For obvious reasons, we threw this into the We Wish They Hadn’t category. We’ll get to the particulars, but we’ll state our two theses* here: 1 – There are far easier targets at which to throw stones and 2 – Pointing a finger at someone else leaves three pointing back at you (/grandmother’d).
*We’ll have as many theses as we want and/or need
BACKGROUND: As part of their uber cool SPIN magazine spread, Kings of Leon drummer Nathan Followill dropped this nugget:
Now it’s cool to have 14 people in your band doing everything but contributing musically, running around with a helmet on your head, hitting it with a drumstick. You gotta look at what you’re in this for: the love of music? The fame? You can have all that if you’re smart and play your cards right and don’t become a dick.
Oh, I hear that! No one likes musicians acting like dicks…like when they passive aggressively call out another band. Additional background, if you haven’t seen an Arcade Fire live performance, Richard Parry will occasionally don a helmet and drum his own head. Whatever. It’s weird. I get that, but the irony here is deep.
The whole thing got me thinking. Here’s some questions I asked:
Is Arcade Fire really the best target in this space?
Methinks the answer is absolutely “no.” It seems a better target, especially given KoL’s new found radio success, would be the treasure trove of pop shit playing nationwide before and after Kings of Leon’s Radioactive. I think they’d do better to lash back at the Miley Cyruses and Katy Perrys of the world as opposed to critically acclaimed indie band that doesn’t mind having a double-digit roster of performers (and who just happened, b-t-dub, to debut Suburbs at #1 earlier this year). Arcade Fire released what many will call the best album of 2010 and they’re likely not aspiring to be the next global rock powerhouse. They’re simply not a threat – at all – to any kind of KoL success.
Should a band so blatantly switching back from a previous position be so bold as to find fault with anyone else?
For me, this is the more pressing issue. It wasn’t long ago that KoL was sharing their thoughts on mom jeans and how ashamed they were at their mainstream success. At the time, as a somewhat longer-termed fan, I thought that tact was interesting, a touch self-righteous and funny as shit. Then they tour like crazy, record a new album, release it, start the press rotation and BANG! All of sudden, they want to be the biggest rock group in the world! I’M ON THE RADIO!
Wait. But you said that you didn’t? I thought…but you said “mom jeans” and…what the?
Now that they’ve done a 180 and like the idea of becoming the world’s next biggest rock band, they’re suddenly entitled as smart card players who haven’t become dicks? I just don’t get it.
Who gives a shit how many people someone else has in their band?
Sure it’s a pain in the ass to travel around and share small spaces with lots of people, but dammit, if AF wants two drummers for portions of their live show, I say bang away you fantastic Canucks. Play as many instruments as you need to rock my face off. Thanks in advance.
CONCLUSION: The quote doesn’t make a ton of sense (literally or otherwise). I like the competitive nature of music (without which we might never have had Rubber Soul, Pet Sounds or Abbey Road), but in an era so widely divided by industry-created stars and legitimate music artists that made their own way, I think battling inside of either of those areas is the wrong way to go.
I’m not saying anyone’s better or worse for the whole thing…I think it’s probably because they’re all dicks…in the most awesome way possible.
Maybe I can force these two to make up by sharing a couple of my favorites (and LIVE). That probably won’t work, but it’s worth a shot and I want to hear them both anyway. /INLEdick