Machine Gun Kelly: We Need Another Rock Star With Kurt Cobain’s Attitude
Whether you like it or not, this year was the year Machine Gun Kelly went from being known as a rapper to a rock 'n' roll martyr. Not only did he release the best pop-punk album in years, but his demeanor matches that of all the greats that came before him, and he urges that rock needs another Kurt Cobain-like rock star with a "fuck you" attitude.
Tickets to My Downfall was the first rock album to top the Billboard 200 this year, and AC/DC's comeback Power Up was the only other to achieve the feat. And it's not just because MGK's established in the music scene already — he was well aware that fans of his rap music were going to question, and probably dislike, the new direction he was taking.
Books like Anthony Kiedis' Scar Tissue, Motley Crue's The Dirt and Stephen Davis' biographies on Led Zeppelin and Guns N' Roses — Hammer of the Gods and Watch You Bleed, respectively — were the inspiration for MGK's trek to Los Angeles years ago.
"The sheer disappointed of being like 23 and going to the Sunset Strip and being like, 'This isn't what was happening in those books at all!'" he recounted in an interview on the Spotify podcast Rock This With Allison Hagendorf. "And then being like, 'It's the restart button, we gotta do it.'"
What he thinks the rock scene has been lacking in recent years, however, is the rebellious and angsty personality that rock stars used to have.
"The state of rock 'n' roll depends on rock stars. We need to have a face, multiple faces, and attitude again," he declared. "If I fucking have to deal with politically-correct rock stars for another decade, I'm gonna... I can't."
"I gotta see some 'fuck you.' I have to see some 'fuck you,'" he continued. "It's like, the last decade when I would go to shows, and you're like, 'Yo, you guys sound cool, but why can't I hear you fuck up? Why can't I hear your guitars squeal, why do you not play bad notes? Are you even playing, are you plugged in?'"
And who is the epitome of this "rock star" persona, according to MGK? Cobain.
"'Fuck Pearl Jam, I fucking hate them.' That's cool! That's the coolest thing ever! You're like, 'You can't say that, Pearl Jam's the biggest band in the world! How can you say that?' But he did," he noted of Cobain's controversies. "And guess what I wanna do? Watch him do an interview every single time. Guess what I wanna do? Watch him go on an awards show and they're like, 'You're gonna play 'Teen Spirt.'' And he's like, 'No I'm not, I'm gonna play 'Rape Me.''"
The rapper-gone-rocker applies that same sentiment to himself and how people portray him.
"You know what I wanna see? Someone be like, 'Machine Gun Kelly, you're a rapper.' And I go, 'Fuck you, I am whatever I wanna be. Here's a punk rock album.'"
Listen to the full episode below — we guarantee you'll have a new respect for MGK by the time you finish it.
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