THUNDERDOME!

5:09 PM | Comments (0) | by Jake the Terrible Cubs Fan


With the Olympics underway and the spirit of competition ripe in the air, now seems like a better time than ever for the Saloon's first edition of THUNDERDOME!

You all know the rules. Two men enter. One man leave.

Today's contest pits the legendary Tommy Buzanis up against the Saloon's favorite limey, Lingering Bursitis.

The battle: Bruce Springsteen: Overrated.

Mr. Buzanis will be arguing in favor of The Boss while Mr. Bursitis will be against him. LB will be up first to make his opening argument, followed by Tommy. After that LB will offer his rebuttal and then Tommy will rebut the rebuttal........wait........ huh? Anyway once the dust settles you the audience will get to vote on who lives or dies by answering the poll at the end.



* * * THUNDERDOME begin * * *


Lingering Bursitis Opening Argument

ALRIGHT, LISTEN UP.

I'm staring at an empty fifth of Old Grandad, and I'm in no mood to fuck around.

The target of my ire? Bruce Springsteen. Bruce fucking Springsteen.

He is the worst of all pop culture offenders: the guy who simply won't fade into the history books. We're tormented by several aging idiots desperate to prove their continuing relevance, and not only are their efforts embarrassing, but they are a taint, a pox, a curse on anything positive they ever did do.

For Springsteen, his goodwill reserves are being rapidly exhausted by the day. And he sucks dick by the truckload.

But I digress. Perhaps it's better to start early with ol' Brucie.

He stumbled onto the scene during an era where rock was in full swing. An era of swagger, ball-punching riffs and a pantheon of rock gods who weren't afraid to say "fuck you" to grandma. Get me? It was a time of great arrogance, wonderful egotism, and glorious musical ability.

Led Zeppelin were in full swing, the undisputed kings of sight and sound. Zoso was about to be released, and somewhere in Detroit, KISS were prepping their dick-stomping debut album that blew suburbia's mouth through its asshole.

And yet meanwhile, somewhere in Asbury Park NJ, Bob Dylan was about to be upstaged by a douchebag in denim, a troubadour of the slurred word, a musical cretin.

While he did enjoy a few memorable tracks worth acknowledging, by and large, Springsteen occupied that tenuous space between Jimmy Buffett and John Cougar Mellencamp, a caricature of Americana that hung onto machismo by a single thread. Replace his E-Street Band with something more sedate, and you might as well watch Neil Diamond while hugging a plugged-in toaster in the bathtub.

And now? What do we have? A faded hack two steps away from the Vh1 shit parade of d-list celebrity reality shows. He is a cartoon, a mimicry of the heartland rock to which he clung so dearly. He is a guy who doesn't know when to stop.

Hey, politicians are talking about Iraq? Well listen up, US Magazine, because Springsteen's got something indecipherable to offer.

He's a vanguard for a movement that doesn't exist anymore. The fight for the middle class ended decades ago. We exist in a cold, harsh world where mediocrity holds sway, and it's for this reason that The Boss has perhaps managed to stay in the picture.

The dismal "Vote for Change" effort in 2004.
His work with the Dixie Chicks.
His roots music revival spearheaded by SOMEONE ELSE'S MUSIC [the magic of Pete Seeger]
A nearly-done distribution deal with fucking Starbucks Music.

Bruce Springsteen once had a purpose in the musical landscape at a time when the gentler college-going folk of the mid-70s needed a peaceful alternative to the baby-making power of rock and roll. They turned to Dylan, they looked at James Taylor, CSNY, and, inexplicably, Bruce Springsteen. His music echoed the small-town discontent that permeated the culture and the era, analyzing the loves and losses of people stuck outside the drone of urban life, those trapped in the one-stoplight towns.

Now, he's a ghost. He fights for nothing. He mumbles, he gestures, he screams and he howls, looking for the attention that simply isn't there anymore. And instead of disappearing, he will stop at nothing to keep a fingertip in the public consciousness.

Well, I'm here to say that Bruce, you may retire. Fuck off and write anti-NYPD ballads at Margaritaville, and perform them at 7pm and 9pm. Go entertain the gin rummy crowd, the wheelchair-bound Florida elderly, the decrepit, the 50-something hedge fund managers, the accountants who drive their Harley Davidsons at the weekend, the morons, the mopes, the Vietnam vets, the dive bar roosters, the drunk jukebox fratboy crooners looking for their 4 minutes of dusty bliss.

Your time is done. Please go away. Let us remember you for the 5 good songs you had. You don't even play an instrument anymore! Plus you write about New Jersey, a state that has no fond memories, nothing notable to opine on, and certainly no place in our attention spans. Kevin Smith's making Clerks 7; perhaps you could compose a song for him.


Your music sucks
No-one wants to hear your opinion
Please turn off the lights on the way out.


Bruce Springsteen, RIP
1949 - November 21, 1995 (aka the day you released The Ghost of Tom Joad. Seriously, that album is pants.)


TOMMY BUZANIS OPENING ARGUMENT

I'm going to keep my opening statement much shorter than James'...

O.K...Tommy just finished working on his '57 Chevy and I've polished off several Budweisers. I'm here in defense of New Jersey's own Bruce Springsteen.

Defense is not really needed though. Through out his career Springsteen's music has stood on its own and established a connection with a massive, rabid fan base. The facts are as follows:
1.) He is counted as one of the greatest American song writers of all time
2.) The complexity of the E-Street Band's music is not to be discounted
3.) He (and his band) were the best live act in music for many,many years and they still put on one of the most amazing performances today as Springsteen pushes 60.
5.) Bands from Rage Against the Machine to Pearl Jam list Springsteen as a major influence and cover his songs.
6.) Many influential musicians count Springsteen and Springsteen alone for saving music from Disco during the 70's.
7.) Politically, his views have not wavered even when it has cost him record and ticket sales (p.s. Obama has embraced Springsteen and frequently uses his song "The Rising" on the campaign trail).
8.) Born To Run is one of the top 5 rock albums of all time.
9.) Watch this video in it's entirety and try to tell me it's not amazing... www.youtube.com/watch?v=VreaXkQA1IU

LB REBUTTAL

Alright, let's crack into this for a hot minute (or hour).

Brevity and I have never seen eye-to-eye, so I'm gonna take on each of your points, one-by-one and fuck you with them.

1.) He is counted as one of the greatest American song writers of all time

Please be less vague here. While he did have a handful of quality, memorable songs (that point, I did concede somewhat in my opening statement), his contribution to music at large is no more profound than, say, Rick Springfield. CSNY put out far more quality, as did Tom Petty or Pete Seeger or even fucking Bob Seger, while Springsteen lagged behind, riding the overwhelming wave of rock's popularity outside of anywhere called Studio 57.
2.) The complexity of the E-Street Band's music is not to be discounted

Who's discounting them? They're perfectly able musicians with a high technical grasp of music. That being said, everyone jerks off over prog rock and its self-indulgence, so where's your point? They're all good at playing music in the E-Street Band... as well they fucking should be with some 30+ years of live performances and trips to hug David Letterman from time to time.

Saying that their "complex" music is not to be discounted is like saying the mess of toppings on a Deluxe Pizza from Domino's is not to be discounted. Their proficiency is unsurprising, and really, their music is not that complicated. Springsteen operates well within the comfort zone of the four- or five-chord song. Any musicianship displayed over those transitions ought to be commonplace for a band who's been doing this since the beginning of time.

I mean, fuck. The Rolling Stones are more complex.
3.) He (and his band) were the best live act in music for many,many years and they still put on one of the most amazing performances today as Springsteen pushes 60.

Rolling Stones are better. So is Neil Young live -- you ever seen him? Such fucking energy and passion. While it is commendable that Brucie's still touring and wetting the knickers of middle-aged menopausal housewives, there are a lot of other bands that do it at that age, and do it better. The Allman Brothers, Boston, Aerosmith, TOM FUCKING PETTY (another guy who irritates me)... all far better.

5.) Bands from Rage Against the Machine to Pearl Jam list Springsteen as a major influence and cover his songs.

So what? Again, that's the benefit of still lingering around the fringes of the public consciousness. You name two good bands who love the 'Steen and who cover his songs... wonderful. It proves nothing whatsoever. Pearl Jam cover a lot of bands, including The Who and Neil Young. Similarly, a lot of shitty bands will probably cite Springsteen as a major influence, so now you're looking at a guy who not only gave decent songs to amazing bands, but he also inspired a lot of garbage. It's like saying that Walden brought Buddhism into the American consciousness, which it did through its focus on the environment and concept of self-reliance, but it also brought the world a ton of bongo-playing unwashed hippies who force you to sign petitions about whale-saving when you've somewhere else to be! I fail to see how you can credit Springsteen for so much good music, when you clearly say he's an influence, one of many, that touched these fine contemporary musical acts.

6.) Many influential musicians count Springsteen and Springsteen alone for saving music from Disco during the 70's

Uhh, care to name any of these people? This is absolute bollocks, Buzanis, and clearly not worth being part of your opening argument. You know what? Many pairs of tits could have probably stopped many people from being gay. It could also have been many other things. Disco was a weak-ass genre to begin with. During the 70s, funk and R&B reigned supreme. I know this because I am a music scholar, and I study this shit intently. Jazz blended with african rhythms to breed jazz-funk fusion, which in turn led to a serious uprising of funk music. Funk captivated the landscape (outside of rock, of course) for the bulk of the decade. Disco was "invented" in '72, but didn't go mainstream until '77 when that shitty Travolta dance flick happened. Point is, the people and the culture at large didn't need saving from Disco. They had plenty of other options besides the Earth, Wind and Fire 8-track. Springsteen, as fucking always, was a sideact, a tagalong on much bigger movements that never really needed his sweat-and-bandana brand of working man's guitar rock. Next!

7.) Politically, his views have not wavered even when it has cost him record and ticket sales (p.s. Obama has embraced Springsteen and frequently uses his song "The Rising" on the campaign trail)

OMG OMG OMG OMG he shunned money in favour of his beliefs? Not the only one to ever do that. It is commendable, but hardly a great defense against his catalog of legendarily shitty, interminable music. Pearl Jam lost a lot of cash by going outside of Ticketmaster, Neil Young's had his fair share of scrapes, notably his scuffle with his record label that cost him some dough too. Also, Neil Young's a far more influential guy than the mumbling New Jersey jester. It's great that he didn't compromise himself, but he's a fucking caricature to begin with. Is he really that threatening? Did his albums ever tow so far from the middle-of-the-road that he was really putting himself out?

8. Born to Run is one of the top 5 rock albums of all time

Nope. It's a good listen, but not top 5. We could do this a number of ways, including adding my own personal opinions, but, let's defer to the great American legacy that is Rolling Stone magazine, the boring rag that misguidedly champions Springsteen for reasons I don't quite get. What's RS's top 5? Top 10, even?

  1. Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, The Beatles (1967)
  2. Pet Sounds, The Beach Boys (1966)
  3. Revolver, The Beatles (1966)
  4. Highway 61 Revisited, Bob Dylan (1965)
  5. Rubber Soul, The Beatles (1965)
  6. What's Going On, Marvin Gaye (1971)
  7. Exile on Main St., The Rolling Stones (1972)
  8. London Calling, The Clash (1979)
  9. Blonde on Blonde, Bob Dylan (1966)
  10. The Beatles (The White Album), The Beatles (1968)
Aww, unlucky Bruce. You don't even clock the top 15, finally entering the list at #18 with this effort. Above him: Velvet Underground with Nico, Nirvana, 3 Bob Dylan albums and 5 (!) Beatles albums. Sorry, Bruce.... not winning any love on this one, and this is a magazine that normally sucks sunshine and rainbows from your stars-and-stripes anus!
9.) Watch this video in it's entirety and try to tell me it's not amazing...www.youtube.com/watch?v=VreaXkQA1IU

It's not amazing. I mean, it's powerful to a point, but so fucking overwrought. It probably stands the hairs on the back of your neck up, and gets you fired up, and that's cool. Not for me to discount your masturbation hour. Still, it leaves me kinda flat. Overproduced, overthought, overplayed and performed entirely without subtlety. Can Springsteen just sing a song?


BUZANIS REBUTTAL


1.) He is counted as one of the greatest American song writers of all time

Please be less vague here. While he did have a handful of quality, memorable songs (that point, I did concede somewhat in my opening statement), his contribution to music at large is no more profound than, say, Rick Springfield. CSNY put out far more quality, as did Tom Petty or Pete Seeger or even fucking Bob Seger, while Springsteen lagged behind, riding the overwhelming wave of rock's popularity outside of anywhere called Studio 57.

This was a reference specifically to songwriting ability - not a discussion of the music as a whole. To compare his song writing to that of Rick Springfield is ignorant. Anyone who claims to know the least bit about music would concede this point. "There is an opera out on the turnpike...there is a ballet being fought in the alley"...I'll take that over "Jessie's Girl" any day of the week. Bob Dylan himself counts Springsteen as one of the greatest American song-writers of all time. Don't question Dylan - he knows more than you.

3.) He (and his band) were the best live act in music for many,many years and they still put on one of the most amazing performances today as Springsteen pushes 60.

Rolling Stones are better. So is Neil Young live -- you ever seen him? Such fucking energy and passion. While it is commendable that Brucie's still touring and wetting the knickers of middle-aged menopausal housewives, there are a lot of other bands that do it at that age, and do it better. The Allman Brothers, Boston, Aerosmith, TOM FUCKING PETTY (another guy who irritates me)... all far better.

The uneducated insults continue to fly...to compare a Boston show to a Springsteen show is laughable....Pete Townsend once said the problem with seeing Springsteen is that he is too good live and never puts on a bad show. The band continues to play 2.5 hour shows that critics and audiences alike are blown away by. I have seen Neil Young live...he came out in a train conductor outfit and played the organ for an hour and a half with his back to stage. It was disgusting and an insult to the audience. I've also seen Petty, the Stones, The Who, Pearl Jam, Page & Plant, Bob Seager, U2, Mellencamp, the Eagles, etc, and none of them hold a candle live. The same euphoric/marathon stadium shows he became famous for years ago still ring true today - go see one. He is at Giants Stadium all week.

6.) Many influential musicians count Springsteen and Springsteen alone for saving music from Disco during the 70's

Uhh, care to name any of these people? This is absolute bollocks, Buzanis, and clearly not worth being part of your opening argument. You know what? Many pairs of tits could have probably stopped many people from being gay. It could also have been many other things. Disco was a weak-ass genre to begin with. During the 70s, funk and R&B reigned supreme. I know this because I am a music scholar, and I study this shit intently. Jazz blended with african rhythms to breed jazz-funk fusion, which in turn led to a serious uprising of funk music. Funk captivated the landscape (outside of rock, of course) for the bulk of the decade. Disco was "invented" in '72, but didn't go mainstream until '77 when that shitty Travolta dance flick happened. Point is, the people and the culture at large didn't need saving from Disco. They had plenty of other options besides the Earth, Wind and Fire 8-track. Springsteen, as fucking always, was a sideact, a tagalong on much bigger movements that never really needed his sweat-and-bandana brand of working man's guitar rock. Next!


The name Jeff "Skunk" Baxter probably doesn't mean much to you. Why should it? Well, Skunk as his friends call him, was a founding member of Steely Dan and later went on to play with the Doobie Brothers. Skunk is very well respected in the music community and is often interviewed/quoted during discussions of Rock 'n Roll. During VH-1's "The History of Rock n' Roll" series Skunk is interviewed about the impact of Bruce Springsteen's music. To summarize, Skunk basically says that music was headed in a very scary direction in the mid 70's and if it wasn't specifically for Bruce, music would have continued down that wayward path. Skunk said that Bruce dramatically altered the course of Rock 'n Roll music history for the better. Don't question Skunk - he knows more than you.

7.) Politically, his views have not wavered even when it has cost him record and ticket sales (p.s. Obama has embraced Springsteen and frequently uses his song "The Rising" on the campaign trail)

OMG OMG OMG OMG he shunned money in favour of his beliefs? Not the only one to ever do that. It is commendable, but hardly a great defense against his catalog of legendarily shitty, interminable music. Pearl Jam lost a lot of cash by going outside of Ticketmaster, Neil Young's had his fair share of scrapes, notably his scuffle with his record label that cost him some dough too. Also, Neil Young's a far more influential guy than the mumbling New Jersey jester. It's great that he didn't compromise himself, but he's a fucking caricature to begin with. Is he really that threatening? Did his albums ever tow so far from the middle-of-the-road that he was really putting himself out?

Springsteen's entire career has been highlighted by this stance - it is not just a case-by-case battle like other artists. Starting with the whole meaning behind "Born In The U.S.A." issue which he never shied away from and continuing on through the song "American Skin" which questions the murder of an immigrant at the hands of the NYPD, right through his support of John Kerry and Obama, Springsteen has cost himself untold amounts of money by putting his political/social beliefs directly at odds with those of his potential fan base (more so than any other artist or group).
* * * THUNDERDOME end * * *

So now it's up to you dear readers. Who has won this round of Thunderdome? Please vote to decide the winner.

NOTE: The poll has been removed because for whatever reason it was causing a poop brown bar to appear at the top of the page. So instead just write in your vote in the comments. Feel free to discuss as well.

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