Gears of Rock

The Rock 'N Roll Sanctuary

Pork and Beans: Weezer renews interest in an American classic

Thursday, July 10, 2008

By Andrew Fixell
Contributing Writer

An early favorite to win an MTV Music Award as Video of the Year has emerged in the form of, you guessed it, Weezer's hit single, “Pork and Beans."

For those of you who haven't seen the subject of this article, I urge you to avert your eyes for about 4 minutes, watch the video on YouTube, and come back to reading so you can have a better understanding as to why I love this song so much.  It's okay, I'll wait. (Editor's note: look above!)

(4 minutes later) Awesome!  Now that you have watched it, you can see why that song isn't just more than a catchy tune.  The tongue-in-cheek message of the song reflects Rivers Cuomo's frustration with the band's record label asking them to make more pop-friendly music. Rivers penned a song that not only sends a big old fashioned finger to the man, but also gives us alternative rock fans a reason to celebrate the genre again.

Weezer is the epitome of geek-rock: a style of music that uses relatively simple chord progressions masterfully played by intelligent guys.  Weezer has recognized that a band doesn't have to perform ridiculously complicated guitar solos to be regarded as proven musicians.  I liken Weezer  to one of my favorite writers, John Steinbeck.  The message is clear without appearing to be patronizing their fans.  Steinbeck and Weezer put forth quality works that challenge their fans to think beyond the words.

As for the video…Weezer throws another bone to the nerds of the world with their inclusion of famous YouTube sensations including Chris "Leave Britney Alone!" Crocker, Tay "Chocolate Rain" Zonday and the ridiculously awful Black Ninja.  With the help of America and now Weezer, the Numa Numa Guy is the most famous and beloved guy from his graduating class, not the Homecoming Queen or captain of the football team.  Weezer gives hope to the underdog and proves once again, that it isn’t just a video that makes a band…although they certainly can help.

Andrew Fixell is a freelance writer living in New York City.  To  go along with Gears Of Rock, Andrew also writes for two additional websites and  He is currently working for Isle of Man Films and is studying at Upright Citizen's Brigade Training Center for long-form improv comedy.

Do You Have an Ear for Music? - Live365

A Yahoo Who Works For Yahoo!

Monday, June 30, 2008

By Andrew Fixell
Contributing Writer

Rob O'Connor needs to shut up.  No seriously, SHUT! UP!  I'm talking, Arnold- Schwarzengger-yelling-in-Kindergarten Cop-SHUT UP!

So, why, do you ask, am I so adamant about a useless music critic never getting the chance to write again?  It’s because he is everything that is wrong with journalism today.  Morons like him can go into their jobs, copy paste several chunks of information from the internet, call it an original piece, hand it in to a major company, and get a nice check for work that most 10 year-olds can do.  And by 10 year-olds, I mean the dumb ones.  Of course Rob O’Connor is not swimming in a pool of money from the paydays he gets as a result of making his weekly "Lists" for Yahoo! Music.  But still, he gets paid…and does an awful job at doing it.  My breaking point came when on June 17th, 2008  Yahoo posted his latest piece of garbage, "25 Best Heavy Metal Bands."

Now, let me make this clear: I am not a huge metal fan.  I listen to "Metal" music ranging from Dillinger Escape Plan, Killswitch Engage (marginally "Metal" at best), and, well, that's pretty much it.  I listen to a lot of hard stuff that some people would confuse to be metal but when pasting a genre to a band, you are pretty much branding them with a duty to serve that genre's code of ethics.   When writing a piece on Death Metal, think of bands like Napalm Death, Pig Destroyer, Cattle Decapitation, etc.  When thinking of Easy Listening, think of Air Supply, Bread and Linda Rondstat.  When thinking of Metal, think of Megadeth, Queensryche, King's X, Aerosmith, Anthrax.  Wait, wait, wait.  Hold up for one second, did I just say Aerosmith?  I did, but any 85 year-old grand-mother would know that Aero-Don't-Wanna-Close-My-Eyes-Smith is not a metal band.  They are a rock band.  And as of post-Get A Grip days, a shitty one.  

Let’s take a look at the  "List" in question.  He starts off good with a Swedish Metal band, Meshuggah.  From there, things go haywire.  Although he does include the heroes of yester-year including Dio, Judas Priest, and Iron Maiden, He has the audacity to lump them in with bands such as Alice In Chains.  Alice In Chains was a kick-ass band.  And had Layne Staley not gone and wasted his life away, they would have gone on to even better things.  But they're just not "metal."  They helped to define a generation brought on by music that was rooted in the spirit of metal and the attitude of punk, but it flat out wasn't "metal."  So, there.  Rob O'Connor still sucks. 

Now, he slithers down the list with more and more quality names such as Mercyful Fate, Kyuss, Metallica (heck, it's in there name).  But other bands he places on the list are just...absurd.  Thin Lizzy?  Rush?  Gun's 'n Roses?  If you asked Thin Lizzy or Rush what metal was in 1970, they would have no fucking clue what you were talking about.  I love both of those bands but it's ludicrous to place them alongside bands such as Slayer because, well, there music was far more eclectic.  Thin Lizzy and Rush and many other bands on this list were influential in the birth and rising of metal.  But they weren't fucking metal!  And Gun's 'n Roses?  I won't even give that a response.

But O'Connor truly outdoes himself at his rankings of #5 and #4.  Respectively he puts, you're not going to believe it, The Jimi Hendrix Experience and Van Halen.  What the hell is going on?  Van Halen is a rock band that defined the 80s.  It was poppy, great guitar solos, crazy hair, crazy front man.  But if that is your criteria for being regarded as the #4 greatest metal band of all-time, you need to get your shit straight.  And The Jimi Hendrix Experience.  I seriously do not know what to say. And perhaps that means it is my time to sign off.  After all, silence does sometimes speak louder than words…

The Gears of Rock welcomes Andrew Fixell to the sanctuary:
Andrew Fixell is a freelance writer living in New York City.  To  go along with Gears Of Rock, Andrew also writes for two additional websites and  He is currently working for Isle of Man Films and is studying at Upright Citizen's Brigade Training Center for long-form improv comedy.

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