VICE Sells Out Music “Journalism” for Cash Money

Limp-Bizkit_haterOkay, now it should be stated that I love the website Vice. I do. The fact that a pop culture youth media site does better overseas journalism regarding things like the American war machine than actual media outlets these days is beyond mind blowing and creepy. Unfortunately, it is exactly because of their influence on the youth media market that their recent turn as PR men for aging, culturally irrelevant millionaire rock stars is so unbelievably disappointing. The gripe about so called hipster music coverage is that they only cover the bands that their writers or friends are fucking (usually pretty accurate), but you know, at least back in the day they were apparently fucking creative people with talent.

Not anymore, in the last month they’ve just started reporting on richie rich bands solely because of money. As mentioned, what’s even skeezier about this turn is that they’re doing it in an obviously calculated attempt to rebrand successful musicians perceived by the public as tragically uncool, and it makes perfect sense. Hey, we’re Cash Money records, we just signed Limp Bizkit. Problem. Nobody thinks that band is remotely cool anymore and they haven’t sold a record in years. Hmmm, how do we rectify this? Well, what if we get Vice to write about them? Vice is considered cool right? So like, if Vice starts writing articles telling people that it’s totally okay to admit that you’re into Limp Bizkit again, maybe we can revive their career. And so with that logic we get the monstrosity entitled – I Saw Limp Bizkit Last Night and It Changed My Life.

Unfuckingbelievable. I honestly threw up in my mouth a little bit reading it. So essentially, the article’s position is that being a millionaire rock star who was critically reviled and therefore faced an enormous, absolutely justified backlash and thus couldn’t sell a record to save their life is now somehow punk rock. Yep, that’s the new punk according to Vice. Let me quote them on this position:

“Succeeding in spite of yourself is punk as fuck. So is having a good time. So is not caring what other people think. So is pissing people the fuck off. And in that way, Limp Bizkit will always be more punk than God.”

Yep, you read that right and guess what, it gets worse. About a week later they posted another piece, this time trying to convince their readers that Pete Wentz and his total pile of shit band Fall Out Boy are somehow still relevant and you know guys, he’s actually really cool in an article entitled: Pete Wentz is the Last True Punk. Again, barf times infinity. The funniest thing about reading that is that I unfortunately caught Fall Out Boy’s first single from their new record Save Rock And Roll a week prior (their new album is actually called Save Rock and Roll, no shit, as if Fall Out Boy are going to save rock and roll, from what, mall emo?). I shit you not, it is crappy tween emo trying to sound like hip hop i.e. the worst and most blatantly calculated marketing music I’ve ever heard. I did learn one thing from reading the Vice article though. Pete Wentz is a trust fund brat who’s related to Colin Powell. See, that’s why he has a career. You know what else he has? A stupid reality TV show that he hosts called Best Ink. He also sometimes hosts adult contemporary VH1 countdown shows which everybody knows is the most punk rock activity in the history of the universe. Oh, and you know, he married Ashlee Simpson which is punk as fuck by every definition of the word.

Absolutely heinous writing and I just noticed that both articles were written by the same douchetard, Drew Millard. Yep, Vice hired a guy who’s super into Fall Out Boy and has no problem going to Limp Bizkit gigs to write about music for them. What in the absolute fuck? Let us never forget that that Fred Durst was also an AR guy responsible for the careers of craptastic mook rock bands like Puddle of Mudd and Staind. Completely unforgivable. But wait, it gets worse, they continue to cover Limp Bizkit’s “comeback”, and this time in the most unusual piece of music writing I’ve ever seen entitled: It’s 2013, Who Still Listens to Limp Bizkit? This is total weirdsville. Vice can’t outright admit that they’re into Limp Bizkit and getting paid to do PR for them as that would ruin their hipster cred, so they have to do this thing where they pretend that they’re making fun of Limp Bizkit fans, but that’s not what that article is about at all. The message is clear, liking Limp Bizkit is cool again and you should totally go check out their new album and tour, because you’ll have a great time yo’. Do it all for the nookie…again! The chick writing the piece even touches on the horrifying nature of rape rock, but admits that she has no problem with it:

“I graduated high school twelve years ago. I still self-identify as a feminist, but I also identify as a Rape Rock fan (“Rape Rock” being the genre I coined for music of Limp Bizkit’s ilk). What can I say? I love the lyrics’ blind, impotent rage, and awe-inspiring lack of self-awareness. I love the pageantry.”

See what they did there? Liking Limp Bizkit isn’t the lamest thing you can do with your life. It’s totally awesome again kids. On the same day they posted something just as bizarre, a PR piece for Paris Hilton’s new album (also on you guessed it, Cash Money records), that’s pretending to make fun of her music career. Same deal, we’re making fun of this album, but really, we’re getting paid to market it. I didn’t know Paris Hilton considered herself a musician or made records until I read that and I’m sure her new single will get quite a few irony sells as a result, which is the point. So, is Cash Money the worst record label in the history of the universe? They popularized bling rap and then when that faded signed Paris Hilton and Limp Bizkit, you do the math?

Oh Pitchfork, I’m almost sorry I ever made fun of you. Vice is making you look like pure class and artistic integrity here as of late (Vice is partially owned by Viacom). People might read something like this and think hey, I don’t understand, isn’t taste subjective? Why would you trash music that other people obviously like? Good point, I suppose I do it because rich people spend crap tons of money getting people to listen to horrible music and it does in fact make them stupider. Because of these articles, rather than giving money to talented unknown musicians, kids are going to go give it to the exact people who need and deserve it the least. Basic wealth inequality 101. Why do you care? Well, when I first started getting into music, hair metal was all the rage. I was 11 and I owned and enjoyed albums by the likes of Winger and Poison. I can admit that. What I don’t do is pretend that I was anything more than a complete moron at that age, blindly buying whatever the industry was getting paid to sell me. I don’t go back and say, hey, I liked that stuff so it must have been good. No, it was fucking terrible. I turned 13 and never bought a hair metal record again. Hair metal is roughly a million times better than rape rock.

On that note, back in the early 2000’s there was a predictable wave of liking shitty 80’s hair metal ironically among the hipster set. I couldn’t go to a trendy bar in Seattle without some idiot throwing on Def Leppard or some shit. Fucking pathetic. The VH1 network was spending tons of cash on “I love the 80’s” nostalgia trying to get us to believe that these bands were still awesome and not just a bunch of coked out conformist twats. I joked back then that there’d be irony nu metal nights in the future with hipster kids putting on backwards baseball caps and rocking out to Korn, Kid Rock, and the Bizkit. Seems like that’s now right around the corner. We’re all fucked.

(As always friend me on Facebook for Magick updates and drug war music rants, I’ll probably be on Twitter someday #conformity)

Thad McKraken

Thad McKraken

Thad McKraken is a psychedelic writer, musician, visual artist, filmmaker, Occultist, and pug enthusiast based out of Seattle. He is the author of the books The Galactic Dialogue: Occult Initiations and Transmissions From Outside of Time, both of which can be picked up on Amazon super cheap.
Thad McKraken

42 Comments on "VICE Sells Out Music “Journalism” for Cash Money"

  1. DeepCough | May 31, 2013 at 5:07 pm |

    Rolling Stone still prints the same “Greatest Rock Songs of All Time” list to this day without any real nuance.

  2. I was not aware that people actually read VICE’s music reviews.

    • InfvoCuernos | May 31, 2013 at 7:27 pm |

      I kind of think that any music reviews are shit. Obviously we all have the internet here, go to youtube, listen to the band, if you like it, support it, if you don’t, fucking move on. Quit worrying about what someone else sticks in their ear. -BTW I’m agreeing with you.

      • Liam_McGonagle | Jun 1, 2013 at 12:33 pm |

        I think that’s a reasonable bottom line. Ultimately, the musical experience is not an analytical exercise.

        Still, some people get some pretty interesting ideas by perverting the process, so to speak, and experimenting based on some cultivated rather than intuitive understanding of the piece.

        You may make the argument, and I may agree, that for every one worthwhile experiment born from some abstract theoretical trip there are 999 that are an abomination to God. But in some way it might just be worthwhile for the sake of that one, non-sh*tty experiment.

        After all, it’s not as if sh*tty music could be hunted to extinction anyway.

    • David Duke-Astin | Jun 1, 2013 at 8:00 am |

      Just as many people read VICE for music reviews as read Playboy for the articles.

    • You should check out On The Road and Guitar Moves. Both are amazing series… I just posted links to this comment thread.

  3. The Well Dressed Man | May 31, 2013 at 5:16 pm |

    Thad is such a hipster that he “threw up a little in his mouth” because Vice is pushing more shitty retro bands.

  4. Tchoutoye | May 31, 2013 at 5:55 pm |

    The Quietus is where it’s at, music-wise.

  5. Craig Bickford | May 31, 2013 at 7:27 pm |

    There is absolutely nothing punk as fuck about Limp Bizkit. Neil Young is more punk rock than Limp fucking Bizkit.

  6. This is more or less why I no longer read anything music related in a magazine format, because I’m old enough to remember when Rolling Stone didn’t completely suck…and likewise old enough to remember the fall from grace of SPIN…which was pretty awesome in its early incarnations…but inevitably slid into decline as soon as it guzzled PR jizz and regurgitated it back onto the pages for profit.

    Although, if I’m surprised by anything, its that any magazine, anywhere, would have the brass to suggest that Limp Bizkit is anything but dead. That takes some serious soulless cash mongering to manage…because that ship was sinking on its maiden voyage…and its stayed sunk ever since. Not even BS articles will resuscitate that corpse. They are to the their era what Winger was to 80s rock…remembered only as a vague chuckle from those who hated them all along, or as a blush of embarrassment from those who briefly fell under that awful spell.

  7. Charlie Primero | May 31, 2013 at 8:14 pm |

    It’s kinda cute that 1.) this guy thinks “music journalism” ever was about anything but cash money, and 2.) he thinks VICE is “youth oriented”.

    • No one is aware and hardcore as you, you’ve made that blatantly clear like the guy with a small dick and big truck.

      • Oh, snap!

      • Charlie Primero | May 31, 2013 at 10:14 pm |

        Funny thing is, I’m not aware or hardcore. I’m probably older than your father. I like VICE documentaries a lot. And ten years ago Limp Biscut was little kids’ music to me which I never bothered listening to. 🙂

  8. By that definition, Dick Cheney is “punk as fuck”

  9. Revolutionary7G | May 31, 2013 at 8:39 pm |

    All music reviews are influenced by money, this is not news, and most of VICE is garbage, terrible shit garbage, aside from the overseas stories their writers are horrid

  10. Are you fucking serious, Fall Out Boy? The shit smeared on G G Allin’s body is more punk and more talented than them. Next they will sell that the Biebs is authentic and raw music.

  11. BuzzCoastin | May 31, 2013 at 9:06 pm |

    a month or so ago I unsubscribed from the VICE ScrewTube channel
    wasn’t sure exactly why
    but their mass media music commercialism meme
    has played itself out
    for me

  12. VaudeVillain | May 31, 2013 at 11:17 pm |

    “I was reminded that to so many regular Americans with busy lives who
    casually listen to rock music and were screaming along to Limp Bizkit
    like it was the last night of their lives, this is punk rock.
    “Punk” as a genre term and a lifestyle becomes problematic when it gets
    conflated with “coolness” or “exclusivity”; by privileging knowledge of
    social codes and access to both information and physical space,
    seemingly democratic and open scenes can become inherently classist and
    disdainful of outsiders. Enjoying a Limp Bizkit show is a no less
    authentic musical experience than any other.”

    Strangely, I thought that bit made a valid point. One so drenched in PCisms that my head hurts, but nonetheless valid.

    Maybe VICE is shit, maybe Limp Bizkit is shit… but I’m pretty sure that the guy dissing people for liking shit music because they just don’t know any better is shit too. The shittiest, even, because once you know better, you should fucking act like it.

  13. Greg Hawk | Jun 1, 2013 at 12:12 am |

    The people at Vice are great journalists. I wouldn’t be too concerned about their music column. Check out their pieces on Krokodil or the living conditions in Liberia. They do good work, and they help bring to light a lot of issues that would otherwise go (completely) unnoticed.

  14. Codgitator | Jun 1, 2013 at 12:59 am |

    Oh, when I read anything from VICE I just expect it to be a parody of everything else from the get go. Their whole shtick is to be so ‘next level’ that you don’t even get it.

    I don’t think these articles are any different. Are they or are they not serious?…In VICE’s Andy Kaufman world they are laughing at both sides. If you think they’re serious or if you think it’s a joke, you’re wrong because you’re the joke.

    • The Well Dressed Man | Jun 1, 2013 at 3:49 am |

      🙂 I wonder if Thad even reads the comments…

    • Conspiracy Carrot | Jun 1, 2013 at 7:43 am |

      “If you think they’re serious or if you think it’s a joke, you’re wrong because you’re the joke.”

      Yep… Awesome.

  15. What the hell is Vice?

  16. VoiceOfSanity | Jun 1, 2013 at 7:44 am |

    Little birdy told me life was like a bag of ice cream. Stick your meat beak in & chill the fuck out.

  17. You’re mad because a magazine wrote a couple of articles about topics you don’t like. Yeah, that’s worth writing this ridiculous screed.

  18. rgtvandenberg | Jun 1, 2013 at 3:37 pm |

    I almost had an opinion about this, but I suddenly remembered I don’t give a fuck.

  19. 1) Limp Bizkit sucks fountains of dick.

    2) That does not mean the author of this article is entitled to present so many things from the article completely out of context.

    3) Indeed, Vice should be ashamed of themselves for being Brooklyn based and covering such shit bands but if you want to see some really impressive stuff, check out their “On The Road” series with Boots Electric ( and the new Guitar Moves series with Matt Sweeney (

  20. Jonas Planck | Jun 1, 2013 at 5:42 pm |

    I’m torn… I love Wes Borland, but I hate Fred Durst. I’ll just go with MEH.

  21. Noah_Nine | Jun 1, 2013 at 7:14 pm |

    i used to wonder why fred durst always wore that damn baseball cap.. it turns out he’s bald (which would probably work against you if yr hitting on seventeen yr old groupies.)

  22. jordannah | Jun 2, 2013 at 1:21 pm |

    Thanks for this. I actually just wrote a letter to my former editor about this. They fired a talented female lesbian music editor and hired a sexist, small minded jerk. I don’t even know who he is, i just know the articles went down hill immediately. I wrote on article for VICE and was assured, the mag was about journalism.

    I’m looking at it from the perspective of female writers. I am a Black female music journalist and editor and have a great career, but the small mindedness, sexism and pure lack of social tact from the mag made my run screaming. I felt like my soul was being sucked out, and immediately got a job writing for feminist site and taking a large pay cut. I am happy now. But I’m glad your speaking out. i am planning on publishing an open letter as well, because this mag is soiling our culture and the true meaning of journalism. Kudos. This is SO SERENDIPITOUS. I just complained to my editor about this an hour ago.

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