I woke early this morning, got my coffee, and fired up the computron to see how things were going in the NCAA Hoops Conference Tournaments (Nice! My picks Akron and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi both advanced) and to check my e-mail.
Hmm . . . I didn’t recognize the name on one with the subject “FROM A CRITIC READ,” but it didn’t trip the spam filter, so I opened it. Among an array of angry spinning animated emoticons, I read a missive that included such bon mots (profanity edited for this family newspaper’s website) as . . .
“Just want to tell you that opinions are just like a** h***s like youre self, everybodys got one.”
and . . .
“Just read youre article on the web about which rock band you think was the worst. It seems to me you just don’t like f***ing music. You said that boston s***ed, youre g***amn tone def.”
and . . .
“WISH YOU WERE HERE SO I COULD F***IN SPIT IN YOURE FACE YOU G***AMN B***ARD FROM HELL………….”
and . . .
“OH AND BY THE WAY, YOU SUCK……………..”
and then, more cryptically . . .
“GOD BLESS YOU BRAD, WE LOVE YOU BUDDY”
Sigh. I wish I could say this was the first (and last) piece of e-mail I’d received like this, but I’d be lying. My 2004 blog piece, The Worst Rock Band Ever: A Detailed Survey of Popular Badness, generates an astounding amount of reader feedback, 90% of which comes in a more profane form of “Dear Loser, [My Favorite Band] is great, and you are stupid. I want to hurt you.”
Generally, I can tell which bands are in the news by the hate mail I receive. For instance, when the original Motley Crue line-up reunited to tour a couple of years back, their fans were having mass Googlefests for news about their faves, which brought up a lot of hits for my Worst Band page, which brought in a whole lot of angry e-mail, much of it shouted IN ALL CAPS with LOTS OF EXCLAMATION POINTS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Sadly, I learned upon further research that this morning’s piece of hate mail was probably generated by someone Googling Boston lead singer Brad Delp, who was found dead Friday in his home. That explained the cryptic coda to this morning’s missive. Tough news for a fan, for sure, as well as for Delp’s family, friends and loved ones. I know there will be a lot of community grieving among the band’s inner and extended families.
It’s just sort of interesting to me that someone’s act of grieving involved sending a piece of hate mail to a stranger, inspired by a three year old article that, as I re-read it this morning to see how offensive it might have been, was actually pretty pro-Delp and anti-Tom Scholz, Boston’s calculating technical mastermind. I suppose he was in the anger stage, and I was an easy, convenient target. No harm done. No hurt feelings. I get it.
I expect I’ll be receiving some more correspondence as news of Delp’s passing spreads. I don’t imagine that much of it will be nice. I periodically mull taking the “Worst Bands” page offline, since I’m actually much prouder of the Rock’s Greatest Secret Band or Best of the Blockbusters or March of the Mellotrons pages. But then I look at my website’s search query log, and I see that my top ten referring searches this month (and pretty much every other month since 2004) are:
1. worst band ever
2. the worst band ever
3. worst bands
4. worst bands ever
5. boston rock band
6. worst bands
7. worst rock band ever
9. worst band of all time
10. rock band boston
So for better or for worse, the Worst Bands stuff is my Interweb bread and butter. While some folks hit it and never move deeper into my site (except to look for my e-mail if they’re mad enough to post), some folks do find the other stuff (hopefully even including this new blog) . . . and it’s worth enduring the e-mail bombs to get the occasional thoughtful or though-provoking reactions from those people as well.
Here’s hoping some of them rise to the occasion to blunt the expected Boston Fan Barrage that I expect over the next week or two . . .