Monday, September 15, 2003

Looking like an idiot, and you no longer care

I hate what I'm about do do here. But I'm going to do it anyway.

Mary Colurso had the gall to pen a negative review of a Jimmy Buffett concert once, and she caught hell for it from the Parrotheads. I know because a lot of them e-mailed me, thinking they'd reach The Birmingham News through She got so much negative mail that she even turned her column the following week into a story about it, sharing some of the more colorful letters. The fans who wrote in all ended up sounding like idots.

Now J.R. Taylor of the Black & White has written a nasty preview of the upcoming R.E.M. concert in Birmingham. And since the Athens boys are my favorites, I'm going to leap to their defense and probably sound like an idiot, myself.

Taylor claims, "the vast majority of fans haven't really cared about anything R.E.M. has recorded since 1992." Not true. 1994's Monster sold like crazy. And, though the band didn't like it, 1998's Up remains one of my favorite albums. In '99 they did the music for the Man on the Moon soundtrack, and MTV and VH1 played "The Great Beyond" in heavy rotation. When Reveal came out in 2001, I thought interest had waned — until I played "Imitation of Life" at Haven and witnessed more than a dozen people singing along.

The author goes on to say, "Pete Buck still drinks and plays too much [and] Mike Mills remains the only talented member." I assume he's referring to Buck's arrest two years ago when he was accused of drunkeness on an airline, disorderly conduct, and assault. At his trial, he was found not guilty and cleared of all charges. What other "too much" drinking is he supposedly doing? And since when did consumption of alchohol have anything to do with musical talent?

As for Mills being the only talented member of the band, that's nonsense. The other two members have plenty of talent themselves, Buck as a guitarist and Stipe as a lyricist. R.E.M. have always prided themselves on being a singular unit, not a collection of individuals. The group has never risen or fallen on the merits of one member.

So, if you too think J.R. Taylor is full of crap, go buy your tickets for next week's show. You can get them for as low as $15.

At least I didn't write, "you criticized my favorite band, so you suck! "

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