Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Let's Play "That Genre Sucks!"

All right, my little droogies, the sad day has come where I must admit that I've finally sold out and joined an Ultra-Metal band. Yes, that means I'll be performing on stage wearing a huge shiny robot costume, using a science-fictionesque nickname, and playing nothing but ultra-chords. What are ultra-chords, you ask? They are like power chords, except like, whoa.

I know, I know, a lot of you are spitting with rage right now, screaming about how Ultra-Metal sucks, and how Mega-Metal rules forever. Fine, fan-boys. If Mega-Metal jerks you off, I'm happy for you, but it ain't paying the rent. And if Ultra-Metal is going to pack four hundred screaming seventeen year old kids wearing aluminum foil helmets and armor into a gymnasium to see us play, then I'll make the cool-points sacrifice.

Anyway, as you might have noticed, this week's question is about genres, so hold on to your effects pedals. Also, email me your questions at mistervanhammersmith "at" gmail.com. Follow me on twitter @vanhammersmith and follow me on Facebook. I make jokes there sometimes.


Dear Han Vammersmitten,

I'm 16, and I've been playing for about 2 years now, just got a sweet Spider IV 75 and I'm really enjoying all of the built in effects. I finally got my phaser and fuzz to work like that classic Smashing Pumpkin's sound on Siamese Dream. My band plays grunge and heavy metal, so Pumpkins are a natural thing. I play lead and rhythm respectively, but our other guitarist claims that the Smashing Pumpkin's aren't "cool" and that they are more psychedelia than actual grunge. I asked him if Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Jane's Addiction were also psychedelic, and he said that he thought they were on some songs (most songs) We are seriously considering kicking him out, just on accounts of being an idiot. Should we? Or should we educate him?


Okay dude, the case may be that you should all throw each other out of the band, because I think you might ALL be "being idiots."

Now please let me be clear: I'm not saying you ARE idiots. You are just BEING idiots. Listen more and I will sort you all out.

Here's the shit about playing covers. It don't not never done matter what cover you play, or what "GENRE" the cover is when it's played by the original artists. It just matters about YOUR BAND and what YOU GUYS sound like.

So you've got a band full of, let's say, "skiffle" players. (Google it. It's a "genre" or music style, or whatevs.) Someone says "I love 'Kinky Machine' by The Wongles." But your rhythm player says "No way, Beast! We ain't playing no Wongles! They're flibble! We're strictly skiffle!"

But then your lead singer puts down his heroically massive bong and says, "Hold up, Cyclops. I get what Beast is saying. We play the Wongles, even though they're flibble. But we PLAY them SKIFFLE."

And everyone goes "WHOA." And they all slap their foreheads at once and fall over backwards.

So let's take a look at your shitty band (no offense, but I saw you guys at Bungarosa's last weekend and you sucked. Get it together.) You guys are barely above competent players. The only "style" you can play is "try to follow along." Your solos are weak, your barrage assaults are barely devastating, and your crescendos leave me feeling empty. You don't need to worry about one song being "too psychedelic." All you guys have to worry about is getting through the song at all without fucking it all up and probably breaking up as a band.

Okay, I'm joking around. What I mean is that when you bring four or five players together, they will form a sound. Play any cover in any genre, and unless you guys are such wizards that you can effortlessly slip from "Blues" to "Rock" to "Blues Rock" to "New York Blues" to "Psychedelic Rock" to "Psychedelic Blues Rock" and everyone will notice a difference, then the song will just sound like YOU GUYS.

Am I making any dang-dang sense here? Play any song you want and you'll still sound like yourselves. This is how you have Ministry covering Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash covering Nine Inch Nails. Get it?

Shit, I knew you wouldn't get it. Okay, carry on blokes.

If any of you others have questions, send them to mistervanhammersmith "at" gmail.com. Follow me on twitter @vanhammersmith. And like me on facebook at facebook.com/vanhammersmith.

Get it? Good.

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