Exiled on Main Street #27's cover story was "Best Band in the Land", with Van Halen as its subject matter. The storyline that Bill Tuomala penned took place in another universe, at least to those of us who have been paying attention to American culture for the past thirty years or so. City Pages called it "a brilliant reinvention of Van Halen's career;" while Erik Rader of the Blind Watchmakers said it was "one of the most mind-bendingly ironic pieces of historical revisionism I've read since Philip K. Dick's The Man in the High Castle." Fargo Rock City author Chuck Klosterman simply called the author "borderline fucking genius." Matt Groening thought enough of it to include it in the Da Capo Best Music Writing 2003 anthology.
Others read "Best Band in the Land" and said huh? One punk (or is that metalhead heh heh) wrote Tuomala and said "get your shit straight, you idiot." Ouch.
No matter which camp you fall in, the Readers Guide that Paula Belmont put together is for you. She analyzed every damn sentence of the piece and painstakingly made annotations. She then verbally made some crack about Tuomala's future in a sanitarium. Thanks, Paula.
Click here to download the Readers Guide. (Adobe Acrobat Reader format)
Additional thanks to Chuck Tomlinson.
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