KISS

Playlist: Play It Again

Ever wonder why some artists feel the need to re-record their big hits? Sometimes it’s to record with a new lineup, other times it’s for legal reasons. But more often than not it feels like a cheap cash cow and is almost always a bad idea. While some bands have gotten away with re-recordings that aren’t terrible, they never live up to the original. Let’s take a listen to some of the best and worst re-recorded hit songs.

“Boys Don’t Cry” – The Cure

The Cure have a lot of notable songs in their lengthy catalog, but this is their most iconic. Taken from their debut album, Three Imaginary Boys, the song received moderate praise upon original release. Over time, the single garnered more praise and acclaim quickly becoming a Cure staple. When Robert Smith revisited the band’s singles for their 1986 compilation cassette, Staring at the Beach, Smith and co-headed back into the studio to re-record the classic. Known as “New Voice New Mix” the new version sounds very similar to the original. The biggest difference is Smith’s mature and more playful vocal take. Though it doesn’t sound bad, it still doesn’t match the charm of the original. It seems the band knows this as the new version was only used for the companion video. Otherwise, it has not been officially released on subsequent Cure collections.

“Shout at the Devil” – Motley Crue

Normally, there is no reason why a band should re-record their songs, especially when they’re considered classics. Usually, it ends up a disaster. Sadly, this is the outcome of Motley Crue’s “Shout at the Devil 97.” The original is a staple of heavy metal and helped launched their career. It remains one of their best songs. In 1997, the band reunited with Vince Neil, who left 1992 and released their seventh album, Generation Swine. To celebrate Neil’s return the band decided to re-record the song. And it’s…weird. While the vocals are largely unchanged, the music sounds nothing like the original. It’s hard to even pick out the tracks’ notable riff. Is this supposed to be a heavy metal version? It’s like they wanted to prove how bad and edgy they were and this is the result. Best avoid this version at all costs.

“Ace of Spades” – Motorhead

If there’s one song that represents being a badass, heavy metal, and the awesomeness of Mr. Lemmy Kilmister, it’s “Ace of Spades.” It’s not only the band’s most well-known song, it’s often listed as one of the best songs ever. And with good reason. Everything about it from the iconic riff to Lemmy’s gruff vocals makes it kick ass. The song is pretty much perfect, so why mess with it? When Rockband wanted to use the song for their game, the band re-recorded it and branded it “Ace of Spades 08.” There’s nothing bad about it; it sounds pretty close to the original. But it’s just not the same. Hearing it you know something’s off and it’s a little disappointing. At least Motorhead didn’t try to rebrand the song, unlike the Crue boys.

“Every Day is Halloween” – Ministry

Ministry’s early work is spotty at best. Before they found their abrasive, brutal industrial sound they sounded more like a faceless new wave band. It wasn’t until this song that they began finding their sound. Though the band would have bigger hits later on, this song still played an important role for both the group and fans. It’s still considered a favorite in their catalog. But perhaps Al Jourgensen thought it wasn’t heavy enough. He “fixed” this by re-recording the song in 2010. This version sounds more in tune with later Ministry, but it also sounds like a mediocre cover. The grinding guitars, fast tempo, and new vocals suck out everything that made the original great. This just sounds like another boring metal song trying too hard to be edgy.

“Melt With You” – Modern English

Though Modern English found more success in the UK they’ll forever be known as the one-hit wonders who gave us this 80s classic in the States. Constant airplay on MTV and playing over the end credits of Valley Girl helped it become a hit. It eventually reached number 7 on Billboard’s Top Tracks chart. The band re-recorded the track for their 1990 album, Pillow Lips. While you can hear some slight vocal variations, the changes are minimal. The same can’t be said for the 2010 version of the song. Recorded for the I Melt With You soundtrack, this version is harrowing. It takes all the bouncy, fun nature out of the song. Instead, it sounds stark, dark, and haunting. The 1983 version is still superior, but there’s something oddly beautiful about the 2010 rendition.

“Missing You” – John Waite

John Waite has a notable career as the singer for Bad English and The Babys, but he’s best remembered for this 80s ballad. It’s a typical sappy song about getting over someone, but not really getting over them. It proved to be a major hit and topped the charts in several countries. He’s gone on to release other successful singles, but none as big as this. In 2007, he re-recorded the track with Allison Krauss for her album A Hundred Miles or More: A Collection. It’s nothing earth-shattering, but it’s not terrible. It’s okay at best. Krauss doesn’t sound horrible singing and Waite sounds pretty much the same. It’s a very vanilla rendition of the song that makes you wonder why it had to happen in the first place.

“In This Paradise”- London After Midnight

This track from LAM’s debut album, Selected Scenes from the End of the World, has a Gothic, mysterious nature with the tolling bells and Sean Brennan’s vampiric vibe. There’s a dark romanticism to it that’s alluring, yet mysterious. But the album received a limited release and as a result was reissued several times in the States and Europe. For the 2003 re-release, Brennan re-recorded various songs from the album, including this track. The most notable change is the better sound quality. It no longer sounds like the track is muffled. Brennan also tightens up his vocals and the instrumentation, though the dancing guitar riff found in the original is missing here. It’s actually a decent update but is still missing the tantalizing vibe of the original.

“Everybody Have Fun Tonight” – Wang Chung

This Wang Chung hit is one of those mindless pop songs from the 80s. You know it’s bad, but like it because it has a catchy, memorable hook. Whether or not you actually like it, you’ll be singing along with it. Besides, the song has a positive message: have fun tonight. Who can’t get behind that? At least listening to it is better than watching the nauseating video. The 2010 re-recorded version doesn’t change much, but there’s something missing. It doesn’t sound as upbeat and energetic as the original. It sounds like a Wang Chung cover band is performing instead. And they try to spice up the song with soulful backup singers, but it falls flat. The whole thing sounds deflated. So if you have to listen to the song, stick with the original. Just don’t ask what “everybody wang chung tonight” means. The band doesn’t know either.

“I Remember You Two” – Skid Row

Skid Row’s third single is a cut and dry power ballad. It has sappy lyrics, soothing acoustic guitars, and the “edgy” hard guitars meant to show you it’s not a cheesy love song even though it is. The band re-recorded the song in 2003 with new lead singer Johnny Solinger as “I Remember You Two.” Re-recording hit songs with a new singer is never a good idea. No matter how decent the singer is, it will never live up to the original. Sadly, this isn’t the only problem this version has. Rather than sticking with the power ballad formula, the band “update” it to be heavier giving a lame “punk rock” sound. This along with the over the top vocals make it sound like your dad’s cover band instead of Skid Row. This is why re-recording songs is almost always a bad idea.

“I Was Made for Lovin’ You” – KISS

Sometimes when a band changes its lineup, they feel it’s time to recapture the magic of classic hits with their “amazing” new members. Skid Row already showed us why this is a bad idea, yet bands keep doing it. Look to KISS’ Kiss Klassics, an entire album of re-recorded hits featuring their 2008 lineup of Paul Stanely, Gene Simmons, Tommy Thayer, and Eric Singer. All of their biggest hits are re-recorded with less enthusiasm and energy as before. “I Was Made for Lovin’ You” shows you just how bad the album is. Not only does the whole thing sound unenthusiastic and boring, Stanely clearly can’t hit those high notes during the bridge. That wouldn’t be a problem if his attempt actually sounded good; it just sounds sad.

“Your Sweet 666” – HIM

Originally found on their debut album, this track was later re-recorded for their breakout LP, Razorblade Romance. Unlike many of the tracks here, the two versions are obviously different from one another. The original sounded like it came from the depths of Hell with Ville Valo’s deep vocals and the hard, distorted guitars. The later version is lighter in tone featuring more keys and fewer guitars in the mix overall. Rather than sounding heavy, this one has more of a traditional rock tone with a bit of glam mixed in. Though some fans prefer the new version, the first packs a heavier punch. With its Gothic nature, dark tones, and haunting vibe, the original stands out with its dramatic, Hellish vibe fitting in with HIM’s long-running themes of love and death. The latter version sounds like another typical rock song and isn’t as exciting as the original.

“I’m Your Man” – Wham!

Wham’s 1985 single proved to be another hit for the duo and one of their last before their split in 1986. Just like their other singles, this one is upbeat and fun, making you want to dance as soon as you hear the bouncy beat. It also has a killer hook of “baby/I’m your man” that you can’t help but sing out. It’s one of those typical fun 80s songs that puts you in a good mood. When it was time for a Wham! greatest hits album in 1996, George Michael decided to update the hit with an R&B spin. And it’s…something. The sound is completely different with elements of funk, rap, and R&B. Hearing hype men shout “who da man” at the beginning leaves you scratching your head. The whole thing sounds like a cover from the Backstreet Boys. Rather than breathing new life into the song, it’s a sad attempt at trying to be relevant.

“Paradise City” – Slash

This is another sad attempt of trying to update a classic. With Slash and Axl Rose not on speaking terms, Slash decided to release his debut solo album in 2010. The previous year, he released the single “Sahara,” which featured this GNR classic as the b-side. You can’t fault Slash for wanting to reinvent one of the band’s biggest hits – he’s part of the reason the why the song is so popular. But you would think he’d enlist a viable rock singer for vocals. Instead, he recruits Fergie and Cypress Hill. Why? is the only thing you’ll ask yourself when hearing this terrible rendition. This is one case where rap and rock don’t get along. And when was the last time Cypress Hill were relevant? Fergie’s screeching in the background just makes matters worse. It’s not worth sitting through this crap to hear Slash’s killer licks. Just stick with the original.

Which re-recorded hits did I miss? Let me know in the comments!

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Top 10 Rock Stars You Forgot Were in Horror Movies

It’s Halloween! Time to overdose on candy and watch horror movies. Rock stars even get in the fun and sometimes make…interesting appearances in horror movies. Sometimes it’s not that bad, but most of the time it’s clear they should stick to music. To get you in the mood for things that go bump in the night, here are ten rock stars you forgot in horror movies. They’re ranked from best performances to worst.

10. Tom Waits in Bram Stoker’s Dracula

Somehow Tom Waits playing the role of the insane Renfield in Dracula is oddly appropriate. Watching scenes of him eating flies and gravelly cackling about his vampiric master is hypnotizing and frightening. He perfectly shows how far gone Renfield is at this point in the film. What is probably the creepiest thing is how he still seems charming even though he’s spiraling into madness and is out for blood. With his demeanor and trademark gravelly voice, seems like Waits should be in more sophisticated horror movies.

9. Chester Bennington in Saw 3D

Unless you’re an avid fan of the Saw franchise, you might’ve missed Linkin Park frontman Chester Bennington in the seventh installment of the series. In the film, he plays a Neo-Nazi named Evan who has to gruesomely tear himself from a car seat in order to save his friends. As you expect, things don’t end very well for the gang. Bennington puts his hard rock chops to work by screaming for his life. The scene is hard to watch and turns your stomach. Bennington landed the role by happenstance. Producer Mark Burg lived next to one of the Linkin Park bandmembers and heard Bennington was a huge fan. It’s an odd cameo, but at least he was decent at it.

8. David Bowie and Peter Murphy in The Hunger

If there’s anyone who could play a suave, sexy vampire, it’s David Bowie. The rocker landed the starring role in this 1983 “erotic thriller” about a love triangle between a doctor and a vampire couple. It’s not a horror movie per se, but rather a slick looking film with supernatural elements. Though the movie received mixed reviews, Bowie is as cool and stylish as ever. It may not be an awarding winning performance, but it’s better than most on this list. Bauhaus’ Peter Murphy also makes a brief appearance during the film’s credits singing the Goth anthem “Bela Lugosi’s Dead.”

7. Gene Simmons and Ozzy Osbourne in Trick or Treat

Two legendary rockers pop up in this forgotten 80s horror movie. In this film, Eddie is devastated over the loss of his favorite rocker Sammi Curr. He gets more than he asks when Curr starts haunting him. Simmons plays Nuke, Eddie’s friend who’s a DJ at the local radio station. The performance is forgettable and easy to miss as Simmons if you aren’t paying attention, or if you aren’t a KISS fan. But Ozzy’s turn as an evangelist talking about the evils of heavy metal must be scene. Dressed in a suit and with his hair slicked back, Osbourne warns kids about the evil of heavy metal with a straight face. Seeing as Ozzy’s music was touted as being Satanic and responsible for deaths in the 80s, it’s hilarious to hear him talk about the evilness of rock music.

6. Sting in The Bride

Did you know there was a remake/re-imagining of The Bride of Frankenstein? Yeah, it’s a terrible idea. To make things even more confusing, the film starred Sting as Baron Charles Frankenstein. The movie follows the same basic plot of the original: Frankenstein makes a mate for his infamous monster and everything goes to shit. Set in a lush Victorian setting, the film is visually pleasing, but that seems to be the most interesting about it. The movie was critically panned, as expected. Gene Siskel even called it a Monstorous Failure. But that didn’t stop Sting from starring in more movies, like Plenty and Dune. Guess the guy can’t take a hint.

5. Dee Snider in Strangeland

When Snider isn’t fronting Twisted Sister he’s apparently writing horror films. He wrote and starred in 1998’s Strangeland, which focuses on a small town being terrified by a tattooed and pierced baddie Captain Howdy. Howdy uses internet chat rooms to stalk and torture his victims. This is a movie that can only be made in the 90s when everyone was young and naive about the internet. The trailer looks cheesy as hell, but Snider at least seems decent. Still, the movie got negative reviews upon release. Guess people liked the movie the first time they saw it as Hellraiser.

4. Marilyn Manson in Rise: Blood Hunter

Marilyn Manson is no stranger to acting. He’s made appearances in films The Heart is Deceitful Above all Things and Party Monster. But in 2007 he made a low key appearance in sub par horror film Rise: Blood Hunter starring Lucy Liu. Judging from the three-minute clip, the movie is pretty lame. Manson is monotone and boring as the everyday bartender who helps Eve (Liu) to find someone. There’s nothing notable about his acting. The most interesting thing about the clip is Manson sans makeup, which is not as shocking as it used to be. There’s probably a reason you’ve never heard of this film. Maybe we need to keep it that way.

3. Jon Bon Jovi in Vampires: Los Muertos

Jon Bon Jovi has some weird obsession with being a cowboy. It started with “Dead or Alive” and lead to several roles in Western films. So when John Carpenter penned a script a horror Western, Jovi took the call to star as Derek Bliss, vampire hunter. This is actually a sequel to Carpenter’s 1998 film Vampires, which was pretty successful. This one, however, is a straight to video sequel. There’s really nothing else to say after that. You don’t need to see the entire movie to know it’s bad. Just watch the trailer and see how stiff and lifeless Jovi is in the starring role. Even the scene when he kind of turns into a vampire is dull. Maybe the rocker should stick with radio friendly hits that you love, yet hate at the same time.

2. Alice Cooper in Monster Dog

When browsing through Netflix one night, I came across this odd movie. A horror flick starring the equally frightening Alice Cooper? What could go wrong? Apparently, a lot. The movie is slow, dull, and just awful. Not even funny awful. Just bad. Cooper’s performance is unremarkable and the plot of wild dogs attacking random citizens sounds cool but is hardly terrifying. Even the scene where Cooper turns into a werewolf, which you have to sit through the entire movie for, is boring. To make things worse, the movie is dubbed in English and none of the English actors voiced their own lines. So throughout the entire viewing, you wonder if something’s off or if you’re just going crazy.

1.Roger Daltrey in Vampirella

In this terrible adaption of the long-running Vampirella comic series, The Who frontman Roger Daltrey stars in this direct to video film. That should say it all right there. Daltrey stars as Vlad/Jamie Blood, who is Vampirella’s enemy and a rock star on weekends. And yes, that does mean there is a musical scene in the film. Seeing an aging Daltrey straining and trying to be enticing with a rat’s tail on the side of his head is cringe worthy. He doesn’t sound bad performing, but when it comes to enticing vampires, Daltrey isn’t the first guy you think of. Judging from the trailer, it’s one of those movies you watch with friends to laugh at how awful it is. What was Daltrey thinking?

Honorable mention:

Sonny Bono in Troll

I didn’t include this one because Sonny Bono isn’t a rock star. But seeing him transform into some weird plant/pod monster was too good to not talk about. Bono gets trick by a troll in the titular movie Troll, yes the precursor to the hilariously awful Troll 2. If you can manage to sit throughout the entire thing, you’ll even catch a young Julia Louis-Dreyfus.

Happy Halloween!

Top 12 Musician Food Products You Didn’t Know Existed

It’s Thanksgiving, a time for good food and frivolous arguments with your family. It’s the time for people to come together and chow down on good grub. Some musicians go the extra mile and provide some of the food on the table. There are stories of weird band merch, like coffins and dildos, but these food products might be the weirdest yet. Here are 12 artists with their own food lines that run from strange to downright bizzare.

12. Cheese by Alex James

What’s the first thing you do when your band is selling millions of albums? Make cheese. At least that’s what Blur’s Alex James did. Even though the idea sounds strange, he’s actually really good at it. He produces several award winning artisan cheeses along with everyday cheeses stocked in British grocery stores. Unlike many of the products on this list, this one is pretty well respected. At least it doesn’t sound like a bad marketing ploy. Rather, it seems like James likes making cheese. Guess he’s gotta do something when he’s not making music.

11. New Kids on the Block Cereal

This is one of those things that could only exist in the ’90s. NKOTB were so popular the Ralston company thought it was a good idea to make a cereal based on them. If fans were willing to buy sheets, board games, and t-shirts with their faces plastered all over them why should this be any different? Well, it seems the fans were smarter than they thought. Even though some sample boxes were produced, it was never released to the public. Yet their cartoon series somehow was greenlit.

10. GWAR-B-Q sauce

Everything about this band is a little ridiculous from their goblin identities to their albums with such titles as This Toilet Earth. Every summer they hold a barbecue event with food and a show, so it was only a matter time before they released their own BBQ sauce. Who wouldn’t want to slather their sandwiches in a sauce that’s self described as being made from “the blood of really hot chicks.” It actually sounds like it might be good, all except for the blood part.

9. So Much Hot Sauce

While doing research for this list I learned one thing: there’s a lot of celebrity hot sauce out there. There are hundreds of hot sauces with musician’s name on it. Why? You could say because hot sauce is good, but I think it’s because it’s easy to make and easy to market, which means more money for said musician. As I said, there are lots out there, but the most bizarre brands come from the Misfits, Gringo Bandito by Dexter Holland (The Offspring), Aerosmith’s Joe Perry, Patti LaBelle, and revered guitarist Zakk Wylde, which features images of Satan and the Grim Reaper, so you know it’s bad ass. While most of them have pretty decent reviews, the idea of musicians having their own hot sauce is ridiculous. What’s next their own ice cream? Oh.

8. Too Many Liquors to List

Just like with hot sauce, it seems to be fairly easy for an artist to slap their name on a bottle of liquor. A quick Google search will return more results than you can count. Some of the weirdest come from the likes of Justin Timberlake (901 Tequila), Marilyn Manson (Mansinthe), Ludacris (Conjure Cognac), Pharrell (Qream Liqueur), and Sammy Hagar (Beach Bar Rum). ’80s metal band Whitesnake even have their own wine, Zinfadel. There are plenty more out there and the thought is almost as ridiculous as celebrity perfumes. What does this tell us? Creating music is hard and requires you to get blitzed.

7. Hanson Beer

In case you haven’t heard the news, Hanson is still making music. But when they aren’t touring or taking care of their enormous amount of kids they’re making beer. What’s even better? It’s called MmmHops. I’m pretty sure they only made the beer as an excuse to use that pun (it is pretty great). It’s clear the guys aren’t taking themselves too seriously with this product. The bottle even says “From the guys who made Mmmbop.” Taylor Hanson admits the whole concept started as a joke. Since the band are aware of how ridiculous the whole thing is you can’t hate them for it. Plus, they have a whole line of outrageous merch from clothespins and aprons to cookie cutters and even a Monopoly Board game, just in time for the holidays.

6. Nelly’s Pimpjuice

Nelly was one of the most popular rappers in the mid-2000’s. In 2003, he released the single “Pimp Juice.” The song saw it’s share of success and controversy for glorifying prostitution. How do you celebrate a song that caused so many debates? Make a fucking beverage named after it. The Filmore Brewery Street company thought this was a wise idea and did just that the same year. To no one’s surprise, people raised a fuss again saying it glorified prostitution. Nelly responded to the backlash by saying “Pimp Juice is anything that attracts the opposite sex; it could be money, fame, or straight intellect; it don’t matter! Pimp Juice is color blind; you find it works on all colors, creeds and kinds; from ages 50 right down to nine.” People weren’t keen on selling anything with the word “pimp” on it to their kids and now the drink is only available overseas.

5. Marky Ramone’s Pasta Sauce

He was once a part of an iconic punk rock group that’s still an inspiration to millions of musicians. When he departed the band in 1996 he decided the best way to ensure his legacy was creating pasta sauce. How do you go from legendary punk band to pasta sauce? You can tell this sauce is punk rock because the black and white label shows Marky playing the drums. That means it’s edgy. According to the low budget commercial, this is something he threw together, but never bothers to let us know what’s in the sauce. But if you’re dying to know what rock n roll sauce tastes likes you can get a case now for only $88. You can also get some Marky Ramone cookies for desert. Dinner is served.

4. Frozen Meals by Dwight Yoakam

Dwight Yoakam is an established singer-songwriter mostly known for his country music. He’s a respected artist with over 30 singles on the Billboard Hot 100. So it’s baffling to learn he has his own line of frozen appetizers. You can choose from Chicken Lickin’ chicken fries, Chicken Lickin’s pizza fries, and even Take Em’s poppers. With so many frozen food choices to choose from why would anyone go for these? For novelty? Or for the ultimate Yoakam fan? Either way it’s definitely one of the most bizarre pieces of music merch.

3. Rap Snacks

Apparently, the rap world didn’t want to be left behind on the food market. These chips have actually been around since the mid-90’s and feature notable along with new rappers on their bags. Yes, it looks , just as stupid as it sounds. Some of the rappers featured are Lil’ Romeo, who bought the company in 2007, Yung Joc, Master P, Warren G, and Old Dirty Bastard because he is obviously the face of sour cream and onion chips. Creator James “Fly” Lindsay said he felt a socially conscious message was missing from rap during a 2002 interview with the Philadelphia Inquirer. His solution was making these chips, which made a whole lot of fucking sense to Universal Music Group, who signed a deal with Lindsay. It’s unclear whether or not the company is still active, but you can find these glorious things for yourself online.

2. Smokey Robinson Microwavable Meals

For some reason soul crooner Smokey Robinson has a food line. Maybe it’s because his name makes him sound like a good BBQ chef. Either way it’s bizarre. What’s even weirder are the gumbo bowls his company makes. They’re microwavable meals that feature the creepiest looking picture of Robinson. I didn’t think he could look anymore plastic than he normally does, yet I’m proven wrong. The bowls advertise gumbo made with shrimp, chicken sausage, and crab. Sounds pretty normal until you learn Robinson has been a vegetarian since the ’70s. Even worse, the product was only launched to correlate with his gospel album Food for the Spirit. I know record labels are desperate to sell albums, but this isn’t the way to go.

1. KISS….Just KISS

Considering this is the band that has no shame when it comes to putting their mugs on anything and everything, it’s no surprise to find them here. KISS has dabbled in the food on several different occasions all with eye rolling results. The first was KISS Krunch, “the sweet, crunchy, rice cereal.” What’s shocking is enough people bought them for more to be released in different flavors. I’ll admit the free record that comes with it is a cool idea. Next is KISS Destroyer Beer. This drink is only available overseas and judging from consumer reviews it’s not very good. The band also has a brand of wine that’s just as ridiculous. Finally, there’s KISS Hotter than Hell ketchup and it comes in three flavors. It may be good, but you have question who would actually buy this stuff? On second thought, maybe I don’t want to know.

Happy Thanksgiving guys! Enjoy your food….as long as it’s not any of these products.

13 Movies Musicians Want You to Forget

There have been plenty of examples that show why musicians and acting don’t mix: Crossroads, From Justin to Kelly, Cool as Ice, along with too many others to name. Some artists give it one go and move on, while others just don’t know when to quit (looking at you, Madonna). For the most part, these films are pretty well known and have been ridiculed since their release. But then there are those movies musicians wish you would forget and man, are there a lot of them. Here are 13 awful, ridiculous, and just plain bad movies artists wish you would forget.

13. Population 436

Co-Starring Fred Durst

Just when you thought this guy couldn’t get any sadder, turns out it’s worse that you thought. In this straight to DVD horror movie, he plays a small town deputy who helps census buerau reporter Steve Kady get to town. Kady’s there to survey the residents on the dwindling population. (Sounds legit). When he finally gets to the last family, he learns they have “fever” and “spooky” things ensue. I couldn’t find any clips online aside from the trailer, so I can’t comment on Durst’s acting ability, but considering the type of movie this is it can’t be that promising. What I do know is it doesn’t make him anymore likeable.

12. Straight to Hell

Starring Joe Strummer

The break up of the Clash must’ve been hard on Joe Strummer who agreed to star in this awful parody of Westerns. After watching 10 minutes of it online, I still have no idea what’s going on. The film is about a gang who is stranded in the desert after they almost get busted for a bank robbery. It’s actually an adaptation (if you want to call it that) of Giuilo Questi’s Django, Kill! The movie actually features lots of punk musicians including members of Circle Jerks, The Pogues, and Amazulu. Courtney Love is also in the film as a whiny pregnant woman who complains about everything. So, she pretty much plays herself. Strummer plays one of three hitmen and seems to do an okay job, when you can understand what he’s saying. Compared to other people on the list, he does a respectable job. The film has since gone on to receive cult status and is still an incredible mess.

11. Catacombs (2007)

Starring Pink

That’s right. Pop music’s favorite rebel starred in this dud from 2007. Similar to As a Above So Below, the movie revolves around Paris’ famous catacombs, which apparently harbors a killer raised by a Satanic cult in this film. After that the plot unravels a bit. There’s something about a sister, a rave, a prank, and an actual murderer, and maybe a case of stolen identity, but I’m just going off the plot synopsis. There aren’t many clips on Youtube, but in the one I did find Pink manages to sound whiny and bratty, unlike her badass self. She must’ve been skeptical about the film as she used her real name instead of her stage one. Again, never knew about this one until I started research and for good reason too.

10. Hard to Hold (1984)

Starring Rick Springfield

It should be no surprised to find Rick Springfield in a movie. Afterall, he was on General Hospital for a few years before focusing music full time. What’s funny about this film is the role of James Roberts is not that much of a stretch for Springfield. Roberts is a pop idol who is used to getting any woman he wants, but finds himself tongue tied when meeting Diana Lawson in a car accident. Who in the world is in a car accident and thinks it’s the perfect time to try to hook up? Apparently, Rick Springfield. It’s one of those “we’re from two different worlds, how can we be together?” movies. In other words, it’s like every other rom-com from the ’80s. Even though Springfield wasn’t terrible, the movie didn’t do well, which is probably why it’s been hidden from the public eye for a long time.

9. Monster Dog (1984)

Starring Alice Cooper

Alice Cooper is actually in a surprising amount of movies, but none of them are as bad as this one. I never even knew about it until I stumbled upon it via Netflix. In this horror film Cooper plays rock star (surprise) Vince Raven, who gets attacked by a bloody guy who says everyone will die except for Vince. Throughout the film we learn about his family’s lycanthropy curse. Spoiler alert: Vince is actually the monster dog and tries to kill everyone. Since horror and Cooper go so well together you would think the movie would be somewhat entertaining. The entire thing is bland and it’s clear Cooper is barely even trying to act. And as with most ’80s horror films, there is nothing scary about it. What’s even worse is since it’s a Spanish film, Cooper didn’t even dub his own lines for the English version. Throughout you’ll notice something is off about the mouth movements and it takes you out of the entire thing. Just stick with his cameo in Wayne’s World.

8. Strangeland (1998)

Starring Dee Snider

Apparently, all the old metal stars of the ’80s decided to make horror movies in the late ’90s. Since this was released around the time of the internet’s infancy, this movie preys on people’s fears that chat rooms harbor murderous weirdos. Enter Dee Snider. He plays the murderous weirdo whose really into pain and mutilating people. He’s supposed to look creepy with lots of piercings everywhere, but honestly he looked scarier in his Twisted Sister make up. Somehow Robert Englund of Freddy Kruger fame was roped into this project, but then again he doesn’t seem too picky about his film roles. Going by the trailer it’s probably a mediocre horror film, but probably something Snider wishes you’d forget about.

7. In the Mix (2005)

Starring Usher

Usher already got a taste of acting in The Faculty, which showed fans why he sound stick with singing. Apparently, not everyone got the message. In this 2005 film, Usher takes the lead role of a popular, groupie mobbed DJ who takes on the job as a popular, ladies man bodyguard for the mob. Eventually, he falls in love with the mob boss’ daughter, which is what always happens in these situations. From the trailer alone, it seems like the point of the film is to prove how much of a smooth, ladies man Usher is. Just about all the scenes involving women flirting with him, patting his butt, or feeding him fruit. There are a few “action” scenes, if you consider him running and jump major action, but of course Usher can’t be involved with any project if dancing isn’t involved (arguably it’s what he does best). Is it any surprise the film flopped and has a score of 2.4 out 10 on IMDb’s Bottom 100? Unfortunately, it’s not enough to keep the singer out of movies.

6. Love and a Bullet (2002)

Starring Treach

The former Naughty by Nature member starred in this major flop where he plays a hitman. It’s the classic trope of I’m bad, but now I wanna be good type of thing. The acting is so bad you can’t even describe it in words. Treach sounds like he’s struggling to remember his next line and the ones he manages to get are delivered flat. He sounds downright bored throughout the whole thing. It’s clear he should’ve taken on a solo rap career after his Naughty by Nature days. What makes this movie even more of a tragedy is it only grossed $18,926 and was released in only 14 theaters. When comparing these numbers, the other movies on the list did phenomenally better.

5. On the Line (2001)

Starring Lance Bass and Joey Fatone

Lance was very ambitious during his Nsync days. Not only did he try to fly to the moon and start his own record label, he tried his hand at acting. Spoiler: he’s not that great. This movie follows Lance as he searches for a girl he met on the L train in Chicago. It’s not a terrible movie; it’s kind of cute and has its funny moments. But the silly concept, cliched characters, sub par acting, and dry dialogue make it less than reputable. Also, watching the movie now knowing Lance is gay is kind of awkward. He can’t even fake chemistry with his intended girlfriend well though that could be due to his lame acting. Sorry, Lance. Joey, on the other hand, wasn’t that bad.

4. Longshot (2001)

Featuring Nsync, O-Town, LFO, Take 5, Britney Spears

Unless you were a fan of bubblegum pop, you’ve probably never heard of this movie. Since I did love Nsync and O-town at the time I wanted to see the film. Luckily, I never did. It has to be the most asinine excuse for a film ever. There’s supposed to be the typical guy in high school can’t get the girl, so he figures out ways to impress her type of plot, but really it’s all about the boy bands. There isn’t one second where you don’t see a boy band or hear one of their songs, but did you expect anything else from a film by Lou Pearlman? It’s a shameless vehicle to promote his “hot” bands at the time (before he stole all their money). He even recruited O-town to promote the film in the damn movie. It is one of the dumbest things I’ve seen. None of the pop stars can act and the film is full of goofy dialogue and shoddy production. To make things even worse both Kenny Rogers and Jermaine Jackson have cameo appearances. At least it wasn’t released in theaters.

3. Bad Timing (1980)

Starring Art Garfunkel

Bad Timing is a British psychological thriller that uncovers the sadistic, romantic relationship between a woman and her psychiatrist. The film caused a stir when it was released with the film’s distributor Rank Organisation calling it “a sick film made by sick people for sick people.” Sounds pretty intense, which makes it even weirder that Art Garfunkel plays the titular role of the psychiatrist. Sick, thriller, and British are the last things you would ever associate with the folk singer. The movie itself is pretty weird. Since it’s non-linear and is mostly told through a series of flashbacks, it comes off as an arthouse film with various closeups of paintings, Garfunkel scratching his head, and even him dancing in the nude, something no one has ever asked to see. If that wasn’t bad enough the singer tries to be cynical and sadistic, but looks too timid to pull it off. It’s hard to imagine him being threatening while maintaining his bozo hair cut. Not to mention every line he says sounds like he’s reciting it off of a cue card. Apparently someone thought Garfunkel was good; the film won Toronto’s People Choice Award in 1980.

2. A Letter from Death Row (1998)

Starring Bret Michaels

The ’90s weren’t a good time for Poison. With grunge music on the rise, hair metal was pretty much dead, which left former rockstars with a lot of free time. That would be the only plausible explanation for why this movie exists. This thriller is supposed to take the viewer into the mind of convicted killer Michael Raine and his experience on death row. But to add a twist, the viewer is never sure if Raine is innocent or not or even if he is telling his own story. The entire movie is available on Youtube, but watching the two minute trailer should be enough to see how awful it is. It looks like the entire thing was shot on a $200 budget, which is probably all the money the rocker had at the time, and filled with theater school rejects. The trailer even has the nerve to boast a “special appearance” from Charlie Sheen, like that’s supposed to entice people to see it.

1. KISS Meets the Phantom of the Park (1978)

Starring KISS

We all know that KISS isn’t ashamed to put their name on any and all merchandise from coffins to comics, but this movie is so bad they don’t even want to release it. This made for tv movie finds KISS not just a crazy rock n roll band, but a crazy rock n roll band that has superpowers. For some absurd reason, an evil inventor wants to destroy a California amusement park. Enter KISS to save the day with their powers of flying, firebreathing, telepathy, and shooting lasers from their eyes. During their quest to save the park, they fight robot monkeys, samurai, and even Frankenstein. But the inventor is a clever one! He makes KISS clones to perform a show and unleash his evil plans of destruction upon the world. In other words, no one knows what the fuck is happening in this movie. What makes it even worse is all of Ace Frehley’s lines are dubbed because he didn’t show up for looping; it’s painfully obvious. The movie finally saw a 2008 DVD release, but the movie was heavily edited with almost all of Frehley’s lines cut out. Still, it’s a must to see to understand just how bad it is.

Did I miss any awful musician movies? Which one is your favorite? Let me know in the comments!

Top 10 Musician Cameos in Video Games

Musicians pop up in the oddest places: movies, tv shows, cereal boxes, and even games. We already know several artists we have their own video games, but there have been a few who were happy with a cameo. The thing is, they pop up in the weirdest places. Either is has nothing to do with their career or they randomly show up for no reason. Here are ten if the most unexpected musician cameos in video games.

10. Bon Jovi & Christina Aguilera – The Sims Superstar

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After a couple of hours feeding and grooming your sim it can get boring, so why not make them a celebrity? This was the premise of the sixth expansion for the original Sims game. With a new town to explore and new career paths, your sim could follow their wildest dreams. And if you were lucky enough you would find Bon Jovi, Christina Aguilera, or Marilyn Monroe in the new town. You can’t control them, in fact you can’t really do much with them except ask for their autograph. When you think about it the only one that’s even remotely recognizable is Monroe.

9. Avenged Sevenfold – Call of Duty: Black Ops II


You don’t expect to see many celebrity faces in this shooter, but in the 2012 installment of the franchise players can complete the game once and get an ending where two of the characters play a concert with Avenged Sevenfold. No, it has nothing to do with the plot. Digitized version of the band members come on stage and perform their song “Carry On” in its entirety. Just imagine the confusion of fighting your way through snipers and people who want to kill you to end up at a concert with Avenged Sevenfold. Not what you expect in the middle of a battle.

8. Fred Durst – Fight Club/Smack Down: Just Bring It


It’s no secret that Fred Durst isn’t well liked and maybe this is why he’s featured in two fighting games. Either Durst or the creators figured their games would sell more with the promise of kicking the shit out of the Limp Biskit frontman. Their plan failed. If anything these games serve as reminders that there was a time when people actually liked Durst and the band. The promise of playing him in a video game was a joy to some people and not a sad attempt to remain relevant and cool as we may see it now. Don’t be surprised if he pops up in obscure games in the future. It seems like the kind of career move he would pull just to stay in the spotlight.”

7. KISS – Tony Hawk’s Underground

Kiss are no strangers to video games. In 2000, they starred in Kiss: Psycho Circus: The Nightmare Child, a poor excuse for a first person shooter. But the thing that gets them on this list is their inclusion in Tony Hawk’s Underground. Not only are Gene Simmons and the other Kiss members unlockable skaters, they also perform a bonus concert for collecting the letters K-I-S-S in a bonus level called “Hotter Than Hell.” Collect all the letters the first time and an actual clip from one of their concert DVDs will play. Collect them a second time and the band will get on stage and do a song for you.

6. Beastie Boys – NBA Jam On Fire Edition


The NBA Jam series has become known for their odd cameos usually featuring presidents, but this one was a bit unexpected. On the 2010 release, you could select Adam Yach and Mike D from the Beastie Boys as playable characters. They end up looking like poorly cut out figures similar to those found on Cartoon Network’s Mad, but that’s what makes it even funnier. Who was the one who looked at the game and said “It needs more hip-hop. How about the Beastie Boys? They must love basketball!” The guys are pretty strict when it comes to their likeness or music being used, so it’s interesting they let it be used here. It’s odd, but pretty cool cameo from one of the best hip-hop acts ever. There’s nothing better than trying to score some freethrows with a swollen headed Mike D.

5. Snoop Dogg – True Crime Streets of L.A.

If you’ve ever played GTA and said to yourself “This game needs more Snoop Dogg” then look no further. This game is similar to the GTA experience, but instead of causing trouble you’re the one making sure it doesn’t happen. This means you can play as Snoop chasing down criminals and upholding the law. To get him you have to either use a cheat code or collect 30 Dogg Bones, but it’s well worth it to hear him say things like “I’ma make you scream like ya mama last night,” “Bam!,” and “This is the Snoop-dizzle in pursuit of another dumbass motherfucker.” He even has his own minigame to play once you unlock him. Based on those one liners maybe they should include him in more open world games.

4. Kurt Cobain – Guitar Hero 5


By the time Guitar Hero 5 was announced people were tired of music games and those who weren’t moved on to the superior Rock Band. As an attempt to get people interested again, the developers included several musicians as playable characters with the most controversial being Kurt Cobain. Even though they manage to get his look right, with his iconic cardigan sweater and Daniel Johnston shirt, there’s still something creepy about the hollowed eye figure trying sing “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” Courtney Love and the surviving members of the band were upset that Cobain could be used to play all the songs meaning he could sing tracks like “YMCA.” Of course no matter how many celebrities Guitar Hero 5 added, it didn’t get anyone excited for more of their games.

3. Phil Collins – GTA: Vice City Stories


Rockstar are no strangers to outlandish plot lines, but this is even ridiculous for them. One of the missions has you protecting Phil Collins because for some reason people are trying to kill him. They really hate No Jacket, No Service I guess. Once you complete the mission you are treated to a complete concert performance of Collin’s hit “In the Air Tonight.” I get the plot line takes place in the ’80s, but Phil Collins? He doesn’t even seem like the type of guy who would go for a role in the GTA series. It’s one of those bizarre moments that reminds you why Rockstar games are much fun: they always give you the unexpected.

2. Michael Jackson – Space Channel 5 Part 2/Ready 2 Rumble Boxing Part 2

Michael Jackson is no stranger to video games. He has starred in several games like Moonwalker and The Experience and has even worked on the music for Sonic the Hedgehog 3, but he had a role in the sequel game to Space Channel 5. In this rhythm action game, he plays Space Michael who helps Ulala defeat her rivals. The game features many of Jackson’s iconic dance moves, such as the moonwalk, the scary bear, and his pop and lock skills. The same year he allowed his likeness to be used for a secret character in the Ready 2 Rumble Boxing sequel. It’s a little strange since Michael himself has said he’s a lover not a fighter.

1. Ozzy Osbourne – Brutal Legend

Brutal Legend was an unexpectedly awesome game. It’s fun, interesting, and has a kick ass soundtrack. Some of metal’s biggest names play different characters, like Lemmy of Motorhead playing a healer named Kill Master (get it?) and Rob Halford voicing General Lionwhyte. But the best cameo in the game was Ozzy Osbourne in the role of the Guardian of Metal. Not only did he voice the character and have his likeness in the game, but he hangs out in the pits of Hell. How metal is that? He upgrades your car in the game and is even quite the wise cracker. Sure, Ozzy’s made another cameo on Guitar Hero World Tour, but that game was shit.

Honorable mentions:
Billie Joe Armstrong – Tony Hawk’s American Wasteland


Travis Barker – Tony Hawk Project 8


Matt Bellamy – Guitar Hero 5