MIKE HSU'S BLOG

I've Seen A Million Faces, And I've Rocked Them All Like A God

Recently, the on-line research company OnePoll asked 4000 "Rock" fans who the Top 20 "Rock Gods" are. Check out the results at this link: http://www.skiddle.com/news/all/Freddie-Mercury-has-Been-Voted-the-Ultimate-Rock-God/3016/

As with any "Top" anything list there are discrepancies. Unless they're based on cold hard statistics. Don't get me wrong, I love Queen. Number one ranker Freddie Mercury is definitely in the "Rock God" club. Then again, he wanted to be Liza Minelli. I loved her in "Arhtur".   But you can't apply any statistical equation to a Jimmy Page guitar solo.  It transcends any man-made statistical analysis. Despite Math being the undisputed truth of the Universe. Led Zeppelin, and all music for that matter, is something much more epic in proportion.  Music is emotionally interpreted by each human being's "Filter". This "Filter" is constantly evolving with every heartbreak, victory, loss, drink, trauma, etc.  When I hear "Rotten Apple" by Alice In Chains, my reaction is twisted by memories attached to the song or my mood at the time of listening. You, on the other hand, may just think the song "sucks".

So these "lists" that pop up from time to time, in my opinion, are published by web sites and magazines to generate talk(or raging arguments) to build up awareness. Like this "Rock Gods" list. Some asshole music geek(that's me) will blog on about how Robert Plant should be #1 and how Angus Young got shafted. (I'm sure Angus is sobbing all the way to the bank). But My question is, what were the criteria applied to the survey? What makes a "Rock God"?

Is it amount of albums sold? If that's the case then Celine Dion is a "Rock God"(or Goddess). Is it the number of groupies he has plowed through over time? Musicianship? Stage presence? Command of an audience? Survival through drugs, ex-wives, and plane crashes? Or is it dying in the line of duty with a couple of hookers at your side and a pile of cocaine on your chest ala John Entwistle. I think it's all of these factors and one other I can only describe as the "Thing". It's like an other- worldliness, a detachment from reality. For example, Kurt Cobain had the "Thing". You may say it was the heroin, but I say the junk was what gave him the "Thing". Without the dope, would Cobain have been able to write "All Apologies"? What would Sublime sound like if Brad Nowell wasn't a hopeless junkie. What if Phil Anselmo was straight edge? Would Pantera have been as great as they were, with Phil brushing his teeth and pounding carrot juice before hittin' the stage? I'm not saying you have to do drugs to make great music. But alot of great music was created under the influence of drugs. But all the people I mentioned had the "Thing". It was inside of them and it had to get out one way or another.  And when it did, it was often brilliant.Â

In my time in radio, I've met some artists who couldn't tie their shoes to save their lives because they couldn't grasp the concept or they were too high. But when they got to the stage they were amazing. That's the "Thing". They're like doctors, they are so focused on their work it doesn't leave much brain space for anything else.Â

What are the requirements to reach god-like status? Some are god-like early in there career and then become much less later on.(I'm talking to you Riders On The Storm or Doors of the 21st Century). Some don't achieve the God-like list until much later or until after the end.(Bono, Jimi Hendrix respectively).

Who are the "Rock Gods" and what makes them "God-like". Please let me know, and I am sure we will disagree.