One can’t really know about music without being obsessed with meaningless trivia. When I’m not too busy gracing NASA with my brilliant engineering innovations or educating the gravel-brained web-rabble with my refreshingly biting and funny-because-they’re-true satirical columns, I’m usually either listening to or reading about music. Sometimes I even do both at once, if I’m feeling particularly frisky. My mind is like a steel trap lined with buzzing joke-nodes, so I’m always catching information and remembering it and stuff. I figured it’s time to share a little bit of the music knowledge I’ve picked up over the years with my readers, since I’m basically the only connection a lot of people have to the world of knowing stuff.
The band ZZ Top is named after the largest available size of top hats. Size ZZ top hats are made to fit hydrocephalic children in order to make them look more comical and less tragic. The band’s beards are representative of their Islamic faith.
The Beatles have failed to die in their contractually agreed-upon order, leaving their heirs with the burden of costly contract lawsuits. Ringo was supposed to die first, no later than 1998. He was to be followed by Paul, then George, then John. After John Lennon’s murder, Yoko Ono filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Ringo; she claimed that Ringo had John killed in order to breach the contract, allowing Ringo to live past 1998 semi-legally. The suit was settled out of court, a move which Ono’s lawyer James Gould called “tantamount to an admission of guilt.”
Hip hop producer Just Blaze is not a person. Just Blaze is a supercomputer created by IBM to test whether machines could create fresher beats than humans. Gary Kasparov went head-to-head with the machine in 1999, but the computer’s production efforts were deemed superior.
From 1973 to 1978, soul icon Marvin Gaye played Grimace, the phallic purple bell creature in McDonalds commercials. He was courted for the role because advertising executives believed he would lend the character a “lusty swagger.” He was dismissed after audiences complained of the creature’s strange sexual menace.
Weezer is named in honor of Rivers Cuomo’s father, who is in an iron lung.
In 1994, NWA rapper Ice Cube bashfully admitted that he had been unaware of the meaning of the word “nigga” when he was in the group. “I just thought it was a funny word,” he told Esquire magazine. “I thought Eazy made it up.”
When played backward, the Creed song “My Sacrifice” reveals the message “I Amish, I heave Samsonite for you.” This alludes to Scott Stapp’s Amish upbringing and his former job as a baggage handler for United Airlines. Need proof? Click here for a sample.
Jon Bon Jovi is deaf.
Before finding fame as a musician, Neil Young recorded television laugh tracks. Most of the laughter heard on the third season of The Dick Van Dyke Show is Young’s. He overdubbed his laughter, sometimes as many as two hundred times, to create the effect of an audience laughing.
Justin Timberlake has an honorary doctorate in English Literature from Rutgers University. It was awarded in the wake of his literary and musical success with “Cry Me a River,” an adaptation/deconstruction of the John Keats poem “Ode to a Nightingale.”
David Bowie has a bit part in The Godfather Part II. He plays the infant Fredo Corleone in the sequences that depict Vito Corleone’s beginnings in New York.
Guns ‘N’ Roses cancelled their reunion tour in 2002 due to a pregnancy scare involving lead singer Axl Rose. “Men can’t get pregnant,” said Rose, months later. “I wish somebody would have told me that.”
Investigators assigned to the Notorious B.I.G.’s murder case concluded that, contrary to reports of his violent slaying, he actually died in the process of trying to cultivate an immunity to rat poison. He got the idea from “The Princess Bride.”
Tori Amos, like all girls, has a weakness for sweets and wants a man to protect her.
Every member of the independent rock band Pavement is, to this day, a virgin. While most of the band members just haven’t had the opportunity to lose their virginity, singer Stephen Malkmus and bassist Mark Ibold are celibate by choice. Malkmus claims that he is “just waiting for the right person to come along.” Other virginal pop stars include Zakk Wylde, Lou Barlow, Michael Jackson, Morrissey, Master P, David Crosby, and Willie Nelson.
The late Johnny Cash was reportedly quite surprised with the success of his cover of the Nine Inch Nails ballad “Hurt.” “I recorded the song as a joke,” he told Spin magazine.
In 2003, Barry Gibb of the Bee Gees wandered into the Nevada desert and hasn’t been seen since. Careful observers might notice the colorful “Where’s Barry” signs posted on telephone poles throughout the state. Gibb is feared dead, but his friends and family hold out hope that he’s “stayin’ alive” out there.
Joe Walsh (famed for her guitar work in The James Gang and The Eagles as well as her solo career) was a woman. She often performed wearing a fake mustache in order to sustain the illusion of maleness, since she feared that she would not be taken seriously if people knew she were female. She turned male in 1992, after being exposed to magic spores.
Anthony Kiedis of the Red Hot Chili Peppers was arrested in 1996 on the charge that he violently raped a sixteen-year-old fan. The charges were dropped days later, after the victim “walked it off.” “Today, we can all laugh about it,” says Kiedis.
As usual, you can send your inane jabberings to firstname.lastname@example.org so that I may print them out and papier mâchè them into a big ugly statue of your face and then laugh at it and maybe pretend that it's asking me out on a date and turn it down.