The Wonderful World of Rock

Now if there’s one thing I hate, it’s people who tell me to wear earplugs at a concert. OK, maybe that’s not the one thing I hate, but it really pushes my buttons, right below people who tell me how bad smoking is for me. I think they’re always going to be no. 1. Another thing that pushes my buttons is having to write about Josh Homme every week, since he can’t seem to stop doing weird and lame things. So imagine how I felt when I heard that Joshua’s Eagles of Death Metal performed a special “reduced decibel” concert in order to draw people’s attention to the hazards of loud rock ‘n’ roll music. On top of that, it’s at the request of Mick Fleetwood, drummer of one of the most tooth-rotting saccharine groups of the ’70s, which is quite an accomplishment. But anyways, the so-called rock performance measured a measly 62 decibels, barely half of the traditional jet-engine volume that we have come to expect. What’s going on here? It’s like frost-haired grandmas have taken over the sensibilities of rock ‘n’ roll these days, with acts supposedly celebrated and deemed “hip” for their raucous abandon pandering to the drummer of Fleetwood Mac, one of the most un-rocking bands I can think of. Why, even Herman’s Hermits rock more than them! But Fleetwood was optimistic about the future of wimpified rock concerts. “I hope this makes the point that you can wear ear protection and still enjoy the concert,” he said. “Who’s to say? Could you see 18,000 people someday listening to Pink Floyd on headphones? Maybe, with a weird magic wand.”

Nirvana’s Nevermind has been committed to a special Library of Congress vault designed to preserve “culturally, historically or aesthetically significant” recordings, according to the BBC. The album will carry the standard of Generation X into the future and is the most recent addition to the collection. Holding 50 sound recordings, the vault is home to a variety of music and other audio. Some of Nevermind’s mates include Pet Sounds, a reading of the Bible, a recording of the first words spoken from the moon and Public Enemy. Nirvana’s big hit is the most recent recording in the collection, which stretches back as far as the 1890s. The inclusion of the disc marks its acceptance by the U.S. government as a milestone of culture and art, even though In Utero is clearly a better album.

Sure, Nevermind was the one that everyone bought, and maybe it did change modern rock, slay hair metal (for a while) and spawn a legion of hackneyed imitators. But In Utero just has better songs. And if the Library were really interested in preserving Nirvana’s legacy, it ought to get a box set or an Outcesticide or two in there also. It could junk that lame moon landing tape to make room. I mean, everyone knows what Neil Armstrong said anyway. I digress, though. I should be glad that one of my favorite groups is getting recognized by the Man in such a big way.

Idaho tax dollars are hard at work praising the state’s biggest hit export, “Napoleon Dynamite.” The film, which has become a favorite of teens not smart enough for “Rushmore,” has been credited by the Potato State’s legislature for casting Idaho in a positive and different light from the tuber-related image that it has traditionally enjoyed. Interestingly enough, the Idaho House actually decided it needed to pass a resolution to commend the film for promoting the “wholesomeness” of Idaho, and neatly leaving out the white supremacy and horrible, shitty pseudo-desert in favor of interracial friendships, advertising potatoes with the whole “tots” thing, and even the use of bikes for alternative transportation, although that seems like a bit of a stretch. I got the impression that Idaho was a pretty crappy place to live from the movie, and these legislative efforts seem like a sad attempt to cash in and be “hip,” even though “Napoleon Dynamite” is really not that “hip.”

But the resolution to praise the filmmakers for their supposedly positive portrayal of the apocalyptic, hick-infested wasteland passed 69-to-1. They must have thought that Idaho was represented by Napoleon in the film, as the misunderstood underdog who finally makes good. Clearly, though, if anyone in that movie is Idaho, it’s Uncle Rico.