Today, I have flown from Baltimore to Chicago and, after a three-hour layover at O’Hare, from Chicago to Atlanta. Now I have to wait two hours until I board a plane to Dallas. Luckily, I have a good book to read.
Steven Hyden’s Your Favorite Band Is Killing Me takes a look at some famous pop music rivalries and what they may or may not reveal about the meaning of life. Hyden examines 19 different rivalries, everyone from Oasis vs. Blur to Neil Young vs. Lynard Skynard to the Smashing Pumpkins vs. Pavement, Beatles vs. the Rolling Stones and, naturally, Roger Waters vs. everyone else in Pink Floyd. And, of course, he also writes about Biggie vs. Tupac because, as he puts it, that’s the only rivalry that he “was required by law to write about in this book.”
The best chapter, in my opinion, is Hyden’s look at the rivalry between Jimi Hendrix’s legacy and Eric Clapton’s continued existence. He asks a very important question: If Hendrix had lived and was currently living the life of Eric Clapton, would we still consider Jimi to be the greatest guitar God of all time? A close second to the Hendrix/Clapton chapter is Hyden’s look at the rivalry between Nirvana and Pearl Jam. Hyden makes a convincing argument that not only did Kurt Cobain never really grow to like Pearl Jam but that Bruce Springsteen really does not like Chris Christie that much either.
Steven Hyden’s an opinionated guy and, reading the book, I have disagreed with him almost as much as I’ve agreed. But he is also a very good writer and he definitely knows his music. Your Favorite Band Is Killing Me has made this day of airports and flying bearable. I highly recommend it!