No matter how absurd mall punk can be, I can't really turn away from reading about it. I figure one must arm him/herself with as much information for the most amount of ammo. Some of these bands I like, but a number of them I don't like at all. I've found trying to read about a band I really like requires digging around stories about bands that I don't care about. So, here's a short little list of news stories I found fascinating (in good, bad or both ways) in 2006.
Top Mall Punk News Stories of 2006
Hawthorne Heights vs. Victory Records
2006 started off with some very shady attempts by the label to get the band's second album, If Only You Were Lonely, atop the Billboard Top 200 Albums chart. The plan backfired and the record debuted "only" at number 2. In August, a bombshell was dropped: the band was suing to get off the label. The label counter-sued and things are still up in the air. I'm still not a fan of HH's music, but what they did was incredibly brave and commendable.
Panic! At the Disco vs. Brent Wilson
The band first said the bassist quit the band, then word got out that he didn't. He filed a lawsuit and things are still pending. Lawsuit or no lawsuit, would this band of mimes and Goth pirates just go away?
Lifetime signs with Decaydance Records
One of the most revered post-hardcore bands of the Nineties signs with one of the most hated mall-punk labels of today. Guitarist Dan Yemin responds with extensive reasons why and an open call for fans to e-mail thoughts, concerns and questions to him. By the end of the year, a two-song 7" came out and it sounds a lot like the classic Lifetime (and in a good way). As a sidenote: one-time bassist Linda Kay was charged with possessing human remains.
Escape the Fate loses vocalist before their debut album arrives
Las Vegas five-piece (who long for the days of sleazy excess last seen with bands like Motley Crue) part ways with vocalist Ronnie Radke before their debut album arrives. Only a few weeks prior, the vocalist made bold claims about this record: "I don't want to come off like an asshole, but we're gonna be that change in music. I have a vision. I want people to have fun, put their fists in the air. We're getting recognized in every city. It's gonna happen. Watch. I'm not jokin'. We're gonna be the biggest thing. So huge. I know it."
My Chemical Romance's The Black Parade
Giving numerous straight-faced interviews about how this is a concept album on death, I wondered when they would start laughing about it. That has yet to come. That's the problem with a number of these bands: they're taking total shtick and trying to be incredibly serious about it. Sorry guys, it doesn't work that way (at least to me).
CRACKED listed the album as one of the Five Most Unintentionally Funny Albums of 2006. "Epics are either really fun or kickass," wrote Dustin Glick, "you can either be funny and flamboyant like Queen or surly and awesome like Lynard Skynard. But you can't shop at Hot Topic and cry about your daddy."
Angels and Airwaves
Amid mudslinging from his former bandmates in blink-182, Tom DeLonge aimed for the sky with Angels and Airwaves' We Don't Need to Whisper. Hoping to revisit the heights of the Cure, Pink Floyd and U2, the album reminded me more of A Flock of Seagulls. A Flock is Seagulls is not bad, but definitely not something of the caliber of the Cure, Pink Floyd or U2. DeLonge shot himself in the foot by hyping the album to absurd depths months before the album dropped. By the end of the year, he appeared on Larry King Live for a surprisingly coherent interview.