Under 30

I can't complain but sometimes I still do

Friday, February 10, 2006

From the archives: When Korn fans attack

In 2002, I reviewed a Korn concert at Brown County Arena in Green Bay. In a word, it was terrible. I review a lot of concerts by bands I don't personally like, and I can usually be objective. (I gave a positive notice to Toby Keith, for crissakes!) But this show actually made me angry. These guys were playing in front of 4,000 people (more than a lot of bands I like will ever see), and I couldn't think of one thing that made them artistically, emotionally or culturally redeemable. It was an ugly, "Show us your tits!" experience that I actively H-A-T-E-D. It's the one time where I wrote a review to exact revenge on a band.

Nu-metal band Korn offers its listeners an earful of pain

GREEN BAY -- A concert broke out Friday night during a brawl hosted by Korn at the Brown County Arena.

The nu-metal band "treated" about 4,000 fans to 90 minutes of anti-anthems like "Freak on a Leash," "Got the Life," "Faget," and "Dead Bodies Everywhere," but the music was beside the point. Korn's bludgeoning brand of rock is an all-out assault on an audience assaulting itself.
It's entertainment as pain, where you pay someone to make you feel crummy so you can take it out on your fellow audience members.

How do you describe a Korn concert experience? Imagine a fleet of 747s doing a fly-by a dozen feet over your head while a chainsaw buzzes slowly through your skull, and you have a decent approximation.

If success here is judged by the severity of your headache as you finally, mercifully, walk out alive, then this show is one for the ages.

In fact, Korn could go down as one of the worst sounding shows in the history of the soon-to-be-semi-retired Brown County Arena. Congratulations, boys! And please, pass the Extra Strength Tylenol!

Korn has undeniably connected with a segment of today's youth culture. Front man Jonathan Davis and his dreadlocked band mates held the audience in the palms of their hands as soon as they walked on stage.

If only the band could use that power for something other than encouraging a violent mob mentality (which contradicts the nonconformist rhetoric of Davis' lyrics). Watching hordes of beefy young men insanely pound the testosterone out of each other on the arena floor (some to the point of physical collapse) was a disturbing sight, like a battle scene out of "Braveheart" re-imagined by Roger Waters.

Also disconcerting was the overwhelming level of stupid maleness that rippled through the crowd between Korn and opener Puddle of Mudd, when hundreds of overheated mooks aggressively implored their female counterparts to expose themselves. It's hard to say what was more pathetic: That no guys stepped in to stop it, or that so many gals obliged.

There was a silver lining to Friday's show: The turnout was about half of what Korn drew at the arena in 2000. Nu-metal is played out. People are starting to look elsewhere. When its day is done, and that day is hopefully coming soon, Korn will really have something to be angry about.

In retrospect, I was a tad harsh. And I come off more old-mannish than I would like. But I stand by the review. Anyway, Korn fans took issue with my "critique." I recieved about 60 e-mails, 12 phone calls and one death threat. I was also called "gay" about 1,432 times. Here's some of what they had to say.

I think u (freaking) suck!!! not KoRn, they are they best band ever. and u should respect them cause if it wasn't for korn bands like cold orgy disturbed POM limp bizkit deadsy etc. and for you to talk about the best nu-metal band like that you should be (freaking) shot... if i see u somewhere am gonna slit ur (freaking) (gosh darn) face to peaces!!!!!!! In KoRn Kamp 2day they said this was there funnest time on tour this yr... i have seen them already this yr and it was great !! i just don't think you sould express urself so much like this....

OI U (freaker)!!!!u think koRn are so bad and crap rite. they caouse us so called troubled kids to hurt and kill well u know u r just another victim of society if u ever acctually listend to the lrycs u will understand. us koRn fans have trouble dealing with bullies and family (stuff) and koRn are like an anti deprecent just when u think no one is listening to u u put on some koRn and u realise ur not alone. we dont kick the (stuff) outa each other at gigs if u were acctually a person who listend there are un written ruls to a mosh so (freak) ur judgement u r just as bad as the bullies that break my nose an (stuff) u (freaking) preppy posh (ape hole) (freak) you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

You must be gay. You're threatened by women taking there tops off. I bet if they were guys, you would've applauded and drooled.(Freakin') idiot

Steve I want to say you suck! Your review of the Korn concert was pathetic. If you didnt like Korn to begin with why the hell did you go the concert in the first place? If you have nothing good to say about it why did you write anything at all???? I think your columns suck! You never have anything good to write. You were a complete loser at appleton east and it's showing that you carried that out into your writing career. I guess you dont need much of an education to write for the Post Crescent since you got in there right after high school. You had no friends then since you were just an UNPOPULAR loser computer geek and you probably have no friends now. So my point is if you didnt like the show keep your mouth shut and your feelings to yourself. Just because you didnt like the show it doesnt mean the other korn fans didnt. And if you didnt like the flashing between the bands that just goes to show your GAY!! Keep your thoughts to yourself next time. (Named withheld), Class of 95.

You are nothing. And I don't usually say this to people, but you should go in a dark hole and rot and die. You don't belong where humans are because you are just going to rip the (stuff) out of some other band so that you can get more hate mail and get this (stuff) all over again.

Maybe you should stick with Christian music, you bleeding heart idiot.

personally i consider hip hop to be one of the biggest menaces for the society. it represents decadence. nu-metal will never die as long as there are people like you in this (gosh darn) world !!! stupid, horny little bastards like you make this youth angry, can´t you understand that?

What I'm trying to say is that you shouldn't be bringing down bands the way you did in your review. You see it's (freaks) like you that make bands not want to come back to this area to do shows. I think you suck as an editor and (I hope) that you get fired for your (stuffy) poor review. Have a nice day, Steve.

At least it ends on a positive note.

Does he suck? election results

First off, I want to thank everybody for voting. There were 56 comments and 24 votes, a new record. And since this is our second election, that actually kinda sorta means something. Thanks again.

Now, the results. In the history of blowouts, there are a few standouts. Reagan over Mondale. The Bears over the Patriots. Now, we have Not Suck over Suck in the "Napoleon Dymanite" Does he suck? election. Not Suck won handily by 16 to 8, or two-thirds of the vote. Yikes! Well, we all know how well Reagan turned out...

The main issue of this election was whether something you think is Not Sucky can become Sucky because of all the stuff around it, i.e. stupid T-shirts, ubiquitous quoting, etc. The voters decided that a movie should be judged on its own merits. A valid point of view, but, of course, wrong. But I'm sure none of these people will complain the next time a song they like is played a million times on the radio.

Despite the lopsided nature of the election, the debate was contentious. Strangely, most of the contentiousness was directed at me, your pal, Steve. I was accused of being soulless, humorless and eltist because I didn't like a movie where the main character (hilariously!) wears moon boots. Well, all is fair in love and war, and now that the election is over it is time for the healing to begin.


Look out for the next Does he suck? election next Wednesday. And keep sending your ideas!

More shamelessness, more promotionness

Here is a mildly amusing piece I wrote for our Valentine's Day "Weekend" cover. Single losers (like me) will be particularly interested.

Shameless self-promotion

Today's Under 30. I wrote about grinding, a topic I know absolutely nothing about. Enjoy!

Thursday, February 09, 2006

The 24-year-old virgin: An update

Regular blog readers will remember the 24-year-old virgin, a young man who hoped to end his state of purity with a good friend of mine. Well, I spoke with my friend last night and, sadly, the virgin has not been de-virginized. Apparently, her decision not to boldly go where no woman has gone before was made independent of his immaculate status. She just "was not that into him."

We at Under 30 blog would like to extend our sympathies to the 24-year-old virgin. Godspeed, sir. And good luck.


Well, Sly Stone was a trainwreck last night. I'm too depressed to write about it, so I'll post a description written by Jim DeRogatis of The Chicago Sun-Times.

The much-ballyhooed tribute to Sly and the Family Stone turned out to be one of the strangest -- and saddest -- moments in Grammy history.

It started out strong, with the trio of Joss Stone, John Legend and Van Hunt kicking off a medley of the legendary soul band's hits. But things started to fly off the rails with a procession of guest stars who had absolutely no musical connection to Sly, including Maroon 5, and Steven Tyler and Joe Perry of Aerosmith.

Then things went beyond weird and got positively bizarre. Doing his first major public performance (sort of) in 19 years, Sly, 61, came out wearing a blonde mohawk, hunched over in a silver cape, and mumbled part of "I Want to Take You Higher" in a nearly inaudible voice. And then -- he wandered offstage again, clearly surprising the musicians, who seemed to expect a little bit more.

Stone remains one of the most tragic burnouts in rock history. After his pioneering work in the late '60s and early '70s, he dropped out of the music scene and became increasingly reclusive and dependent on drugs. It was with no small irony that his segment was introduced by comedian Dave Chappelle.

"The only thing harder than leaving show business is coming back," said the comedian, who is currently learning that the hard way -- after returning from his own departure at the height of his comedy career.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Does he suck? election update: You like "Napoleon Dynamite"! You really freaking like it!

Well, the vote ain't very close right now. I count 16 votes, five for Suck and 11 for Not Suck. That's a butt-whoopin' no matter which way you slice it. But don't count your chickens yet, Not Suckers. I believe in God and democracy, and one of them has to come through for me sooner or later.

Speaking of which, I pretty much let my "impartial" tag go out the window long ago. So I'll just come out and state the obivous: I think "Napoleon Dynamite" sucks. (I almost said, "I know 'Napoleon Dynamite' sucks," but I don't want to see my friend Lori break down and start quivering her chin again, so I won't. Who said I wasn't sensitive?)

And let me also say this: A big reason I think "Napoletion Dynamite" sucks is all these people told me how great it was before I saw it, and then a whole bunch more people said it was great after I saw it. And the actual film itself is completely mediocre and packed with exactly one laugh. (I can't remember what it was because I fell asleep for 20 minutes.)

If I had seen "Napoleon Dynamite " in a vacuum, would I hate it? Probably not. I would have forgotten about it. But I didn't see it in a vacuum and I can't pretend I did. "Napoleon Dynamite" sucks because it's a perfect example of something being rewarded for (not despite) being amateurish crap. And, for me at least, that is a perfectly acceptable reason to go from ambivilance to dislike.

Did I persaude any Non-Suckers? Didn't think so. Hey, maybe I'm wrong! ""Gah, Tina, you fat lard." HA! That's great! I get it now! Give me some more of that "Napoleon Dynamite" Kool-Aid!

Looks like my only hope now is for a whole bunch of people to Google "Napoleon Dynamite sucks" between now and noon Friday. Keep voting, and post suggestions for future Does he suck? elections. I'm looking for any nouns or verbs of debatable suckitude.

Where have you gone, Sly Stone?

I had zero interest in tonight's Grammys show until I read this. There is obvious trainwreck potential here, but I'm more excited about possibly seeing one of the few dudes in rock history who deserves to be called a genius. Anybody who is anybody in R&B, from George Clinton to Stevie Wonder to Prince to Kanye West, owes a debt to Sly, and so do a lot of rockers. The fact that he flamed out like he did is still so damn sad. Sly is up there with Syd Barrett and Brian Wilson on the list of rock's greatest tragic cases. Talented people don't stick around long enough as it is. It's such a waste when they trash their own gifts.

This is one of the rare instances where I hope a celebrity doesn't embarrass himself in public.

Does he suck? Napoleon Dynamite

This week we continue our mission of clearly defining those people, things, ideas, thoughts, actions and other nouns and verbs of questionable suckitude with one of the great cult successes of the Aughties, "Napoleon Dynamite."

Last week, I tipped my hand in the Dashboard Confessional election and possibly influenced the outcome. (The opposite way, of course, which says a lot about my readership.) Anyway, I'm not going to do that this week. Instead, I'm laying out an impartial case for the prosecution and defense, and letting YOU decide which side has more merit.

Case for not sucking: It's kind of a funny movie, I guess.

Case for sucking: Hey, "Napoleon Dynamite," Wes Anderson wants his style back. And when you return it, make sure you make it funny, unique and non-racist again. Look, even if you like this movie, didn't it officially turn sucky when meatheads started wearing those "Vote for Pedro" shirts all the time? Dude, if Pedro went to your school, you would call him "gay" and shove him into toliet bowls.

There you have it. Like I said, I'm not tipping my hand either way until after the election at NOON FRIDAY. And ... go.

Per request: A picture of Britney Spears being a bad mother

Here you go, Lori: Oops, I left my baby out of my car seat again!

I actually don't think this is that big of a deal. All the big stars these days use baby airbags.

Move over, Jesus! There's a new savior on the map

According to the news, the Brangelina spawn is due either May 2 or June 6. Won't it be weird celebrating Brangelinamas in summer instead of winter?

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

G-spot stumps Dr. Donohue

If you are 85 years old and read newspapers, you probably know about Dr. Donohue, a syndicated columnist who dispenses medical advice to people who don't mind waiting four to six weeks for an opinion on the nagging rash lodged between their buttocks.

For the rest of you, here's a sample of the quality health care you can get from your local paper.

DEAR DR. DONOHUE: I am a widower in my mid-70s who recently found an attractive companion, and we have become intimate friends. We had a conversation about the G-spot. We are at a loss to know what it is and where it is. Can you tell us something about this? -- P.H.

ANSWER: It's not from prudery that I can't give you a detailed answer. It's from ignorance. The G-spot comes from Dr. Ernst Grafenberg, a German doctor, who proposed that there is an area on the front part of the vagina, that, when stimulated, adds to a woman's sexual pleasure. I can tell you that in most libraries and in all bookstores there are many volumes devoted to the topic.

My question is this: Would Donohue be more forthcoming if the inquiry hadn't come from a widower in his mid-70s and his attractive companion?

Children: Life's glorious, soul-crushing gifts from heck

Look, I'm not heartless. I like the little people monkeys as much as anybody. But is this surprising?

This is why I'm waiting to become a parent. I'm not mature enough yet. Some day, I'll be ready for the responsibility of wanting to die at any minute.

I took a field sobriety test and all I got was this lousy plastic tube

Last night, while driving through Neenah with a burnt-out headlight, I was pulled over and given a field sobriety test. I had just spent several hours playing Trivia Pursuit and talking about the unrecognized greatness of Gwen Stefani, so I knew this geek was in no trouble of getting busted by the fuzz.

This was going to be fun.

Well, maybe not fun. I had downed two bottles of Champagne of Beer about four hours earlier, and while I didn't feel drunk, being surrounded by four of Neenah's finest at 1:30 a.m. makes even a law-abiding fella like myself a little nervous.

Here's the drill for the unintiated: They make you step out of the car and stand on the sidewalk with your hands at your sides. Then an officer takes out his pen and has you follow the tip with your eyes for appoximately 47 minutes. It was 10 degrees at the time, and my hands felt like the chuck steak that's been in my freezer since July. But I kept them out of my pockets.

Next, the officer made me stand still with my left foot in front of my right. I'd like to see the Pope do that for a minute straight without stumbling. It's hard, especially when your legs won't stop shivering because you didn't wear long underwear because you didn't anticipate being pulled over. I took nine steps forward, and nine steps back, and me and the officer came together because opposites attract.

Finally, it was the Breathalyzer. They didn't show me the score, but out of the corner of my eye I saw in big red digits, .001. Boo-yah. One of the officers took off the plastic tube and handed it to me. A memento, she said. Great, but how about a picture, too?

Does anybody have a pounds to stones conversion chart?

This story leaves two questions unanswered: (1) How do you determine who the fattest person for an entire country is? (2) Just how fat is "55 stone"?

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Top 25 singles from 1977-2003

A few years ago, I particpated in a poll listing the 100 best singles released betweeen 1977 and 2003 for a cool pop culture Web site called PopMatters. I just found my list while digging through the immense Steve Hyden archives. I still stand by it, though I might rank "Sweet Child O' Mine" a little higher today.

Any disagreements?

1. “One” by U2
2. “Bittersweet Symphony” by The Verve
3. “Glad Girls” by Guided by Voices
4. “Paranoid Android” by Radiohead
5. “Sweet Child O Mine” by Guns N Roses
6. “How Soon is Now” by The Smiths
7. “Heroes” by David Bowie
8. “Alison” by Elvis Costello
9. “Surrender” by Cheap Trick
10. “It Was a Good Day” by Ice Cube
11. “Supersonic” by Oasis
12 “Welcome to the Jungle” by Guns N Roses
13 “Smells Like Teen Spirit” by Nirvana
14 “Just What I Needed” by The Cars
15 “The One I Love” by R.E.M.
16 “Stan” by Eminem
17 “Photograph” by Def Leppard
18 “Dancin’ in the Dark” by Bruce Springsteen
19 “Big Bang Baby” by Stone Temple Pilots
20 “Nothin’ But a G Thing” by Dr. Dre
21 “Buddy Holly” by Weezer
22 “Today” by Smashing Pumpkins
23 “Under Pressure"/"Ice Ice Baby” by Queen/David Bowie/Vanilla Ice
24 “First it Giveth” by Queens of the Stone Age
25 “B.O.B.” by OutKast

Shameless self-promotion

Today's Check it Out.