I was somewhat upset recently when I saw a Volkswagen commercial in which Christopher Guest reprises the Nigel Tufnel character from This Is Spinal Tap, one of my all-time favorite movies. I always harbored secret affections for Nigel, and to see him whore himself out in this way was at least a bit unsettling. I tried to put the incident out of my mind until I saw another in what is apparently a series of “rock star guitar solo” VW ads, this one featuring John Mayer noodling away near a shiny new vee-dub.
I dislike John Mayer more than I dislike any other person that I do not actually know. I haven’t listened to any of his music besides the bits that have assaulted my ears during my searches through radio stations, but that has proved enough for me to develop an intense aversion towards him. My hatred was always relatively benign because I simply avoided him the way I avoid all awful musicians, until the day I heard him doing an interview on NPR. He was describing the authoring of the song “Daughters”, and I have transcribed his self-important blather for your review:
“I wrote this song in a hotel room in New Zealand and I was supposed to be downstairs for an on-camera interview and I was an hour and a half late and I knew I was an hour and a half late and I just excused myself because if you’re late to talk about music because you’re writing music then I think you get a pass. I remember coming downstairs and my tour manager was pretty mad and I was just like ‘Ken, don’t even worry about it’.”
The insinuation being, of course, “I will be forgiven for missing the interview because I have just created a work of such genius that all who hear it will find religion and worship at the altar of my assinine lyrics and garbled singing style”. Here are some more of his musings on the writing process:
“…it was one of the fewest times in my life when I’ve ever said to myself, ‘This is so good, something bad’s gonna happen to me’. I don’t expect anyone else to understand it. It’s a moment of creation where something is leaving so quickly and so well and so effortlessly that you just feel like you owe something karmically…”
I can think of something else that leaves quickly and effortlessly: projectile diarrhea. Which, incidentally, is something I enjoy slightly more than I enjoy Mayer’s terrible songs.
True story: once I was stuck in traffic, exhausted and stressed, an emotional wreck, flipping through radio stations in a desperate attempt to find something to lift my spirits. The only thing I could find other than commercials was the above-mentioned “Daughters”, and the sound of it was so vile to my ears that I literally leaned over the steering wheel and dry-heaved. It was an automatic reflex, as instinctive to me as breathing. This is the depth of my ire.
So you can imagine the pain I feel knowing that not only has my beloved Nigel Tufnel sold out, but he has done so in the company of The Enemy himself. I’m living in a hell hole, indeed.