"Oh, that's silly," DeRogatis replies. "Only somebody who's completely self-obsessed--like a rock star--can think, 'How on earth can somebody think my music sucks?' Wake up, Dave: There's lots of people in the world who think you suck! I enjoyed writing that review. I think I write better reviews than he writes music. I'm rarely boring, and he is. What's with those sixteen-minute jams, anyway? Genesis did it better on 'Lamb Lies Down on Broadway.'"

Nonetheless, DeRogatis saves his choicest words for Wenner, whom he calls "the anti-Christ as far as rock and roll goes. He's a starfucker, and he's the reason Rolling Stone has sucked since 1968, the year after they started. It's all about stardom and celebrity, and it always has been. Keith and I were just kind of duped, because they said, 'Rolling Stone needs to change or die. We want you to come in here; we need what you do.' So we thought that maybe that was a mandate to try something. But the minute we got there we had fucking Jenny McCarthy and Jennifer Aniston on the cover, so we were losing from the day we arrived. As a matter of fact, the first cover we worked on was Garcia being dead, so it was an omen of things to come."

The real victims of this mentality, DeRogatis believes, are music lovers. "I firmly believe that one of the problems in rock criticism today is that it's gotten too damn polite. You listen to sports-talk radio and some columnist can say that Michael Jordan's an overpaid hack, and then for a whole week, everybody's going to fight about it at the bar. And you know what? It's a lot of fun.

"Now here we are in a day and age when Rolling Stone, supposedly the world's greatest rock-and-roll magazine, is too fucking chickenshit to run a negative review of Hootie & the Blowfish because it thinks its readers are too stupid--even if they like Hootie or Dave Matthews--to even tolerate a negative opinion. If you're a Dave Matthews fan and you passionately believe that this is a great band, maybe you read my review and said, 'This guy is full of shit. He's wrong because...' And you know what? I've stimulated you to think."

The chat room assaults on DeRogatis indicate that Matthews's devotees didn't appreciate his efforts, but the writer isn't about to back down. "King Sunny Ade could kick Dave Matthews's ass any day of the week," he contends. "I think the only thing Jim DeRogatis and Dave Matthews would agree upon is that Rolling Stone sucks royally."

He's right. According to Matthews, "Rolling Stone always has both thumbs packed firmly in their asses."

--Green

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