Top Five Musician/Journalist Feuds

Categories: Lists, Playbill

"Like, what is your problem?"

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Jason Nocito
Hell hath no fury like a spurned musician, but a critic's vengeance doesn't lag far behind. This week in the Houston Press, you can read an interview Noah Bailey at our sister paper the Dallas Observer did with Dr. Dog's Scott McMicken, who says he has become accustomed to receiving critical beatdowns in the media - in particular, the consistently oppositional reviews of that indie-rock Puppet Master, Pitchfork Media.

But McMicken takes it with a grain of salt, so although his etiquette is commendable, such good behavior opts him out of Rocks Off's list of the Top 5 Musician/Journalist Feuds.


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5. M.I.A. vs. Lynn Hirschberg: Earlier this year, New York Times journalist Lynn Hirschberg wrote a destined-for-controversy cover profile on the London-born, Sri Lanka-raised, politically inclined rapper M.I.A.

Hirschberg shined her journalistic light on many of M.I.A.'s evident inconsistencies - her waxing political about the less fortunate while munching on a "truffle-flavored French fry" and a glass of wine at the posh Beverly Wilshire Hotel, just miles away from her comfy Brentwood mansion. Throughout the interview, M.I.A. steadily attempts to paint herself a rebel refugee icon, but ultimately ends up looking like a naïve, perhaps misinformed caricature of an amateur activist (however genuine her intentions may be).

When the article ran, it unsurprisingly gained negative attention due to the singer's tactless remarks ("I'm tired of pop stars who say, 'Give peace a chance.' I'd rather say, 'Give war a chance'" and "There's this show in England about kids who want to be terrorists. It's brilliant! The kids are buying Ajax to make bombs and trying to think of new ways to do suicide bombings. It's really, really cool."

Feeling her words were taken out of context, M.I.A. took to her Twitter account in attempt to clear the air, tweeting, "Call me if you wanna talk to me about the NYT Truth Issue, I'll be taking calls all day, bitches," and capping it off by publicly posting Hirschberg's phone number. Likely convinced she's had the last laugh, her action seemed to only perpetuate her image of jejune provocateur.

Hirschberg's profile of the songstress timely marked her last piece under contract with the Times magazine; she's now an editor-at-large at W.


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4. Billy Corgan vs. Jim DeRogatis: A hometown feud that sparked back in the dwindling days of grunge, the Corgan/DeRo battle of intelligent words began when the Chicago Sun Times music critic denounced Siamese Dream, the 1993 album by Corgan's alt-rockers Smashing Pumpkins.

Feeling betrayed by DeRogatis' renouncement, the saturnine songwriter posed a verbal counter-attack via fax (how '90s of him!), calling DeRogatis a "sniveling, jealous person," and stating, "Some people actually like what we do," before signing off with a surly "See you in hell, best wishes, go f--k yourself, Billy C."

It's hard not to appreciate the heated intellectual banter of erudite men. Hats off to Corgan for defending what history has proved to be his worthiest record, but we shudder to ponder what DeRogatis might think of the songwriter's most recent incarnation of the-little-band-that-could...




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