Remembering Steven Wells

A year after his death, we celebrate the man and his words.

By Brian McManus
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 10 | Posted Jun. 22, 2010

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Tom Waits

“One day Waits will fess up that he only started the drunk-at-the-piano act as a joke. And was stunned when people took it seriously. And by the time he became sick of pretending to be pissed all the time, it was too late, he was trapped.”

On Dylan

“Dylan actually died of shame in 1964, shortly after he stopped pissing on warmongers’ graves and became a sort of reverse-anachronistic John Cooper Clarke clone without the jokes. What people think of as ‘Bob Dylan’ today is really a persona acted out by half a dozen octogenarian lesbian drag kings.” 

On Dylan’s fans

“An obese army of Mojo-reading male menopausal Peter Pans with biscuit crumbs in their spliff-yellowed beards, all just a few more years of nightly real-ale binges away from being permanently colostomy-bagged.”

On Elvis Costello

“The fact that Costello’s career continued past 1979’s Armed Forces is proof that capitalism doesn’t work.”

On Green Day

“The stench of fetid cock meat.”

On Cheesesteaks

“Dog food on a bun.”

On Philly Band Kill You In the Face

“Now just a quick message to newish Philly band Kill You In the Face. Lads, you have a fantastic name. So fantastic, in fact, that I expected your music to sound like an air raid on a zoo. Alas it doesn’t. I checked out your MySpace page and your songs all suck. Which is why I am now officially taking your name away and giving it to a band that rocks. But do not despair. I’ve spent several minutes thinking up names that sum up the sickly, emo-ish priggy-prog drivel you produce. Please feel free to use one: Wank. Drivel. Insipid. Sweeney’s Children. Old Enough to Grow Beards. Squealer. Lime Green Tibetan Hippy Twat. Hat With Ear Flaps. Two Of Us Wear Glasses. And You Shall Know Us By The Trail Of Tissues. Mouse Cock. Fussy Eaters.”

On Nine Inch Nails

“Mr Trent Reznor, I’m sure you’re a wonderful guy. I bet you love children and dogs and are a warm lover. But onstage you are about as much fun as Christmas in a genital cancer ward. An evening watching your band is almost as pleasurable as three-way sex with Mr. and Mrs Himmler.”

On personal threats received after slagging bands

“I will fight any musician or fan, so long as they are more cowardly, smaller and less physically competent than I am. And I can get an article out of it. For I am music journalism—hear me roar.”

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Comments 1 - 10 of 10
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1. Me said... on Jun 23, 2010 at 11:04AM

“Belle and Sebastian are quite terrific, as were The Smiths. Dude was off base, just sayin. Also, he would have hated last week's lame lists.”

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2. me said... on Jun 23, 2010 at 11:07AM

“Also, he's right on about Tom Waits and really liked zombies, so R.I.P. Swells. If hell exists, hopefully you are down there shaking things up and giving people some shit.”

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3. Al said... on Jun 23, 2010 at 10:42PM

“This guy would annoy me to no end, with his endless, tiresome, profanity laced, diatribes against Christianity. Like most toothless, cowardly atheists, they never seem to pick on Islam. Fare thee well O' mighty warrior.”

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4. Anthony Thomas Schlagel said... on Jun 24, 2010 at 01:05AM

“Al, I was raised a Christian. I was born swallowed whole by that religion. So it is only natural that I, if I so choose, would rail against that religion. In fact, it is the only religion I have a right to rail against. To rail against Islam, without being Muslim, would be kind of creepy. Unless I take it upon myself to master The Koran, then I might give it a swing.”

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5. whalespoon said... on Jun 24, 2010 at 11:27AM

“What a pompous ignorant jerk this guy was.”

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6. jackpot said... on Jun 24, 2010 at 07:16PM

“That is the most perfect description of belle and sebastian I've ever heard.”

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7. Anonymous said... on Jun 24, 2010 at 08:57PM

“music journalist?! pleeease. more like angry, immature, inarticulate jerk.”

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8. Anonymous said... on Jun 25, 2010 at 12:47AM

“Wheels? Like a rolling stone sucked???”

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9. Anonymous said... on Jun 25, 2010 at 08:46AM

“Some of his stuff was incomprehensible ramblings, which of course was interpreted as genius. The Smiths are a great band.”

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10. steco said... on Jun 27, 2010 at 07:23PM

“My favorite Steven Wells line was from the "Michael Smerconish Must Be Muzzled!" cover story he wrote. "If you still think PC is a left-wing disease, Mike, print up bumper stickers reading "Fuck Our Troops" or "This Flag's for Burning," then stick 'em on your car and see what happens. Go on. I dare you."”


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Related Content

Steven Wells' Greatest Hits
By PW Staff

Search PW's archives for "Steven Wells" and you'll turn up nearly 400 articles, videos and other items bearing his name -- a few about him, most by him, for he was stunningly prolific. He taunted rightwingers and indie rockers -- sometimes in the same breath -- with his online column "In Extremis." But he was also a keen reporter and commenter -- often outrageously so -- on the odder corners of Philadelphia's many subcultures. A few selections, then, from his greatest hits.

RELATED: Steven Wells: In Memoriam