I'm sure this comes as a surprise to nobody, but we here at PULP enterprises get an awful lot of email. Some of it is positive, much of it is negative, and most of it has to do with either improving my credit rating or naked pictures of 'Lolita girls', but by far the most common type of email I get is people asking how they can be just as cool as me. And since we've already started lying so soon in the article, let's just keep right on going and say that the first step to Ash imitation is to be 6 feet tall, devilishly handsome, and an absolute whiz with the ladies. Often, these emails will contain a statement similar to the following: "Ash, sir, I've emulated your taste in cinema, your general malaise with society, and your increasingly militant intolerance of others, but I'm still missing one thing. In order to be more like you, and therefore incredibly cool and immensely popular, what kind of music should I listen to?" This is, in fact, a very difficult question, because the vast majority of music out there will not make you cool. You may think it makes you cool, as is the case when kids who look like Brad from Home Improvement buy N.W.A albums, but in reality it just makes people laugh at you. But while it is a tough call, it is vitally important to chose the right bands to follow, because as we all know it's not who you are but who you listen to that counts. You can have all the individuality, charisma, and charm in the world, but if you wear a Bon Jovi concert shirt, no one will talk to you, and with good reason. Nobody who enjoys Bon Jovi (just 'Jovi' to fans), Bryan Adams, or anything 'straight outta Compton' can possibly have anything worthwhile to offer to the world, nor do they serve any useful purpose in the grand scheme of things, except possibly as bullet magnets for Columbine kids. So in the interests of making all you readers less likely targets for disillusioned D&D fans with trenchcoats and semi-automatic weaponry, let's make a little list of "dos" and "don'ts" in terms of musical taste. Note that you don't actually have to like the bands on the "do" list, in fact some of them are admittedly rather difficult to enjoy on anything more than a purely comical level, but merely wear their T-shirts and leave their album covers in a highly visible area of your apartment for visitors to peruse and query about. If possible, try to answer any questions friends may have with as elitist an attitude as you can muster, preferably feigning astonishment that they aren't aware of the huge influence Bauhaus had upon the current Goth revival, or how vitally important David Bowie is to the modern industrial scene.
Slayer: Sure, their music's not particularly accessible, and if you're anything other than a raging Nazi you might find most of their lyrics objectionable, but you'll get respect from high-school drop-outs and gas-huffers everywhere. Suggested album: Reign In Blood
Samhain: A must-have for anybody in the 'if no-one's ever heard of it, it must be good' school of music elitism. Granted, there's a reason no one's ever heard of them, but that's beside the point. Suggested album: November-Coming-Fire
Danzig: For those that prefer a subtler form of Satanism, this is the guy for you. Four feet of pure evil, and luscious flowing locks to boot. Suggested album: Thrall-Demonsweatlive.
Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds: This is the band you name-drop to show the chicks that you have eclectic taste in music. It's still mostly about killing things, but there's a piano in it. Suggested album: Murder Ballads
The Dwarves: Some very bad men formed a very bad band a while ago, and made some very bad records, all of which contain some very fine rock and roll. Suggested album: Blood, Guts, and (insert very bad word for female genitalia here).
Any Album With A Needlessly Wordy Title: This tends to happen around a band's second or third release, and is for some reason associated with artiness. Examples include Limp Bizkit's Chocolate Starfish and the Hot Dog Flavoured Water, and the novel Fiona Apple chose as the title for her latest voyage through easy-listening angst.
Chick Bands: Defined as any band where a chick has a prominent role, a la Hole, Veruca Salt, or anything that's ever been described as grrl rock. If I wanted to hear about tampons and unrequited love, I'd actually read the articles in YM instead of just dog-earing the pages with the youngest looking models. Especially try to avoid any Tori Amos, as well as Ani Difranco's one song, regardless of what album it's from.
Bands With Poor Spelling: Be especially vigilant for the gratuitous use of the letter 'Z'. This generally implies either poor intellect or rap music, usually both. I'm not sure how exactly how it works, but apparently the really hardcore rap bands are too tough for grammar.
Any Band In Which The Members Wear Converse: I know it might not seem important, but you can tell a lot from a band's footwear. Converse generally implies plaid, marijuana, and songs about one-room apartments, and Lugs is equivalent to loose women, crack cocaine, and mysterious words like 'bling bling' and 'baller'. As a general, try to stick to either steel-toed, knee-high jackboots (no Doc Martens) or black cowboy boots if you're looking for some good tunes.
Radiohead: There's no joke here. They're just a really annoying band.
Now remember, buying the albums is only the first step. You still have to emulate the artists, and dress in a fashion that indicates your preference in music. Try and find out what drugs the bands frequently abuse, then get addicted and brag about it frequently, never forgetting to mention that you're currently 'so high'. Discover their political leanings, then loudly preach their gospel with as little an understanding of it as they have. Mimic eating habits, speech patterns, and go to as great lengths as possible to accrue a similar police record. Oh, and if you get around to it, listen to the albums at least once.