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The biggest A$$-Holes in music history.


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 I came up with the idea for this discussion after watching a fun/interesting/sad documentary on The Bee Gees the other night. I think we can all agree that there have been some first-class douche bags in music history, for a variety of reasons, so throw out your (least) favorite individuals here!

 

I christen the thread with none other than Steve Dahl, the mastermind of the “the disco demolition night” on July 12th, 1979. I had heard briefly about this event, but until I watched the documentary, I had never heard of Dahl.  After doing a bit of research, I came to the pretty quick conclusion that this guy is a smug, angry little man, that for whatever reason had a real hard-on for The Bee Gees. While not a serious fan of disco myself, I have always kinda liked The Bee Gees story, and I have also found their demise quite sad. I did not  know what prolific song writers they became, after the demise of disco.

 

Anyway, back to Dahl - Look, I truly despise modern rap music - with a passion.  HOWEVER, I would never dream of a stunt like Dahl orchestrated.  If people want to listen to that garbage, so be it.  But no, Dahl had to wreck an entire genre, because of his personal animus. Sad.

 

Anyway, he’s my nomination for the music douchebagery hall of fame...

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disco_Demolition_Night

 

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I was growing up in Chicago during this period.

He and his sidekick, Gary Miers, were a big thing with their anti-disco radio show.

While I was couldn't get into disco, I was never a fan his show.

 

He was always controversial.

During the Iran hostage crisis, he would make prank overseas calls to Iran while on the radio. IIRC, the state department had to intervene through the radio station to get him to stop.  

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I recall Dahl's demolition night, as it made it on the news far and wide, even where I was. I believe it reflected the growing frustration in the country at all of the more complex forms of music that were being pushed aside in favor of this new flavor of bubblegum.

 

Disco may have been responsible in part for the demise of prog rock, which was a definite loss to the collective musical ear of the western world. It also helped give rise to the Dadaist punk rock movement. I'm on the fence about that, as without punk we'd never have seen the New Wave of the late Seventies. No Blondie, Devo, no Gary Numan. Nor would we have heard the New Romantics of the Eighties. Tony Carey, Madness, Depeche Mode, Eurythmics. 

 

Disco also pushed the folk rock movement into the utter doldrums, while also helping defuse arena rock - though rising ticket prices, drugs busts, and the unfortunate festival seating disaster in Cincinnati offered nary a whiff of help. I think it also helped the corporate takeover of the arena, as an organized response to the disco fluff. We started the decade with Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple but by 1977 it was KISS and the like. Of course we got Queen out of it, the lone band carrying the tatters of the prog banner, so there is that. 

 

As to whom the biggest bunghole in rock would be, that question is a rather large boil just begging to be lanced. I would have to say, at the top of the list would be Don Arden, manager, agent, and father-in-law to Ozzy Osbourne. He was an absolute monster and there isn't enough time in this day to tell of all he did, nor do I feel comfortable even discussing him. Suffice it to say that when your own daughter has to take you to law and practically threaten your life to make you go away, you're not at all right with the Lord. 

 

The rather long list of festering sphincters would continue with Don Henley, Phil Spector, Madonna, Lou Pearlman, and it keeps going. Drugs, pedophilia, artist exploitation, rape and murder are just some of the wonderful things that goes on in the music business. When people are worshipped by an adoring public they lose all sight of reality, and when there's money to be made from it, the root of all evil gives forth branches. I'm starting to believe that the satanic panic of the Eighties, led by none other than the future ex-Mrs. Gore, was nothing more than a deflection to move the public eye from the absolute carnality of the business and over to that thin charade.  The saddest part of this is that what is known is not as bad as what remains hidden. 

Edited by Butcher
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15 minutes ago, AndrewJohn said:

I remember Dahl, growing up.  Shock Jock radio..., no value when you have no talent.

 

Indeed. Shock jocks detracted from people who had actual talent and a rapport with their audience. In the 70s and 80s FM in the west was blessed by the likes of John "Records" Landecker and Russ Albums, people who developed long-lasting fans who followed them through their career. Albums in particular has the most distinctive baritone you will ever hear, and he always seemed to know exactly what to say, no wasted words.

On the more commercial side of things one could partake of Wolfman Jack and Casey Kasem (one of the most comforting and engaging voices to ever work a pop-shield). This all gave way to reedy-voiced scoundrels, marinating in the basest of prurient interests, and lowering the collective IQ of the listeners. 

 

Perhaps its just me, and when I arrived on the scene here, but I feel that 70s FM radio was peak America. Everything since appears to be either ever-divisible narrowcasting, or highly-moderated groupthink. 

 

And with that spoken, I hereby yield the floor. 

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Oh god, DISCO. It took me years to forget that word. What an embarrassment. And then there came RAP(e). 

 

  I remember asking my father what his definition of good music was. "Music that is well written and well performed."  'Nuff said.

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This is one man's opinion, and not necessarily mine. I'm only familiar with two of the artists mentioned, and I do agree with his #1 pick, Axel Rose. I would have added Michael Jackson and Gary Glitter to the list.

 

https://brettwatts.blogspot.com/2008/05/top-4-assholes-in-rock_19.html

 

Mark, if you hadn't started this thread, I might have picked up the Mount Rushmore... topic again. :D

 

 

 

 

 

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Nice posts @Butcher
I think one that needs mentioned is Terry Knight who managed Grand Funk Railroad at one time. He screwed them over royally with what he calls “bad investments” and made off with a lot of their money before they finally found out about it........😔

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At the top of my list is Kanye West. He has consistently behaved badly for the last decade. His interrupting Taylor Swift's acceptance speech was a total embarrassment. (Anyone who can make someone as obnoxious as Swift look like a victim must truly be an over the top asshole)

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"The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side." ~ Hunter S. Thompson

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14 hours ago, Sk1Bum said:

Whoever told Bob Dylan he could sing...

 

Agreed, but there were certain times his nasal warbling was appropriate. For instance, he performed on the soundtrack for that peak-80s movie, Band of the Hand. The opening titles were underwritten by his track Hell Town Man, a great rambling blues wreck that kicked Link Wray up a notch, albeit slightly more polished. And of course who could forget Lay Lady Lay? For decades I'd thought that was Charlie Rich or someone of that crowd. Imagine my surprise on one fateful day, when I heard that track on the radio and stuck around long enough to hear the DJ say, "And that was the great Bob Dylan..." I nearly ran to the phone to yell at the DJ for being a prat, but then my calm demeanor returned and had me do a bit of research. 

Edited by Butcher
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1 hour ago, Walrus Gumboot said:

Anyone care to elaborate on why Don Henley?  

He is insatiably greedy - he led the Eagles to break the $100 ticket barrier when most bands were still around $60.

 

He was a jackass for running Don Felder out of the band (over money).  To be fair, Fry had a hand in this too.

 

He is “Mr. Lawsuit”, even going so far as to attempt to sue for royalties on the sale of used  CDs.

 

Im sure there’s more, but these are just the ones I know of off the top of my head....

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21 minutes ago, B-Man said:

But you have to admit that "Dirty Laundry" is a very accurate portrayal of the media...

 

🙂

Agreed.

 

Even evil people can do good things, therefore I respect his music. 

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Axle Rose (Guns and Roses) and Josh Homme (Kyuss/Queens of the Stone Age) come to mind. Josh Homme specifically as he was the one that stabbed my beach ball with a switchblade at the Toronto show. F***K him!!!

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1 hour ago, johnrotten said:

Homme specifically as he was the one that stabbed my beach ball with a switchblade at the Toronto show. F***K him!!!

 

I think that justifies moving him straight to the TOP of the list and pinning him there - preferably with switchblades.   :D

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I apologize in advance to all you Doors fans out there.  The biggest axxhole in the music business that I ever met was Ray Manzarek.  I did a shoot at his house probably 25 years ago. He was on camera to talk about, of course, Jim Morrison. There was a technical glitch that was my fault which would have caused us to restart the interview and re-do about 10 mins of filming.  Instead of being cool about it, he ran upstairs like a petulant child and refused to be interviewed any more. 

 

On the other side of the spectrum Taylor Swift has hugged me every time I've seen her (for a total of twice)

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1 hour ago, PhilDent said:

I apologize in advance to all you Doors fans out there.  The biggest axxhole in the music business that I ever met was Ray Manzarek.  I did a shoot at his house probably 25 years ago. He was on camera to talk about, of course, Jim Morrison. There was a technical glitch that was my fault which would have caused us to restart the interview and re-do about 10 mins of filming.  Instead of being cool about it, he ran upstairs like a petulant child and refused to be interviewed any more. 

 

On the other side of the spectrum Taylor Swift has hugged me every time I've seen her (for a total of twice)

Of the 2 I'd rather get hugged by Taylor Swift. I do think her public personality is that of a spoiled brat that needs to be turned over someones lap and spanked.

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