The 10 biggest classic rock douchebags
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Always exploited for profit, rock's unmanageable aspects have been steadily diluted by a sinister, commercially driven course of revisionist myth-making. There is no acceptable role in the marketplace for radicals like Charlie Feathers, Poly Styrene, Lux Interior or Roky Erickson, but there's always room for the homogeneous, money-hungry, play-it-safe phonies on this list.
These douchebags all have one thing in common -- they screwed up rock 'n' roll, big time.
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Garcia's gutless, drug-addled brand of candyass jamming wreaked havoc on rock 'n' roll, derailing what had been a form of rebel confrontation and paving the way for spineless hippie quasi-folk. Garcia's guitar was always listless, flabby and aimless. He never went anywhere and always took his sweet time doing it, yet is endlessly venerated as a soloist on par with the greatest names in musical history. Hogwash. The ultimate illustration of Garcia's dead-from-the-neck-up approach came when an SFPD officer, patrolling Golden Gate Park at noontime in January 1985, got an acrid whiff of Garcia's burning cocaine -- the peace-and-love icon was freebasing in the front seat of his BMW. Far out, man.
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A serial plagiarist (Google that -- the citations are endless) and "moon/June"-level lyricist, Dylan's masterly employ of the mediocre -- that ingredient so essential to American pop culture enshrinement -- has kept millions of unthinking listeners in a somnambulistic state. Seriously, kids, just because it rhymes ("the pump don't work 'cause the vandals took the handle") doesn't add any weight, and just because it's topical (whether Emmett Till or Rubin Carter) doesn't make it significant. Even Dylan's primitive vocal style is entirely hijacked, from bluegrass singer Carter Stanley. His peer Joni Mitchell said it best in a 2010 L.A. Times interview: "He's a plagiarist, and his name and voice are fake. Everything about Bob is a deception."
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Consumed by an obsessive victim mentality, Fogerty allowed a standard music rip-off deal orchestrated by Fantasy Records' Saul Zaentz to transform his life, music and personality. In the resulting frenzy of litigation, he sued everyone, repeatedly, including his former Credence Clearwater Revival bandmates, and spewed his venomous frustration in a series of ridiculous songs, notably the idiotic "Zanz Can't Dance." Snatching karmic defeat from the jaws of legal victory by refusing to let his former colleagues perform at Creedence's Hall of Fame induction, Fogerty's self-propelled legacy of sanitized bubblegum blues and all around douchery is unparalleled.
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7. Lou Reed
A chronic dullard whose turgid output steadily degenerated over six interminable decades, Reed, like his stale monotone vocal delivery, was so relentlessly and unengagingly depressive that the approximately 20 minutes of influential rock 'n' roll he participated in wholly invalidates itself -- and brings to mind the infinite monkey theorem (wherein a primate with a typewriter would eventually produce the complete works of Shakespeare). If, as Reed so pretentiously did, one feels compelled to identify oneself as "a poet from New York City," fine. Just stay the hell away from rock 'n' roll.