Bruce Springsteen's recent tour of Australia, New Zealand and South Africa found "The Boss" and the ESB playing some unlikely covers. Not everyone thought this was a good idea. Some of my closest friends actually got so twisted by the cover of AC/DC's "Highway To Hell" that they waged a Facebook war against Mr. Springsteen that is still continuing, calling out Bruce for using a capo on his guitar, not singing the melody precisely as Bon Scott, playing it in a different key, and most recently, posting the now viral video of Billy Joel and Brian Johnson's performance of "You Shook Me All Night Long" from MSG last week, with the accompanying commentary, "Leave the vocals to Brian, Bruce. This is how it's done!" (It is?)
This all seems very unreasonable to me and exemplifies the phrase "You are so missing the point!"
I understand not being a fan of Bruce Springsteen. I don't understand the anger. And this is not just my handful of friends who "don't get Bruce." It seems that people don't just not like Bruce Springsteen. They despise Bruce Springsteen. It's personal.
I've seen this same phenomenon with Kiss and in many cases, it has little to do with the band's catalogue of songs. People who have admittedly never listened to the band, dislike the band strictly because of the make-up and choice of...uh...clothing. (And maybe because Gene & Paul can be idiots occasionally.) But this hatred is deep. "This band is a fucking joke!" I've heard that more than a few times from people I respect. It's personal.
You know who makes me that angry? Almost no one unless I've actually heard the music.
But, of course, I've expressed my ire and frustration right on these very pages over many different singers and songwriters, though usually it has more to do with the hyping of said singers and songwriters and not so much the output, which with me, is usually just a take it or leave it relationship.
"I do love the reason they won't perform at the show: 60-year-old guys in wigs arguing over who gets to put on the kitty-cat makeup."
This comment left on yesterday's post seems to be missing the point, with all due respect to our good friend who posted it. If it were a friendly neighborhood softball game being played by the Knights Of Columbus and a melee broke out over who gets to be the Mets and who gets to be the Yankees, I'd understand. But aside from being a tad over the top...just a tad...is Kiss's get-up that much different than say...Pink's, a performer who flies around on a trapeze with bombs bursting in air? Or the countless bands and performers from The Stones to The Who to David Bowie to Black Sabbath to The Ramones to every single bearded 25 year-old moody singer-songwriter with a guitar and deviated septum? Costumes, antics, make-up, neon-pink boas, simulated on-stage fellatio, explosions and even silence (see Dylan and Van) have been a part of rock and roll for years. No one discusses these people with the same fury and disgust as they do Bruce and Kiss, at least not that I have witnessed on such a regular basis.
This is not about Kiss, or whether they belong in the RNRHOF. I have an opinion, but I think the HOF discussions have been exhausted, so I'll skip it for now. I just find the mystery of what pushes people's musical buttons so strongly worth exploring.