Seeing my first “shreds” video was a life-changing event, on par with getting my driver’s license or touching my first boob behind the barn after my college graduation. The “Shreds” concept is simple: take a video from a crappy band like Creed (the seminal target of the “shreds” videos), then cut out the audio and overdub it with sound it seems the people in the video might be making. It’s simple, yet genius, like a mongoloid in a monocle.
Like much of the best the internet has to offer, soon after you discover your first shreds video, it’s with excitement that turns to overwhelmth (is that not a word? it should be) as you discover that there are literally hundreds of them. And unfortunately, not all of them are as incredible as your first, the one some dude you went to mime camp with posted on your Facebook wall. And who has the time to watch them all to see which are good? There are orphans to raise and cancers to cure and volunteer work to do. I’ll tell you who: me. Helping others gives me heartburn.
But first, a little background.
As far as anyone can tell, the “Shreds” concept originated with a Finn named Santeri Ojala, known to YouTube as “StSanders.” Above, you can see his appearance on Kimmel, in which his stubborn refusal to anglicize the pronunciation of words in the impenetrable and goofy-sounding Finnish language leave Jimmy Kimmel looking a bit like a jackass. “That sounds almost like a Spanish name.” Um. No.
Does that mean StSanders’ shreds videos are the best and I should focus specifically on him? As you’ll see, not necessarily, but he still deserves to be recognized as the originator. (We think).
Number 10, “Creed Shreds 3: You Sh*t Here With Me Live”
This one comes from YouTube user Spiritswitchboard, and though it came after St. Sanders, this one will always be the original for me because it was the first one I saw. And it took making fun of Creed to really put the Shreds concept over the top, not to mention adding “YASSEAH” to the lexicon. No one makes cheesy, stupid rock faces like Scott Stapp. He also comes with the added benefit of being enough an assh*le that even the Dalai Lama can’t help but do cruel impressions of him.
I’ve watched Creed Shreds 3 roughly 1100 times. I laughed, I cried, I prolapsed.
Number 9, Kiss Shreds
From Shreds originator St. Sanders, this one’s arguably his best. While it’s fun to put stupid words in Creed’s mouth (because Creed looks stupid already), this one proves it’s just as funny when you hit the mute button and try to lip read, then sing whatever total gibberish you come up with. Plus, a jaunty beat and Dracula accents — now that’s some quality absurdism. And of course it helps that it’s Kiss. Kiss are f*cking clowns. Gene Simmons is the most thoroughly repulsive human being on the planet other than Danny Masterson. Yeah, dude, keep trying to sell us that I’ve-slept-with-thousands-of-women story, it’s really a turn on coming from a guy who looks like he smells like Aqua Velva and your grandma’s urn. Kiss Army = Juggalos of the 70s.
Number 8, Stevie Ray Vaughan Shreds
This one comes from BluesMK. While it’s certainly no Creed Shreds 4 or Kiss Shreds, it’s a step above most of the other single guitarist Shreds videos. Stevie Ray Vaughan just makes really good guitar faces. And it does an incredible job of sounding like an alternate-universe version of Stevie Ray Vaughan who’s super impressed with himself, but kind of sh*tty.
Number 7, Slipknot Shreds: I Walk Alone
This one’s by a different user, “thisnextsongiscalled.” It’s kind of a departure from the rest, but it’s pretty fantastic. It almost makes you wish Slipknot would sing power ballads. The more Shreds videos I watch, the more I notice a strange phenomenon: while there seems to be no rhyme or reason to why one is funny and the next isn’t, you can usually tell whether you’re watching one of the funny ones withing a few seconds.
Number 6, AC/DC Shreds: Hamster Truck
This one’s from TheBoiaFausOrchestra, yet another YouTuber inspired by St. Sanders. After the one-minute mark it’s pretty worthless because the lyrics are a little too on the nose, but the beginning part with drums, circus music, and zombie singing is classic. You really don’t need to make up dumb lyrics for this. It works really well with just caveman noises.
Number 5, Ozzy: Jake E. Lee Shreds
One of the original St. Sanders classics. You can tell this one’s going to be hilarious two seconds in, probably because of the clapping. It’s the clapping that makes it. With the visuals taken out of context, you have to wonder: how the hell does Ozzy decide when to clap? Probably the bats.
Number 4, Paco De Lucia Shreds
Another old St. Sanders dub. It’s not the sustained comedy of some of the other ones, but De Lucia’s guitar faces are pretty priceless.
Number 3, Nickelback Shreds
From SpiritSwitchBoard, the Creed Shreds guys. I’m sure Nickelback seemed like the next obvious target after Creed, but I chopped the original down to just the first 10 seconds. It doesn’t really go anywhere after that, but the beginning part with the drum fill-to-stupid-face-to-fart-sound is more beautiful than Diora Baird breast-feeding a unicorn.
On a related note, how has the internet not produced a Nickelback Shreds to rival Creed Shreds? Get on that. I don’t have all day to sit around and wait for these, you know.
Number 2, Santana Shreds
St. Sanders other high-water mark along with Kiss shreds, this one proves the video doesn’t necessarily have to be a cheesy butt-rock group. That there’s a different instrument in the shot every three seconds or so makes it. Bonus points for throwing in “The Final Countdown” riff in the middle there.
Creed Shreds 4: A Thousand Yasseahs!
SpiritSwitchBoard’s latest just hit the web last week, and I consider it the pinnacle of Shreds video achievement thus far. More “Yasseahs”, more durrs, durps, and fart sounds — what more could you want? I lose it as soon as he hits that “DERRT -DERR” in the beginning. So thank you, Scott Stapp. You truly are the John Lennon of scorn-worthy d-bags.