People like to say things like "If John Lennon Were Alive Today, he would have an iPod and be recording with Moby." As if anyone could predict such a thing. Maybe he'd be opening Cinnabon franchises in the third world. You ever think of that? You never know.
But it is fun to postulate where dead rock stars would stand on important issues, whose music they would like, whose they would hate, what albums they would record in not-so-quiet desperation. It's all there for the dreaming. They can't deny they wouldn't have tried it, since they're dead!
John Lennon: Likes: Moby, for his baldness, for his advertising sense, for his vegan diet. Dislikes: Death Metal. Because as far as he's concerned, he did all that with "Cambridge, 1969" blah, blah, blah.... Best Album: Re-records his favorite Beatle and solo tunes with a third-rate crappy punk group from L.A. at Steve Albini's place in Chicago. Includes: "Nowhere Man," "Revolution 9" (thanks, John), "Bungalow Bil"l and lots of crap from Mind Games and Double Fantasy and that horrible bad synth-pop album he made in 1985 with Phil Collins. Worst Album: Some bad synth-pop album from 1985 that includes horribly recorded drums and too many guest spots from Phil Collins.
Jim Morrison: Likes: Creed--for their devotion to the craft. Dislikes: Jewel--for refusing to record a collaborative poetry album Best Album: Morrison Comes Alive--brilliant double live album from 1977 that's halfway between Peter Frampton's huge success and Lou Reed's Take No Prisoners. "Hello, I Love You, Where is my Beer?" is hailed by some as the ultimate middle-finger to his audience and by others as the sound of an alcoholic fruitlessly searching for his misplaced Pabst. Worst Album: The Lizard King Vs. The Golden Scarab. Sometime in the 1990s, Morrison and Doors keyboardist Ray Manzarek patched up their differences over the Doors' 15th and final studio album 1976's Open Sesame and recorded a concept album based on Morrison's old "Celebration Of The Lizard" and one of Manzarek's solo albums. Morrison's constant yelling of "Take It, Ray" is only slightly less annoying than Manzarek's steady response, "You got it, Man" and the steady tickling of the ivories that follows.
Gram Parsons: Likes: The entire Alt.country scene. Dislikes: People shorter than him. Best Album: Rick Rubin's home-produced Gram-Stand, where Parsons interprets an incoherent collection of black lung, coal mining songs from the early 20th century with little more than banjo and hammer dulcimer for backing. Surprise, Emmylou Harris guests. Worst Album: Hard to distinguish between the 17 live albums that all contain "Hickory Wind," "Return Of The Grievous Angel," "In My Hour Of Darkness" and some horrible "Nashville Medley." His voice could never survive the years of rough living and his coughing fits are more distracting than "authentic."
Kurt Cobain: Likes: silence. Dislikes: just about everything. Best Album: Kurt Sings. Most people found it perverse, a track by track recreation of Sid Vicious' solo album Sid Sings, an album no one liked when Sid did it. But in Cobain's hands, the results were, in the words of an old school Village Voice critic, "the sound of American Democracy coming apart at every nail while simultaneously being put back together with the force of a transcending and glowing hammer as rudimentary as Robert Johnson, as essential as L Ron Hubbard." Worst Album: Since he broke up Nirvana after In Utero and only released two albums before retiring to his farm, the worst album by default is Can He Du It?, a bizarre experimental noise record with some guy from a later edition of the German band Can and Greg Norton from Husker Du. No one knew what to make of it when it first appeared, but these days it's hailed as a classic since that's what happens to old records.
Tupac Shakur: Likes: Tupac Shakur Dislikes: Everyone else. Best Album: He never made another one after 1994. He dropped out of movies and went into science to become a chemist and work in some godforsaken lab in the Simi Valley. Worst Album: a handful of crappy outtake albums his mother put together from tapes found in a closet somewhere