Another Opinion I’m Sick Of

And one I’ve seen again today: “the wife of $male rock star is a controlling harpy bitch and is wrecking his music. She just doesn’t understand him like I do! *sniff*”

Yoko Ono is obviously the most prominent example of this, but it happens *all the time*. Just off the top of my head:

Brian Wilson’s wife Melinda gets attacked on a regular basis by people saying she controls him and is using him — this despite the fact that Wilson has been obviously happier, more content, more mentally well, and more productive in the last twenty years than at any time in the thirty before that. Most of the attackers don’t seem to know anything about her other than that she may have had plastic surgery, she has a lot of pet dogs, and all the Wilsons’ adopted children have names starting with D. This seems to be enough to make her history’s greatest monster.

Rumours went round in the Monkees fandom before Davy Jones died that his wife was evil and controlling. In particular, she was called an egomaniac for “insisting” on touring with the band and dancing with them. She was definitely going to spoil the show.
In fact she was a professional dancer before she met Davy, and a good one. She appeared on stage for two songs — Can You Dig It, and Daddy’s Song — and in both of them replicated dances that were performed to those songs in the film in which they appeared. She added a lot to the show, which was the most critically acclaimed tour the band had ever done to that point.

Frank Zappa’s widow, Gail, gets this treatment a lot both from his fans and his ex-bandmates. The Zappa tribute band The Muffin Men released their first original track a couple of years ago — it was called Cold Winter Gale. Ho ho ho.

And today, Mike Love has just announced that his bass player Randell Kirsch will be replaced by Brian Eichenberger, who’s played with Brian Wilson and the Four Freshment. Immediately all over Beach Boys fandom come posts saying that the line-up change in Mike’s band is some sinister move on the part of Jacqueline Love, who apparently has some sort of evil control over the touring band and toys with them at her whim, hiring and firing with no regard for anything other than her evil evilness.
If so, given that every single line-up change in the band up to this point since Mike & Bruce first started touring as The Beach Boys in 1998 has been a positive one that’s made the band sound better, I can only say hooray for Jacqueline Love’s caprice. Over the last eighteen years the touring band have gone from being a sloppy, out-of-tune, corner-cutting mess to being a fantastic live act with the best drummer and the best vocal harmonies that you could imagine.

[EDIT — just to clarify, I think Randell’s a great singer, a very good bass player, and in the brief interactions I’ve had with him a very nice person. I don’t think him leaving Mike’s band would be a good thing for the band, and I hope it was his decision rather than him being fired. I’m talking here about a pattern, not that individual instance.]

I’m sure you can all think of your own examples — Courtney Love, both Paul McCartney’s first two wives, and on and on. This is the absolute normal, standard story told about any woman who dares to want to be involved, however peripherally, with her husband’s actual life if he’s a musician. It’s vile and it needs to stop.

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7 Responses to Another Opinion I’m Sick Of

  1. po8crg says:

    Lest you think that teen pop is any better, you should see the hate spouted at Petrie Edwards because he boyfriend has quit a boyband at exactly the point in a boyband life cycle when someone quits.

  2. dm says:

    A similar opinion is “Damon Albarn/Kurt Cobain wrote all the songs on her first album”

    ‘Cos fuck that noise.

  3. Christian Taylor says:

    Not for nothing, but Tom Waits only started making the music I like best *after* he met his future wife.

    • Andrew Hickey says:

      Indeed — and she co-wrote a big chunk of it with him.

    • Andrew Hickey says:

      (I’ve also pointed out before that Ray Davies’ talent pretty much arrived when Rasa started singing backing vocals with the Kinks, and disappeared when they split up…)

  4. TAD says:

    It seems to me that Scott Totten (the musical director) and Jon Cowsill (the drummer with a great presence) are the essential members of Mike & Bruce’s backing band. The others, talented as they may be, can be replaced with others and the band won’t miss a beat.

    • Andrew Hickey says:

      To an extent. Randell was great, and even just getting rid of most of his leads made a big difference to the sound. The only reason him leaving isn’t a major, major blow to the band is that they’ve got Foskett — if he’d left at the same time Christian Love did last year, and Foskett hadn’t replaced either of them, they’d have been really lost.
      Basically, the essential backing band members are Scott, John, and at least one really good Beach Boys style falsettist, who could be any one of Jeff, Randell, or Matt Jardine. I’ve never heard anyone who could take Brian’s falsetto parts as well as those three (other than Brian in 1964, obviously), and so you need one of them (I’ve not heard Eichenberger yet). You possibly need one of those three *more* than Scott or John, but it can be any one of them.
      Everyone in the band needs to have a “Beach Boys” sounding voice for it to work — they don’t need to sound like a *specific* Beach Boy, but they need to have a similar vocal quality. Chris Farmer and Randell Kirsch both did, Scott, John, and Jeff all do. Christian Love, oddly, had a very similar voice to Carl’s but couldn’t sing in a Beach Boys style.
      Really, the only member who could be replaced without changing the quality of the show is Tim Bonhomme, who doesn’t sing and who mostly plays pads on the keyboard — the parts are simple enough that any competent keyboard player could play them. Surprisingly, though, he’s been there the longest — he’s been in the band since 1996 — and they used him as road manager on the 2012 tour, so he must be very valuable to them in other ways. (That’s not to disparage his musicianship — he plays the parts, and plays them well; it’s just that they’re not very difficult parts).

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