Jeers this week to regrettable behavior — Billie Joe Armstrong of Green Day is seeking treatment for substance abuse following a tantrum at the iHeartRadio Music Festival. (The abused substance in question was not specified, but the band's lately been known to huff the lofty airs of artistic substance, leading to a series of rock operas and a Broadway musical.)
After reportedly being cut short to accommodate even-less-punk acts like Bon Jovi and Usher, Armstrong lashed out against the organizers of the bafflingly-programmed event in a blue tirade of swear-saying and guitar-smashing. "I'm not fuckin' Justin Bieber," he insisted (video footage confirms that he was not, at the moment, fuckin' Justin Bieber). CNN erroneously called the affair a "meltdown," but we'll save that word for when it's not just a guy observing the grandest traditions of his profession.
Cheers, though, for old-fashioned American craftsmanship. Billie's Gibson took four or five spirited bonks before the neck popped off.
Elsewhere: if I choose but a few bedrock facts that inform my understanding of pop and politics, they are as follows: the Foo Fighters are HIV/AIDS denialists1, Cam'ron is a birther2, Muse are 9/11 truthers3, and Ted Nugent is a fucking lunatic4. This week, one of these truths has been shattered.
In an interview with the UK's Metro newspaper, Muse howler Matt Bellamy has recanted his long-held belief that 9/11 was an inside job: "I don't believe that anymore, although there are lots of questions to be answered. I think my political views are bit more nuanced now."
It'll be a shame to break it to the dude who runs truthermusic.blogspot.com, since the movement seems to be hurting for anthems. Muse's new single "Madness" was proudly posted there just weeks ago, but the other pickings are slim: the previous post was a 2009 track by artist Scootle Royale, and its truther message has to share airtime with a few others. "Although primarily about 9/11," writes Scootle, "it does touch on some other issues such as the dumbing down of the public, the bombings of 3/11 and 7/7, the global-warming/carbon-tax scam, the central-banking scam, fluoridated water, toxins in vaccines, the Kennedy assassination, the false left-right paradigm, the Rockefellers, the Saudi corporation Ptech, swine flu, martial law, the police state, and Internet2." On the bright side, I'm sure Muse still believe in four or five of those other things.
But even as their adorable crackpot streak wanes, Muse's flamboyance reaches new heights. In the same interview, Bellamy revealed a new concert setpiece: "We have a symbolic upside-down pyramid suspended over us as we play. At some point, the pyramid will turn inside out and consume Dom's drum kit. Then Dom becomes a ninja who starts battling with corrupt businessmen."
"I'm serious," Bellamy continued. "That's not a joke." I assume this clarification was a response to the interviewer's 20-minute fit of racking giggles.
Fantastical as it seems, Muse's stunt is strangely reminiscent of one of rock's loftiest unrealized follies. They were beaten to the conceptual punch by notorious glam flop Jobriath, whose doomed Paris Opera House show would have done them one better: it was to include a scene in which the singer portrayed King Kong and rose through a model Empire State Building. "This will turn into a giant spurting penis," Jobriath promised, "and I will have transformed into Marlene Dietrich." Take notes, Muse.