Skate Free or Die

I didn't have a very patriotic Fourth of July. I burned most of the morning on a quest for a smut video and the rest of the day flaying my ears with punk rock and dodging skateboards.

Let me explain.
About a month ago, publicists in L.A. started asking if I'd seen the Tommy Lee/Pamela Anderson Lee home-sex video yet. I emphasize yet because the flacks treated it as a given that such a video exists and that I would eventually witness it, though none of them claimed to have done so--yet.

Here's the story as the music-industry rumor mill has churned it out--following the lead of Tonya Harding and Jeff Stone, ne Gillooly, Motley Crue's drummer and Baywatch's meal ticket with the male gender decided to videotape the (reportedly) acrobatic consummation of their union. And then either by design or mishap--it depends on who's spinning the tale--the tape got out and copies started multiplying and spreading through various entertainment-industry social circles like a strain of Ebola virus.

David Letterman alluded to it on his show a few times last month. Supposedly, some guy in L.A. is hawking copies through the mail for $80 a pop. I'm hot for his number. It's not that I want to ogle Tommy and Pamela--although I suppose, as music editor, I have some responsibility to critique Tommy Lee's performance on the basis of flourish, endurance and tempo--I just want to know if the damn thing's really out there. I have to know if the iconography of the heavily tattooed drummer for the preeminent glam-metal band of the '80s pounding away at the preeminent silicone-enhanced sex symbol of the '90s is seeping its way into the American pop psyche, because I have to find out if we're really that far gone.

But, alas, my quest thus far has been in vain. Multiple Fourth of July feelers put out via Internet and phone calls to both coasts yielded no solid leads, and no firsthand accounts of video viewage. A request for info on the whereabouts of Dee Snider in this space a few weeks back earned a tremendous response (evidently, he's in a band called Widowmaker that, incredibly, is even lamer than Twisted Sister), so I'll try to go two for two--anyone with any concrete information on the Tommy Lee/Pam And Lee vid, pass it my way if you please. I've already wasted enough time trying to track it down that I could have better spent shooting bottle rockets at people in line to see Independence Day or chugging fluids in preparation for seven hours spent in the sweltering heat at Warped Tour '96.

Here's the run-down on the punk-rock/skate-demo megafest that tooled through the Valley July 4 at Desert Sky Pavilion: The double-stage setup was pure clockwork. There was rarely more than two or three minutes between any of the 13 bands. Early sets by Blink 182 and Deftones were fun, loud and rowdy as hell. fluf, Red 5, and Lagwagon served punk in a plain, brown wrapper--colorless and generic. Also disappointing were the Dance Hall Crashers, who played 30 minutes of limp ska core, fourth from the top. Pennywise spent too much time talking shit from the stage about how people weren't moshing hard enough--hey, you try hanging out in triple-digit heat for five and a half hours, then jump in a pit swarm, mister air-conditioned tour bus--but the band's closer, "Bro Hymn," noticeably roused the crowd as a couple dozen skaters and members of several other bands joined Pennywise in an onstage slam dance/water fight. A lot of the audience--especially the younger kids--made for the exits after Pennywise, skipping the two headliners (maybe it was time for mom to pick them up). They missed out on the best music of the day. Rocket From the Crypt pulled its lounge-lizard/greaseball hard-core hybrid out of the vat with usual flair (loved the silver lame stage wear), and Fishbone was a joy to watch. Kaleidoscopic walls of sound were concocted from a baritone sax and the ghostly wails of a thereminlike contraption that looked like a cheap sci-fi-movie prop.

The attendance count at the Warped festival topped out at just under 6,500, the thermometer at just under 110 F. Brutal heat--and lots of people got pissed off that they couldn't bring in their own containers of water (the venue provided free filtered water, but the coolers kept running dry, and there's a big difference between a six-ounce paper-cone cup and a good liter or two you can carry on your person). The pro skateboard demos were off schedule but awesome. Featured skaters on the monster half-pipe included Salman Agah, Sergie Ventura (big air and many excellent one-handed vertical inversions) and living legend Steve Caballero, who, after several attempts, finally pulled off his invented signature trick, "the full Cab," in which he launches, reaches beneath him, grabs the board with one hand and spins it 360 degrees with his legs splayed at crazy angles, then gets his feet back on the board before a hard landing. Totally sick.

Hollywood Bound: Chimeras guitarist Mark Zubia confirms the Tempe band is in final negotiations for a multi-album deal with Hollywood Records. "It's a go," he says. The Chimeras recorded a "pseudo-demo" tryout for Hollywood in early June. "We got down four songs in four days," says Zubia. Hollywood president Bob Pfiffer liked what he heard and came out the next week to hear the band members do a set at Long Wong's, then promptly offered them a deal. Zubia says the band is already scheduled for time at A&M Studios in Los Angeles. "If all goes well, we should be in the studio by October."

--David Holthouse

 
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