Critical Fatwa
Critical Fatwa

True Blue Confessions

"Leave a confession," Madonna purrs. "And remember, by leaving your confession, you're agreeing to allow your message to be released in any form, at any time, until the end of time. So think twice, if you've been naughty."

Oh, we've been plenty naughty, which is why we called Madge's new toll-free hot line (1-888-2-CONFESS) to get some stuff off our chest. To help promote her new album, Confessions on a Dance Floor, Madonna has set up the line to spur hot talk, though not much is being said about where the confessions will end up.

But come to find out, we're not the only hugely famous celebrity to have dialed up the Material Girl recently. Thanks to some of our big-time music-industry contacts, we were able to get the transcripts of calls from other notables. Read on to see what a few other megastars had to confess.



Kung Fu Fighting Mad

"I gotta admit, I'm a little cheesed off that everyone's laughing at me like I just walked out of the crapper with toilet paper stuck to my shoe. It all started with my recent announcement that I'm making a blues album. Yeah, my fellow actors haven't fared so well when it comes to producing records. Bruce Willis set white people back a good hundred years with his blues LP, and most folks would rather subsist on a diet of toenail clippings than sit through one of Billy Bob Thornton's discs. But that doesn't mean I can't hang. Hey, I've been giving film critics the blues for years with such brain-negating fare as Above the Law and Out for Justice. I'm confident that I can have the same effect on music fans. See ya." -- Steven Seagal

No More "Tears"

"I must confess, I wish I'd never written that damn song. I just heard that Sharon Osbourne has convened a bunch of pop music's most annoying performers to cover 'Tears in Heaven' to benefit the victims of Hurricane Katrina and the tsunami that devastated Southeast Asia last year. C'mon, haven't these people suffered enough? First they lose all their worldly possessions, then they have to hear Robert Downey Jr. sing a duet with Pink? That's like bandaging a burn victim in sandpaper. And whose idea was it to pair Kelly Osbourne with Phil Collins? I'd rather listen to an alley cat get fed into a paper-shredder. I'd donate millions to charity to not hear these A-holes sing. The check is in the mail, bitches. Toodles." -- Eric Clapton

Giving Peace a Chance

"We did it! We just ended the war in the Persian Gulf! Seriously, we aren't supposed to tell anyone about it yet, but I just can't hold it in any longer. My band, Drowning Pool, recently announced that we were heading to Iraq to play some shows. Upon hearing that we were coming, the insurgents immediately surrendered. They said that servicing Beelzebub in the burning depths of hell while Jason Priestley and Alf fondled their corpses was preferable to a visit from us. I'm not sure what any of that means, but I think it's just a fancy way of saying that we kick major ass." -- Ryan McCombs

A Rocker Repents

"Yeah, I've made some bad choices in my life, like that time I got shitfaced in '84 and invited Teri Garr to join my band, only to find out later that it was Sammy Hagar (I still get those two confused). But now I've hit rock bottom. As MTV News reported last week, it looks like Van Halen is gonna be featured on that rock star reality series -- you know, the show where formerly famous bands audition a bunch of shitheads to try and find a new singer. Sure, that show's okay for a group like INXS, who no one's given a rat's ass about since leg warmers were in style. But Van Halen was once the biggest rock band in the world -- we used to snort coke until our noses bled like stigmata. Now, we can only afford to huff glue out of an old gym sock. I mean, fuckin' Joey Lawrence thinks I'm washed up. Shit, my buzz is starting to wear off. I gotta go. Later." -- Eddie Van Halen


Some grand faiths have their own Adversaries (like, say, Pharaohs and Pharisees) to scourge the faithful. But for those of us who hold music on high, there is but one many-faced demon -- named not Legion, but Record Company. As digital music leads us to the Promised Land, we must declare a fatwa eternal on those who are but leeches on the body of rock and those Judases who aid them. For daring to rerelease a poor album with a few bonus tracks, we denounce you, Mariah Carey!

Rereleasing a relatively new album with a few bonus tracks isn't new. 50 Cent did it a few months past (and don't think we didn't notice). But trying to get the members of Carey's young fan base foolish enough to actually buy her album again, instead of downloading the few decent singles…oh, the greed! Like a cancer patient sneaking a butt, the record companies have proved themselves incapable of curtailing the sin that will kill them -- while Carey has shown the fawning sycophancy that has left her a first-rate voice and a third-rate artist. May she remarry her label head so that she can sing while his Rome burns.

It is written. -- The Ayatollah of Rock


Over the past few years the popularity of "tribute" bands has skyrocketed (and no, we're not talking about the Killers or Franz Ferdinand). But they reside in something of a musical Phantom Zone: Band members play other people's music and often cop their sometimes unfortunate look and stage wear (i.e., fat, middle-aged guys in Beatles or David Lee Roth wigs). But they've also got a hungry built-in audience consisting of both the act's original fans and those too young to have seen the real thing.

Since 1988, the Australian Pink Floyd Show has enticed listeners to the dark side of the moon, and the Oz expats now call England home. Leader and keyboardist Jason Sawford recently answered some of Wack's questions via e-mail while setting controls for the heart of the sun…along with the Verizon Wireless Theater on Wednesday, November 23.

Wack: How did you first get exposed to the music of Pink Floyd?

Sawford: I first listened to Dark Side of the Moon with some friends in a corrugated tin shed in the family backgarden in Australia many years ago. We drank beer and inhaled a particular kind of herb at the time. I thought the album to be one of the strangest yet oddly haunting pieces of music I had ever heard.

Wack: Tribute bands can be really, really cheesy and horrific to real fans. How do you try to avoid that trap?

Sawford: We avoid trying to look like members of Pink Floyd themselves. I've seen another Floyd tribute act in a pub before, and they all wore wigs. It didn't work very well.

Wack: What are your favorite numbers to do live?

Sawford: As a keyboardist, I particularly like "Echoes" and "Shine On You Crazy Diamond."

Wack: What about stage props? Will we see the famous inflatable pig?

Sawford: Actually, we have an inflatable kangaroo. We did borrow the inflatable pig from Pink Floyd themselves last year and the inflatable teacher figure from the Berlin version of The Wall. But the pig was too big to fly onstage so we hung it outside the venue. It still looked impressive, though.

Wack: You also seem to have the unofficial blessing of some of the actual Floyd, having played Dave Gilmour's 50th birthday party some years back. How nerve-racking was that?

Sawford: They seemed to enjoy it. [Floyd keyboardist] Rick Wright danced in front of the stage and [post-Roger Waters bass player] Guy Pratt was really drunk. Dave had seen our show several times. But when he took the stage himself and tried to play our guitar rig, he said, "How do you fly this thing?" I didn't speak to him personally, though. I was too shy.

Wack: As an Australian, do you have to practice singing in an English accent?

Sawford: Actually, having spent so much time abroad, I find I have to practice my Australian accent.

Wack: Okay. Go with me on this. What about including Syd Barrett [Floyd's first leader and notorious acid casualty]? I've got an idea: How about having a "Syd" wander out on stage for a few numbers, mumble and then stroll off! Ever thought of that?

Sawford: Um, no. But it sounds like an interesting idea to try out some time.

Wack: Wait, this is better! Have your "Roger" and "Dave" call each other wankers and get into a fistfight onstage! The fans will love it!

Sawford: Mmm, another interesting idea. Might be a bit cheesy, though.

Wack: Okay. One more suggestion: Why don't you create the ultimate stoner's show by playing "Dark Side of the Moon" while a Wizard of Oz tribute acting troupe performs onstage?

Sawford: No. Somehow, I think that would be a silly idea.

Wack: Just trying to help. Final question: Name three things that Australians and Texans have in common.

Sawford: Hats, the sun and cows. Lots of cows. -- Bob Ruggiero


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