I'm talking about the "hard" rock group, not Herman Hesse's novel of the same name which inspired the group's name. Although I don't have anything good to say about the novel either. I haven't read it. I've tried to read it several times, first, as a child, in English translation, then after I grew up and learned German, in German. Haven't made it a page in either way. Soooo boring. Tried to read Das Glasperlenspiel too, in light of Thomas Mann practically insisting that Hesse receive the Nobel Prize for Literature on the basis of that one book. I wouldn't call Thomas Mann the best German writer of the 20th century the way many people do -- less of them now, perhaps, then in the 20th century -- I'd rate Doeblin and Musil and Thomas's brother Heinrich more highly then Thomas, but I wouldn't find it outrageous to list Thomas Mann among the dozen finest German novelists of the 20th century. I don't find it appalling that Thomas Mann won the Nobel. He's a very, very, very good writer, so good that his praise of Hesse makes me think I'm simply missing something.
On the other hand, nobody will ever convince me that the rock group Steppenwolf doesn't suck. It makes me angry that big-time record-company execs signed and massively marketed such inept boring schmucks. (Not that Steppenwolf is unique or even unusual, of course, in being a musical act that pretty much nobody should be made to listen to, who've gotten such treatment from the so-called "music industry.") I got angry about them again today when "Magic Carpet Ride" came on my car radio and I switched it off and glanced at the dashboard clock, having no idea how long -- other than too long -- "Magic Carpet Ride" was, and figuring I'd check back in 3 minutes to see if it was over with and something decent was on the air. This particular radio station tends to play records all the way through, including long, long fadeouts which other stations wisely nip in the bud when the producers and record companies haven't. 3 minutes later I turned the radio back on, and boy, that sure sounded like the pointless latter stages of a fadeout which long since had began to meander, but it didn't fade and didn't fade and didn't fade, and sure enough, it was just the bridge, and finally, it was over: -- "You don't know what, we can --" -- snap, the radio went back off and I was angry. Angry at the record execs who marketed Steppenwolf so hard. Angry at the millions of fans who continue to eat it up and say it tastes good.
Angry at Dennis Hopper for making Steppenwolf's "Born To Be Wild" the first music heard in his overrated iconic debut as a writer-director.
I'm even a little bit angry at Phil Spector about that. I know, Easy Rider is Hopper's movie, not Spector's, but Phil Spector is Phil Spector, and no-one was more fully aware of that in the late 60's than Phil Spector. I'm sure that Hopper also was sufficiently aware of it that he would've found it perfectly acceptable if Spector had asked about the music destined to land on the soundtrack. I'm angry that Spector did not do so, and then scream at Hopper, "No! No! NOOOO!! You will not immediately follow a scene with me with a chopper montage and Steppenwolf full-volume on the soundtrack! I love you, Dennie, sweetie, but you're clearly insane, even worse than your reputation, if you think that Steppenwolf is the way to kick off this iconic culture-changing 'masterpiece.' I can understand your not using my music, it's a different subculture you're portraying here, that's fine. I'm sorry for hurling you to the ground in rage and then standing on your chest like this, Dennis, boopsy, but I must have your full attention on this matter. You must not fritter away this epochal moment of the 'youth' culture and the 'generation gap' with garbage like Steppenwolf. You might as well have Barry McGuire singing "Eve of Destruction" during that montage as Steppenwolf. They're both about equally ridiculous. Listen to your Uncle Phil, honey: there's this band from Detroit called MC5. They're a REAL hard rock band, harder than Steppenwolf could ever dream of understanding, let alone being. Start off your movie with "Kick Out the Jams" by MC5 -- or one of their other songs. Everything they've ever recorded beats up Steppenwolf's music and steals its lunch money and its girlfriend and then leads a successful strike for better pay and working conditions for its schoolteachers and the school janitor -- and 44 years from now, that opening chopper montage won't be embarrassing to watch, it'll be exciting, still."