Can I Beat Up Your Band?

I'm not a tough guy by any stretch of the imagination, but I took a selection of bands from everyone's "Top 50 Albums of the Year" to figure out if I could kick their ass based on their press photos.

This is Tyler. Tyler wants to beat up your band.

When you work at any music outlet—be it radio station, magazine, or record label—you get mountains of demos from bands trying to get your attention. And in the pursuit of that attention, they'll include a one-sheet telling you their story and the keystone of old-school PR: the press photo.

Despite the fact that these glossy 8x10s are most frequently just used for drawing dicks, press photos are still an important currency in music PR. And after years of getting demos in college radio and freelance writing, I've honed my press photo analysis to one simple question: Can I kick your band's ass?

It's like the Warriors: you're in a lineup—perhaps in front of a brick wall or on some train tracks—and you're presenting your band to the world to stake your ground.

I'm not a tough guy by any stretch of the imagination, but I took a selection of bands from everyone's "Top 50 Albums of the Year" to figure out if I could beat them up based on their press photos. Let's roll.

Before we begin, note that the "beat-up-ableness" of these bands are rated in Noisey's proprietary toughness scale, calculated carefully by our in-house team of specialists*. That unit is "the Statham," named after Jason Statham, star of action films like The Transporter, Crank, and The Expendables. His male pattern baldness could itself beat my ass. Every band is rated on a zero-to-five Statham scale, five being "most beat-up-able."

*Just kidding, none of us are specialists in anything.


Japandroids are like No Age playing the Replacements, meaning they are a mix of a band I could definitely beat up with a band that would demolish me then drink everyone under the table*.

So, somewhere in between. Hey—at least there are only 2 of them.


*Even late-era Paul Westerberg could probably take me down—you don't tour out of Minnesota with a bunch of drunk teenagers throughout the 80's without having massive, massive balls.

Dum Dum Girls

Nope. Dee Dee was not only once in a San Diego-based ska/modern rock band with two dudes and survived to transform into a bleach blond purveyor of perfect hooks, but she has her band locked up James Brown-style, complete with matching outfits and instruments. This isn't a band, this is a small militia. I bet each band member has a Ninja Turtles-style weapon specialty, and would whip them out in a Sonny Chiba-style montage and then leave in a cloud of purple smoke while singing a perfect bridge for another pop hit.


Action Bronson + Party Supplies

Party Supplies is a dude you have met at the bar. You've said something accidentally bothersome to his girlfriend, he says something slurred into your ear, but he will definitely not do anything more than try and slap you. I'm not tough, but I've dealt with those dudes and I know where Mr. Supplies is coming from.

Conversely, Action Bronson's beard could kick my ass.

Party Supplies: 4/5

Action Bronson: 1/5


This one comes down to interpreting the pompadour. It's easy to assume that a pretty dude won't scrap proper, but a mean dude with good hair is nothing to fuck with. There are dudes who start and end at the fancy hair, and then there are "pretty" dudes who will not tolerate any fuckery with their look and/or vibe. Considering how much "Adorn" sounds like "Sexual Healing," I think Miguel is way more the latter à la Marvin Gaye.

I'm calling this one a close one. The pompadour is a wild card.


Ariel Pink

I won't lie; Ariel Pink scares me. Although I don't fear him in a physical intimidation sense, I feel like dude doesn't follow rules and/or common sense, and might bite my ear off. Ariel Pink isn't really to be fucked with, kind of in the way Mark E. Smith isn't to be messed with. If Ariel Pink had as few teeth as Mark E. Smith, this would be a no-brainer, but even without that, I think he'd go a little wilder than I'd be willing to.

Also, I'm wary of anyone who uses a headset mic in concert when it comes to fisticuffs. Also see: Madonna, Phil Collins, Tommy Lee, Tony Robbins.


Death Grips

Nope, not even a little.


Cloud Nothings

Now, with this dude's press picture, I'm basically faced with a humongous existential dilemma: could I kick my own ass? We're both white, bespectacled skinny dudes who love flannel, guitars, and feelings. I'm sure we've read the same books, and might even have friends in common. I bet he'd make a solid drinking buddy.

If we had to scrap, we'd probably stand face-to-face, not sure what to make of the other. Maybe we'd get really close, and try to intimidate each other. But then we'd lock eyes, and suddenly be super aware of each other's humanity. We'd both consider—why are we fighting at all? Was it really important in the first place? Why is there aggression between musicians and critics? We all spend too much time online, proclaiming our overwrought opinions, and not connecting. Maybe we'd both laugh in the awkward moment of realization that this isn't all so important after all.

And in that moment, we'd come together and share a sweet, gentle kiss between two equals, closing the gap that separates strangers from brothers.

Then I'd totally kick his ass.


Tyler probably can't beat you up, but he does welcome your Twitter beef - @tylernotyler