When you put yourself out in the public eye, you have to be ready to take a few slaps across the face. I believe this kind of public flogging is the well-deserved balance needed that allows cretins, such as I, who play power chords for a living, to sometimes be given adulation beyond our station. The amount of applause I've received over the years for going from a "G" chord to an "A" chord and back is almost reprehensible. The amount of money Damon Albarn has probably received for going "Woo Hoo" in Blur's "Song No. 2" is almost unconscionable. The amount of applause, money and esteem someone like Chubby Checker has received for doing ONE cover song for over 50 years ("The Twist") is downright immoral. Such is the wonderful, wacky world of the music industry, and you gotta love it for being so erratic and perplexing.
However, when a negative utterance is able to make it over my fortress of solitude (held together by 5 out of 5 reviews and the odd print story stripped of any objectivity in my favour) my fragile little ego gets cracked. In recent years, this fortress has become weakened at its foundation by the monolithic brute called the Internet -- that place where colossal morons gather like vapid locusts to anonymously chirp their high-minded opinions made up mostly of spelling and grammar mistakes. If there was ever a stronger case for more education and increasing teacher's salaries it's the parade of comments left under each and every article that gets uploaded here at The Huffington Post (yeah, I said it). It's enough to make you think that the humans have already been quietly rendered extinct replaced by a new race of biped boneheads living in their Mom's basement and compulsively masturbating between key strokes.
Of course it's all fun and games to read the comments laughing "at" and "with" these imbeciles seamlessly, but when you suddenly find yourself the brunt of their joke you're jolted upright and forced to fire back. Such is the case when I've read some of the comments left at the bottom of my Huffington Post entries.
Now I know that one is supposed to take the "higher ground" and "rise above" when it comes to bickering back, especially if you're the public persona being flagellated, but it doesn't make it any easier to read. I know that retorting only makes you look like the bigger fool, thus proving their point in the first place, but sometimes you can't help yourself. I know that their comments should largely be ignored but that doesn't mean that you should only listen to the positive comments either. Just because I have zero presence on the internet when it comes to defending myself doesn't mean I don't read every one of these insipid comments (twice). How can I try to fire back in order to get it off my chest? Where can I let off some steam if I can't do it on the internet?
So here are a few of the comments that have been fired in my direction over the last 52 weeks with malicious intent and stink that may be too easy to single out but too much fun to ignore, at least the ones that weren't removed by the Huffington Post moderators (Yikes!)
Firstly, my favourite posters are the people who feel the need, no matter what subject I've written about, to connect it back to how much they think my band sucks. You can't exactly call it trolling even if they post multiple times but I still find it sort of disturbing. People like Dubble D, despite making it quite clear that he hates me and my band, continues to read my columns and takes time out of his obviously humdrum life to leave comments. When I wrote about Facebook PDA on 11/02/12, Dubble D wrote:
"Ah more deep thoughts from Canada's leading philosopher. Geez Danko, I just hang on every banal word like it's gospel! Your blogs are as readable as your albums are listenable, which is to say "Not very"."
When I wrote about the artistic process on 06/07/13, Dubble D wrote:
"...Wow. Thanks Danko. Life changing. Maybe that's why you can't recognize anyone else's process. Maybe you really don't have one. But what does that say about you? I'll wait breathlessly for THAT blog..."
There are others, like typeterson, who compared us to Nickelback in a comment on 12/30/2012 in regards to my column on "Gangnam Style" by writing "...stick to what you do best danko, which is creating that 'theory of a nickel-default' style of painfully bland wannabe rock" only to write, three weeks later on 01/21/2013, "who is danko jones?" I think typeterson was pretending to not know me or my band. Some may call that lying. That kinda makes him a liar.
It's funny that these self-appointed music critics know so much about our band to condemn us, even though their comparison of us to Default is about as accurate as comparing Maroon 5 to Motorhead. And I always wait for their "knowledgable" response when I delve deeper and write about My Guide To Canadian Noise Bands (12/07/12), Ravi Shankar (12/14/12), The Roadburn Festival (03/09/13), 10 Lost Noise-Rock Albums From The 90's (04/26/13) or 10 Forgotten Indie Rock Albums (07/12/13) but always get nothing. Seems their musical knowledge doesn't extend that far or go that deep.
However, when I wrote about Turbonegro (11/10/12) Huff Post reader, DCR512, had to write:
"As a professional musician of over 35 years I can say with confidence that you're opinion is yours, but the facts are wrong...These guys will never make it out of their mother's basement..."
I have to admit, I laughed so hard when I read this comment but what made me laugh even harder was when we played The Greenfield Festival in Switzerland with Slayer, NOFX, Coheed & Cambria, Prodigy and Turbonegro and I got to tell the band about the comment myself. We all had a great laugh at DCR512's expense and then Turbonegro, the supposed band that will never make it out their mother's basement, walked on stage and proceeded to entertain a crowd of close to 20,000 people that night.
When I crowned Hellacopters/Backyard Babies guitarist, Dregen, King Of Rock N' Roll, Huff Post reader, CLTrader had to chime in with a "Never heard of 'em!!" as if we all should know that if CLTrader hasn't heard of someone then they're not worth our time, despite Dregen being a world famous Rock guitarist who just put out an autobiography translated into 4 languages.
But it can sometimes get downright schizophrenic too. Reader bluessunday10 responded to my column on feet on 09/01/13 by writing "mr. jones stick to music your opinions are not wanted" only to post again the next day with "I ll stop wearing flip flops if you stop making crap music that clogs our radio!" Well, bluessunday10, which is it? Should I stick to making music or should I stop making crap music? By the way, you're very bossy.
However, my favourite comment was by someone called MusicCritic8197 who responded to a column of mine called "When Music Journalism Goes Bad" where I called out a review of ours done by the website, "Beyond The Watch". In the live review of our gig with Volbeat, the writer devotes 9 sentences to our band, not to mention beginning his Volbeat article with us. My beef wasn't with the writer's opinion but rather the lack of knowledge he had on a band from his hometown.
Here's MusicCritic8197's response:
"I read the review and it seems like you're missing one key fact here Danko. The review was for Volbeats gig, not yours. The dude straight up said he walked in and you were already playing. It seems like you really love yourself."
Of course, MusicCritic8197 became an active poster only in April, the month my column was posted, and hasn't posted comments on any article on the entire Huffington Post website since. 10 bucks says MusicCritic8197 writes for "Beyond The Watch" and was desperately trying to save face at my expense. That's just my suspicion. Also, I might really love myself but I love comments like MusicCritic8197 posted even better.
Traffic is traffic in the online media world. Positive or negative response matters little, as long as people read the damn thing, react and comment. As much as I love all the positive feedback, it's a little sweeter when haters post their vitriol towards me in an attempt to knock me down, unaware that they're actually helping prove I matter. Their negative comments demonstrate to the editing staff that I have their eyes and ears.
No matter how much you strive to "rise above" and no matter how high that high road is, sometimes it just feels better to whip out your middle finger and tell the person who's bugging you to suck it, even if it means foolishly scrolling through nearly 400 comments to do so. For Christ's sake, let me do it here this week, on my one-year anniversary at The Huffington Post, and get it off my chest before I have to go back out there and remain annoyingly stoic and unruffled.
Thanks for reading. Comments welcome.