My Secret Shames
Lumpy and I have a game when we go on driving trips where we talk about our "Secret Shame Bands" -- basically bands we really like, but are in no way cool (her big winner is Boston, mine is John Cougar Mellencamp -- and I include "Cougar" deliberately). Today, as I was sitting in the Dunkin' Donuts Drive Thru, I popped in a Foo Fighters CD, and, I must say, I was enjoying myself pretty thoroughly. But, as I played drums on my steering wheel, I began to ponder why Foo Fighters aren't "cool," and I came up with a list of 5 bands which I think are really good but are, for one reason or another, not cool at all (or at least as far as I can tell -- they could be cool in some circles -- but I don't see the kids wearing the t-shirts), and not so uncool they come back around the other end to "cool" -- such as Journey, which was name-checked by Dave Eggers (plus, the "nah-nahs" in "Lovin', Touchin', Squeezin'" are undeniable) or Bon Jovi. Here's my 5, what are yours?
Foo Fighters -- Something about them is clearly uncool. The hooks? That they're not Nirvana? Who knows? But "Stacked Actors" off of Nothing Left to Loose is one of the most exciting openings to an album in years (especially when the bass kicks in).
Rush -- Perenially uncool. Led Zeppelin could get away with singing about The Lord of the Rings and vikings, why can't these guys?
The Cult -- In my opinion, producers of two of the best albums of the '80s -- Love and Electric (plastic lobster telephone lyrics and all). And one of the best live shows I've ever seen (possibly because my friend Alison took down Ian Astbury by grabbing his balls in a groupie frenzy while my other friend (officially voted the prettiest girl at my high school) distracted the security guards by smiling and giggling a lot). Plus, I like the fact that their name kept getting shorter for a while, as shown on the new Goth box set, which includes tunes by "The Southern Death Cult," "The Death Cult," and "The Cult." Look for a new album by "Ult." Lumpy and I's final wedding dance song was "Wildflower."
Drivin' and Cryin' -- Great Southern Rock. Saw them on tour with Living Colour, which was a little bit of a weird bill.
Third Eye Blind -- I got the Greatest Hits package about a month ago, and the first seven songs are perfect power pop. What happened with those dudes? Was it the Curse of Winona Ryder (whereby the actress's romantic interest in your band leads to it beginning to suck mightily. See, e.g., Soul Asylum, Jamiroquai, and Paul Westerberg)?