Kill Rock Stars 

Driven over the edge, Jeff Inman decides it’s time for some pompous popsters to meet their doom.

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Admit it—the world would be a better place if a few people accidentally got tossed into a wood chipper. Thankfully, some rockers will kick off on their own soon. But others need a little help climbing that stairway to heaven. So, with complete malice and lack of couth, I’ve decided to draft up our list of rock stars who should shake hands with the Grim Reaper—hopefully, soon. Added bonus: I’ve included the way I’d like to see them go out, just for giggles. Now go sharpen those knives.

Sound AffectsSHARI SHORT I’m Living (A Nice Pear) She’s 16, model-hot and an older man has produced her debut album—relax, Shari Short isn’t Britney No. 75. The producer is Air Supply’s Graham Russell, and Short writes her own tunes, plays her own guitars and, apparently, really likes to pose for pictures. Despite being recorded by a studio vet, I’m Living has a raw and laid-down-live quality, free of the usual drum loops, samples and gloss associated with the female neo-folk-rock pack. Short’s bouncy songs are trés Jewel and Lisa Loeb, but she has a bigger voice than both—not to mention the model-hot thing. (

SPARKLEHORSE It’s a Wonderful Life (Capitol) So why waste it listening to something like this? Mark Linkous makes fine music to brush your teeth to, but little else. Sure, things approach “rockin’” when PJ Harvey shows up to kick him in the arse for “Piano Fire,” but mostly Linkous just sounds like Neil Young on horse tranquilizers slumping through a set at a retirement home. Naturally, Wonderful Life is being hailed as another work of genius from a scraggly shut-in (see Brian Wilson, Syd Barrett, et al), but only by other shut-ins who got it for free in the mail.

BUTTHOLE SURFERS Weird Revolution (Hollywood) Yeah, they’re still around, and just as psychotic as ever—someone has to be, damn it. Held up by label legalities since 1998, Weird Revolution could be the strangest-smelling dance record of the year, wavering between throbbing techno beats, anthemic new-wave choruses and a dead-on Smash Mouth impersonation (“Dracula From Houston”) that’s too irritating and catchy not to become a hit. The irony that the Butthole Surfers are now recording for a Disney-owned company can’t be lost on lead loon Gibby Haynes, hence the deconstruction distorto-rage-funk of “Shit Like That.” Suck on it, Mickey.

BAD RONALD Bad Ronald (Reprise) Now there’s a low-cal version of Crazytown for the whole suburban white-boy posse! For all of the advance hype the label has poured into Bad Ronald (no, there’s not an actual Ronald), it’s kind of a pisser that when they finally arrive it’s obvious that even Sugar Ray could smack ’em around. Any four chronic-mooks with a home studio could have churned out this vanilla rap-thump album, which works best as background party music—maybe that was the idea. Proof? “I need Nyquil and a blowjob to get me to sleep” is the best lyric here.Bill Frost

Britney Spears: So Lolita doesn’t want to be treated like a little girl—waah. Princess Britney is striving to the point of conscious thought to be like Madonna, even going so far as to act in cred-crusted indie flicks. Sure, tweens quiver. Me: There’s only one part of Britney I want to see blown up on the big screen. And that’s the catch. While the Material Mom has always pushed boundaries, Britney wears a push-up bra. Maybe if she dropped the whole virginal sex-kitten shtick and tried to do something credible, people would give a damn in five years. If not, she’ll end up fat and drunk, bouncing Justin Timberlake’s bastard offspring on her knee for eternity. Overly elaborate death: Being sliced in half by a Carson Daly atomic wedgie.

Daft Punk: Let’s put this into perspective. Cher makes bad house music while wearing fiber-optic dreads and critics call it shit. Daft Punk makes bad house music while wearing light-up Cylon helmets and critics call it genius. Something’s amiss. Maybe it’s just jaded journalists getting Cher back for the butt-baring outfit she wore on the Arizona for that “Turn Back Time” video (insert seaman joke here). But let’s face it, Daft Punk is nothing more than bouncy bleep-pop for kids desperately craving Eurotrash cool, just without the hangovers, deep thoughts and journal writing. No wonder Juliette Lewis seems so comfortable shaking her ass in Daft’s daft Gap ad. Overly elaborate death: Slowly dunked into an eel-filled pool while wearing those D-battery masks.

Phish: OK, so the New England neo-hippies are on a break. That doesn’t mean they still don’t deserve a Soprano-style beat down. After 12 albums and countless hours of mind-numbing noodling, Phish has killed more brain cells than Budweiser. And with Trey Anastasio off jamming away with Primus’ Les Claypool in Oysterhead, the massacre is bound to continue. Sure, it’s fun to light up, drop a hit and spin till you drop, but look at the results: Stevie Nicks. Can you imagine the world full of black magic women in Wicca garb? Ugly thought; repent now. Overly elaborate death: Eating pot brownies until their stomachs explode.

311: Now, 311 was one of the first groups to splice rap and rock. For that alone they should have their asses kicked. But then the Omaha-bred boys hit the bong too hard and decided they could destroy reggae, too—see the short-circuited Transistor and the barely-audible Soundsystem. Word of advice: Just because you’re from the corn-belt doesn’t mean you can wear cornrows, dipshit, no matter how much weed you smoke. Thankfully, those albums just about killed 311’s career. Now let’s finish the job. Overly elaborate death: A zombified and heat-packing Bob Marley mistakes the band for sheriffs.

Aerosmith: Face it, rock and wrinkle cream don’t go together. Not that Aerosmith rocks anymore. The Boston bad boys have gotten so sensitive and gushy they might as well hit the self-help circuit: “Hug me, I have big lips.” From tepid slow-dance shit like “Cryin’” to 1998’s prom-night deflowering theme “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing,” Aerosmith has basically turned into a titless Celine Dion with guitars. Even the group’s last album, the supposedly rockin’ Just Push Play, was weaker than a Middle East peace accord. It’s time for Janie to get her gun and put these guys out of our misery. Overly elaborate death: Tragic five Viper pile-up, sponsored by Dodge.

Radiohead: Yep, Thom Yorke needs to die. I know, I know, Radiohead allows all of you deep intellectuals to feel superior to the Fred Durst drones of America. But let’s get real: If you can read, you’ve got a leg up on those nimrods. And at least the Limp Bizkits have never claimed to be more than middle-age rage dumbed-down for teens. Radiohead have perpetrated a far worse crime. They served up shit and called it art. After OK Computer, we would’ve gobbled down anything the quintet gave us, and we did. But listen closely to Kid A and Amnesiac and you can hear laughter in the background. T-shirts sporting the word “Sucker” will be sold at all future concerts. Overly elaborate death: Massive aneurysms from obsessive self-analysis.

Sean Lennon: It’s amazing what you can get when you drop your dad’s name every other second—money, chicks, blow, record deals. If Sean Lennon were, say, Sean Kowalski, no one would have given a shit about the runt. But because he can claim a hereditary right to rock’s throne, and is more than willing to remind you of that, Lennon is treated like he’s a demigod—“Touch me, I’m part Beatle.” Just remember, the rest is Yoko—something that’s more than apparent on his wince-inducing solo disc Into the Sun. Sure, he plays with über-hip Cibo Matto, but even that’s not enough to cancel out Lennon’s pompous sense of entitlement. Kill him now. Overly elaborate death: Brain slowly leaks through burst eardrums after listening to Ono’s Starpeace.

The entire Rolling Stone staff: Yeah, they’re not really rock stars—much to David Fricke’s chagrin—but they sure do know how to kiss rock & roll ass. Once the mighty and powerful pantheon of rock journalism, Rolling Stone has become nothing more than a flaccid corporate tool. High-selling artists are virtually guaranteed positive reviews. Jan Wenner will plug any well-augmented teen queen in the lower 48 if it will get the TRL youth of America to part with their hardly-earned allowance money. The evidence? Name the last credible musician to grace the cover. Can’t do it, can ya? Oh, Lester Bangs, the world needs you now more than ever. Overly elaborate death: A paper cut to every major artery, with a bit of salt thrown in for good measure.

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Jeff Inman

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