Let’s get the Congressional Committee on Oversight and Government Reform working on the Black Crowes vs. Maxim case. They did a bang-up job (thank you, Dan Burton!) of proving that Roger Clemens is a pillar of honesty by scrupulously investigating the mysterious abscesses in his buttocks and determining that no performance-enhancers were injected into those Cooperstown cheeks. I’m convinced that they can take some depositions, shake down scrawny Chris Robinson, reluctantly accept free one-year subscriptions to Maxim, and put this Crowe-gate controversy to bed (preferably a Maxim-reader-approved circular bed, with a mirror on the ceiling).
Here’s what ignited the scandal: Maxim trashed the Crowes’ latest album, Warpaint, with a two-star review in the magazine’s March issue. When the band angrily pointed out that no review copies of the disc had been sent before Maxim went to press, magazine reps admitted that their critic wrote an “educated guess” review without hearing all the tracks. By the way, I had an “educated guess” gall-bladder operation about five years ago, and I’m confident that I’ll be walking again soon.
Weeks after Maxim’s mea culpa, I’m still struggling to process this information. It’s a bit like learning that Edward R. Murrow secretly broke kneecaps for the mob or Bob Woodward wrote a sleazy tell-all about John Belushi (on second thought, scratch that last one). After all, this is Maxim we’re talking about, one of our greatest champions of the written word and a standard-bearer for fearless investigative journalism. Remember, they’ve brought us groundbreaking features such as “Why Women Secretly Love Porn,” “10 Nimblest Movie Fat Guys,” and the invaluable “Best Butt” series. While other publications capitulated to the public’s hunger for fluff, they bravely offered us Vanessa Minnillo in fishnets and a fedora.
But this goes beyond Maxim. I simply refuse to believe that there are music journalists who fail to uphold the highest standards of professionalism. I mean, the next thing you’re going to tell me is that rock critics are starfuckers who consider themselves bad-asses simply because real rock stars pretend to like them for long enough to promote their new albums; people who value free CDs, record-label merch, and SXSW barbecue more than communicating the truth to their readers. Oh, sure, and the world is flat, right?