Unlike my remarkably brilliant blog on the Twenty-Five Unsexy Rockers, this blog focuses on ten performers who look the opposite of accepted cool. It doesn't mean they aren't cool. It's just that they don't fit the standard James Dean-Elvis Presley-Jim Morrison-Keith Richards standard of rock n' roll cool.
They are, for lack of a better term, nerds. Let it be said that it is my fervent hope (my super-fervent hope!) that some of the people on this list will be remembered for being far cooler than anyone in the Black Crowes.
After compiling the list, I think Brian Wilson probably should've made it. He was a musical genius who had no game!
10) Buddy Holly: Wearing your glasses back in the 1950s, before there were totally chic designer frames that could actually make you look cooler, was a brave thing to do. Of course, with a look like his, he was also really good with ballads. Figures.
Ben Folds: Another guy you can bring home to dad because he's so earnest and well-mannered that dad will be really impressed with him - especially after that last greaseball you brought home - until he finds out you're dating a musician. Then, young lady, he locks you in the basement until the country club finds you a nerd with a real career - in banking.
8) Jonathan Richman: Jonathan Richman may be the only young nerd who never grew out of the phase.
Oingo Boingo: First off, there were too many members in this band, which makes them look like a meeting of the League of Gentlemen more than a rock group. Second, the main guy's name was Danny Elfman, a name that Ronnie James Dio surely learned to reject. Third, they were called Oingo Boingo! If they wanted real respect in rock n' roll circles, they would've called themselves The Heroin Dolls.
6) Jonas Brothers: I love when these young men wear matching sunglasses. It makes them look so...dorky? Yes, I know millions of young girls think they're suave and debonair, but one day they will grow up and feel about JB the way women near my age now feel about Corey Hart, Corey Haim and Corey Feldman.
Elvis Costello: Well, not anymore. Not since he filled out. But in 1977-1984, EC pretty much played up his skinny, angry young man image with those glasses that always looked like they were fogging up. Truth be told, I wanted to be him. Maybe because I knew I had a better shot at looking like him than, say, David Lee Roth. Roth was partly right when he said that rock critics preferred Costello to Van Halen because they all looked like Costello. These days, I'd say, most critics like Van Halen, with David Lee Roth, just the same.
4) They Might Be Giants: Look, you put your hand inside the puppet head. Me? I'm going to arm-wrestle my mother!
Rivers Cuomo: Well, obviously, he's "The New Buddy Holly." He even wrote a song with the title. (Or maybe now he's the new Hurley!) His songs are catchy. He's delightfully weird. But I still kind of secretly hope that the guys in Motley Crue will kick him down the stairs for the hell of it. I mean, music is so boring these days.
2) Nellie McKay: I like Nellie. I do. Of all the female singers out there, she's the one who uses cuteness instead of sex to make her statement. I respect that. The fact that she can play any instrument, speak in any language, and cook anything you desire makes her the perfect mail-order bride. Except it doesn't work that way anymore. She'd take one look at us and take the money and file a grievance with the Better Business Bureau!
Justin Bieber: I'm really glad that young people have a music star to look up to who seems so clean and innocent. It might help the kids live longer and healthier lives. But, man, this kid would've gotten killed in my high school.