Published Feb 12, 2010Once again, we must preface this list: we're not saying these bands suck. It's just that after creating some unforgettable music and reshaping the future of their respective genres, they went on to either become adored by the very people they initially endeavoured to ostracize, lost it entirely or caved in to the almighty dollar.
Not that we're about to pawn their music but because that guy likes them and they can't reclaim the flame that once made them so awesome, we're now simply embarrassed to acknowledge our adoration for these particular punk/metal acts.
So with that out of the way, here is our Top Punk/Metal Bands You Should Be Ashamed to Like:
When was the last time you went to a NOFX show? Wait. When's the last time you went to a NOFX show and actually heard them play a song instead of fuck around for an hour? Moreover, did you look at the crowd? It's every jock asshole you probably wanted to knock out in high school. Factor in that it's a lot of years later and their presence is based on a "nostalgic trip," while you actually bought/borrowed/downloaded their more recent material, and it feels kinda sad. Moreover, while Fat Mike is pretty funny, he's also kind of pretentious.
There are many reasons why one of the most amazing bands ever deserves to be on this list. From the fact that they're now a merchandise company with a band attached to their consistently diminishing returns, live and in the studio, this band are wonderful only for the same "nostalgic trip" we made fun of NOFX fans about. Hell, even Glenn Danzig, the band's artistic leader, jumped that sinking ship before the rest of us. We blame Jerry Only for making so many bad decisions while struggling to resuscitate this dead horse that a former gem has been rendered utter leachate: the toxic goo dripping from landfill sites.
Speaking of bands that don't seem to be bands anymore, thrash metal giants Anthrax are about a pube's breadth away from Misfits territory. Man, they had the world in their wacky back pockets in the late '80s/early '90s. Yet the past few years have seen more column inches given to wondering what the fuck they're up to and empty promises than actually previewing or reviewing their actions. Oh, right, that's because the last album was in 2003. That's closing in on a decade, people. Still, they garner all this attention for being one of thrash's "Big Four." Well, after not putting out music for ages, losing great vocalist John Bush for a brief reunion with Joey Belladonna and this endless hunt for a new front that has turned up more wild turkeys than a bourbon plant, they've hit rock bottom. At last count, their still-unavailable latest recording boasts more covers than new tunes. What's worse is seeing the cool guy, Scott Ian, still plugging the band on television and in print after so much inactivity. Pretty soon, he'll have to add start using "Only" as his family name too.
Let's put Bad Religion into a surfing context. They paddled out on the first wave of American punk rock and ended up spearheading the second wave. They rode it and could hang ten like nobody's business (Against the Grain, Generator). However, the third wave came along, and while these boys struggled to keep up, they totally wiped out but didn't acknowledge it. They just pretended to be shooting the curl (No Substance, The New America). What's worse was that other newbies were still watching them in awe and that actually kept them going. Eventually, they straightened out (The Process of Belief, The Empire Strikes First) but it was too late. They're just not cool anymore and are geezers to boot. The funny part is that all of it - Bad Religion's coolness, their being usurped by younger, better bands and eventual reinstatement - is all the responsibility of one man: guitarist Brett Gurewitz. He's the band's best songwriter and created Epitaph Records, which propelled and ultimately dwarfed the band, left them to sink and eventually threw the life preserver by rejoining. We're not sure if that's good or bad.
Jawbreaker rocks. We'd never deny that, nor the fact that they've only had truly great compositions and were smart enough to disband before hitting a point of diminishing returns. It's the other fans that make us sick. Have you ever walked down the street and the most horrendous person imaginable strikes up a conversation with you based on your T-shirt? Like, those disgusting scenesters that you want to laugh at and punch in the same gesture? That basically sums up the majority of this band's followers, only replace "scenester" with "cardigan-wearing, shoe-gazing pussy." That Michael Cera guy in that stupid flick Juno? He probably has a circle jerk with the other wimp from Zombieland while listening to Jawbreaker. At least we keep it a secret.
Guitarist Vinnie Stigma is awesome. It's just too bad he'll be forever associated with the albatross known as Agnostic Front. From a roster of former members that makes Megadeth seem like a committed relationship (What is it, like, 15? More?) to their endless morphs into whatever sound their current label is pushing, they've lost the edge that made them, well, virtually responsible for the whole New York hardcore scene in the first place. As amazing as initial releases such as Victim in Pain and Cause for Alarm are, there's an equally ripe piece of shit like those pop punk debacles from their Epitaph years or the later Nuclear Blast albums, where they embraced the double-kick metal they used to slag endlessly. Were they (and we mean vocalist Roger Miret here) a little more open-minded, it might have worked but after years of hiding their insecurity with bullish bravado, it ended up making them suck and one of those bands you tuck to the back of your collection. Way back.
Up until they got all wanky emo, these guys actually had some disgustingly catchy, hyperactive songs that encapsulated the essence of pop punk. Factor in that they've always given kudos to their favourite acts, bringing the Vandals on tour or covering Descendents songs and the cool factor is even higher. Going to their shows as a 30-something and feeling like you're sitting in a playpen that holds 18,000 screaming toddlers - well, pre-teens - eliminates that.
The fact they were so insecure as to continually change aesthetics was forgivable when they kept it inside the husband-beater shirts/suspenders-influenced East Bay Hard Core and eventual Danzig-esque goth thing. That all went to shit after PVC infiltrated Davey Havok's system and completely wussed him out. Witness anything post-The Art of Drowning. Either way, their early albums rock and it makes sporting the old school cat T-shirts decidedly embarrassing. Cool for five years, shitty for almost ten, these guys are vying for Metallica's "sucked for longer than they were cool" throne. Which brings us to...
Three good albums in as many years. A quarter-century of pain, misery and Some Kind of Monster. We're not sure even Metallica can say they like Metallica anymore.