Sleeping On The Sidewalk (I’m Too Broke To Buy All These Reissues)

Suggested listening: “Sleeping On The Sidewalk” by Queen (vocals by Brian May)


Every band eventually turns into Kiss if they have enough success. Cash-ins, repackaged content in new or old formats that are suddenly fashionable again. Box sets, coffee table books, overpriced tickets to amphitheatre shows to hear soundalike renditions of the classics. Greatest hits, greatest zits, tits, fits and your very own Monopoly game.


I always wanted proof no one wanted to spend time with me.

Some of these tchotchkes are endearing. Maybe the best thing Kiss ever did was their innovations in the pinball machine industry. For years, the Flaming Lips sustained the gummy bauble industry.

But it’s all tchotchkes. Kiss pinball machines, Queen Monopoly games and books of 3D photography, Flaming Lips gummy brains, Lindsay Buckingham and Christine McVie charging Fleetwood Mac ticket prices for a tour with no Stevie Nicks, while Stevie charges likewise for a solo tour, Revolver and Pet Sounds on 180-gram vinyl at your local shoppe for $25.99 or six concerts with a near identical setlist on a thumb drive with a shitty costume packed in. They’re all tchotchkes in the end. If only Malcolm McLaren understood that, then he’d have died on a bed of gold bricks.

Kiss may be the most cynical, cold-hearted group to wring money from a fanbase but they are far from alone. There’s a big market for cashing in on fan nostalgia or the idea of the past for those who weren’t old enough to experience it the first time and Queen is eager to get in on that. Some of the biggest fans of Queen were born well after Freddie Mercury died in 1991. Queen stopped touring in 1986 and their last US concert was in 1982 and yet the Internet has made and kept they and their late singer relevant.

Which pair of guys would you rather have lunch with if you could choose? Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons from Kiss, or Brian May and Roger Taylor from Queen? Unless you’re a sado-masochist (that is to say, a hard-core Kiss fan), you’d probably choose Brian and Roger. And it’s not because they’re better people, but they are far better at the soft sell. Something about amiability and grace. You couldn’t imagine either of them being banned from Fox News for hitting people in the head with their book or saying a new stupid thing at least fifteen times a year like Gene does.

(I have no idea if Gene being banned from Fox News speaks ill of him or is a sort-of badge of honor considering that FNC was home of Roger Ailes and Bill O’Reilly for decades. I can’t believe they didn’t offer him his own show.)

I get bitchy because I can tell when my favorite bands are not being straight with me. It’s all part of the great r’n’r swindle, folks. You want me to pay through the nose? It’s your price, you name it. I guess I’ve had it with hype. I hate hype when a new artist comes in with a load of it so when it’s a rehash of old stuff that was bought already it’s even worse. Just don’t burn me too often or too hard. You suck my wallet, you blow my head.

Anybody got that 40th anniversary News Of The World package yet?

We Didn’t Start The Fire, Pt. 2

Obviously there would be no “We Didn’t Start The Fire, Pt. 2” without the original by the late great Billy Joel so let’s take a moment to pay respects to him even though he admitted this was far from a good song.

I started part two in 1999. Part one ends in 1989, so if you want a recap of 1990-1998, you’re on your own because this song is only five minutes long and I didn’t even mention the Enron scandal or any of the Patriots victories in the Super Bowl.


Billy Joel, still alive

First verse:

Bill Clinton, Britney Spears, Star Wars episode premiere

Phantom Menace, Yankees pennant, Napster is here

Bill Gates is getting rich, Slobodan Milosevic

NATO, Kosovo, new kinds of techno

Time Warner, AOL, Dot-com, what the hell

Bush-Gore, earthquakes in El Salvador

9/11, 9/11, 9/11, 9/11

9/11 Never forget ELIAN GONZALEZ


We didn’t want this bullshit/No we didn’t want it but we fuckin’ got it/We didn’t want this bullshit/No we didn’t make it but we gotta take it

Second verse:

Tiger Woods, race riots, Anthrax, Patriot Act

Shoe bomber Richard Reid, Homeland security

Friendster, freedom fries, No Child Left Behind

Big Fat Greek Wedding, Euro currency

Soldiers back in Iraq, Kobe Bryant teamed with Shaq

Lebanon, space flight, Hussein war crimes

Dave Chappelle’s Show, but Chappelle is a no-go

Spacecraft Columbia, ELIAN GONZALEZ

Repeat chorus

Third verse:

Myspace, Live 8, Kanye West, Janet’s breast

Everyone forgets to blame motherfuckin’ Timberlake

Britney married K-Fed, Paris is an airhead

Simple Life, Simon Cowell, Guy Fieri’s Flavortown

Filipino mudslide, Asia is destabilized

US torture ban, redeploy Afghanistan

Truck bombs, Barry Bonds, reality TV

Daily Show, Barbaro, Chris Benoit’s family

Repeat chorus

Fourth verse:

Facebook doing well, Stock market goes to hell

Vladimir Putin, Guns ‘N Roses back again

PC, PS3, and the Nintendo Wii

Or I could get a Mac, my President is Black

Oxycontin, HD, King of Pop RIP

Kardashians everywhere, why am I supposed to care?

Repeat chorus

Fifth(!) verse:

Twitter, Reddit, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat

Social media crap overtaking lives

Wikileaks, Fox News, sexual harassment suits

Gamergate, the Fappening, everything is happening

Race riots in the States, everyone is full of hate

Cops wearing cameras now, not guilty anyhow

Podcasts, legal grass, bitcoins, hashtags

ComicCon, Donald Trump, Earth is a fuckin’ dump

repeat chorus





Just A Singer With A Song He Doesn’t Deserve

Suggested listening: “In My Defence” by Freddie Mercury

Brian May is supposed to be a lot smarter than this.

Of all the people you could have found to direct this movie, you picked Bryan Singer? And why? Because you didn’t trust Sacha Baron Cohen to treat the legacy of Queen and Freddie Mercury with respect.


This young man probably has stories that would make your ears bleed.

I’ve been a Queen fan most of my life. I hope this movie never sees the light of day. Just because it has Bryan Singer’s mitts on it. What a goddamn nightmare. This could have been a Sacha Baron Cohen vehicle directed by David Fincher and it could have been out years ago. But you didn’t want that, Brian (and Roger Taylor).

You wanted a movie about Queen, not just Freddie Mercury. Everybody in Queen wrote a #1 hit song. Not even the Beatles did that. Brian, you made your guitar as a teenager. Nobody does that. John Deacon built your amp. The whole band may have been a collection of geniuses critical to the band’s success.

But you seem to not be able to understand that FREDDIE MERCURY IS MORE INTERESTING THAN YOU. He’s not here anymore. A legend, a meme of positivity in a world gone seemingly off the rails. A man with a complicated inner life in the context of the world around him and it’s lack of acceptance for what he was.

In the early ’70s, Mick Jagger and David Bowie were banging 14-year-olds. A few years later, here comes Elton John and Freddie Mercury and people think they’re the weirdos for because they bat for the other side at the time of their greatest commercial success.

What’s the worst thing you hear about Freddie Mercury? There is no call-out culture around the guy. And now Brian and Roger have hired the ultimate trenchcoat creep to film his (and their) life story.

Rami Malek plays Freddie Mercury and it’s a big role for him. I hope he succeeds in that role. I want this movie to be good, but the man behind the camera is such a poison that I don’t know how I can possibly give this my money when it comes out.

I don’t want to link to the allegations. I don’t want to lay them out here. Google may be your friend on that one, readers. If anything taints the band’s legacy it is decisions like this.

And the indignity of Brian May shilling the Queen Monopoly game.