Illustration by Bob AulI am a stupid-ass, hipster-dufus, piece-of-shit retard, cocksucking, goddamn, out-of-touch, faggot-humping, poodle-screwing, cat-feltching, jealous, alcoholic, smack-shooting, superpoopy, blow-snorting dickhead, no-talent, lame-excuse, tasteless, shameless, ignorant, uninformed, childish, tiny-testicled, bitter, self-indulgent, nasty, geeky crybaby, barely-graduated-from-grade-school, music-writer idiot . . . and I love it!
"Dear Captain Cynical . . . Your ears [are] muffled by your butt cheeks."
Now that's a great line!
When you're the Most Hated Person working at the Weekly, you've got to have a pretty thick skin. And I do, one that has been a good, solid armor of dermis for these past five years—freckled, pasty-white flesh toughened in previous writing lives at high school papers, college papers, and a mess of dailies, weeklies and monthlies. Not to mention those four years I worked retail.
"Thanks, Rich, for that piece! I loved every bit of it—EXCEPT FOR THE CONTENT!!!!!!"
I love my hate mail. I save every piece of spittle-soaked vitriol I get. Hate mail is funny—it always amazes me how some people can get so riled up about the POV of one person just because it happens to be in print, and over something as relatively banal as a CD or show review.
"i hope i get the opportunity to run into your stupid ass one day at a punk rock show, and i hope i am good and wasted and i punch you in the face . . . fag!"
These folks can't just let it go. They feel inspired to actually sit down, write something and send it to the Weekly; they explain how evil I am and that I should promptly be fired because, well, they say so! For my soul-stirring work to move people in such a manner, I'm grateful. It gives me a major Jesus complex and makes everybody else in the office really jealous. People like Lowery and Seigal—those poor kids hardly ever get mail.
"Kane better watch his back when he's out there writing Locals Only."
Every now and then, I'll get a phone message in which the guy on the other end is threatening me with bodily harm. Now those are a real hoot. They're often so hilariously rambling and drunkenly incoherent that we considered running a few at the end of one of our local-band compilation CDs as hidden tracks. What I don't get is this: Why don't these people ever bother leaving their name and number, so we could possibly meet up and engage in witty banter and insightful analytic discourse? Perchance they've been made aware of my 400-pound, 7-foot-3-inch frame or the meat hook I have where my right hand used to be (and with which I carved the "X" into my forehead)?
"Let's see you say something nice about Lit for a change. By the way, why don't you mention that they are certified gold? A lot of kids are starting to dig 'em, big time. It means that what you like the kids don't like, and what the kids do like you just hate."
It's not like I'm trying to piss people off on purpose, y'know. I just get paid to voice my opinion. Not everybody will agree with me, but I wouldn't want them to. We rock-critic types don't have a lot of pull, anyway. Maybe none. If we did, do you honestly think the world would have heard of Britney Spears?
"You are fucking cancer."
Wrong—I'm a fucking Gemini! Ba-dum-bum!
Maybe you people could find something else to devote your time to? Something like helping the homeless or working on the Nader campaign or calling for the head of Tony Rackauckas. You know who Tony Rackauckas is? He's the county DA who put Arthur Carmona in jail for two and a half years for a crime he didn't commit. You would have known that if you weren't so busy sending me hate mail and reading my reviews.
"Let me tell you something, you little weasel!"
I mean, really: long before I became a high-powered music editor, I read loads of concert and album reviews with which I disagreed. I never cared if some smarmy rock critic didn't share my taste.
"Where is this world coming to when a decent and talented music group such as Save Ferris gets treated in such a manner by a nobody who wants to make a name for himself such as you! "Sincerely, A concerned parent and an afficionado of good and decent music everywhere!"
And I used to have some pretty bad taste. Lemme sift through my old '80s ticket stubs here . . . Julian Lennon? What the hell was I thinking? . . . PHIL COLLINS? Jeeziz. Steve Winwood? And Bob Seger? Yow! I'm so offended I'm gonna write myself a nasty hate letter!
"Maybe you should think about things a little before wrighting another article like that one. "Sincerely, a discusted reader."
Someone sent me this note not long ago:
"i know why you give certain bands good reviews and not others. could it be that your trying to get into a certain drummer's pants?"
Fact: You aren't really making an impact until people start accusing you of sleeping around. But you know how bad I got it? People hate me for writing even nice things about bands. Take this one:
"I would like to quote Rich Kane: 'Zebrahead were really good.' . . . Not only were Zebrahead not 'really good,' they were, in fact, horrible. . . .What's the use? Rich Kane is the worst fucking music critic I've ever come across."
Sometimes hate mail can be a great source of inspiration, like this angry belch from the president of the Save Ferris fan club. We stole some words from it and used it to title our music-news column (and no, pissed-off fan-club president, if you're reading this, you will not get residuals):
"[You] can't even write a grammatically correct sentence. . . . [Your] review was nothing but low-ball ass chatter."
And sometimes, blinded and confused by their own rage, people will inadvertently compliment me in their attempts to threaten:
"Ok, so you're real clever, and you write with unguarded sarcasm—but you don't know who you're dealing with!"
Then there are the letters that could only be classified as "glaringly ironic":
"Dude . . . you must shut up! Obviously you don't appreciate women in the music business . . . so my decision for you is just 'shut the fuck up, bitch!'"
I'd be lying if I said the hate mail doesn't concern me at all. For instance, I often become worried about the state of proper English composition in the public schools—ergo, why can't people come up with more inventive insults than these yawners?
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"You are a little turd." "You are a fuckin' dickless fagot." "You are a great big piece of s**t." "Rich Kane, you frikkin suck!"
No originality! No technique! Completely devoid of color and rife with misspellings and even self-censorship, which is the enemy of true creativity.
"You are a big idiot . . . I think theOC Weekly should fine themselves a unbias music editor cause you aren't worth shit."
But please, keep those letters and e-mails coming. If you really wanted to bother me, though, you wouldn't send me any hate mail. Then it's like you're ignoring me, like nobody's reading me, and that royally screws my chakra up. Rich Kane