It was a banner day for the niche music quarterly Electronic Beats yesterday, thanks to some incendiary quotes from former Portishead instrumentalist Geoff Barrow. In an interview about his new band Beak, the English musician took swipes at the late singer Amy Winehouse, a questionable move that predictably led to a Twitter war. Barrow's jabs at Winehouse included renaming her "Whiney Shitehouse," and claiming that "by the end of it, [she] had become just a comic character of herself."
"I saw her with an electric guitar in a little pub in Bristol and people were going 'that’s amazing' but it wasn’t all that," Barrow is quoted as saying. He also seems to link Winehouse's "big drug problem" to public perception that her range rivaled that of the late American singer Minnie Ripperton. "She had a real life with a fake voice," the section concludes, before moving on to weightier matters like Judge Dredd-inspired albums.
The insults made rounds online, and within hours, Barrow tweeted: "I'm sure she was a lovely caring talented person -- I didn't know her. Very sad that she passed away -- but i never dug her vibe."
Barrow previously took sides against the Winehouse camp in 2007, with a screed on his personal blog against her longtime producer Mark Ronson. "Mark fukin Ronson," he wrote, calling him "some music industry tit [who] thinks [Bob Dylan] needs remixing." (Ronson replied with the always effective half-compliment, half-insult).
In the Electronic Beats interview, Barrow does mention a few female singers he approves of -- Bjork, Polly Harvey, and his old Portishead bandmate Beth Gibbons.
What do you think? Did he go too far?