Chuck Klosterman

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    Meg and Jack White Talk Relationship Issues

    EDITOR'S NOTE: This story appeared in conjunction with SPIN's first cover story on the White Stripes, in October 2002. Back then, the band continued to give journalists (and fans) the run-around when it came to the question of whether Jack and Meg were siblings, ex-lovers, or something else. Here's what they told Chuck Klosterman on the matter. Sitting in a hotel room with the White Stripes and talking only about music is like sitting in a hotel room with O.J. Simpson and asking him only about winning the Heisman Trophy. At some point, every journalist is obligated to ask the payoff question: Are Jack and Meg White truly a brother-and-sister team (as they claim), or are they actually a divorced couple (as most of the planet now assumes)? What follows is the transcript of our conversation on that topic.

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    REMEMBER: The White Stripes by Chuck Klosterman

    [EDITOR'S NOTE, February 2, 2010: Because the White Stripes announced today that they are officially disbanding, we are republishing Chuck Klosterman's first interview with the band, which originally appeared in SPIN's October 2002 issue.] Jack White flicks his cigarette ash into a glass of water. He and Meg White are sitting on a couch in an überswanky hotel room in downtown Chicago, trying to explain how it feels to be a punkish underground band -- with modest sales and an antimedia aesthetic -- that has somehow become America's most frothed-over rock group. "We're in a weird spot right now," Jack says. "To be honest, I have a hard time finding a reason to be on the cover of SPIN. It was like being on the MTV Movie Awards [where they performed their recent single 'Fell in Love With a Girl']. You start asking yourself, 'What are we getting from this?

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    Beck's "Loser" Defines the '90s

    JANUARY 18, 1994 Here's what really happened when MTV played Beck's "Loser" for the first time, in 1994: The culture inverted itself, weirdness was instantaneously mainstreamed, everyone stopped combing their hair, people slept more and purchased broken turn­­tables at stoop sales, dirtbags began using the word art in casual conversation, Michael Cera entered kindergarten. Here's what nobody said when MTV played "Loser" for the first time: "Well, I guess this is what we're doing now." Here's what everybody realized when MTV played "Loser" for the first time: Well, I guess this is what we're doing now. When a collective history of the 1990s is written (or, more likely, tweeted) in some distant future, all of the pop historians will mention the impact of "Smells Like Teen Spirit." That song will become the linchpin for whatever supposedly happened in that chasm between Gor

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    What If Kurt Cobain Didn't Die?

    In SPIN's April 2004 tribute issue to Kurt Cobain, then senior writer Chuck Klosterman posed a compelling and unique question: "What would have happened if Cobain lived?" Below, read Klosterman's theory about what the rock god's future could have held, had he not died 16 years ago. April 5, 1994: Kurt Cobain is admitted to the University of Washington Medical Center after surviving a massive heroin overdose. Discovered in a coma by private investigator Tom Grant, Cobain's near-lifeless body lay alongside a loaded shotgun and (what appeared to be) a suicide note.

  • Guns N' Roses, 'Chinese Democracy' (Interscope)

    [Editor's note, Nov. 17, 2008: This review appeared in our April 2006 issue as an April Fools joke. Now, 'Chinese Democracy,' Guns N' Roses' decade-in-the-making opus, is finally here. Seriously. And SPIN.com's on top of it. Click here to read our actual review of the new album, as well as the first single!] It's been a long time since Guns N' Roses have released an album of new material. Everybody knows this, but it's a fact that bears repeating. If you purchased a kitten on the day that Use Your Illusion I & II arrived in stores, it's probably dead by now. As a consequence, there has been a great deal of pressure on Axl Rose to deliver a record that would validate a 15-year, $13 million wait.

  • Pretty Hated Machine

    The Bravery are the most hated band in America. This does not mean they make terrible music (their debut received mostly positive reviews), nor does it mean they're unpopular (the album sold more than 50,000 copies in its first two weeks). Like Stone Temple Pilots, Third Eye Blind, and Matchbox Twenty before them, the Bravery serve as cultural shorthand: If someone wants to take a stand against inauthentic, unoriginal rock'n'roll, they can simply say, "I hate the Bravery." How this happened is unclear. Perhaps their inexplicable shout-outs to Fugazi (and their meticulously crafted eyeliner and thrift-store chic) make the Bravery seem a little too conscious of what's supposed to be cool. At May's Coachella Festival, attendees screamed insults at the band and competing acts supposedly picked fights with them. Anti-Bravery fliers have been posted around Manhattan's East Village.

  • Give Me Centrism or Give Me Death!

    If you are the kind of person who talks about music too much, there aretwo words that undoubtedly play an integral role in your workadaylexicon: "overrated" and "underrated." This is because those twosentiments pop up in 90 percent of all musical discussions. What's interesting about this phenomenon is that no one uses the samecriteria when applying either of those terms. For example, bands can beoverrated because certain rock critics like them too much (Sonic Youth,Wilco, Yo La Tengo), or underrated if they sell a lot of records butaren't widely regarded as brilliant (Thin Lizzy, Duran Duran), orunderrated because barely anyone seems to know who they are (Tortoise,Sloan, Lifter Puller). Bands can be overrated because they'regood-looking (the Lemonheads in 1992), or they can be underratedbecause they're good-looking (the Lemonheads in 1994).

  • Mysterious Days

    "The job of art is to chase away ugliness," Bono says as he twists the ignition key of his Maserati Quattroporte. "So let's start with the roads. Cars are so ugly. America is supposedly the country that brought us the love of the automobile, yet they haven't produced a beautiful car in decades. Americans used to make feminine cars with a sense of humor, but now it's all SUVs. The Germans kind of picked up the slack for a while, but the Italians ultimately were the ones that took them on. But the Italians pick such arrogant names. Do you know what quattroporte means? Four-door. It means four-door." Bono laughs, and I pretend to understand why this is funny.

  • Marilyn Manson, 'Lest We Forget' (Interscope)

    Marilyn Manson is fucking awesome. Nobody wants to believe it, but it's true: His live show is awesome, his manufactured persona is awesome, and his singles (atleast the ones that came out after 1997, minus the uncreative covertunes) are--on the whole--pretty fucking awesome. As such, I hear nothing but validity inLest We Forget, a 17-track greatest-hits collection of Manson's deeply self-conscious odes to depravity; he has at least as many top-shelf songs as Aerosmith. The sad truth is that there are only about ten compelling metal acts out there right now, and Marilyn Manson is three of them. He doesn't make heavy metal (like the Stooges or Iron Maiden or Tool);nor does he make lite metal (like T. Rex or Faster Pussycat or the Darkness). He makes malleable metal. It's aluminum. But aluminum is important; we need it for siding and Mountain Dew cans and the College World Series.

  • The Thrills - Let's Bottle Bohemia

    The ThrillsLet's Bottle BohemiaVirgin The Thrills are a group of Irishmen obsessed with (a) Gram Parsons and(b) the alienating glamour of old California, which means they makemusic for people trying to drink themselves to death. The Thrills'second album, Let's Bottle Bohemia,doesn't top its predecessor. Like many second albums, it's basicallytwo good new songs packaged alongside some ideas left over from theprevious year. But there's still something profoundly likeable aboutthis kind of music, and it has to do with the way the album feels (asopposed to the way it sounds). The pianos feel sad. The guitars feelexhausted. Everything's loose, but hat premise may sound pedantic, andits profundity is mostly an extension of its simplicity.

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