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On Sound: Adam Carolla on the music he likes, but mostly the stuff that makes his ears bleed


Adam Carolla is having a good week. The crowd funding project he launched to support a movie he is going to direct and star in based around the world of comedy clubs surpassed its $1 million goal by more than $400,000 (Spike Lee didn’t even raise that much for his own movie Kickstarter campaign). He also landed a book deal with the HarperCollins imprint It Books. Carolla’s also been on a successful reunion jaunt with Dr. Drew Pinsky, his co-host for the smash radio call-in show Loveline from 1995 to 2005. The duo come to the region this weekend for two dates where they will riff on a variety of topics before opening it up to the audience for a spirited Q&A.

Vanyaland caught up with the outspoken funnyman yesterday while he was driving down the California coast. This marks the debut of “On Sound,” where we take newsmakers from all over the spectrum and talk with them about our favorite topic around here, music. Carolla didn’t disappoint, enthusiastically calling out artists he thinks suck (he uses the word “horrible” a bunch), the bands he does like, and certain doubtful events surrounding a pair of washed up pop stars recently.

Michael Christopher: Have you heard about this guy from the Calling who allegedly got abducted in some small town in Michigan over the weekend?


Adam Carolla: I did hear that story, but I don’t know all the details.

Basically, he had announced a few days prior that he was putting the band back together, who were a one hit wonder more than a decade ago. The announcement got next to zero play in the media. Suddenly comes this story that a mysterious van pulled up, a couple guys grabbed him, beat him up, robbed him and were going to kill him but dude said, “I’m going to be a dad,” and they let him go. But the interesting thing is the publicity firm who reps him is the same one that reps Aaron Carter, who two months ago came out with his own crazy story about being spotted in Boston by some angry New Kids on the Block fans who jumped him. What’s suspicious is that so far, neither case has witnesses or suspects.

How do you recognize Aaron Carter? Like, isn’t every blonde kid from Florida on an ATV, don’t they all just look like Aaron Carter? You know, I rarely say this, but I put a pox on you for introducing the name “Aaron Carter” back into my psyche. I completely blocked out Aaron Carter and the name Aaron Carter, anything to do with Florida and the Carter brothers, and now they’re back. What a delight.


Anyway, it’s hard to tell… if there’s a third abduction, if somebody like, let’s say, if these guys also represent Nickelback, and one of the guys from Nickelback is abducted – I’m gonna cry foul. Two can just be a wild coincidence.

When it comes to you and Dr. Drew, who do you think has the better music taste?

Me. He likes opera; I like classical and opera too, but I have better musical taste than everybody.

What was the first record that you bought with your own money?


As a very young kid, A Hard Days Night [editor’s note: by the Beatles, in case you’re an idiot] was a big deal. Probably, and when you say “my own money,” keep in mind I grew up very poor, so I didn’t have a lot of my own money; but I probably bought, like, Boston’s first album or the Beach Boys Endless Summer. And after that, when CDs came around, I would just buy The Best of Steely Dan, The Best of BTO, The Best of Deep Purple and I’d really just buy “the best” because a CD was like 13, 14 bucks and I was making six bucks an hour – you do the math.

So you weren’t going to buy the whole BTO collection.

Right; there was no BTO box set for a young Adam Carolla. I would just buy the best of everything. I always listen to John Hiatt and Graham Parker – that’s who I’ve always listened to. I listen to a lot of stuff, they’re my two main guys, but I wasn’t listening to them when I was in high school. While everyone else was listening to horrible, just crappy ’80s music, I was listening to stuff that sounds just as good today as it did back then.

What was some of the horrible music?


I hate Prince and I hate INXS and I hate Duran Duran; if I hear “Union of the Snake” one more time I’ll throw myself off a hill.

Is there any song, or artist for that matter, that you could go the rest of your life without ever hearing again?

There are about ten Eagles songs I never need to hear again. Robert Palmer – horrible; I mean, I’m sad he’s gone, but his music was horrific. Like I said, INXS, horrible band. Then when the Eagles broke up and went solo… “Dirty Laundry” [Don Henley], if I ever hear “Dirty Laundry” again I’ll kill myself. There are so many crappy bands; my daughter was playing that damn Rihanna “Diamonds in the Sky” song the other day and I was like, ugh, so fucking horrible – it’s just painful to listen to.

But there are good bands that have horrible songs; “Beast of Burden” by the Stones is a fucking horrible song. The Stones have a whole bunch of shitty songs, but some really good songs. But then the Who, they have really good songs for the most part. I think the Who is a much better band than the Stones because the Stones have so many piece of shit songs that are just grating.


What’s his name – Marc Anthony, “I Need to Know,” that’s a horrible, repetitive piece of shit. I don’t know how these songs become hits in the first place; I’m assuming it’s either payola or people being fucking stupid, like animal dumb.

My wife loves Bruce Springsteen, but if I hear “Born in the U.S.A.,” once again, I’m driving into oncoming traffic. And I also have this thing that makes me almost like heretic in this town. I don’t think Bruce Springsteen is a smart guy, I think he’s a talented guy. I think he’s overrated as a lyricist and a lot of that, “Your daddy don’t like me” and “I’ll meet you at the edge of town” and “We gotta get out of this town,” it’s kinda been there done that. Like, oh, you mean Becky’s dad isn’t a huge fan of yours because you ride a motorcycle? There’s a song called “Leader of the pack” from the ’60s that’s the same theme.

And the guy that really bothers me in the massively overrated department is Bob Dylan; and I almost get into fistfights with people over this because I know Bob Dylan has some good songs, and “Not Working on Maggie’s Farm No More” is not one of them. I don’t think the guy can sing, I’m not sure if he can play the harmonica, and he writes songs and so does John Hiatt and he writes better, more interesting songs than he does – so why do we have to worship at the altar of Bob Dylan? Or Bruce Springsteen for that matter.

With Dylan I think it goes back to what you were saying about the Stones where they have put out so much material that you have to sift through so much shit to get to the good stuff, whereas the Who have under a dozen studio albums out which makes each one more special. Then there’s an argument that the Stones never put out a great album front to back.


I agree, and people go, “What about Exile on Main Street?” and I don’t know enough about them. I do know the guy that’s like, in my top five of just pure shit artists – Rod Stewart. “Hot Legs” and “Passion,” you know, “Even the president needs passion.” These songs aren’t just bad – they’re insulting, they’re attacks. He has some fucking horrible, horrible songs.

You mention Rihanna and Marc Anthony – two people like so many other pop artists who are always in the tabloids. Do you think there is actual talent there or is it just an obsession with celebrity that people have?

I don’t know… I have no idea what Marc Anthony does. All I know is he has one song called “I Need to Know” and it sounds like a parody of a Latin song and it’s a piece of shit and people like it. And if they do, it’s because they’re stupid.

And people go, “It’s just your taste and his taste and they vary.” No – there’s shit and then there’s quality, and I can tell you what the good stuff is and I can tell you what the shit is. If you like “I Need to Know” and you like “Mambo No. 5” or you like “Dirty Laundry” or you like “Hot Legs,” or if you like Joan Jett’s “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll,” then you’re a fucking idiot, because it’s a repetitive, grinding, piece of junk of a song.

The last question I want to ask you is Van Halen: do you go with Sammy Hagar or David Lee Roth?

I think you gotta go with Roth because you got like, “Ain’t Talkin’ ’bout Love” and songs like that which are just old-school good Van Halen. Plus you’ve got all the crazy spinning kicks onstage and chaps and everything so you gotta go Diamond Dave on that one.


THE ADAM AND DREW REUNION TOUR: STARRING DR. DREW and ADAM CAROLLA | Friday, August 23 at the Hampton Beach Casino Ballroom, 169 Ocean Blvd., Hampton, NH | 6pm, 18-plus (unless accompanied by an adult), $47.10 to $58.35 | advance tickets || Saturday, August 24 at the Wilbur Theatre, 246 Tremont St., Boston | 7pm, all-ages, $29 to $39 | advance tickets