It's The End Of The Week As We Know It: Part 65

I'd like to pose an idea what bands out there have you never been able to understand?

Ultimate Guitar

Cello, there. First off, I'd like to thank you guys for your input last week over my new formatting idea for this blog series. After reading your comments, it seemed pretty unanimous that everyone enjoys the usual essay format but is willing to take on a change. I'm glad that so many people out there actually take the time to read articles and enjoy commentary from the likes of writers like me that's pretty awesome. So given the love for the original blog format, I think what I'll do is a combination of ideas - some weeks I'll stick to the usual essay-like post pertaining to music news, but on weeks that seem to contain more lighthearted or intriguing news stories, I'll adopt the Top Band, Top Guitarist, Idiot of the Week etc. approach. And to for variety's sake (It's the End of the Week Variety Hour!), some weeks I'll address an entirely different subject to spark a conversation. Such is the case with this week.

I'd like to pose an idea what bands out there have you never been able to understand?

You know the bands I'm talking about the big-time, legendary bands that are adored by millions, but for some reason, you just can't get into them. You've tried. Your friends routinely make compelling arguments why you should listen to X or Y band, but something about the music just doesn't resonate with you. You want to understand why the band is considered so great, but after many attempts at listening, you're just not into them and end up dismissing the music.

So what big bands out there don't you get? What is it about those bands that make millions of people go nuts, but makes you turn your nose up?

Here's a list of bands I've never quite gotten. Maybe you share some. Mind you, I'm not knocking these bands at all... I certainly acknowledge their greatness because, let's be real, it does take a considerable amount of awesomesauce to become a big name in the rock world. But these guys... I dunno, something just doesn't sit right with me.

Uncharacteristically, I'm going to write this list more off-the-cuff and I'll be a little more opinionated than usual. My descriptions relay how the music sounds to me at this current state in time. By no means am I dismissing these bands entirely or am unwilling to reconsider my stance on them; actually, I think that's why this subject interests me so much I want to be proven wrong. Show me some tunes for musical conversion! Show me the way! All right, let's get started.

1) Elvis Presley

As someone who has always loved rock music, you'd think that I'd be more interested in/enjoy the music of the figure that popularized the genre. I just never took the time to get into Elvis Presley, most likely because people my age are so far removed from Elvis's influence on the music world. My apathy toward Elvis is mostly due to a lack of context, which I'm admittedly uneducated in; most likely, if I were to study Elvis, the time period, and the significance of his recordings, I'd appreciate him much more. But because 50 or so years have passed since he got big, and his likeness and crooning vocal style seems kind of cartoonish, I have a hard time becoming enthused. For now, hearing Elvis just reminds me of listening to his Christmas albums in my parent's car as a kid and watching Uncle Jesse on Full House act like an obsessed nut job doing Elvis impressions.

2) The Grateful Dead

Although Jerry Garcia is supposedly a prolific guitarist, I never could get into The Grateful Dead. I recently studied a bit of the Dead's music when I wrote a guitar lesson for a rock music website in which I had to study Garcia's style and transcribe a solo. While this experience helped me realize the dude was indeed a talented, respectable great guitarist, I'm still not sold. Maybe I'm just put off by the jam band culture attached to them. Just not my cup of tea, I guess. Also, I've talked to other non-Dead fans and Dead fans alike, and it seems that younger generations only tend to listen to the Dead based on whether or not their parents listened to them. My more conservative parents didn't and preferred The Beatles, which brings me to the next band I've never quite become a fan of...

3) The Rolling Stones

This may not be entirely fair. Duh, they are The Rolling Stones, one of the greatest and influential rock and roll bands of all time; however, I never gave them a standing chance based on my lifelong fandom and preference to The Beatles. Plus, with a huge catalog that spans four decades, I simply don't know where to start with The Stones.

4) Bruce Springsteen

I hear that live, Bruce Springsteen and The E-Street Band are legit, but nothing I've heard on record has really piqued my interests. The music seems too friendly and tame. Plus, when I think of Springsteen, as a kid growing up in the 90s, I can't help but associate the music with Adam Sandler's portrayal of him on "SNL" Springsteen's style and music just seems a little goofy. Drummer Max Weinberg though is pretty rad though.

5) Pearl Jam

Pearl Jam always seemed too vanilla compared to the other "grunge" bands that came out at the time. Granted "Ten" is a pretty sick record, but after that, Pearl Jam's straightforward rock music seemed dull and lacked interesting musicality/execution. I have total respect for Pearl Jam sustaining such a fruitful career, securing a loyal fan base and doing pretty much whatever they want to do musically, but eh... even when I saw them live, I wasn't grabbed by the ear-nuts.

6) Bob Dylan

I'll get some flack for this. I try to listen to Dylan. I've tried a lot actually. It's his voice, really... I just can't in good faith put on a Dylan record and enjoy it for the music. I know I'm clearly missing something because Rolling Stone Magazine pretty much masturbates out Dylan love letters in every issue, and Dylan is regarded as a living folk rock legend. I'm told it's all about the words. Obviously, he's a brilliant lyricist and it's more about his musical storytelling, rather than the music, but I don't know though; I may not just be into poetry set to acoustic guitars. If anyone can direct me to a really sick Dylan track that blows me away, I'll write you a personal haiku.

7) Tom Petty

People go nuts over Petty and I don't know why. I've never understood what the hoopla is about. Perhaps it's rooted in an experience in 8th grade when my band wanted to cover "Free Falling", and for some reason I detested that song. Thus, anything else I've heard from him sucks by association. Plus, Petty's songs come off as really repetitious, and naturally, with vocals that are quite reminiscent of Bob Dylan, well...

8) Tool

I've heard praise for Tool's musicianship, heaviness, and emotional quality, but again, I just don't get them. Maybe it's Maynard Keenan's voice, or maybe it's the uninspired riffs and songs that just drag on... I just never understood the apparent genius of Tool. Drummer Danny Carey is sick though.

9) Dave Matthews Band

Although Carter Beauford rips on drums (seems like a lot of these bands I listed include great drummers... weird), Dave Matthew's squeaky vocals, the underlying acoustic rock vibe... the, what is it, saxophone presenceit all seems a little too adult contemporary, mid-tempo soft rock. The band has chops out the wazoo, but on record, they come off a little boring. I haven't seen them live though, so maybe I should ingest a copious amount of drugs and lie out on the lawn for a DMB show and enjoy the experience.

10) Jane's Addiction

Finally, we have Jane's Addiction. Every Jane's Addiction song, to me, sounds like a strange, clunky mess. Dave Navarro is probably one of the most overrated guitar players on the planet and Perry Farrel, although a smart musician, sounds too abrasive and weird. But then again, these guys are supposed to be weird.

And that's my list. That was kind of fun sometimes you just have to spout off your opinion every now and then. Apologies for the polarizing statements, but when you think about it, many people's musical opinions are based around perceptions gained when younger, which we carry with us as we age.

Anyway, you can see a lot of reasons for why one may not "get" a band a lack of context, a preference toward another similar band, not growing up on the music, or maybe just finding the music annoying.

So share the bands you never quite got in the comments. Maybe we'll be surprised and find some common choices. Maybe everyone will come to the conclusion that nobody really likes Tom Petty.

On The Next It's The End Of The Week As We Know It:

After this blog turned 65, I collect my Internet social security; I use the money to buy a stupidly large amount of Dunlop jazz picks.

Tim and Eric's "Raz Song" is revealed to be the true inspiration for No Doubt's latest single, "Push And Shove".

A coked up Vince Neil apologizes to the Las Vegas valets he chastised, admitting that he forgot he no longer owned a Rolls Royce and remembered purchasing a La Baron that was previously owned by Jon Voight.

By Zach Pino Twitter: @zachpino

125 comments sorted by best / new / date

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    Dream Theatre. I can listen to them, and acknowledge that they are good musically, and Petrucci is certainly no ordinary guitarist, but I've never really been able to get into them. As for Bob Dylan, I've always seen him as more of a poet who just happens to sing. Good lyrics, but overrated musically
    I listen to a bit of Dream Theater and there are some songs that I really like, but I certainly don't love them. I am a huge John Myung fan (being a bassist) and lets be honest all of the are technically excellent players. The problem is, a lot of their songs to me are stale and can be a little pretentious and wanky. Now sure, that's prog metal/rock, but when they try to do emotion, it just sounds forced, cheesy, and insincere, particularly the singer; James LaBrie has always sounded better belting out strong vocal lines than trying to do emotional pieces. I think this lack of emotional grabbage (if that's a word) really stops me, and maybe others, from loving them.
    Petrucci is the only thing going for that band imo, other than that, they are just overhyped big time
    well now that portnoy is gone, Myung can write songs again and his song on their latest album was the best one in decades, so he gets some credit too
    Oh yeah right aside from having one of the best bassists in all of music, one of the most technically advanced drummers and keyboardists and a great singer. Nothing special.
    I never said that the band members cant play (I love when ppl assume)...they can play, but I doubt they have one of the "best" bass players of all time...and there are alot more technically advanced drummers out there....vocals I dont care for but that's only my opinion....again, all I said that they are overhyped, which is obvious
    Chickenfoot. The only reason I can see to hype about them is the fact that there are 3 talented musicians, and Sammy Hagar, writing (in my opinion) very average music.
    I don't get Chickenfoot either. I never really liked them. All the musicians are talented nonetheless, but talented by themselves.
    Intersteing, I'm the exact opposite! I get Chickenfoot, Love them to death, but I have no idea why! I guess part of it is Satch was my first HUGE Guitar Hero...
    I'm gonna get so much hate for this on this site, but I could never get into Metallica... I'm not particularly crazy about Muse either, mostly cause I can't stand Matt Bellamy's voice.
    Absolutely agree with you on Muse. I can't stand them at all, and they're probably my most hated band ever.
    "Maybe its Maynard Keenans voice, or maybe its the uninspired riffs and songs"....."uninspired riffs" A grave error has been made!
    Nirvana- do not get it....never did and I grew up in the 80's & 90's....maybe its because during their rise, I was practicing the hell out of my guitar and this cat gets all this attention and I thought it sounded like he spent a day and a half learning how to play, and do not get the lyrics...imo.
    Mastodon. I SERIOUSLY do not get all the hype.
    When I first heard Mastodon I thought they were terrible, but after giving them a chance I was able to see how epic they are. I suggest listening to "Crack The Skye" in a dark room with good headphones and if you still don't like them then you never will. On topic, I can't seem to get Joe Satriani. I love shredders (Becker, Vai, Malmsteen etc) and I appreciate what Joe brings to the genre, but I can't seem to make it through an album of his without losing interest.
    Mastodon is amazing you should check out blood mountain by them or the hunter theyre always doing something new on each record
    I could not agree with any comment on this page more unless it involved the same statement regarding Opeth.
    I caught Mastodon at this year's rock on the range. I gave them about 4 songs before I couldn't watch anymore. Pearl Jam has a whole back catalog of endless songs I really don't care for, but you have to admire their hits and first two albums. Bob Dylan is a nice listen, and Tom Petty is brilliant to me, I've never heard a bad TP song. Have to agree with the Tool mention, everytime they hit the radio it sounds awful to me so idk about them. Jane's Addiction is very weird, but it's the wierdness that makes them stand out and I do enjoy them; Farrel is a great frontman. As for my top picks that I just don't understand: 1. Coldplay . All of their songs are this endless droning with a whiny voice. Not my thing. Which turns me to number 2. Muse . Their guitar work is supposed to be great and all but I can't get over Matt Bellamy's voice. It's one of the worst whines in the industry and I" can't get past it to accept them. 3. The Mars Volta . This band sounds amazing to me but they are so complex you literally have to digest a million parts during one song. I own a few songs and I enjoy them, but they really are a musical puzzle. 4. Journey . Every older relative, including my mom loves this band. Anywhere I go that is family related for like holidays and stuff, Journey is always played. I guess hearing them my entire childhood has completely turned me off to that band. 5. System of A Down . Granted there are some songs I dig by this band but nearly everyone loves them and Serj's voice i just nails on a chalkboard to me sometimes. 6. Nine Inch Nail s. Have almost their entire catalog, but nothing really impresses me.
    I really like this topic but I didn't like the janes addiction slam. they try to be really different from other bands with prog rock mixed in. and Dave navaro isn't overrated at all because I don't think people rate him that high, though his solos are awesome. I don't get Clapton, muse, or Stevie ray Vaughn or bob sylan
    Man I truly feel sorry for anyone who doesn't get or enjoy Tool.
    I try to get into them, listen to Lateralus all the way through and the other one I got, can't remember its name, the one with the live version of Jerk off? Anyway, I fell asleep, couldn't stand the repetition of it all. I like his voice and lyrics, but the music stays the same for ever. Could you give me the name of their heaviest song?
    well if you want something kinda a nuts I would suggest rosseta stoned, with tool though you can't expect much speed or harmonic variability but if you just let the groove and rhythm mesmerize you it can be a pretty cool experience, if you want something to meditate to then reflections a pretty sweet song but it's pretty much the poster child of long tool songs that just gradually build and do nothing else (which is why I find it very helpful for putting myself in a trance like state). When it comes to tool it's just patience, patience, patience, but if you just relax and aren't in a rush to get anywhere particularly fast (whether through the influence of drugs or whatever other ways you have of getting into that mindset) then you will be rewarded. Tool is basically a modern mystic hard rock/metal version of pink floyd.
    Give songs like Jambi or The Pot a go, I'm yet to meet even people impartial to Tool not digging those songs.
    The reason people love Tool is the same reason people love jazz, it's not for the riffs, but for the emotion that the music evokes. Their album Aenima has a lot of unique textures and is the darkest album I've heard so far. They also listen to them for Maynard's lyrics, he writees about some very interesting and dark subjects and does it in a way that really sounds cool.
    Never got the love for AC/DC. I always get their songs confused when I hear one on the radio or at a friends house. Sounds like they just take the basic chords like E, A, D, and G and mix up the rhythm/progression in that same ole twangy tone.
    Listen to Alter Bridge. They have a lot of meaningful songs, but they have a heavy-riff side too. There truly a talented band.
    ACDC, Slayer,and Disturbed. I find them quite boring, I just don't have it in me to listen to at least 1 album straight through
    Disagreeing on AC/DC, I could listen to any of there albums straight and love it to sh#t. Slayer and Disturbed I'd agree with...
    I can't do Slayer, esp live. A friend of mine had to endure them before Rob Zombie and he said it was the worst hour of his life.
    AC/DC are fun but repetitive really. Some songs are great: just big, juicy, no-nonsense fun like Thunderstruck or You Shook Me All Night Long, but most of their songs are like that, and it gets boring. I went through a "Disturbed Rules" stage, and then got very, very bored of them. And Slayer are just messy. Really, really messy and not tight at all, and it ****s me off when I listen to them.
    u2, and any indie band that came after Oasis(coldplay and snow patrol most of all)the music never gets loud but is never really soft and intimate either, it's never very happy but never really dark and evil either, and every song sounds like a build up to a climax that never comes... btw I really Like The Rolling Stones but for me it was tough too not knowing where to begin with so many songs. and I'm a huge fan of Jane's Addiction but I understand that it's not for everyone.
    The two indie band i will recommend are Minus The Bear, especially their album Planet of Ice and EP They Mak Beear Commercials Like This, and the band Dragons Power Up!. There is not a bad song on their album Brace For The Bloom.
    fenderstrattele the first paragraph of your comment basically sums up my beef with society right now, well that's kinda strong language... more like mild annoyance with society... who care's it's all meaningless and the same anyways.
    Hahahahahahahaha Purchasing a La Baron that was previously owned by Jon Voight. He's george Constanza!!! Hahahahahahaha I never quite got Nine Inch Nails... I mean, they have 2 great songs... but... besides that... they're boring...
    I don't get Devin Townsend. Other metal-lovers practically worship the guy, but the music just doesn't click with me. What am I doing wrong?
    Veronique Vega
    The appeal of Devin Townsend is, at least for me, the wide ranging eccentricity. I've heard him compared to Frank Zappa. And there is a small amount of accuracy in that, IMO. For example: the four albums currently available by Devin Townsend Project all have their own distinct feel to them- Ki is almost all clean tones with quiet / slow tension that builds, Addicted! has huge wall-of-sound song structure with heavy guitars and synth, Deconstructed is just a complete mess of over-the-top weirdness, and Ghost is ambient with acoustic guitars. Thats a fair example of the diversity Devin writes and performs.
    At least for me, I never understood Strapping Young Lad's appeal. I grew into it at some point. I think I've always like Devin's solo material, though.
    I could get so much flack from this, but Rush. Neal Peart is a great drummer and such, but Geddy's voice just makes me want to stomp some babies. I agree with you on The Grateful Dead. I had an ex girlfriend that was obsessed with them and I just felt bored listening to it.
    I never entered The Beatles world...It could be cause I've never really dug anyone of their albums, but apart from some song I can't get what's so exciting abuot their music. But I swear I'll give em a chance! For the Tool thing, Zach, I'd suggest you to take the time to listen to a whole album (maybe 10000 days or Lateralus) through a good pair of headphones. Patience will bring pieces togheter
    Tool's most accessible song is probably Sober, its what got me into them.
    Play the story mode in The Beatles: Rock Band. No joke. I liked The Beatles before I played the game, and I ADORED them after. You get a real sense of their progression, impact, and brilliant guitar and bass work - also it proves Ringo had chops.
    Floyd Phoenix
    I'd agree with you on Elvis, and I'd say Prince. I mean, Purple Rain is one of my favourite songs and I like Let's Go Crazy, but I can't listen all the way through any of his other stuff.