Richard Marx Hates My Guts, By Tom Kipp


In case you missed it:

Richard Marx hates my guts

I made a snarky comment about the 1980s soft-rock balladeer on my blog. And now he won’t leave me alone. Really.


Highly entertaining, the Salon comments section every bit as much as the piece per se!

Interesting how calling someone “shameless” for hawking a “special edition” of his latter day Christmas album “exclusively at Target” could be perceived as such a monumental insult. No wonder a few delicate souls were so upset at Timmy and me for “making fun of musicians” during the Taxonomizing Sludge! presentation at EMP’s second Pop Conference back in 2003!

Personally, in my role as “Avatar of Sludge” (an endearing sobriquet Johnny K shared via voicemail shortly thereafter), I think that ANYONE not named John Fahey releasing a Christmas album, post-1975, is UTTERLY shameless! LOL


Unless of course it’s a multi-artist compilation from Rhino, in which case it’s very unlikely that the material included post-dates my deadline (cf. my long-ago Rhino Xmas roundup fer Slant #2).

By the by, a Christmas single will always be permissible, if still seldom much above utter dreck status! [Rule proving exceptions: Silkworm c/w Engine Kid (C/Z, 1993), Jimi Hendrix (Experience Hendrix, 1999)]

And of course an Xmas song “desecration” is always good for a cheap laugh (e.g. The Dickies’ “Silent Night”, Stiff Little Fingers’ “White Christmas”), while a GOOD new song re: Xmas would be most welcome, though I haven’t heard one of those since The Pogues got together with their producer Steve Lillywhite’s wife, Kirsty MacColl, just over 25 years ago!

Pogues Fairytale In New York by stevanhogg

Specifically in re: uber-proud Chicagoan Richard Marx, I’ll never regret having heard “Don’t Mean Nothing” approximately a THOUSAND times during that fleeting Missoula summer when I delivered pizzas fer Pizza Hut (and you reigned o’er “the hot dogger” at Ole’s One Stop), thinking at first that it was a not-bad new single from either Glenn Frey or Don Henley!

Of course that wasn’t exactly the loftiest of standards, circa 1987, and I really DO wish I had specific knowledge of how it/he went over in Havre, Montana Sludge circles.

Yours in Sludge Almighty,



2 comments to Richard Marx Hates My Guts, By Tom Kipp

  • Cory Davis

    Wow, what a piece of work that guy is! The thing is that his beef makes total sense in a world where artistic merit is entirely undefined/irrelevant. I can see getting pissed if someone called me "shameless," but then again, I don't do things like record Christmas music available exclusively at Target!

    • Tom Kipp

      It really does illustrate beautifully one of the central points Tim Midgett brought up in his remarks at EMP ten years ago, which is the "Sludge" artiste's typically hazy sense of artistic aims or methods vs. his/her CRYSTAL CLEAR sense of commercial success and what the resultant fame might bring in terms of financial and personal reward. The intermingling of those, to me quite distinct, but to "Mainstream" performers often intrinsically-intertwined, aspects of the musician's life can become dangerously tautological. For example, such "logic" might well go like this: "Rod Stewart is a shameless, mink & chiffon-clad stadium rocker who dumped his band for session musicians and L.A.-based solo glory, and he gets ALL THE BLONDE MODELS, and even a fair amount of critical acclaim to boot, so why can't I have the same, since I'm doing everything JUST LIKE ROD DOES, and I'm just as "good" as him?"! A similar corollary, which we encountered via Missoula Top 40 Band hacks of the Reagan Era, was much more to the point: "We're a "working band", we give the people what they want, WE MAKE MONEY!" The unspoken portion of that thought was clear enough: "What you're doing (Postpunk, in our case, but it could have been any number of non-Bryan Adams things) doesn't "matter", because nobody likes it at the jock bar out on the strip, and your "chops" aren't quite up to our (sub-session man, but just as dully "professional") standard." In the final analysis, Cory, Richard Marx' recent antics/tendencies have actually INCREASED his "standing" in my estimations of The Sludge Universe (which honor a certain "inverse achievement", after all), though I suspect that would NOT please him a bit! LOL

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