It's Reznor vs. Cornell, Miley vs. Radiohead, but can we have the gloves off please, asks MOJO's Johnny Sharp?
In this Godless, Twittering age, public figures' every last cerebral spasm can go immediately from brain to worldwide web before second thoughts get a look in. So it's hardly surprising that rock's great and good are hurling insults with unprecedented regularity.
And yet, lately, most of the individuals on the receiving end of these barbs have refused to rise to the bait. Which begs the question--can nobody conduct a proper rock feud any more?Trent Reznor's recent Twitter ("Heard Chris Cornell's record? Jesus...embarrassing") was met with a response that lacked the kind of bile we expect from ego-bruised rock stars.
"What do you think Jesus would twitter?" wrote Cornell. "'Let he who is without sin cast the first stone' or 'Has anyone seen Judas? He was here a minute ago.'"
Surely Cornell could at least muster a reply song? After all, revenge can be a potent creative fuel. Would "Sweet Home Alabama" be such a memorable tune if Lynyrd Skynyrd hadn't wanted to make their response to Neil Young's "Alabama" and "Southern Man" as forthright and anthemic as possible?Radiohead" as Miley Cyrus labeled them on U.S. radio the other week for declining an introduction at the Grammys.
"When Miley grows up, she'll learn not to have such a sense of entitlement," went a hopelessly sober band statement, and even then, their publicist claimed he had made that comment, and they had declined to respond.
Come on fellas--don't take it lying down! If George Bush is worthy of having an album (Hail To The Thief) named in his honor, surely snotty showbiz brats like Cyrus are worthy of at least a B-side bashing? You can still put your regulation "intelligent" drum 'n' bass beats over it and retain your avant-garde cool...
As befits the man who signed Oasis, Creation Records founder Alan McGee has always liked a scrap (remember when he labeled Coldplay 'bedwetters'?) and he thought he had engaged the enemy when he dissed Brian Eno last month, accusing him of making music to fall asleep to.
"F**k off, w***ker" went the apparent response from Eno via Twitter. McGee responded by labeling the U2 producer a 'c***' and claimed he hadn't made a decent record since 1972. Alas, Eno then claimed his response was the work of an impostor, denying that he even had a Twitter account. Well Brian, with your technology-friendly reputation, you best get with the program, and compose a response. If Twittering's not your style, may I suggest an ambient piece entitled Music For Washed Up Indie Impresarios?
More promising was the response of Arcade Fire's Win Butler to Wayne Coyne. The Flaming Lips frontman told Rolling Stone they had played shows with Arcade Fire and concluded that they were 'pricks' who treat 'everybody in their vicinity like s**t'. Butler responded by claiming they played only one show with Coyne, and added, "I hope I was less of a 'prick' than telling Rolling Stone that a bunch of people I don't know at all are really a**h***s."
Good attitude, but if only he'd realized there was a problem at the time, he could have sorted it out by following the example of the queen of vengeance herself, Ms. Sharon Osbourne. She responded to Iron Maiden singer Bruce Dickinson's sly digs at 'reality TV' while touring with Ozzfest by arranging for the band to be pelted with eggs, lighters and bottle tops on stage during their set, and for their sound to be repeatedly cut mid-set. Surely such chaos would have made the Lips' theatrical performance even more psychedelic?
Sharon clearly understands that feuds are good for business. Would Blur and Oasis ever have occupied the top two places in the U.K. singles charts and sold half a million singles in a week if there hadn't been a press slanging match helping to hype up the whole affair?
As long as it doesn't end up in Tupac/Biggie style murder, where's the harm in a little WWE-style banter? Better still, how about a few of these warring parties follow up the suggestion that Robbie Williams made when Oasis dismissed him as a 'fat dancer', and arrange a charity boxing match?
Come on Miley, you could whup that milquetoast Thom Yorke any day of the week!