High On Fire’s Matt Pike on why he really, really hates Aerosmith’s “Dude (Looks Like A Lady)”
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In HateSong, we ask our favorite musicians, writers, comedians, actors, and so forth to expound on the one song they hate most in the world.
The hater: Matt Pike has earned his place in the pantheon of metal gods as guitarist for the stoner-rock legend Sleep and frontman of sludge heavyweight High On Fire. On De Vermis Mysteriis, High On Fire’s latest record, Pike’s work is especially impressive, with the guitarist using his riffs to, as Jason Heller put it in his A.V. Club review, “summon yet another host of monolithic, archetypal licks from the jaws of eternity.” Pike has also endeared himself to fans by basically never wearing a shirt when he’s performing.
The hated: Aerosmith’s “Dude (Looks Like A Lady)” (1987)
Matt Pike: I’ve just always had this thing with Aerosmith. The guy sounds like a goat. [Bleating.] “Baaa, baaa, dude looks…” It just gets under my skin. I have this button called the off button or the mute button that I call the Aerosmith button on all my stereos. I just have this weird thing with Aerosmith, where I don’t even care what people say about their old shit. I think they’re the crappiest, most overrated shit band of all time. And I fucking can’t stand them. [Laughs.] And that particular song gets under my skin to where I want to stab people.
The A.V. Club: Why this song more than any of their other songs?
MP: I don’t know. Just because. The whole fucking theme to the song is retarded, and it sounds like someone scratching a chalkboard or putting a fork to a plate every time I’ve fucking ever heard it in my life. I can’t get through 30 seconds of it without fucking wanting to barf. [Laughs.] That’s pretty much where I’m at with that.
AVC: This song is also offensive. It’s gay-bashing in lyrical form.
MP: Yeah, it’s just… ugh. I don’t know. That was a ’70s cliché, singing about transvestites and finding out the hard way, and then on top of it having fucking Steven Tyler sing about it and do it in the most annoying way, where you just want to put the guy in a fucking chokehold. [Laughs.] Make him fucking tap out before he can get another word out of his mouth.
AVC: It’s supposed to be about Mötley Crüe, or Vince Neil in particular.
MP: Well, I don’t care. I love Mötley Crüe, because they’re fucking 10 times the band that Aerosmith is.
AVC: Aerosmith’s members haven’t done themselves any favors with their recent career moves, either. They aren’t making anyone think they’ve gotten any cooler.
MP: Oh God, I saw a live show. We played at some festival they played on. They were the headliner, of course, and Joe Perry had his little Guitar Hero videogame, and he did a guitar solo with his fucking videogame guy. It’s cartoon him and real him having a guitar-off. That made me want to puke, too. Then all I could think about was “Dude (Looks Like A Lady),” and then all I could think about was their vast career of bad fucking choices. The simpletons of society have just eaten it up and made them as big as they are. They’re just encouraging them to make bad music over and over again.
That band hasn’t done anything since the ’70s. And in the ’70s, which was their most redeeming era, they still fucking sucked. Two good tracks that just won everybody over, and the rest of their career has been a hot, heaping pile of dog shit. I’m just not into Aerosmith, I suppose.
AVC: You don’t even like “Crazy,” “Amazing,” or “Cryin’”? The great trilogy from the ’90s?
MP: No, I find it offensive, and I think they should be thrown out. I’m sure they’re in the [Rock And Roll] Hall Of Fame. [They are. Inducted in 2001. —ed.] The endless amounts of awards for a polished turd. Actually, that’s what they are: They’re a polished turd. You dress them up in clothes, but they’re still a piece of shit. They walk around smelling really bad, sounding really bad, and making millions of dollars.
AVC: People keep responding to it, so they keep doing it. They take it even further.
MP: Yeah, they’re just encouraging a bunch of shitty old men to play shitty music.