In a recent interview with Fuse, Alice Cooper said calling Mumford & Sons a rock band is an “offense to rock ‘n’ roll.” Boy oh boy! Now, we love us some Alice. He’s a legend (and former boss). In fact, we’re going to see him tonight at The Beacon Theater (review up tomorrow morning). But he and the legion of other Mumford & Sons haters have it wrong. Because Mumford and Sons are THE GREATEST ROCK BAND IN THE WORLD! OK, maybe not. But here’s why they’re not as terrible as you think they are.
A basic quality of any rock band is their ability to successfully bring the noise loud, fast, and hard. But Alice Cooper doubts the eardrum-breaking ability of the current generation, saying that they “just need to quit eating vegetarian food and get out there and get some blood pumping in their system.” Whoa, whoa, whoa, Alice. Time to step into the future. The loudest people I know are all Vegetarian.
Every rock band must have a definitive style that reeks of a coolness the world has yet to create. Alice Cooper may still think that face-paint is the way to make a mark, but clothes spanning several generations decked out on one disinterested body is the real mark of a style icon. Not only do Mumford & Sons clothing choices not make sense aesthetically or in terms of the space-time-continuum, they totes don’t even care! They rock out their 1800’s farmer outfits like nobody’s business, which displays moxie and a whole lot of style.
Being loud and having a unique style aren’t everything, though–without a sizzling energy originating from the heart of every member, a rock band will fail. Alice Cooper says playing rock ‘n’ roll “doesn’t come from your brain, it comes from your guts. It comes from your groin. It’s sexual. It’s tribal.” Here, Alice and I agree. Rock ‘n’ roll isa very sexual and primitive thing, which is partly why Mumford & Sons are so damn good at irock ‘n’ roll! What’s sexier than a man who references the Bible through song and gently sways back and forth while playing stringed instruments invented before electricity? NOTHING! With their brooding good looks and mysterious hair cuts, Mumford & Sons define “sex.” No other band comes close.
The ability of a rock group to spawn imitators is no easy feat, as most bands are made up of incredibly unique individuals with incredibly unique thoughts and feelings about the art they produce. That said, the number of bands aping the Depression Era-clad boot-stompy chant-tastic acousto-pop of Mumford is quite impressive. Take, for instance, the gaggle of bands coming down the pike who, using the above photo as inspiration, play exclusively in tiny fishing boats
Finally, no rock band is complete without generating a significant amount of press coverage – preferably, of the O-Maaaaan-Negative type. Alice Cooper says “rock ‘n’ roll is not about ‘happy happy happy, everything’s okay. We’re The Lumineers, let’s clog dance.” He’s right about the Lumineers (who truly, unequivocally, inarguably suck), but he clearly hasn’t even ever heard Mumford. One of their most popular songs is about having a “soul” and “awakening” it! The name of their latest album is Hebrew for the ancient city of Babylon! For Christ’s sake, it’s not even legal to talk about those things in some public schools! And that’s all disregarding the craziest-rockin’est-rollin’est stunt of all–that Marcus Mumford is not the father of any of his Sons. Talk about the most provocative, innovative, sexy, stylish, and loudest rock band in the world.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on July 18, 2013