A long time ago, I was close friends with a guy who was pretty deep into the local punk/metal scene, which was helpful to me as a relative newbie to town. Name a person in a hardcore or thrash band, and my buddy either knew that person well or knew of him or her. Not that my pal was an angel, but he seemed to be a pretty no-bullshit dude: always willing to go out of his way for you (he helped me install my washer and dryer in my first rental house), always friendly, always up for another beer. But he had a shit list. At the top was “Dimebag” Darrell Abbott, who is revered as a sort of saint. I never knew my buddy’s particular beef with the Pantera guitarist, but I remember the phrase he used to describe Abbott quite clearly: “That dude was a piece of shit.” As I said, no b.s.
Right beneath Dimebag on my friend’s people-to-avoid list was Easy Jesus Coe, referred to my bud as a “straight-up scumbag.” After I wrote a somewhat positive review of a new Pimpadelic record, I ran into my friend at the bar. He chewed me out. He even went as far as to question my ability to evaluate music in the broadest terms. Hoisting my beer cockily to my lips, I said, “Judge the poem, not the poet.” To which he said, “All you’re doing, by writing a good review of Easy Jesus, is letting him think he can keep acting like a scumbag.” Basically, my pal was saying that I was legitimizing EJC’s crappy existence.
Was I really? Perhaps, to a point. But I think I had listened to enough music to be able to stand by my assertion that, hey, Pimpadelic is not reinventing the wheel here, but if you add up all of the components that go into solid pop-metal –– melody, rhythm, and technical acumen –– the band’s new album isn’t half bad. Sure, it’s juvenile, but so is nearly everything that passes for contemporary dance/R&B music and rap.
But you can’t really get away with criticizing new dance/R&B music unless you’re African-American or Hispanic. Easy Jesus Coe and Pimpadelic, as white boys allegedly from Blue Mound, a.k.a. Saginaw, are easy to loathe. And not always without good reason. Maybe EJC has done some shitty things in his life. Maybe he’s racist. Maybe he’s as sexist in person as he is in his lyrics. Maybe Easy Jesus is one tiny notch above your neighborhood kiddie fiddler as the most hated person in North Texas.
But if you judge the poem and not the poet, Pimpadelic has churned out more than a couple nuggets of crunchy, aggressive pop-metal. How do I know this? Do I have Pimpadelic songs on my iPod? No. I don’t. And I’m not sure I’d tell you if I did, but the infamous Blue Mound band has just released a 25-song double-album. The title? Greatest Tits, of course. However, I’d be lying if I said the grooves on “Where I’m From” and “Just My Fantasy” weren’t righteous, the riffage on “Two Thousand Six Sixx Sixxx” and “Just So Cold” weren’t head-bangable, and the melodies on “I Get Around,” “All to Blame,” and “High Price of Low Living” weren’t eminently sing-along-able and nigh Poison-esque. (In Pimp’s later days, the band started to sound a lot like Poison, mostly because EJC sounds a lot like Bret Michaels.)
But whadda I know. I wouldn’t know Easy Jesus Coe from David Allan Coe on the street. I’m just a famous music critic for a famous magazine. You tell me.
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