Scott Stapp with arms up singing

Scott Stapp of Creed

For some reason I can't for the life of me recall, I was thinking about the time I saw Leslie West of Mountain play at the Agora way back in the '70s. Why was I thinking about it? Oh, I know why: I was transporting to my crammed house the two wooden stools from my ghost of a record store along with a bunch of other junk I didn't want to leave to the advancing Mexican asbestos-removal army. And the memory just sort of seeped into my consciousness.

Because: Leslie West--whose band name was sort of his nickname and not for a powerful build which he did not have--walked out on stage with his awesome little vintage Gibson Melody Maker guitar and had to sit on a stool.

Because: he was so damned fat his legs couldn't support his humongous-ness. I remember estimating his weight pretty near 400 pounds.

And the stool? Well, the significance of that was how the stool, you know, sort ofdisappeared into him as he sat down on it. I mean, it looked like his body just sucked that piece of convenience furniture like Scotty beaming up Spock.Gone!

Now there's a collectible for the Oddball Rock'n'Roll Hall of Fame Strange Memorabilia Section, that long-suffering stool.

The show? Well, let's just say when the public spoke at the end of that year in our little town's then-only rock newspaper,The Monthly Planet, they got it right when they said it was the worst show of the year. West just noodled and doodled, played a Jimmy-Page-length guitar jam with his bassist or drummer that didn't amount to squat and when they did play it was all crap, no hits.

I got nothing against slobs. I just don't like boring slobs.

Which brings me to a question I'm asked from time to time: what was the worst show I've ever seen?

For some reason, two St. John Arena shows come to mind. One was the Edgar Winter show probably a year or two after hisFrankenstein instrumental hit, though I can't remember anything particularly horrible about it, it was just a drag. Though I'm pretty sure his guitar player Ronnie Montrose opened the show with his last-name-named-band who did his pretty coolSpace Station #5 song. I just thought Edgar was just too silly, what with his glam-rock outfit and strange Spiders-From-Mars pancake make-up. Oh, he was albino? My mistake.

But without a doubt the really, really worst show I can think of was an absolutely dead-ass boring Eric Clapton show at St. John in August of whatever year he made whichever super-boring-est solo albums with all those guys he stole off J.J. Cale who was never boring once in his life not even for a minute.

The humidity alone sucked whatever life Clapton and his laid-back band might've exhibited had they either not been on a particularly boring re-up of heroin or just thought playing like mummified corpses was what they were supposed to do. Jeez, I remember going out of my mind thinking, "This is the guy who electrified my secret life air-guitar-ring in my bedroom with the door closed, ripping through the heaven-inscribing strings of ultra-lyrical blues lead guitar, dazzling the angels, bedeviling the devil, showing the world the cross-cultural beauties created with European continental violin-like sustain and improvised musical thoughts of Robert Johnson, B.B. and Albert King with the mathematical genius of Charlie Parker? THIS boring son-of-a-bitch?"

Clapton totally sucked that night. Hell, he couldn't've tied Jeff Beck's shoelaces he was so deeply lost into his poor-ass imitation of J.J. Cale. One junkie imitating another, except the one from Oklahoma was the real swamp deal; the other, just a British post-colonialist appropriating another once-conquered people's plum musical traditions. Reparations!

Another stinker of beyond-belief proportions? Fucking Creed.

Creed, the '90s jerk-off band featuring the insufferable Eddie Vedder-wannabe Scott Stapp whose face literally looks like an arrogant mule who thinks he's God's gift to the Midwest, at Polaris was so God-almighty soul-destroyingly awful I followed the band's tour bus hoping they'd stop off at a truck stop and I would instigate a truckers lynch-mob somehow. Didn't happen. I just remember him onstage constantly throwing his arms out like Christ crucified, as if that was supposed to mean something. You could tell the rest of the band hated his guts. They should've dumped him off on the side of the road and hired Amy Grant.

Speaking of popular America dildo idols (note the spelling similarity of the two words), Garth Brooks had two things in common with Creed: his show at our Alice Cooper Stadium sucked a poisonous hind teat like a she-rat with newly manicured fangs; and Garth, too, just like Stapp, The Incredible Braying Rock Dude Mule, was afflicted with and inflicted upon us a Jesus complex. The suburban destroyer of country music constantly threw his arms out savior-like, acting like if only Hank Williams Senior had kissed his stupid feet Hank's congenital back defect would've healed and somehow or other the toxic Miss Audrey would've disappeared, too.

Garth also holds the world's record for worst rock star vanity side-project: his 'alter-ego' album by Chris Gaines, whom he concocted to be an '80s rock star with a sex addiction problem. Only 23,000 copies of the CD were sold; we bought 22,000 of them at the store because the pictures in the many-paged liner notes were so deserving of collages on our coffee-can counter pencil'n'pen holders.

Any year the Black Crowes and/or Phish played Columbus their respective shows would rank as the year's worst. Keith Richards rightly once compared Chris Robinson to Emo Phillips the idiot comedian who looked like Imogene Coca.

As for Phish, I developed a hatred so feral and deep I've actually used a Ouija board to try to get them to go back in time and get on the last flight of Lynyrd Skynyrd instead of those poor decent tough working-class southern rednecks who had more soul in Ronnie Van Zandt's severed head than the entire Phish fan base.

Well, why the stroll down bad memory lane? I dunno. It's March. A spate of good weather has just been replaced by typical inhuman wintry weather weirdness. The next national election looks to be between two giant piles of shit. I'm sick of the innocents killed in vicious tribal wars, the internationalizing of said wars, etc.; how bad the Browns did; how much cable really sucks.

But I guess if I can survive all that bad music, then there's hope we can survive our own self-inflicted blues.

Just like that poor stool, sucked into a dimension and a world it never made.


Appears in Issue: