6. Bon Jovi. Since they first got popular in the latter half of the ’70s, I have confidently shared my belief that Journey is the worst band in the history of rock. It turns out that during my Too Cool for School 1980s I managed to barely hear an entire song by Bon Jovi. In the last year the song “Living on a Prayer” has become a staple of both the Classic Rock station AND the Oldies station on my dial in the Philadelphia area. I always knew how the chorus went, but I did not realize how bad the entire song was. That song blows! In the last year I have decided that Bon Jovi is the worst band in the history of rock. At least Journey tried to make good music. You know they were sharing sincere bro-hugs the night they worked up the arrangement for “Wheel in the Sky.” Bon Jovi’s music sounds like it was made to accompany soda commercials. What did those guys do after laying tracks for “Living on a Prayer,” rub steroids on their dicks?
7. Afghan Whigs. This cruel joke the world has been playing on me has got to stop. If these guys even made actual music, I might deem their music worse than Bon Jovi’s. What the hell am I missing, and please leave out adjectives regarding how sexy and dangerous and whatnot Greg Dulli is.
8. Guitar. I play guitar, and I’m not very good at it. What lessons can I share regarding the guitar? Few. Stay with cool, classic brands. Avoid unnecessary points on the guitar’s body. Make sure your guitar’s neck has a headstock. When you play your guitar, try to keep your feet as wide as your shoulders. Don’t stand there with your ankles together, like a ballerina.
9. Vinyl. I don’t care how much better some digitally remastered, Japanese-scented digital file sounds: vinyl is better. Holding something in your hands is cool. Album covers are cool. Trying to get the album in the insert sleeve back into the album cover without everything bunching up is cool, at least when you succeed in doing so. Knowing that the vinyl has traveled around various turntables is cool. Hearing the pops and scratches keeps you on your toes, keeps you wanting more. The good thing about wanting—and not getting—more is that you don’t get so much that you have to do stupid things like dig through trash bins in hopes of finding 2 extra measures of guitar chords picked up on a room mic that you can insert into an already PERFECT record like the original release of The Velvet Underground’s “Rock ‘n Roll” in some pointless effort at documenting the artist’s “true intentions.” Director’s cuts almost always get it wrong.
10. Science. There’s a fine line between taking a “scientific approach” to writing and arranging rock ‘n roll songs and getting one’s head up one’s ass. I think artists owe it to themselves and their listeners to push forward and try mixing in some unexpected chords or dedicating themselves to some arbitrary structural device that may broaden rock’s horizons. Even horrible failures are worth it if some terrible idea eventually gets tweaked by a future generation and saves us from a lifetime of 12-bar blues.