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The Hipster's Guide to Rock and Roll Vendettas

And you thought rappers were the only ones who had beefs

Some time back, we looked into the wacky world of hip-hop beefs. This week, on the occasion of this week's Brian Jonestown Massacre show (August 11 at Walter's on Washington -- see Playbill), we revisit a few classic musical rivalries, this time with more of a rock angle.

Brian Jonestown Massacre vs. Dandy Warhols

This classic Hatfield-McCoy action, publicized with the release of docudrama Dig!, is the perfect rock rivalry: Once-friendly bands with a similar sound become bitter (and well-documented) enemies. They trade potshots in the press and steal riffs from each other with abandon, while fans of both are caught in the middle.

Courtney "America's Sweetheart" Love.
Courtney "America's Sweetheart" Love.
That guy from the Von Bondies.
That guy from the Von Bondies.

Collateral damage: None to speak of.

Advantage: A qualified BJM, if only because the front page of their Web site claims the more successful Warhols as a "band they've influenced." Nice shot!

Courtney Love vs. Nirvana

A well-publicized rights battle over the Nirvana boxed set occurs at the exact middle of Courtney's continuing decomposition: uterus falling out, disastrous/delicious appearances on Stern and Letterman, custody battles, mysterious drugs appearing and disappearing, and possible secondary fight with shadowy agents of the American banking system.

Collateral damage: Love's album America's Sweetheart, which contained among the filler some of the best songs in a talented career.

Advantage: Nirvana fans; Melissa Auf Der Maur.

Jack White v. Lead Singer of the Von Bondies

In the only newsworthy event of White's career, outside his well-received music and mysterious incest lies, Jack White smacks hell out of the lead singer of the Von Bondies.

Collateral damage: Jack White remains more famous and talented than "sister" Meg.

Advantage: Jack White.

Here's Why White Won: Quick, name the lead singer of the Von Bondies!

Gwen Stefani vs. the Rest of No Doubt (class action):

Fleetwood Mac-style serial monogamy and angst fuel longevity and creativity of highly successful late-'90s band, despite the fact that from one genre-hopping album to the next, there is a notable lack of even one original sound.

Collateral damage: Ska; the word bananas.

Advantage: Stefani, in every way possible.

Tom Cruise v. Reality

Not music-related, and it's kind of sad, but worth mentioning nonetheless: It is, in fact, both awesome and pretty rock and roll.

Collateral damage: Oprah, Joey Potter

Advantage: Katie Holmes, for now. Dawson's Creek morning reruns are up, like, 80 percent in viewership on TBS; didn't hurt opening box office for Batman Begins.

R&B/hip-hop singer Houston v. the Powers of Evil

In a 2004 Whiskey Tango Foxtrot* episode that would make Whitney proud, single-monikered singer Houston took the steps necessary to save us all. To defeat the apocalyptic forces waging war inside his skull, he evidently had to mutilate his own face. (*What The Fuck?)

Collateral damage: One (1) eyeball.

Hero: Clearly, Houston. We're still here, right?

Kanye West v. De Beers

Characteristically, the inveterately political West has now taken on the De Beers diamond monopoly in an effort to disabuse his countrymen of the desirability of a commodity that's harvested in a way that's murderously analogous to the fur market, only with actual people dying instead of fuzzy animals.

Collateral damage: None at press time, although the Pimp Chalice Lady would do well to switch to cubic Z.

Advantage: De Beers. Bling is still king, marriage is forever, and that "I love this man" gold-digger and her moron husband will be back scattering Italian pigeons again in that diamond commercial soon enough.

Dear Diary

Omarion, whose progression from kiddie-band crooner (with B2K) to sex-obsessed solo singer mirrors Christina Aguilera's journey from the Mickey Mouse Club, was in London on July 7 when terrorist transit-system bombings killed more than 50 people. In a press release that made no mention of the casualties, the uninjured artist allegedly expressed that he "would like his fans to pray that he has a safe trip." This statement turned out to be a hoax engineered by a publicist with whom Omarion was not affiliated. However, a recently uncovered secret tour diary may provide insight into the singer's singular perspective. (We're kidding, of course -- our lawyer would like you to know this is a clearly marked parody, so here it is: This is a clearly marked parody.)

7/9/05, London: The subways here are still slow. Damn. Man's got some shopping to do, and they say my limo driver is in the hospital, though I've never heard about anyone being sick with "shrapnel." I'm here with Snoop Dogg, Mariah, Madonna, Eminem's homies Elton and Dido, and some really old dude named Floyd. We're playing this Live 8 concert to ask for cash, and I think it's cool that people are giving it to us even though we're already famous and stuff. Mariah and Madonna keep bringing black folks up on stage with them during the show and talking about Africa, I guess 'cause they're trying to cross over.

9/4/02, Denver: The show tonight was actually pretty hype. I was worried about Colorado, because we did a show in the cafeteria at a high school in Littleton once and the crowd was wack. They didn't like the "B2K Is Hot" skit. They didn't even get mad during "Your Girl Told Me" or laugh when I pointed at someone in the lunch line and yelled, "You got served!" I got up on the Web site and asked the fans to pray for me that night, that I could have the strength to deal with gigs like that one.

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