of the Will.
I was traveling with Scorpions, a huge heavy metal phenomenon of the 1980s. They were so internationally famous that I had to wonder if the whole world had gone batshit crazy. Not that Scorpions sucked. Far from it—they were a decent band with some great songs, and they put on a fantastic show. It was the ratio of fame to talent that was a bit disproportionate, if not utterly ridiculous.
David Bowie Stole My Suicide Record, So I Ripped the Hubcaps Off His Limo – Please Kill Me
Above: Legs and Joey Ramone around the time this story takes place. Photo by Tom Hearn
[Editor’s Note: Hi, millennials! We’d like to interrupt whatever Vine you’re working on and introduce you to our friend Legs. Maybe you’ve heard of him—he’s responsible for a little book called Please Kill Me, which is the best book on punk rock ever written. Noisey was filming with him a few weeks ago, and we convinced him to do a little writing for us. Enjoy!]
In my ongoing attempt to rebuild my vinyl collection, I was recently perusing a Brooklyn hipster record store and came across the new David Bowie album, The Next Day. I’ve been enjoying quite a few lesser-known Bowie cuts lately, so I decided to throw caution to the wind and really get wild. I bought the record.
This is a real feat for me, as I’ve never bought a record on faith alone. I’d been hearing good things about the record, and I was curious to hear what an artist like Bowie had to say at the end of his career or—if the rumors are true about his having cancer—at the end of his life.
While I was paying for the record, I was reminded of Mick Jagger’s famous quote about Bowie: “Never wear a new pair of shoes in front of him.” Jagger’s implication was either that Bowie was a notorious thief (of ideas, trends, or the latest fashions), or that he’d run right out and get it in order to claim ultra-hipper-than-thou-trendsetting status.” Yeah, be the first one on the block with a new, red-rooster, unisex cut and ten-inch, sparkling, platform shoes!
The instrument a man plays dictates how he fucks. It’s a fact.
The bassist will pillow talk with you for hours about his bandmates and name-drop big time actors he has “partied” with to seem more important. He will not know how to take off your bra, but will refuse to give up trying, so just do him a favor and have it unhooked the minute you even shake his hand. He won’t get it up right away, and will make excuses like a fifth grader who’s dog ate his homework. Bassists take a lot of breaks during sex because they are used to no one noticing if they drop out for a second. He will not let you use his designer shampoo or electric toothbrush, but will insist that you stay late the next day to have coffee and watch Netflix. Days after your night together, he will text you repeatedly, calling you slightly aggressive, yet totally immature, pet names. It will turn you off so you won’t respond. It only fuels his fire.
Guitarists are a dime a dozen and they fuck like it too.
If the guitarist always brings a back-up guitar to the show, you know the sex will be decent, and the next day you will be taken care of.
If the guitarist does not use a second guitar, it means he probably still lives at home.
If the guitarist breaks his guitar on stage for show then it means that you will have to be on top 90% of the time. This is better for you anyways because his dick probably does that slight curving up thing.
Originally, Deer Tick’s John McCauley and I had planned for this interview to take place in the form of a drinking game, but after we shotgunned our first beers we both threw up.
I Had Dinner with Buckethead
A friend of Buckethead’s agent recently invited me to dine with Buckethead in Los Angeles at his oceanfront Manhattan Beach home. Once a month, Buckethead apparently holds invite-only “Dinners with Buckethead.” The invite said, “Please wear long pants.” For a week I wondered what foods the elusive guitar player would serve. When the day arrived, I show up at the address at 7pm sharp in long pants, and a man in a white suit greeted me at the door. Inside, he led me to a table facing the ocean with three place settings. One other person (not Buckethead) was already seated in the middle; a white guy, shorter, with longer brown hair, wearing a trucker hat and big grandma sunglasses that he never took off. We were handed placards with calligraphed menus on them, and a few moments later, out glided a lavender-smelling Buckethead, in the Bucket and mask. No one spoke, or faced each other. We faced the Pacific Ocean, as the sun set, in silence.
No one really knows why Buckethead (born Brian Carroll, May 13, 1969) wears the KFC bucket on his head, and a Michael Myers Halloween-esque mask on his face. In fact, little is known about the virtuoso guitar player. His style spans from progressive metal to bluegrass, jazz, ambient, space. He shreds like Ares lives in his fingers. He’ll speed-pluck Michael Jackson’s “Smooth Criminal,” then segue into the Star Wars theme with a solo that sounds like R2D2 fucking Amadeus at the speed of light. Buckethead is an anomaly. He doesn’t speak, to anyone. He’s released 37 studio albums—14 in 2007 alone. He’s performed on over 50 other albums and has played and toured with Mike Patton, Iggy Pop, Bill Laswell, Bootsy Collins, Les Claypool, Serj Tankian, and was a member of Guns N’ Roses from 2000 to 2004.
The “Dinner with Buckethead” placard began with: Potables:
Vodka Martini with Huckleberry Juice “Caviar.” Hand-foraged wild huckleberries spherified into caviar using a sodium alginate gelling agent. How it’s done: Add the alginate little by little to the juice, then drop spoonfuls into a bath of calcium carbonate dissolved in water. A skin will form around the liquid. The process is made known by El Bulli’s Chef Ferran Adria.
It tasted mostly like vodka, and I said, “Are we not talking?” As an icebreaker, but no one answered. Trucker Hat burped quietly. I tried to catch a glimpse of how Buckethead drank under the mask, but didn’t want to stare. He drank like a cat.
The placard continued:
Monkey-Picked Oolong Tea sweetened with Acacia Honey, collected by nomadic bee-keepers operating in a Tuscan National Park. How it’s done: Monkeys were trained by monks in the 18th century to pick tea for the Emperor Qian Long. Nowadays, the term “monkey-picked” simply means the tea is the highest quality available.