Headshots: Putin and the Pussy Riot

THE RUSSIAN OLIGARCHY have put punk-feminist band Pussy Riot on trial for hooliganism. The indictment claims three of the band’s members, Ekaterina Samutsevitch, Maria Alyokhina, and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, are guilty of “premeditated hooliganism performed by organized group of people motivated by religious hatred or hostility,” which, essentially, describes the Russian people.

Headshots spent some time on assignment in Russia in 2006, and we can report that the former USSR center of oppression makes a weekend in the Cleveland municipal drunk tank look like your twelfth birthday party. You know, the one where your mom hired a stoned cowboy to make you balloon snakes. And Sara Clayton touched your little pee pee while the other kids were eating cake.

Группа Pussy Riot жжет путинский гламур

This week, Russian Judge Marina Syrova will decide the fate of the Pussy in a case that has illustrated the Putin regime and its legal system as the Stalin-era dictatorship that it is. The word “pussy” has never had a more negative connotation, never before has it conjured images of old men getting their way. At least, not since the end of last semester at Sarah Lawrence.

Now, if the world is going to prosecute a band, it seems odd to us that they would start with Pussy Riot when there are so many indictable bands in all the lands. Headshots looks at musical outfits that should be jailed in place of Pussy Riot.

Editor’s Note: Nickelback is too easy. Seriously. They are more punch line than band. We won’t waste our time on jokes about the Canadian insult to the non-hearing impaired that can easily be found on Twitter or on the bathroom wall at Denny’s.

1. Foo Fighters

Okay, admittedly, Foo Fighters aren’t that bad. Their first two albums were decent, and during the ’90s when the Foo came onto radios and your MTV (there were no MP3s back then, kiddos) one could even bang their heads in agreement to their harmless rockish anthems playing three chords in more or less the right order. But, dear Lord, Foo frontman Dave Grohl was in Nirvana. NIRVANA. Until Courtney Love left Kurt Cobain in the garage with a shotgun and no smack, Nirvana was well on their way to be being the most important band of the late 20th century. But alas, “It’s better to burnout than to fade away,” and so with Kurt gone, Grohl assembled a motley crew of average musicians to fabricate safe rock for generations to be indifferent about. Oh, well. It’s not like he’s Krist Novoselic.

2. Maroon 5

I truly can’t name a Maroon 5 song, but if I can judge a band purely on the number of lame suburban kids in their tee shirts buying new threads at Urban Outfitters and talking about their parents just don’t get them, they redefine a generation of suckitude.

But I do know their lead singer is a lesbian named Adam Levine who appears on some NBC show with a transvestite named Christina Aguilera and a midget named CeeLo who try and convert housewives and waiters into the next 7 Mary Three.

And Levine is the resident rock star, apparently. Look, if you’re in a rock band you can’t have a name like Maroon 5. It sounds like a color choice in the Ikea catalog. And a quick survey of their lyrics find a whole lot of rhyming and even more suck. Plus, Levine, unless your name is Alice Cooper or Ozzy Osborne, you can’t get away with wearing eyeliner and being moderately talented. To the gulag with you, pretty boy.

3. Audioslave

Two of the hardest rocking out with their cocks out bands of the ’90s were Soundgarden and Rage Against the Machine. Soundgarden famously had their video for “Jesus Christ Pose” banned from MTV (again kids, look it up. MTV was programmed with music videos long before it became a vehicle for nobodies to get drunk in Peru and run through obstacle courses). And Rage had an entire generation screaming “Fuck you I won’t do what you tell me” much to their parent’s discontent way before Jay Zed and 50 Cents thought they were bad ass.

Audioslave was born of the ashes of both bands, essentially Rage Against the Machine fronted by Chris Cornell, Soundgarden’s erstwhile singer. The result should have been the baddest motherfucking band in the land. The reality? An FM-friendly disappointment that made Nana Mouskouri look hard.

Chris Cornell should spend the rest of his life in solitary. Shame, Tom Morello, shame.

4. Coldplay

Coldplay has made a career out of taking the honest beauty of heartbreak and frailty, shoving it into lead singer Chris Martin’s Radiohead cover band manipulator, and turning out poorly constructed piano ballad after poorly constructed piano ballad. Coldplay is what happens when spoiled Arts students with the emotional temperament of 16-year-old boys with access to instruments and bad pot are told their feelings matter.

Headshots would rather spend an afternoon researching Facebook cat photos while listening to our ex-girlfriend’s problems with her new beau’s extra large cock than be subjected to the overwrought sentimentality and earnest schlock that gets Gwyneth Paltrow wetter than a three-legged llama in an above ground pool.

A quick final note for our loyal readers as an addendum to this piece: Please, please, please for the love of Carly Harold Simon, send your hate mail this week to the bands themselves. We’re not the ones who suck. Oh, and Insane Clown Posse sucks too and should be in jail. And Gotye. And all the boy bands, except for JT. And U2. Oh man, there should be a special Alcatraz meets Sing Sing on Mars jail for Bono and the lads.

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Mike Spry is the author of JACK (Snare Books, 2008), which was shortlisted for the 2009 QWF’s A.M. Klein Prize for Poetry, and he was longlisted for the 2010 Journey Prize. His most recent work is Distillery Songs (Insomniac Press, 2011).

Related on The Smoking Jacket:
Headshots: The Olympics and 5 Other Things the Greeks Gave Us That Suck
Headshots: 5 Bullshit Olympic Sports
Headshots: Zombies! Zombies! Zombies!
Headshots: Strange Bed Etiquette: 5 Rules of Engagement 

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