Over on Facebook my dislike of certain Twin Cities bands of yore was brought up, so here's my list of the worst local bands I ever had the misfortune of listening to. There is bias in that I have to have actually heard them. Either they were hyped to high heaven by the local media, or they opened up for someone good. Perhaps there were others just as bad, but I was warned away before being exposed to them. In no particular order:
3AM Ralph: This sad excuse for a Top-40 cover band must've had some blackmail-worthy dirt on the booker at the 7th St. Entry, because they played there all the time. If you thought that a cover "I Just Want to Celebrate" couldn't sound any worse than the original, you would be wrong. At least they were aptly named.
Deformo: Want to listen to Jerry Lewis torturing a cat? Then this band's vocalist would be the one for you. Warning: he also records as King of France.
Cat's Laughing: When I was young, I had a less keen ability to avoid sub-Grateful-Dead jam bands than I do now. Has there ever been a good band made up of authors? They're always just a little bit unbalanced on the lyrics side of music-and-lyrics. Thanks to their friends in the literary community, a whole imaginary world was created where Cat's Laughing was massively popular. I go there in my nightmares sometimes.
Sh*t Fi: Another band that had to have blackmail material on someone to play as much as they did. Lovers of melody might think that a noise band couldn't be said to play well or badly, but Sh*t Fi proves them wrong. Using entries from their 8-grade diary as lyrics doesn't exactly help, either.
Pablo: Back in the day I used to go to this midnight open mike to see what weird stuff would turn up. Pablo would be usually be there to mar the experience for me. Acoustic-guitar-slinging singer-songwriters are bad enough, but Pablo did not seem to grasp the basic concept that the words had to match with the music somehow. He kept squeezing in more of his brilliant lyrical gems than could actually fit into the song, as if he just couldn't bear to cut any of them out (see below for the same syndrome). I vaguely remember some interminable song about two couples named John & John and Kate & Kate (or something like that) and their many, many adventures. Sort of like a song for small children, except kids' musicians know you actually have to write catchy tunes to keep your audience interested.
The Hold Steady: I won't bore you with this again, but I just wanted to quote the lyrics that Sasha Frere-Jones used to demonstrate their heart-stopping genius:
"We spent the night last night in Beverly Hills. There was this chick that looked like Beverly Sills. We got killed."
Omigod, someone tell Kay Ryan to give it up. There's a new poet laureate in town!