They had a couple of great albums in the 90s. You probably remember them more for ‘Lightning Crashes’ (link)than from ‘Lakini’s juice’ (link), but both are great songs. And they played together since they were 15.
So, what’s wrong with ‘em?
Let’s go for the easy ones, i.e. nitpicking:
-Throwing around mysticism and old “exotic oriental stuff” round to make their music more interesting.
-Lead singer Ed Kowalczyk saying that their lyrics were inspired by Jiddu Krishnamurti, a man who had a good idea and got misinterpreted by a bunch of white-man’s-burden-suffering-money-grubbing tossers. Just like any religion.
-Nicking Michael Stipe’s hairdo.
-Basing an album on a state of Hindu meditation (Samadhi) and pretentiously adding “secret” to it. Ooh, we be spiritual! And yes, I bought it the moment it came out. Hey, it’s a good one…
Well, that’s sorta normal behaviour in musicians…
Yes, it was nitpicking, now here’s the bad stuff…
-They made Kevin Smith wait 13 years (!) to use a song in one of his films (Zack and Miri make a porno, which, fair enough, no one wants to be associated with). The song does not appear on the commercially available soundtrack, even with Kevin Smith’s declared love (and massive support) for the song.
-Greedy mofo Ed Kowalzcyk (voice, backstabbing) signed a deal behind the band’s back (his friends from high school) in 2005 for publishing rights (i.e. that’s royalties) and asked for a 100,000 dollar “singer bonus” for their 2009 performance in Pink Pop Festival. As much as you hate Billy Corgan, Chris Martin, Bono, Scott Stapp or Fred Durst, he takes the asshole & douchebag cake. Royally.
-What do the band members thought? Here’s Chad Taylor (guitar) writing about this. “Ed is listed as the only signature. When I wrote him to find some resolution to the situation, he failed to respond. Ed was able to stab his three best friends from middle school in the back. This act was far down the line from typical rock star ego. As you can imagine I am deeply hurt and wounded.” (link)
-Ed “I did it for the monieeezzzz” Kowalzcyk released a solo album recently. It’s called “ALIVE” and, well, check the cover images and see if you spot any misleading typography/font combos!
-Cheeky Ed said: “The Western idea of spirituality has always been that you have to be absolutely disassociated from the vital areas of life—give all your material possessions away, find the guru, and live happily ever after in a monastery”.(link) How about not screwing your bandmates, dude?
Any closing words, then?
-Dear Ed, you betrayed your friends from middle school, people you knew FROM 1988. Who the fuck were you in another life?? Blackbeard?
-He is now a Christian. Gee, thanks, as if we needed more bad press, chrome dome. (link)
Any silver lining?
Throwing Copper and Secret Samadhi are bonafide classics, but now they feel like watching a Mel Gibson or Roman Polanski film: you enjoy it but deep down, the experience is ruined by the fact that you know they’re massive twats.
More links & sources.
Words: Quinto “H8rade lite, please!” Haberno