Almost every single day a musician, somewhere in the world, is talking to a journalist. Those interviews will end up in papers or magazines, they may or may not be read by fans or the publication’s readers, but the next day the story is usually old news.
At least that’s how it usually works. It’s rare that a band responds to something written about them — it’s even more uncommon for an aggrieved artist to start an all out feud with a writer.
But it happens, most recently when Maya Arulpragasam, a.k.a. M.I.A became so enraged with a New York Times profile on her that she tweeted the journalist’s phone number and then wrote a song called Haters, blasting reporters.
Whatever you think of M.I.A’s revenge tactics or NYT’s writer Lynn Hirshberg’s less-than-flattering article, this isn’t the first and won’t be the last fight between musicians and the journalists who cover them. In fact, there have been plenty of fights that have been just as memorable. Here are three of the best:
K-os vs. Jason Richards
Canadians are generally a mild mannered bunch, but not Toronto rapper k-os. In 2006, NOW writer Jason Richards (he currently contributes to Metro) said that the various collaborations with pop artists on his disc Atlantis: Hymns For Disco enforces some people’s opinion that he’s “a crossover pop artist disguised as a true-school b-boy.”
The three-star review was actually fairly positive, but k-os didn’t see it that way. In a MySpace post the rapper said Richards, who is also Trinidadian, was “being manipulated by his indie rock nerd bosses,” claimed the paper had a personal agenda, and then told Richards to eat a dick.
Ryan Adams vs. Jim DeRogatis
When a surly music scribe disses a surly musician you know fireworks will ensue. In 2003, former Chicago Sun-Times writer Jim DeRogatis wrote a negative review of a Ryan Adams gig calling him a “spiky-haired alternative-country poseur,” and that he “can't write one song as original or as heartfelt as anything by Jeff Tweedy.”
When Adams got wind of the review he decided to call DeRogatis and leave him an expletive-filled voice message. “F— you, you a—hole, I’m so sick of it,” he says. “You have a problem with me… you write about me every chance you get.” No word on if they made up.
Courtney Love vs. Belissa Cohen
Most musician/journalist feuds play out in the press, but not when Courtney Love is involved. In 1998 journalist Belissa Cohen sued the Hole singer, claiming she was attacked by the grunge gal at a fashion show after the journalist tried to take her picture.
Cohen said that the Hole singer kicked her in the groin, punched her in the face and pulled her hair. Love’s publicist responded that Cohen was “an out-of-control paparazzo.” The two settled out of court.
Bryan Borzykowski is a business and entertainment writer. Follow Metro Music on Twitter @TheMetroMusic