“Who ARE these people?” shouted a friend as he looked over the bracket.
“Who are who people?” I replied.
“Who are these people who choose REO Speedwagon over Kansas?!?”
And so goes the contest, proceeding exactly as I had planned. Perhaps even better.
Before we get to the second round of voting, who advanced and how, let’s go over what I’ve learned by hosting this contest so far.
1 – This was a fantastic fucking idea even if I do say so myself.
2 – You can’t please all of the people all of the time… or perhaps even any of them any of the time. I suppose I should have learned that lesson by now but this contest was a friendly reminder.
3 – Whether it’s March Madness or a fake rock band tournament concocted by some internet kook, bubble teams always generate healthy debate. Want an example? Perhaps the most direct comment I received from hosting this tournament came from our beloved Don Calvino, who wrote: “I am morally and ethically obligated to abstain from voting in a poll that excludes the Cars. An unmitigated travesty and abomination.” To the dissenters, and that includes you Foo Fighters fans as well, I would once again like to remind you that to add a bubble team/band you felt was left out, you must also subtract a bubble team/band that was included.
4 – The majority of you, who I shall hereby refer to as “Separatists,” are still perfectly okay, in fact, even prefer, defining music strictly by genre. I heard the expression “comparing apples to oranges” so many times this week I thought about opening up a farmer’s market. As the Offspring once quipped, you gotta keep ‘em separated. Keep the rockers with the rockers, the R&B with the R&B and the hip-hop with the hip-hop, regardless of the fact that many of these bands are, and have, crossed over. Note: For a more thorough definition of the term “cross-over,” I highly recommend picking up a copy of Nelson George’s “The Death of Rhythm and Blues.” It’ll change the way you think about music.
5 – There are WAY more than 64 great American bands, all of which have their own unique voice and sound, which is exactly what makes them so great… and this contest so difficult.
6 – The Tom Petty beatdown of KC & The Sunshine Band in the South Bracket’s 3-14 matchup reminded me of the 1979 Comiskey Park, disco album burning. While the late Mr. Petty deservedly marches on, here’s a little Sunshine to brighten your day.
7 – Talking about the unfavorable matchup between the South’s second-seeded Allman Brothers and fifteenth-seeded Little Feat or the dead heat between the West’s seventh-seeded Guns N’ Roses versus the tenth-seeded Grateful Dead was infinitely more fun that I had anticipated. On a related note, hearing people cry about having to choose between Journey and Santana in the opening round made this contest SO worth the effort. If you think that was difficult, wait until the upcoming rounds. Shit’s… about… to go… down.
8 – Finally, my readers take their music very seriously. That’s why they’re my readers. Cheers to you guys and thanks for participating.
Before we get to second round voting, here are the results of the first round of play.
There were no major upsets in the Midwestern bracket. Prince put Nine Inch Nails in the coffin, the Temptations sent Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young back to Ohio, Chicago spun out the Four Tops, Parliament Funkadelic tore the roof off the Ohio Players, the Jackson Five stomped all over the Isley Brothers, Earth, Wind & Fire set fire to Styx, REO Speedwagon made Kansas dust in the wind and Bob Seger smashed the Pumpkins.
Down South, the results were equally as anticlimactic. Lynyrd Skynyrd sweet homed Alabama, Stevie Ray Vaughan brick housed the Commodores, CCR bombed the B-52s, the Doors were too hard to handle for the Black Crowes, ZZ Top stapled the singers, Tom Petty boogied past KC & the Sunshine Band, R.E.M. crashed Dave Matthews and the Allman Brothers tied Little Feat to the Whipping Post.
In the East, Bruce Springsteen thunder roaded a Tribe Called Quest, Boston proved to be cooler than the Gang, Run-D.M.C. burned down the Talking Heads’ house, KISS kissed the Velvet Underground goodbye, the Beastie Boys sabotaged Blondie, Bon Jovi uprooted the Roots, the Ramones unfriended Public Enemy and Aerosmith made Steely Dan suck on their big ten inch. (Yes, that’s an Aerosmith song.)
Out west, as expected, things were a little more dramatic with two match-ups going down to the final votes. The Eagles flew past Rage Against the Machine in a tough 1-16 matchup. The Beach Boys stoned Sly and the Family, Metallica broke Heart, Nirvana took the money and ran against Steve Miller, Van Halen scorched the Red Hot Chili Peppers and in the two closest spats of the opening round, both Journey edged Santana and the Grateful Dead edged Guns N’ Roses by A SINGLE VOTE!!!. In the 2-15 matchup, I am regrettably going to have to call a disqualification. I was unaware that Jimi Hendrix’s rhythm section, comprised of Noel Redding on bass and Mitch Mitchell on drums, were both English (Thanks, Uncle Crappy for keeping me in line). In accordance with the stipulations set out in the initial post, the bands in this competition were to be comprised of all-American members. Therefore, I am advancing Pearl Jam, with an asterisk, in what was already a pretty close match-up.
Onward and upward! I hereby present the second round. I plan to keep open voting going, at least for now, so feel free to vote as often as you want. It’s about to get difficult so feel free to feel conflicted. And rock on.