by Adam Gold
I've spent a lot of time on this here blog talking about what I consider "bad" music. And since I'm getting paid for this and you're not, my opinion is the last word for as long as I have your attention. (Just kidding, haha!) But seriously, I am a professional who takes pride in the responsibility of entertaining you at the expense of the musically challenged. Never do I feel better at my job than at a time like this: when I can expose you to something like Complete--a little band from Texas who, for one night in 1996, graced the television sets of anyone watching public access in the greater Dallas-Fort Worth area.
The series of videos featured in this post document the first and last performance by this "band." When I showed them to fellow Cream blogger Sean Maloney his reaction was, "It's better than Katy Perry." The logic being that it was less predictable. So far Maloney is the only person I've shown this to who can make it through an entire song--four or five of them in fact--which makes the band name ever so ironic. He was amazed. And why not? Complete are amazing.
Never in my life have I seen grown men--nay, ANYONE--wholeheartedly attempt to play music with such poor results. The sonic fruits of Complete's labor are so exceptionally bad and unmusical that they are truly one of the most unique bands I've ever heard. The most experimental noise band in the world ain't got shit on these guys. I went to a fucking jazz college and none of the arrhythmic, atonality-obsessed free jazz musicians I was surrounded by could ever hold a candle to Complete when it comes to creating something this "out"--that's jazzy geek-speak for unlistenable. And without all that insufferable pretension to boot. This shit is so jaw-droppingly bad and awesome simultaneously, it's truly hard to take. I dare you to listen to it.
PSA: If a jazz (or other) musician ever tells you he or she's going to play you a track that's "out," run for the hills. Even if you're in the plains, run for the hills. You are in for the longest 46 minutes (at least) of your life.
The band talking about working on the sound, being original and the search for a record deal.
These champions of dissonance, Complete, employ the use of a drummer who plays with no regard for time or structure, a bass player who plays with no regard for key and a singer who sings with no regard for pitch, all rounded out by a guitar player--the band's only near-competent musician--who plays a series of power chords, interspersed with pentatonic flourishes. With this raw group chemistry and these proficiency levels unprecedented in their nescience the band careen through cuts like "Hoogie-Boogie Land," "Dream-ing," "Beautiful Sunrises" and "Hot as Hell" with more reckless abandon than an ensemble of 4-year-olds (literally). In the process they haphazardly stumble upon a penetrating art brut. And to think--going by the interview clip posted above--it only took them a year of practicing to get there.
They may fail to impress the tough 1996 Texas roadhouse crowd, but magically succeed in putting on a performance that--thankfully immortalized on VHS--has finally achieved its destiny of being appreciated years later. Thank God for the Internet.
Reasonable people say that music is subjective. I'm not reasonable, I think there's some music that's absolutely good and other music that's absolutely bad. But even the most reasonable person would concede that, on the face of it, Complete are the worst band in the world. You might be able to find me another one as bad (doubtful) but definitely not worse. But when it comes to actually making something that gets my attention and entertains me, they're better than Aerosmith, Lenny Kravitz, Nickelback, Kid Rock and the DMB combined. And you know what? That's fucking beautiful.
Strengthen your musical tolerance by watching the videos below.