The Savage Animal 09.25.13: Top 20 Front Men Under 40 (10-1)
Posted by Mikey MiGo on 09.25.2013
From Jack White and Coldplay's Chris Martin to Win Butler of Arcade Fire, Matthew Bellamy of Muse and more, 411's MIkey MiGo concludes his look at the top 20 frontmen under forty with #10 - 1!
"Rethinking the UFC": For years I kind of blindly hated on the UFC. I say "kind of" because I knew enough about it to have a valid opinion, but I didn't know enough about it to know that my valid opinion could have been wrong.
It's not that I feel like I'm above the UFC but I just felt that the people who glamorized the "art" of it were full of shit. I don't care what anyone says, MMA is two people in a cage trying to win via worst beating or injury possible. No one can deny the sentiment and basic simplicity of it.
But yeah, I was a dick about it. I was closed minded about it. There IS an art to the process. The same way I have to defend wrestling to naive non fans, I should have respected the debunking of stereotypes a bit more. Eventually after gaining an appreciation for Joe Rogan through his podcasts and comedy I got a tad more open to it. The MMA related guests he had seemed like interesting dudes and the way they speak of their profession made it seem really different than that primal war aspect.
It's never going to replace wrestling in my heart, but I can see things differently. Here are a few things I've learned:
1. THE FIGHTERS DO HAVE PERSONALITY.
From the outside they all look like soulless blockheads on par with the non-Mayweather side of boxing. Some of these guys cut better promos than some people in the WWE and most people in TNA. Guys like Sonnen have enough personality to be legit stars in WWE.
2. ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN.
We've all seen that fight where it looks like two mostly naked dudes are hugging each other for 30 minutes. It's not all like this at all. Sometimes a fight ends in like 30 seconds or sometimes it goes the distance. You just never know.
3. NOT AS BARBARIC AS WE THOUGHT.
Sure they are still fighting in a cage, but they stop things before it gets really bad. It's still a war!
4. THEY HAVE GREAT PROMO.
They still can't compete with the WWE in terms of production, but I can fairly say that the MMA is better than TNA wrestling and has a sharp and defined look to it. The promotional packages are getting great and the advertising is engaging. As a non-fan, these commercials really show me who is worth checking out and gives me a little 30 second history lesson of where things were to lead up to now. This is part of the UFC that people seem to be sleeping on.
5.) IT'S ALWAYS ON NOW.
One way to really get into it seems to just jump in and start watching. Now, more than ever, you have the options to check it out. They have pay per views like every other weekend anymore, but if you don't want to invest your cash just yet into something you can watch one of their many shows. They have "The Ultimate Fighter", which is a reality show/fight show hybrid. They have stuff on Fox Sports all the time. They show old classic fights, news, promo packages, and just tons of content. They are slowly and surely getting more and more out there. It's only a matter of time before they're in a place like a WWE or TNA where they can put on weekly shows and just rotate through all their talent that way.
It's there. If you want to check it out, go for it. Going into it with an open mind, I've started to enjoy aspects of it and appreciate the product a lot more. I'm not completely sold on it. Nothing has gotten me to get super excited like a football game, a basketball game, or even a professional wrestling match. It's still something to take in. I'd just recommend being more opened minded to it. It's NOT the crazy cage fighting you'd see in a Van Dam movie from the early 90s. It's a legit sport. Treat it accordingly.
Top 20 Front Men Under 40! (10-1)
Lead-singer-itis!What makes a good front man?
The idea of a modern band is pretty much a template now. You have one or two guitar players, a base player, a drummer, and sometimes you'll have something more like a DJ or a keyboard player or backup singers or whatever. But the general four or five piece band is just a tradition now. One thing that's needed in a modern band is a voice. Not only an audio voice, but a visual voice, and voice that represent who that band is and what they have to say.
The lead singer gets the chicks. They get the attention. They have the egos. They have the off-stage problems. They are treated like golden gods. People like Plant, Morrison, The Beatles, Bowie, and the like are treated like royalty, religious figures, celebrities, dignitaries, and artists all at the same time. The best front men are mythical figures. The same way people treated the fine artists of the old days is how we're treating our music icons today. When it's done right, rock and roll is the best medium of modern art. You need a GREAT front man for that kind of status to ever be achieved.
In the last installment, I covered number twenty through eleven. The first half of the "Best Under 40" club is made up of a pretty eclectic bunch. I'm a big fan of a few people and then some people on the list are not my thing at all. I'm trying to be fair and have a balance and be subjective. Just because I don't like a specific band doesn't mean I can't recognize someone's brilliance, popularity, and impact.
At the same time any kind of list like this is PURELY subjective. Unless you're making a list based purely on statistics or fact then no "Best of" list is going to be more legit than any others. I said it once and I'll say it again, but like what you want to like and do it proudly. People may try, but unless you like Nickelback, no one can tell you what you like is not good. If it sounds good to you, then good for you.
Art is art.
A million nerds with pitchforks can't devalue that if you don't let them.
Catch up on Top 20 Front Men Under 40! (20-11): HERE!
Here are my top ten front men under forty….
(Alleged Ages as of: 9/18/2013) 10. Gerard Way
[Age: 36 – Birthdate: 4/9/77 – Band: My Chemical Romance] I'm not a fan of My Chemical Romance. They're a band that I'd have fun making a jerky comment or joke about. I think my age level juuuust missed the boat on these guys. If they are Power Rangers, I was a Ninja Turtle guy. I'll shit talk them all day, but in reality I don't hate them at all. They do their thing and they do it big. I respect that. Gerald Way's energy is clear as hell. He gets into people's soul. I also appreciate the level of detail he and MCR go through for everything. They're not one's to half ass anything and it's apparent when you watch their epic "Black Parade" stuff. Rock and roll should be big like that more often. Not many people could have pulled that off. 9. Win Butler
[Age: 33 – Birthdate: 4/14/80 – Band: Arcade Fire] There is still a lot unknown about Win Butler. Arcade Fire is one of the best newer bands to hit the scene in the past ten or so years. He's a unique personality to say the least. Arcade Fire has released plenty of award winning albums and tracks to the world. They're a band that is loved by those who know of them and that leave new ears ringing for months with audio sweetness. 8. Cee Lo Green
[Age: 39 – Birthdate: 5/30/74 – Band: Gnarls Barkley, Goodie Mob] Cee Lo Green is a rapper, R&B performer, AND he's a frontman for the duo group Gnarls Barkley. Gnarls Barkley hasn't put out a whole lot of material yet, but it's hard to not include this guy on the list. He is ALL charisma. He's over the top, he's charming, and he's got a loud range. He's one of those larger than life personalities that people have no choice but to know the name of and get mad at themselves for liking so much. Listen to "Crazy" and "Fuck You" and tell me he's not a walking guilty pleasure. 7. Chris Martin
[Age: 36 – Birthdate: 3/2/77 – Band: Coldplay] If Thom York and Bono are too old for this list, I might as well go with Chris Martin right?! Yeah, I know that's an old one. It's just hard to listen to Coldplay and not notice the similarities. He has admitted to being a huge fan and has taken influence from them, but I think he's past that now. Chris Martin has blazed his own trails and has secured his own place in rock music. 6. Brandon Flowers
[Age: 32 – Birthdate: 6/21/81 – Band: The Killers] I got soul, but I'm not a solider too! When I first started this list, Brandon Flowers was one of the first people I wanted to double check the age of. The Killers isn't a band I have in heavy rotation, but it's a band that I appreciate when the mood hits. The Killers is one of the best modern rock bands out there. They survived the rise of bands that were similar, but they outlasted. They were around riiiiight when the whole "hipster" thing was starting so they have to roll through that era too. They just keep going and going. Each album they've put out has been better than the last. Brandon Flowers is a main reason for this. He has a natural ability to make you feel at ease while building you back up to a steady strut. 5. Karen O
[Age: 34 – Birthdate: 11/22/78 – Band: Yeah Yeah Yeahs] Karen O is one of my favorite front men in rock right now. She's just a bad ass. I've been a fan of the band since, like most people, I first heard "Maps". From that point forward I've been a constant fan. One of my biggest recent regrets is missing the Yeah Yeah Yeahs when they were in Chicago recently. I hope to correct that someday in the not too distant future. When I think of Karen O I think of grit and I think of the party atmosphere of a 2005-2007. There was one early morning of drinking and "other stuff" that lead to me waking up before noon to a pool of my own sick and the track "Pins" skipping my CD player. There's just something about her music that brings the best out of me. Even on a non-personal connection, she's an amazing performer. She's emotive, she's energetic, and she's an original person. She's not trying to be anyone else or fit any mold. The power and confidence she has on stage is damn near immeasurable. 4. Matthew Bellamy
[Age: 35 – Birthdate: 6/9/78 – Band: Muse] Muse is a band that was cruising along, putting out great work and building a diehard fan base. Then when Black Holes and Revelations came out and the band turned the corner to crazy success. That album blew up huge and it put Muse on EVERYONES map. The thing is that Matt Bellamy has ALWAYS been a great front man. He has a magnetism to him that is big, but he still seems a bit "held back". He has the stage presence that makes people want to do whatever he says. It helps that Muse is a fantastic band that makes music meant for arenas and headphones full of power. The driving force is Bellamy. He rocks on guitar and still manages to lead the Muse army into battle. 3. Corey Taylor
[Age: 39 – Birthdate: 12/8/73 – Band: Slipknot, Stonesour] Metal seems to cycle through the mainstream. Some year's metal is "cool" and it's "in" to be a "metalhead" and then some years it goes back into the back lots and smoky clubs. If you're a fan of metal, it's not a phase. The problem is that metal seems to be under some kind of protective blanket right now. Metal heads like metal, but the exposure is almost becoming a niche market. Even downtimes have their good parts. For the past ten or so years, one the best parts of modern metal has consistently been Corey Taylor. He jumped on the scene with Slipknot. They got HUGE for a while and survived the tests of time. There really isn't a bad Slipknot album. It's inspired metal that comes from somewhere genuine. The costumes were "gimmicky" at first, but no one could deny the man's skills. I think the key was sneaking "Wait and Bleed" in there for everyone to stop, take notice, and realize "this guy in the mask can fucking SING." Once the novelty wore off, it became more apparent that Slipknot wasn't going anywhere unless they wanted to. In the time in between, Taylor takes the mask off and is the vocalist of Stonesour. Stonesour is another beast on its own. It's some of the best alternative metal out there and it really gives Taylor a chance to showcase his chops. There are not many performers with the raw electricity of a Corey Taylor. I don't even care if you hate metal, Corey Taylor needs to be in your ears. 2. Jack White
[Age: 38 – Birthdate: 7/9/75 – Band: The White Stripes, The Raconteurs, The Dead Weather, etc.] Jack White is voice of the era. If we fast forwarded twenty years or so, it's safe to say that we'll still be talking about Jack White. I'm constantly debating with myself over who's the best of the modern era, Jack White or Dave Grohl. It's a debate that'll go on forever, hopefully. White has had an amazing career so far. In a generation short on rock heroes, he swoops in with his weird ass clothes and awesome soul fused rock sessions and saves the day. The White Stripes could have gone down as one of the best duo bands of all time and they're still probably VERY high on that list. White spread his creative wings and started taking on every opportunity he wanted to take. It was like he didn't think twice as he went on to put out awesome works with The Raconteurs, The Death Weather, as a solo artist, and in some huge collaborations. While he's definitely one to be stylish, he's not as larger than life as the iconic view of a frontman. He's more of a mysterious figure sneaking us the goods on the side. When your music is that good you don't have to do the splits in sequins to prove any points. 1. Justin Hawkins
[Age: 38– Birthdate: 3/17/75 – Band: The Darkness] The Darkness is a band that I know for a fact that too many people ignorantly ignore. The big single "I Believe in a Thing Called Love" is a fun song, but it got played a lot and people got tired of it after a while. I get that. The rest of that album is remarkable though and then the stuff they put out after that as well. This is just something that everyone is missing the boat on. A main reason why is the front man, Justin Hawkins. This dude is a throwback from the glory days. He's obviously playing homage to the glam rock gods and his sometimes-silly demeanor could make it come off almost like a parody. I assure you, it's not. This guy is David Lee Roth meets Fred Mercury meets Plant meets Sebastian Bach. He embodies the essence of all those greats and still ads his own snark to it. I spent a lot of time debating this one. I could have went with one of the more obvious picks. The last few selections would have easily been valid number ones, but when I think of a front man I want a larger than life excitement. Look no further than Justin Hawkins.
How can you not live the story of Jackie Robinson? There is nothing about the narrative and story of 42 that anyone can say anything bad about. It's a story about a guy who overcomes adversity to pave the way for baseball, black people, and really American race relations in general. In general, it's a great story. The problem is that the movie turns this amazing story into a really dull movie. I hate to say it, but it felt like a movie you'd see on ABC Family, Lifetime, or an old "made for TV movie". It just felt REALLY light. The racism was rough and bad, but I'd like to think that Jackie Robinson was more than just a black man who played baseball when it was an all-white sport. I didn't feel the movie touched on any of that. I went into this movie knowing pretty much the broad strokes of the man's career. I didn't get much more substance than that. It was just a dull movie. It tugged at the heart strings and all of that, but it was exactly what you'd expect. It's a well-made movie, but it just lacked the heart it should have had. A movie like this should be as much inspiring as it is educational. Chadwick Boseman was good as Jackie. When he had to turn it on, he did, but it wasn't there wasn't too much for him to work with. Harrison Ford's performance as Brach Rickey, the old team owner, was a really interesting one. He got lost in this character and seemed to have a lot of fun with it. The problem is that it was so over the top that I'm not sure if it were a great performance or a horrible one. I want to lean towards "horrible" because he kept cranking out tired old cliché after tired old cliché. Every time he shows up on screen you can pretty much expect him to over act and to drop a few painfully lame "life lesson" type of quips. We also got see Christopher Meloni in a cool performance, John C. McGinley, Lucas Black, Alan Tudyk, and plenty of other familiar faces. It's got a lot going for it on paper, but it just doesn't pan out. If you like baseball and specifically Jackie Robinson then go for it. If you're looking for a good baseball movie there are better to watch. If you're looking for a race-related sports movie then I'd recommend "Remember The Titans" over it hands down. Go to a baseball game, read a Jackie book, or do something else. This movie should probably be towards the bottom of your "last resort watching" list. I just hope when they make "43", they let Jackie finally kick some racist ass. C-
"Worst Case Scenario" is a new take on the concept of "fantasy booking". For years professional wrestling fans would spend endless hours of thinking up the coolest things that could happen. Why waste the energy? This only leads to high expectations. "Worst Case Scenario" flips that. Instead of looking through rose colored glasses, let's take a bi-weekly look at the worst possible scenarios in professional wrestling. I'm not going to be malicious or anything too mean, but I will not refrain from letting my brain come up with the worst possible shit I can. Sadly, it seems the writers and producers of mainstream TV wrestling and the mainstream iPPV level indies are doing the same thing but charging us for it. And now…
"The McMahon Coliseum!"
Eventually they'll run out of ideas. They'll need a big huge event to draw in the crowds and buy rates. Eventually the storylines won't work anymore and the characters won't draw. Things go in a cycle, but for that to happen there has to be a "down time" part of it. This would have to be the worst possible "down time".
Imagine The McMahon Coliseum! Say Wrestlemania 35 or so. We'll give the current life as we know it in wrestling get some more time. For Wrestlemania 35, we'll have to go with the idea that no one cares anymore. The arena would be set up like the coliseum. The McMahon family would sit in a very well lit and fancy sky box.
Then the matches would be called out at random. It wouldn't be as hokey as a spin the wheel scenario because the weeks leading up to it would involve "Qualifying Matches". So we'd have to make sure all of the biggest stars are involved. So when the McMahons call out for a random battle it's AT LEAST involving the cream of the crop.
There are no rules to these matches. It's ALL Last Man Standing. The 10 count can only be administered after the McMahons give the very dramatic and symbolic "Thumbs Down" to wrestler. From that point on, it's "sudden death".
If the McMahons choose, they can decide what weapons are included. I would also institute what I'm going to call the "Night at the Apollo" rule. If the crowd starts chanting "boring" and not getting into the McMahons should send in enforcers to end it and put the crowd out of its misery.
At the end of the night, whoever is left standing is forced to enter the coliseum one more time. The final survivor is deemed the ‘Champion of Champions' and has to marry Stephanie McMahon.
It's basically, the McMahon Thunder Dome… but with columns and lions!
"Kill Your Darlings"
This movie just seems like it's being made for me to enjoy. It's from the cool era of literature and youthful exploration where Ginberg, Burroughs, and Kerouac were running amuck. This movie tells the "untold story" of these three meeting at Columbia in 1944 and getting involved with a murder. It sounds like a lot of fun. It's about time the beat era gets a real focus instead of an outsider's look of "awe". Basically, instead of giving us peaks of it in Mad Men, we're right there in the middle of the revolution. The cast is what really sold me on this movie. Off the bat I see that Michael C. Hall and Ben Foster are in this movie. It's a "Six Feet Under" reunion… sorta. On top of that, Kyra Sedgwick, Jennifer Jason Leigh, and Elizabeth Olsen. The lead roles go Daniel Radcliffe as Ginberg, Jack Huston as Kerouac, and Ben Foster as Burroughs. That's got to be bad ass. Ben Foster doesn't do anything that's not. The casting, the support, and the subject is really interesting. If the movie lives up to the potential it has then I'm sure this will be a great film. A much needed one.
That's all for now! This list was fun to make. I'm sure my number one will be criticized, but in the moment of writing this it was the best choice. Justin Hawkins should be a household name. Next week is the start of ANOTHER Top 20 list! I'm getting really frivolous and am stretching the content range with the "Top 20 Non-Music Rockstars". Basically, does the person embody the spirit of rock and roll through their style, attitude, or rebellion? I look at 20 people I feel fit into this category and rank them based on some made up criteria. It was kind of fun to do, but I hope it sparks some conversation and dialog. Mindless music rambles are one of the best parts of being a music nerd. After that the normal run of "First Impressions", "Album Art of…", and "The Videography" will occur. Until next time… Have a Great Week!