It's 4:30 p.m. and Taylor Hicks, Clay Aiken, John Mayer, Nickelback and ICP Still Suck

In the world of rock writing, there are just some artists' fans that you can't help but fuck with. While you're alternately enamored and disgusted by their chosen obsession, they exert a near religious fanaticism for their fixation of worship, making them all too open for mockery. In the past decade, the increasing omnipresence of the Internet and the advent of American Idol have created a new sub-species of rabid followers who take each barb thrown in the direction of their idol as a personal affront, and release a cluster bomb of hatred back, the likes which is usually reserved for publicly condemned rapists, racists and ex-boyfriends.

Time was you could talk shit about a sub-standard artist and slink by with a handful of letters and maybe a terse e-mail or two from someone of the opposite opinion. But in 2009, you will be blitzed by almost 100 comments damning you to the very depths of Hell, or worse, an open invitation to at least try to see their favorite performer live. Rocks Off surmises that most of the time when these cyber-boot parties go down, it's the work of hawk-eyed trolls continuously Googling the name of their favorite performer in an interminable loop without pause.

It's not always just American Idol alums that boast rabid followings. Oddly enough, the higher echelon of AI winners and runner-ups have a exponentially quieter fanbase, so you probably won't be getting any bloody pig heads in the mail from Kelly Clarkson fans, or even a bag of dead snakes from a gang of crazed Carrie Underwood peeps. It's freaks and geeks like Taylor Hicks and Clay Aiken that have the power behind them with their respective Soul Patrol and Claymate SS troops.

The most messed-up thing is that both of those artists' respective fans dote on these rich and famous strangers as if they were their own children. Defending them at every turn, at whatever cost, is wholly admirable, but borders on psychosis. You could walk up to Rocks Off and tell us that Motorhead sucks or that Iggy Pop is a troglodyte and we wouldn't take it personally. These folks see Hicks and Aiken as their babies who should be immune to satire or mockery. To which we say...

Taylor Hicks: These people will pound you into cyber-dust at the mere passing of a disparaging comment. Our own piece attacking the artist is now sitting at nearly 90 comments of clunky rebuttals and oddly-worded insults.

Clay Aiken: We wrote a quick piece about "The Scientifically Engineered Worst Song in the World" and, unsurprisingly, made a passing remark about the song being almost as bad as an Aiken composition. Rocks Off was then somehow strangely accused of various acts of bestiality and homophobia.

Nickelback: Rocks Off didn't exactly dig on the band's show at Toyota Center, and we let you guys know about it. What happened next was a cavalcade of laughs, including about 30 people who questioned our manhood (among other things). Hell, we even question that sometimes ourselves. The best thing was that most of the people who put in their two nickels weren't even from Houston.

John Mayer: With his annual Mayercraft boat cruises, which amount to him being on a boat for a week with thousands of chicks that wanna ride him like a hobby-horse, John Mayer knows how to play his fans. Literally. So when our own John Seaborn Gray took aim at the lad, his female fans took major offense to their sensi-rocker being called out as less than manly. Just how much did these girls pay to be on that cruise, and why doesn't Katy Perry have one of these for us dudes?

Insane Clown Posse: The cultish minions surrounding this Detroit duo call themselves Juggalos, and make the Soul Patrol and Claymates look like warmed over garbage behind a truckstop Wendy's. More of a religion than a fan following, the Juggs are known to devour anyone that crosses the duo or any of their million side-projects. ICP hits Warehouse Live October 7, and we will be there to cover each and every minute of Faygo-drenched depravity.

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Craig Hlavaty
Contact: Craig Hlavaty