Green Guzzlin'

Our Beelzebubbas hang with a fire-eater and girl band Hell on Heels at the Emerald Lounge

"Did any of the other girls, well, you know . . ." Jett asks, smiling.

"No one bothered me, but there were chicks making out in the bathrooms and stuff. Oh, and they had drugs in there. They'd reach back behind the toilets, move these tiles in the wall, and that's where they had them. I don't know what kind of drugs exactly, though."

"Intents!" I say.

"Hey Kreme," nudges Jett. "Hell on Heels is going on. Let's check it out!"

We stroll to the back and to the left where there's a slightly larger room papered over with fliers for bands like Smut Muffin, Liars Club and Spaz Kitty.

On stage, the power-punk foursome rips it up. But the crowd, smelling of the good ganja, is super mellow. Definitely not an audience-participation night.

Afterward, we kick it with terminally cute guitarist and vocalist Paula Monarch, who seemed disappointed by the crowd response, but was looking forward to recording the first of the group's three-record deal with L.A.-based Bomp! Records.

"You know," she tells me, as she orders a drink, "with those sunglasses, you look like a reject from a rerun of that show CHiPs."

"Gee, thanks. Actually, I was trying to channel a cross between Jim Jones and Luther Vandross, before he lost all the weight."

Monarch laughs and says, "What if I say, 'Everything here's off the record'?"

"That might work if we were actual journalists!" I respond.

Nonplussed, she asks, "So, you guys are partners?"

"Yeah," answers Jett. "I'm Starsky and he's the car."

"Well, you've gotta admit," I state for the record. "That red Ford Gran Torino was the coolest thing about the movie. So, Paula, can I be your first official groupie before you guys blow up and move to L.A.?"

"Are you willing to strip naked at all of our shows?" she asks.

Incredulous, Jett asks, "Do you really want to see that naked?"

Moving the focus off my fat self, I say, "So tell me, how did you guys get on the New Times cover? Come on, you can tell me, you used our music columnist, Brendan Joel Kelley, as a pass-around, right?"

"Yes, I admit it," she pants, batting her eyes. "We made him wear leather briefs and spanked him."

The thought of Kelley getting his fanny whipped by the lovely Paula makes me feel faint. Suddenly everything goes dark. The next thing I know, I'm on the floor and Jett is pouring a vodka red bull down my throat.

By this time, a punk band's up on stage. It's Balls, and it's all male except for the hot blonde lead singer. On my feet again, Jett tells me some skinheads outside have a beef with one of the bands, and they're looking to beat up anyone who walks out.

"Damn," I say. "And I left my Taser in the car."

"Kreme, we've got to get out of here!" Jett declares.

"Well, I'm gonna get another drink. Every man, and, uh, lesbian for himself!"

I march back to the bar and order us two Jaeger shots. There, we meet Mike Red, this tall bald dude with multiple piercings who looks like he can protect us. Jett tells him about the Nazi A-holes outside, and he seems rarin' to go (as soon as he finishes his drink, natch). I come to learn that Mike's a retired professional fire-eater.

"Now, I play guitar for a three-piece called Sound of Birds. We're very slow, very dreamy. That's what we're going for, anyway."

And about chowing down on hellfire for a living?

"I performed with this group Culte du Feu. We did a lot of work for Camel cigarettes, and we opened up for Perry Farrell. You have to get into the vibe of fire. It's a trance-like state, like with fire-walkers. When you're in the zone, it doesn't affect you the same as it would normally."

He puts his cigarette out on his tongue.

"Ouch!" I yelp, feeling his pain.

"Yeah," he says nonchalantly. "The downside is, I don't taste anymore. After four years, my sense of smell has gone down, too. I also lost a tooth from having hard fuels in my mouth, like Zippo fluid and lamp oil. You start to deteriorate, as if you were doing too much crystal over time. So I'm out of the fire business and on to the rock 'n' roll."

"What about the skinheads, dude?" asks Jett, nervously.

"Oh, right," Red says. He finishes his drink and heads out the door to do battle. Seems other guys have headed out to do the same, like some pierced-and-tatted Wild West posse.

Jett looks at me accusingly. "What, you're not gonna help?!"

"Remember, I'm the brains of this outfit, baby," I respond. "One blow to my head, and we're both out of a job. Besides, I'm a lover, not a fighter."

"Yeah, a lover of crullers," sneers Jett.

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