Back in 1999, on the soundtrack and in the movie to the Adam Sandler film Big Daddy, something truly wrong happened. There was an atrocious cover of a song that should have never been allowed to be released. Sheryl Crow’s version of the Guns N Roses classic “Sweet Child O’ Mine.” I still remember hearing it in the movie and thinking this was terrible, and guess what, it still is. Her version was originally released as a bonus track on her third album. And even more interestingly, the recording not only won her a Grammy but, it was also produced by Rick Rubin. Over the years, Crow’s version has been regarded as one of the worst cover songs ever, and rightfully so. Despite all the negativity towards it though, it became somewhat of a hit in areas like Australia, Canada, Iceland and the U.K. I still want to know who thought this would be a good idea and who approved it to be in the movie.
I don’t know whose idea this was but, whoever’s it was should be taken out to a town square and given nine lashes. This is just a boring lame version. There is nothing special about it. Johnny Cash did it justice and he’s the only one. Why do bands like this feel the need to even attempt to cover a song as powerful as “Hurt?” There is zero emotion or passion in this performance. A band like Mumford and Sons will NEVER have the real gusto to make a song like this work. This was an all around bad idea. Please just stop!!!
Bad ideas happen a lot in music. I mean A LOT of bad ideas. Sometimes it’s a business decision, a song arrangement, or even a member change/addition. One of the biggest of the bad ideas are cover songs. Sure if you are in your rehearsal studio and you’re messing around it’s fun and silly but, when you actually dare to put it out for the public to hear, that’s a whole other story. I’d like to bring your attention to a cover song that was released in 2004. Gene Simmons, yes THAT Gene Simmons, released a “solo” album in 2004 entitled Asshole. When the album was released the first single from it was a cover of The Prodigy’s “Firestarter.” It’s worth noting too that Dave Navarro lent his guitar playing to this cover. Well, not only did the album flop but, this cover is probably one of the worst covers you’ll ever hear, plus, what Gene looks like and does in the video makes it even worse. Gene Simmons has never been shy about his goal of making money. Just look at all the KISS merchandise there is along with all the other schlock he peddles. This was one of those really bad ideas that will live on in infamy and should you need a laugh, it’s perfect for that.
There are certain collaborations that should have never happened. One HUGE one that has stuck in my head for years is when Jimmy Page gave permission for Puff Daddy, Diddy, or whatever he calls himself, to use Led Zeppelin’s “Kashmir.” If you don’t recall this atrocious moment, it was during the Godzilla soundtrack and the song was called “Come With Me.” I don’t know why or how this came about to be but it’s something that should have NEVER happened. It almost, actually it did ruin that song for quite some time. Also it’s worth noting that Tom Morello was also featured on this song. The sheer association of Zeppelin and P Diddy is about as wrong as oil and water, they just don’t go together!
After Vince Neil quit or was fired (depending on whose story you believe) from Motley Crue in 1992, Tommy, Nikki, and Mick regrouped and recruited singer/guitarist John Corabi to be the new singer for Motley Crue. Motley would go on to record only one album without Vince as their singer but, that one album they did with John Corabi is quite an underrated album. There are a ton of fans out there that want to disregard it but they really shouldn’t. Corabi brought in something else to the band that had been missing for sometime. John’s ability to write lyrics and guitar parts gave new life to Motley Crue. The album also saw them move past their “glam” image and sound to a more rock vibe a la 90’s rock and “grunge.”
The first two System of a Down records are pretty damn solid. They were exciting and filled with artistry and riffs galore. Not to mention the melodies emitted from singer Serj Tankian. Then there was a drastic change to the band as they released their third and fourth albums Mezmerize and Hypnotize. Guitarist Daron Malakian took on a more prominent role of not just songwriting but also as the bands singer, and moved Serj to the background. This was more than changed the style of the band but also saw the beginning of the end for System of a Down.
It’s one thing to add another layer of vocals to the band. Mastodon did it and they did it well. But the singer switch in System really changed the band and not for the good. Gone were the more poetic songs and melodic voice, and were then replaced by self deprecating lyrics and nasally whiney vocals. Also gone was the real artistry that the band had. Their early days featured beautifully chaotic performances which emitted a strong passion to not just their art but as a way to stand out. This “new” version of System was boring, generic and stale. Musically the songs just didn’t have the “power” as their past albums. Their live shows became utterly boring, with the band just standing there playing with no emotion at all. Looking back on this era you could see the writing on the wall that this was it for them.
Over the years during different “reunions” of the band, you can still tell that there is a bit of something off about the band. These shows also seem to be more about replenishing their bank accounts then anything else. Reading interviews with Shavo and John, you can tell that they are 100 % into the band and wanting to record new music together but, Daron and Serj seem to be the ones that are holding that back. Who knows what will happen in the future but, the time is running out for them to get back to what they did best. It’s a shame that ego’s get in the way of making great music. Hopefully they get their act together and can put out a great album again. Until then at least I’ve got their debut album and Toxicity.
We live in a very strange time. Some bands try to stay relevant with a revamped lineup. Though most of the time, the new lineup just doesn’t cut it. A great example of this occurred a couple years back when, Stone Temple Pilots recruited Linkin Park’s Chester Bennington to front the band after they fired Scott Weiland. The band with Chester made a surprise appearance at a KROQ radio festival, and left many in the crowd wondering “What the hell?” This utterly disgusting idea was not just a bad idea but, it also tarnished the legacy of STP. Granted Scott was struggling again with his demons but, come on, picking Chester is like the equivalent of picking Alvin form Alvin and the Chipmunks to be the singer. The band would put out a terrible EP called High Rise, and they would tour, playing to half empty venues and mildly curious fans. I’m sure there were people out there that dug on it, but seriously, how can this be called Stone Temple Pilots without Scott?
Scott is no longer with us but, he left quite an impact on not the rock world but music in general. His lyrics, melodies and voice will always be remembered. I had hoped that STP and Scott would have one more chance at it before he died but, that didn’t come to fruition.
Take a listen to this wretchedly bad idea, and you’ll understand why this sucked.