No one watches the Super Bowl for the music, but any metal fans that happened to tune in last night saw three very disturbing things that further tarnished the legacies of artists in a pretty short period of time. Between Slash, Ozzy Osbourne, and an American Idol ad featuring current judge Steven Tyler at his gum-flapping worst, it was a pretty grim reminder that GN’R, Ozzy and Aerosmith are well past the prime of their careers, to say the least.
We’ll start with the most grating, which was, of course, Slash’s appearance with the Black Eyed Peas during the halftime show. It was almost bound to happen anyway, since Fergie made an appearance on Slash’s album, and the singer had covered “Sweet Child Of Mine” in the past. But this was just awful. First of all, while the show itself at least looked semi-interesting visually, it was mixed like a high school talent show. How can four mostly auto-tuned vocals shouting along to backing tracks be mixed so bad? But it got worse pretty quickly. Slash popped up (literally) in a sparkly top hat to lay down the iconic opening to GN’R's biggest song, and got a snippet of the solo in before the ADD production shuffled him off. Fergie even attempted to dance like Axl Rose. 24 years ago, a young hungry band emerged from Los Angeles playing like their lives depended on it, and now Slash is making a cameo in a bejeweled Ed Hardy approximation of his top hat. We’re talking about a guy that refused to allow Guns N’ Roses’ music on Glee, but Glee is like death metal compared to the Black Eyed Peas.
We’re not the only people to think it was awful. “Worst halftime show ever. Jesus. Really?,” Motley Crue’s Nikki Sixx tweeted. “I hear ya brother, WTF?,” Aerosmith’s Joey Kramer replied to Sixx. And Sixx’s bandmate Tommy Lee chimed in, asking “WTF was that?” So it looks like Motley Crue won’t be playing with the Black Eyed Peas or in a super bowl halftime any time soon. While I guess some credit should be given to the NFL for having the first act not in their ’50s since Janet Jackson and Nipple-gate, this was easily the worse halftime show since this.
And then there’s Ozzy’s Best Buy commercial with Justin Bieber. Like the Slash/BEP collaboration, we knew it was going to happen, but god, it was terrible. It’s not like Ozzy is any stranger to selling out, but this ad purposely made him look out of touch and senile, like he wandered off the set of the ad. It was essentially The Osbournes in space. And besides the fact that it added more to Ozzy’s legacy as a bumbling old man and took away from him being one of the best and most charismatic frontmen ever and the godfather of heavy metal, it also gave Justin Bieber credibility.
A few minutes after the Best Buy embarrassment, there was another commercial for American Idol. We’ve said all we need to say about Steven Tyler joining up as a judge, and sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words. So take a look at this, this, and finally this. Then put on a copy of Toys in the Attic and remember when he used to be one of the most badass frontmen around. In fact, add in Appetite For Destruction, Blizzard of Ozz, and Paranoid to that playlist, because you might as well remember those acts and artists at their best, as opposed to their opportunistic, money-grabbing worst, which was on display last night.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that Arizona has passed a bill that essentially legalizes racial profiling. There are people for and against it, and obviously on the entertainment side, many are against it. Among them is Rage Against the Machine frontman Zack De La Rocha, He started an organization called The Sound Strike that’s essentially boycotting Arizona. Among the artists participating are, of course, Rage Against the Machine, Cypress Hill, Tenacious D, Massive Attack, and Sonic Youth. Here’s some of Zack’s call to arms:
Fans of our music, our stories, our films and our words can be pulled over and harassed every day because they are brown or black, or for the way they speak, or for the music they listen to. People who are poor like some of us used to be could be forced to live in a constant state of fear while just doing what they can to find work and survive. This law opens the door for them to be shaked down, or even worse, detained and deported while just trying to travel home from school, from home to work, or when they just roll out with their friends.
Some of us grew up dealing with racial profiling, but this law (SB 1070) takes it to a whole new low. If other states follow the direction of the Arizona government, we could be headed towards a pre-civil rights era reality. This unjust law was set into motion by the same Arizona government that refused to acknowledge Martin Luther King Jr. day as a national holiday.
When Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat, they arrested her. As a result, people got together and said we are not going to ride the bus until they change the law. It was this courageous action that sparked the Montgomery bus boycott. What if we got together, signed a collective letter saying, “we’re not going to ride the bus”, saying we are not going to comply. We are not going to play in Arizona. We are going to boycott Arizona!
While we’re definitely against the bill, and can’t really fault De La Rocha for actively speaking out against it, the motives are a little off. For one, we agree with Damian Abraham from Fucked Up, who got into a Twitter war with some band we never heard of called Stars. “All this does is not give the people that like your band enough credit and assumes that they are in someway supportive of the bill,” he responded to Stars’ announcement they were boycotting the state.
Also, look at that list of performers boycotting Arizona. Way to go, Rage Against the Machine. When was the last time they toured again? Massive Attack? They’re from the UK, and only tour once per album. Street Sweeper Social Club? Wait, who’s in that band again? Oh right, RATM guitarist Tom Morello. Tenacious D? Is Kyle Gass going to not drink Arizona Iced Tea? It’s not like it’s not a worthy cause, but how much pull will these acts have in urging people to join the boycott? The biggest name on there is the guy that’s directed a few Rage Against the Machine videos, Michael Moore. He’s definitely got the biggest reach (and likely the biggest gut, but that’s a different story).
At any rate, sign the petition here.
Despite iTunes and Amazon dropping DRM completely for quite some time, the RIAA has finally gone and admitted that DRM is dead.
Torrent Freak reports Jonathan Lamy, chief spokesperson for the RIAA, made the comment when asked about the RIAA’s view on DRM for an upcoming SCMagazine article. “DRM is dead, isn’t it?” Lamy said, referring to the various online outfits that now offer music without restrictions.
There you go, folks. The war is over. We can live with the pride of knowing our children will never know the injustices of digitally restricted media. Do we celebrate? Is this less or more important than Bastille Day?