OldStand: SPIN, April 1992

Take our ink-stained hands and join us at the OldStand, where Jon McMillan goes to remind everyone what an honest-to-goodness music magazine is supposed to look like.

A while back we excavated SPIN’s 8th Anniversary Dando-fest; now, through the magic of the Oldstand, we’ll slide back a year, to 1992, as SPIN attempts to dial up the seven greatest bands of all time. Well, no spoilers here. And really, nothing even remotely controversial. In ’92 Spin was still not quite as “alternative” as it would later become (or pretend to become), and their top-seven is proof positive. In no particular order:

Sex Pistols
The Beatles
The Rolling Stones
Led Zeppelin
Public Enemy
The Ramones
Jimi Hendrix

Yawn. Rolling Stone wants its canon back! Although, in fairness to SPIN, the world would not become thoroughly listified for another fifteen years (thanks for nothing, blogosphere!), so at the time this must have provoked heated arguments among the slacker set. Some of the goofy, throwaway, “seven-based” humor pieces are much more entertaining (#5 on the list of “Seven Ways To Kill A Rock Star” is “Introduce him to Jeff Lynne.” Huh?). There’s also a surprisingly prescient “Guide to College Music,” including featurettes on up-and-comers The Breeders, Manic Street Preachers, Swervedriver, Uncle Tupelo, and Moose. Well, four-out-of-five ain’t bad.

But here’s my favorite thing about this issue: buried underneath all of the self-congratulatory essays and chest-puffing argument fodder, tucked into the review section under the heading “Blue Light Special,” Jim Greer’s heartfelt defense of Queen:

What Queen did for me as a kid growing up in the suburbs in the 1970s was teach me the value of antisocial behavior. Meaning that none of my friends liked the band, but I stuck with ‘em anyway (the band, not my friends)…In retrospect, it’s easy to see what [they] didn’t like. Queen was a bit off, wasn’t it? Not nearly as one-dimensional or straightforwardly rock ‘n’ roll as our other heroes, Aerosmith, Boston, Sabbath, and Skynyrd, Queen introduced an element of uneasiness into the already-confusing world of adolescence, and was therefore taboo. Which to me was cool; I thought Queen was Art the way I thought The Lord of the Rings was Art. My love for the band was a way of placing myself above my peers, and of feeling misunderstood – essential for any budding misfit.

Also: NKOTB vs. Michael Jackson, TS Eliot vs. Lou Reed, and Gameboy vs. productivity.

Kim Deal on the Safari EP: “I wanted the music to go through that one machine everybody uses, to make it sound more like Phil Collins. Like a beer commercial.”

Next week: Ezra Pound vs. Prince

Hope they invested that $54mm wisely.

Headline should have read: Tetris will ruin your life.

Seven lists that make no sense.

Lars issues an unprovoked attack on REM; Cameron Crowe has seen the future of reality television, and it is vicious.

In case you care how they arrived at their conclusion.

Remember MTV? Anybody?

Jane’s Addiction = ghettoized subculture. Those were the days.