I’ve never known an artist or group (with the possible exception of the abominable Coldplay) generate as much bile and downright hatred as Meade Skelton. Google him: it won’t take you long to find people issuing death threats towards the country singer and self-proclaimed ‘good ol’ boy’, such as ‘That fat racist f***ing piece of self-absorbed inbred hillbilly redneck pigwoman dog s**t…I hope he smothers his fat f**k ass with his own bosoms in his sleep’. Phew! Mead’s music actually isn’t that bad: naïve, perhaps; mediocre certainly, but not point-blank horrible. But what makes this outsider musician so fascinating is his personality. Self-righteous and obsessed with junk food, the man who wrote an ode to a cuppa (Sweet Tea) is fanatical about protecting his image – so much so that should anyone dare to criticise his work online (at, say, Amazon or any one of a number of online forums) he will appear under the guise of one of his many alter egos to remonstrate with them. He’s also rather fond of posting four and five star reviews of his own albums to try and kid people into believing that the release they’re purchasing is in fact the work of the next Elvis.
I’m sure he’s not the only ‘artist’ doing this, but he’s been caught out time and time again and yet still does it: E P Haufe, RVACountryLover, RVACountrySinger and Elvis Fan are his favourite pseudonyms, but he’s used a number of different ones over the years. So infamous are his attempts at self-aggrandisement that he now appears in the Urban Dictionary as an example of an internet troll.
Hailing from Richmond, Virginia, Meade Skelton has released a handful of albums over the 11 years since his debut, Songs by Meade Skelton, appeared in 2001, his self-composed songs distinguished by his florid piano style, pleasant baritone voice and odd – some might say downright weird – lyrical inspiration. Take a look at some of his song titles: They Called Me Porker, Proud to be a Square, It’s Hard to Love Yourself (When Everybody Hates You), I Love to Eat (and it Shows) and the brilliantly-titled Hipsters Ruin Everything among them.
But just who is Meade Skelton? Meade Skelton Haufe grew up in Virginia and began playing music at an early age. After his mother died (when he was just 11), Meade became a born-again Christian. He moved to Richmond when he was 18 and it was here that he became involved in music, playing with local bands, in coffee shops and at his local church. According to his website (www.meadeskeltonsplace.com) Meade’s ‘heartache meets humor style puts pop, country, jazz, Americana and gospel music into a blender’. As a member of the Tabernacle Baptist Church, Meade often performs as part of the The Meadow Street Band – their rather overwrought presence provides the back up on his latest release, Meade Music (re-recorded versions of 10 Meade Skelton classics) - and he plays a large part in his church’s music ministry.
He had his own Tumblr blog for a while but this appears to have been taken down – probably as a reaction to such semi-racist posts as ‘I enjoy going to Kroger’s and getting a 2 pc chicken dinner. I get baked, not fried. (I eat healthy!). So then I had macaroni and cheese, and collard greens with it, and a dinner roll. It was very good in my mouth. I just love going there. The people that work there are really nice. Except some of them have a more uppity attitude. I notice its worse with the middle aged Negroes, than the younger ones. I guess they were taught to hate white people. Oh, well. I certainly don’t hate them.’ Responding to Meade's rant about the Kroger supermarket’s African-American employees, Regional Manager Scott O'Connell informed employees that Meade would now be banned from four local Kroger locations: "Kroger is proud to be an equal opportunity employer and strongly condemns any bias based on race, creed, sexual orientation or religion," said Scott. "Our employees are proud to work for Kroger and our decision to ban a customer does not come lightly. We stand behind our employees." Although Meade later apologised for his comments he managed to force his own foot further down his throat by referring to the now non-uppity Negroes as ‘of the colored race’….oops! ***The Krogers' ban story may be a hoax; although the Fairfax Underground forum claims the Richmond Times-Dispatch as its source there is no news story currently indexed at the R T-D site which mentions the ban***
Meade has some odd opinions about gay people too: ‘I think that many lesbians are usually women that were treated poorly by men. They might have been raped or abused. They fear men, and seek solace in other women. Homosexual men are usually under something more demonic, that controls them to lust after men. Which is sinful and unnatural.’ I can see where he’s coming from here: I often find it hard to control the outrageous overflowing of lust I have for every single man on the planet.
He’s no time for the Beatles either (although that is not why I’m including him here): ‘I think Rock music is bad music, and the only Rock artist I can tolerate is Elvis Presley. But most of it is really evil. I think that the Beatles had a deal with Satan, and also you can clearly see that when people are at Rock shows they go under a trance almost and its like pandimonium for a long time - they are under some kinda witch craft. The beat in Rock music comes from African (sic). The Africans used this beat to conjure up evil spirits when they did their tribal dances. But the Illuminati is mostly to blame, because when they made Rock albums, they dedicated them to Satan.’
It’s been suggested on various message boards that Meade may be autistic, which would certainly explain such lacks of tact as this, and he’s said himself that he suffers from Asperger’s Syndrome. But as everything in Meade’s life is shrouded in mystery, confused by his multiple personalities and exacerbated by his outright lies, who knows for sure? It's a shame, because some of his material is not without it's own innocent charm. Maybe if he spent less time trying to market himself as a country star, embraced his outsider status and quit the bad-mouthing people might be a lot less inclined to hate him so much. Mind you, he detests Obama and supports the Tea Party, so maybe not.
I am indebted to an anonymous benefactor for introducing me to the rather strange Mr Skelton; now you take him! Here’s Fat No More from his latest album, Meade Music and, from his earlier release They Can’t Keep Me Down, the track They Called Me Porker