Blog battle: Asia vs. Traveling Wilburys
Days like these I feel like I can change the world: I have the tools and the arena to humiliate Times pop music critic Sean Daly in front of the entire world. This question in today's blog battle: Who's the better 80s supergroup -- Asia or the Traveling Wilburys?
Longtime readers of this blog no doubt know which side I'm taking -- ASIA! (Click here to read Sean's grammatically challenged excuse for a counter-argument. He spends more time with the hair gel than with a dictionary.)
Here are just five good reasons Asia comes out on top:
The artists: Who's the drummer for the Wilburys? No idea, but ELP legend Carl Palmer handles those duties for Asia. Former Yes guitarist Steve Howe, at 60 years of age, has more guitar licks in either hand than all five Wilburys stacked on top of each other. And come to think of it, that's really all the Wilburys are: five lead singers ... each playing guitar. That's not a supergroup -- it's a barbershop quintet on decaf.
The names: Each Wilbury has his own nickname? God sake's why? Is this an episode of the Mickey Mouse Club or a rock band? (Asia bassist John Wetton has a nickname too. It's "John Wetton.") And the "Traveling Wilburys"? Are you kidding me, Daly? I know "Asia" isn't going to win any originality contests, but at least they won't be confused as the sequel to "Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?"
The music: The Wilbury's tunes sound like outtakes from the mockumentary flick "A Mighty Wind." I'd rather have the lyrics of "Heat of the Moment" tattooed on the inside of my eyelids than listen to "End of the Line" more than once. I can't even name more than two Wilbury songs, whereas even Daly knows the words to every song from Asia's debut album.
Longevity: The Wilburys lasted for two years, and -- with all due respect -- nearly half their members are dead now. Asia has survived in one form or another for 25 years. When half their members bolted in 1985, it was in big-time style -- ego and greed colliding with evil record company executives. That's Rock N Roll, my friends. But here they are, together again. Next to alligators and cockroaches, they're competing for the title of "Biological Form Most Likely to Survive an Atomic Winter."
Playing tonight: "Ladies and gentlemen ... the Traveling Wilburys!" (cricket, cricket). Not going to happen. But last night in Clearwater, "Please welcome ... ASIA!" Yeah, baby. All four original members were playing Ruth Eckerd Hall. I was there, and I wasn't yelling for "Handle With Care."
Let's face it: The Wilburys is a band packaged for the critics. Asia is just for the fans. And that's what music is supposed to be all about.
So read Daly's limp-noodled argument and sound off: Who wins today's blog battle?