By Jeremy Essig
By Jason Robinson
By Hans Morgenstern
By Joseph Hess
By Peter Gilstrap
By Julia Burch
By Jeremy Essig
By Nathan Smith
5. Elton John Bernie Taupin's not-so-tiny dancer was way better in the Studio 54 era, when he was as high as a Rocket Man and actually cranked out adventurous pop hits with gusto. Now sober, Sir Elton seems content to belt out cheesy power ballads for animated-feature soundtracks, host garish awards-show afterparties and retrofit "Candle in the Wind" to cash in on the It-Dead Princess of the Moment. Leavin' Levon far behind, indeed, and much the worse for it. Heaven hope the sun goes down on this pasty, toupee-wearing key tickler ASAFP.
6. Johnny Rzeznik Feel free to debate whether what the Goo Goo Dolls record can even be considered rock. Also feel free to debate whether or not it's music. Any way you slice the pie, this moronic, saccharine, neo-glam outfit is the worst band in America, with Rzeznik being the synthetic cherry filling. Quick, name one Goo Goo Dolls song! That's okay, you're not alone. The fact that Rzeznik ascends to this high a ranking without ever exhibiting an ounce of artistic talent is testament to how much people just want to drop-kick his pretty-boy bean through the goalposts at Fuckface Field. At least this Calvin Klein underwear-model wannabe has one thing going for him: Avril Lavigne evidently wants to ride him. And in Missouri, that'd be barely legal.
7. G.E. Smith We know: How can a Saturday Night Live bandleader named after a power company qualify for this list? Here's how: Smith served as Hall & Oates' lead guitarist from 1979 until 1985, which marked the peak of the Philly duo's commercial viability. And -- come on -- was there any blond ponytail more ubiquitous than Smith's during his ten-year SNL run? Absolutely not -- homeboy played on every imaginable televised tribute concert, including Bob Dylan's, Live Aid and Farm Aid. Indeed, where there was an Aid -- and a camera -- there was a blond ponytail, which Smith took great pains to flap across his face like a horse does with tail and ass. Smith was Michael Bolton before Michael Bolton was Michael Bolton. The difference is Smith didn't even have to open his mouth to attain such reviled status; his "look at me!" facial expressions did it all.
8. Conor Oberst & Chris Carrabba Who wants to hear sad, sad songs about the day-to-day pathos of well-to-do suburban white kids? Well-to-do suburban white kids, that's who. And that's about it. "Emo," then, is really a genre within a genre within a genre, which makes it a mystery as to why these two wimps have been garnering so much ink and critical fellatio. Every song they write is overwrought and essentially intellectually dishonest. Everybody's got problems, to be sure, but we'd love to transplant this double entry (two whiny weenies equal one man, by our count) of pastoral crackers to the ghetto for a few decades. Then we'll see if they continue to pump out the same prepubescent pussy bait that's gotten them this far.
9. Fred Durst It doesn't matter whether or not you believe Durst's claim that he drilled Britney Spears six ways 'til Sunday; this rap-rock goofball is largely responsible for rock's darkest era: the late 90's (Kid Rock, you can take a bow too). Fortunately it looks like Durst's career is over. Otherwise, he'd likely outstrip Rzeznik for the sixth spot and would rank number one if this poll were more concerned with sonic proficiency.
10. Bob Weir You can actually stop truckin' now, Bob. The Dead's insistence on staying on the road post-Jerry Garcia has proven, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that the band was just a collection of semi-competent nerds with a prodigiously charismatic and talented frontman. And "Rock Star Bobby" is the worst of the bunch, a bona fide gravy trainer who would've probably invited frequent guest Huey Lewis to join the band as a full-time harmonica player had Garcia not understandably kept his pink Izod-wearing ass in check. Weir's side project, Rat Dog, is basically a below-average bar band with a frontman who needs a teleprompter to remember his own lyrics. But frankly, given our unyielding love for all things Garcia, we were willing to forgive and forget until Weir & Co. jumped on a stage in a movie-studio lot to appear on Leno recently. With Garcia on the injured list (for good), Weir stepped in to sing lead vocals on "Touch of Grey." Horribly. Why he didn't just defecate on Jerry's headstone instead, we'll never know.
Rounding out the Top Twenty: 11. Glenn Frey & Don Henley. 12. Scott Stapp. 13. Rod Stewart. 14. Phil Collins. 15. Lenny Kravitz. 16. Steve Miller. 17. John Cougar Mellencamp. 18. Michael McDonald. 19. Max Weinberg. 20. Lars Ulrich.
Honorable Mention: Eric Clapton, Anthony Kiedis, Kid Rock, Scott Weiland, Liam & Noel Gallagher, Zack de la Rocha, Peter Gabriel, Kenny Loggins, George Thorogood, Bob Seger, Ted Nugent, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Bruce Springsteen, Axl Rose, James Hetfield, Ozzy Osbourne, Steve Winwood, Bruce Hornsby, Billy Joel, Dave Matthews, John Popper, Julian Casablancas, Jack White, Rob Thomas, Huey Lewis, Jackson Browne, Dave Grohl, Chris Cornell, Mark McGrath, Melissa Etheridge and the lead singer of Maroon 5 (we're too indifferent to even bother learning his name).
Click the links beneath the photos to print out your very own "Least Wanted" posters, then hang them around town, CORE Project-style! (Note: All posters are in PDF format and require Acrobat Reader [available here] to view. Posters average 500k in size.)