Musically, I lean toward punk rock with some alternative predilections. I grew up during the heyday of hard rock (AC/DC, Led Zeppelin, etc), found my footing during the turbulent early 80s (Black Flag, Agent Orange, Suicidal Tendencies), basked in the angry 90s (Nine Inch Nails, Nirvana, etc) and now find myself appreciating all sorts of music (well, almost everything as I still get nauseous listening to country, but that’s not really music as much as it is extended lyrical whining). When I recently applied to write music reviews for a local magazine, one thing I wanted to make sure to avoid is letting personal musical preferences jade my journalistic viewpoint. As I was flipping through old copies of Rolling Stone for inspiration, I happened upon a 1978 review of the first US release by one of my favorite rock bands of all-time.
The music critic, Billy Altman, writes:
“A band whose live act features a lead guitarist (Angus Young) leering menacingly while dressed in schoolboy beanie and knickers, AC/DC has nothing to say musically (two guitars, bass and drums all goose-stepping together in mindless three-chord formations). Lyrically, their universe begins and ends with the words “I,” “me” and “mine.” Lead singer Bon Scott spits out his vocals with a truly annoying aggression which, I suppose, is the only way to do it when all you seem to care about is being a star so that you can get laid every night.”
Imagine how truly pissed he must be some 31 years later to discover AC/DC is now regarded as one of the most influential rock bands in history. Never mind that High Voltage is considered by many the blueprint for hard rock success. If you’re going to review a movie, an album, a band, hell even a concert, you better hope you’re not hanging yourself out to dry. I hope I never write something that comes back to haunt me…