Archives for March 2016

AC/DC’s New Lead Singer


AC/DC lead screecher Brian Johnson has had a lot of bad news lately. First his doctors told him that the massive hearing loss he’d sustained over the course of his 35-year career emceeing a show that, in addition to a literal wall of Marshall stacks, included actual cannon fire at the end of every performance, was permanent and likely to get worse. They strongly recommended that he quit performing immediately, or risk losing what little hearing he has left.

AC/DC announced Johnson’s retirement soon after, promising to soldier on and honor their ten scheduled summer 2016 dates with a replacement singer to be named later.

And that was news to Johnson, who says that he told the band about the doctor’s advice, but also offered to do the last ten shows as a kind of farewell tour. The next day, all of Johnson’s tour belongings and other personal effects in the possession of the AC/DC organization were dropped off in his driveway, and he has not spoken to Angus Young or anyone else with the band since.

I can only speculate, but I assume that Brian Johnson can be dropped from AC/DC like an old piece of luggage because he is not an original member of the band; when he replaced far superior but deceased frontman Bon Scott in 1980, they must have put him on the payroll rather than cutting him in as a full voting partner in AC/DC Enterprises.

It’s a rotten thing to do to Johnson, but let’s be honest: the guy is not exactly easy on the ears. He never was, but he was better in the ‘80s. Now he’s just a screech with just the slightest hint of a key. His voice is not really a voice. Bon Scott’s voice was really his voice — it was weirdly high, but that’s what made it interesting. Brian Johnson’s voice is more of a trick, a way of leaning into your throat to screech an octave or two higher than your normal range, sort of like a falsetto on steroids. It’s an easy way to imitate a voice higher than your own — it was a great way to keep the band’s sound consistent, by staying right in Bon Scott’s range — but it’s hell on your throat and vocal cords. Do it for two hours on Friday night and you probably won’t be able to speak more than a croak on Saturday. Multiply that by 200 shows a year for 35 years and you’re left with the sound Johnson makes now, which is like the noise a giant ostrich would make if it was trapped under something heavy.

Read More

Donald Trump and the N-Word


Donald Trump is an asshole. I think that’s clear enough to everyone by now. He’s a raging id monster made of narcissism, spite, and arrogance, held together with an orange angora and spray-tan spackle. The increasingly plausible idea that he might actually win the White House in November is unsettling and his presidency would, at best, be totally ineffectual (because he doesn’t actually know anything about how the government works) and at worst mire the United States in multiple unwinnable long-term military conflicts while bankrupting the Treasury with a combination of regressive Tax Cuts and impractical Mass Deportations.

Trump’s blustering, overweening personal style would almost certainly degrade the dignity of the presidency even further than Congress has worked to degrade it the last eight years. His tendency toward holding personal grudges and airing them in the press and on Twitter would alienate most any other world leader, and his single-minded, zero-sum obsession with “winning” — a very black-and-white concept in an increasingly gray world — and his apparent compulsion to answer any slight, no matter its source or relevance to the bigger picture, would make any kind of diplomacy nearly impossible. It’s hard to imagine how a Trump presidency would be anything but an across-the-board disaster (except for the media, which would regard it as four years of consecutive Christmases) and though every election of my lifetime has been touted as The Most Important In A Generation, there might actually be some truth to it this time.

But can we ease up on the Nazi talk?

Read More

Angry Old Man for President

The primary elections are getting serious now, with Donald Trump on the verge of sewing things up on the Republican side (so maybe “serious” isn’t quite the right word) and Hillary Clinton beginning to open up a lead over her sole rival, Bernie Sanders.

As they have done for this whole primary season, pundits are once again writing Sanders off, believing Clinton’s margin to be too wide and Sanders’ self-described democratic socialist policies too far out for Americans to embrace. While both may indeed prove to be the case, the Editorial Board of this publication endorses Bernie Sanders for president of the United States.

Read More