My man Tony inspired me here: specifically, his riff on Knopler v. Clapton. I don't dislike Clapton, but off the top of my head I can name 5 guitarists who were/are technically better and aesthetically more pleasing than Clapton (who gave us his best stuff during the Cream days, IMHO). The man is overrated. Which really set me on a tear. Here's my take on the most overrated rock bands; again, not sayin' I dislike 'em per se (in fact, I like all of the bands listed), but perhaps the pedestal is a bit too high.
5. Sublime. This may be a local issue, but you can't listen to an alternative station between here and Santa Barbara for more than two hours without having to suffer through "Santeria" or "Wrong Way" or "Bad Fish". Sad story - Brad Nowell, OD'ed on smack leaving a wife and kid (not to mention that fucking dalmation that inspired at least 1/3 of their songs) behind. Yes, it was tragic. No, Sublime doesn't deserved to be mentioned in the same breath as The Specials, The English Beat, Bad Brains, or (FUCKING BLASPHEMY) Fishbone because of it. They wrote some catchy white boy reggae tunes, sandwiched between a lot of shitty pseudo-punk songs.
4. The Who. This has nothing to do with the fact that "The Who" (i.e., Daltrey and Townshend) are releasing an album of sorts this year. Townshend was loud, he jumped around on stage, he broke his guitars, he wrote a good rock opera. Keith Moon was a crazy drummer. Roger Daltry had a couple of good shrieks in him. The argument that they were the progenitors of modern punk falls pretty flat; take away Moon's frenetic drumming and you have...The Kinks.
3. The Dave Matthews Band. ATTENTION. ATTENTION ALL COLLEGE STUDENTS AND 20-SOMETHING YEAR OLD SKINNY WHITE CHICKS WHO THINK YOU'RE PART OF SOME COUNTERCULTURE MOVEMENT BECAUSE ONCE A YEAR YOU DROP $75 AND DRIVE THE BMW THAT YOUR PARENTS BOUGHT YOU UP TO IRVINE AND WATCH DAVE WHILE RIDING A GOOD BUZZ COURTESY OF THE TWELVER OF HEINKEN YOU DOWNED IN THE PARKING LOT. SMOKE SOME WEED AND EAT SOME 'SHROOMS AND LISTEN TO A DEAD/PHISH/UMPHREY'S MAGEE CD AND REASSESS YOUR WHOLE DEAL.
Seriously, I often wonder if the guys from the Spin Doctors sit around and say to themselves "Fuuuuuck. If only we'd thought of hiring a mediocre fiddle player."
2. This was actually the tough one. I'll keep it short. Springsteen. Why? Because who comes to mind when you think of the artists that modeled their sound after Bruce and Co.? That's right. This guy.
1. Nirvana. Here's why. Lo these many years after Cobain's death, reports of his influence are greatly exaggerated. Listen to bands today, and who do you hear? The Replacements. The Descendants. Soul Asylum. The Velvet Underground. Big Star. The Kinks (that earlier reference wasn't a diss - no Kinks, no White Stripes.) The Stones. AC/DC. Zeppelin. The Clash. Nick Drake. Richard Thompson. Black Sabbath. The Band. George Clinton and the P-Funk All Stars. Hendrix. Cream. Queen. Pink Floyd. Bob Marley. The Skatelites. Neil Young. The hype that Cobain couldn't deal with...well, it's too bad he didn't tough it out. The band put out two good albums, a mediocre studio swan song, and a live acoustic suicide note (listen to their excellent "Unplugged" album, and you'll realize that Kurt had probably already made the decision to kill himself - the song selection is downright eerie). They made punk somewhat more accessible, but in the end, it's still confined to alternative and college radio. (Not that that's a bad thing.)
There it is. Bring on the sticks and stones.