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Rollin' With the Punches

Derby old man: Our columnist braves a bar full of hotties to find out why they skate and fight.
Matthew Henry Hall

"Do you really think these girls are gonna kick your ass?" asks The Baron, as we make our way toward The Rogue in Scottsdale, already three hours late for the Renegade Roller Girls' costume party.

"I think they might," I tell my friend, whose real name is Brian, but who goes under the professional name "Barin Darnew" ever since some label in California offered him a record contract.

Because he's good.

Really good.

The next David Bowie, if you ask me.

"I'm really not into violence," The Baron tells me as he sits in my passenger seat, wearing dark jeans and a black long-sleeve button-down shirt, looking every bit the rock star he is, trimmed goatee and all.

I look at myself in my rearview mirror. Bleached blond hair, and a huge nose that says "punch me." Then I look down at my punk-rock utility vest, which is really just some video game swag for the new Syphon Filter game from Sony with the U.S. pins on the damn thing, and my black women's stretch jeans.

Oh yeah, I'm dead.

We reach The Rogue and find a place to park -- something we're not used to, since we both just moved here from New York City.

As we walk toward the club, The Baron tells me he's brought a camera because he wants to take some pictures. I get very nervous and tell him maybe they don't want their pictures taken. Maybe they're like vampires, and won't show up. Or worse, they'll beat us up like Sean Penn.

The Baron lights up a Marlboro Red, and lets out a small laugh.

We reach the entrance, and the first thing I see is a hot chick in a giant, almost naked, fat costume, with the words "Suicide Girls" across that sash thing that all those Miss America contestants wear with their home states.

"Hi, George," says the beautiful girl. I now recognize her as "Sue Nami," who's probably changed her name a few times by now. (Hopefully she's not going by Eva Lanche these days.) I'd met her a few months back at another roller derby party at a racetrack for dogs. How they find people small enough to ride on their backs is beyond me.

Anyway, I had been introduced to "Sue" through my friend "Hadda Bad Day" of the L.A. Derby Dolls, whose real name is Jodi -- a nice Jewish girl I knew from way back when, in those punk-rock days and nights of the early Maximumrocknroll.

We had spent that night coming up with the idea that roller derby was just the new form of punk rock. A bunch of girls get together, start their own "group," go out and do their thing, and lots of us Jurassic Punks watch in amusement.

It's great to see chicks fight it out. God knows we guys did enough of that in the mosh pit back in the day.

Now it's their turn.

Our bodies ain't what they used to be, plus, getting hit around HURTS.

Ouch.

The Baron and I make our way into The Rogue, and I watch as he kind of grooves his way to the bar for the dollar-fifty Pabst Blue Ribbons.

I'm jealous.

The guy even moves like a rock star.

Anyway, after securing the cooled and carbonated piss in a can, we make our way around the bar, checking out the scene.

There are hot chicks. Everywhere.

And most of them are not really wearing any clothes, to speak of.

"Costume parties give girls a chance to dress like their inner sluts," The Baron tells me as we sip away at our Blue Velvet specials.

I tell him I agree, and I wish men could do the same. I really do want to wear around a pair of leopard-print Speedos, and pretend to be Lance Rocke, a.k.a. Jungle Boy from Beyond the Valley of the Dolls. Taking my fantasy one step further, if The Baron had a set of tits, he could be Ronnie Barzell, a.k.a. Z-Man. He could carry around a sword and pretend to cut off my head.

"Check out the sign on the stage," The Baron says to me, knocking me out of my decadent thoughts I've recently developed from watching the Independent Film Channel.

I look up at the small stage at The Rogue, and besides seeing really hot girls dancing around in their "inner slut" costumes, I see a sign that reads "Kisses -- $1."

I think about that for a whole two seconds and realize a blowjob would be better for that price.

I'm that cheap.

Then it's time for me to make my way around the club and ask some roller derby girls if they believed, like me, that their scene was the new punk rock.

Near the merch table where they have some wonderful tee shirts, buttons and stickers, I find Melissa, who goes under the name "Jackie O'Nasty," and Jessica, whose stage name is "Evilynne Myheart."

Clever.

Like my old pals Bob Noxious, Rob Banks, Ben Dover and Jello Biafra.

"What got you into roller derby?" I ask, fully expecting them to tell me the punk rock.

"Well," says Melissa -- I mean, Jackie O' Nasty -- "my mom loved the roller derby, and when she heard there was a league, she really wanted me to join!"

Stunned, I ask her if she's even heard of the Raquel Welch film Kansas City Bomber, a cult favorite which, it seems to me, popularized this whole thing.

"I'm not sure," she tells me.

So I ask her and Evilynne Myheart why they take part in what they both agree may become a big sport in the future ("My little brother heard about it on ESPN," one of them tells me later).

"'Cause we get to release aggression," they tell me.

"Huh?" I ask, wondering why hot chicks would have anything to be angry about. I mean, hell, they have VAGINAS. If I had one, I'd be more than happy just sitting at home and playing with it all day. Video games get boring.

"We're angry about lots of things," they tell me, "like shithead assholes who can't give good grades in art school, and stuff like that!"

When I pressure them for more, they tell me about the day-to-day frustrations they both have, and how it feels good to take out that anger by beating up other people.

"But right after the game we're friends again," they say.

I tell them it's the same with the punk rock. You go into a mosh pit, or bash somebody with your guitar, or, if you're my ex-pal G.G. Allin, you throw shit at them and piss on their heads. But in the end, it's all about release.

The girls look at me like I'm more than slightly crazy, but that's okay. This is their generation's rebellion, and it certainly beats the shit out of watching some lame-ass bands on MTV, or going to prepackaged "punk rock" shows that feature bands selling rebellion through $30 tee shirts.

Here, at least for the time being, it's completely D.I.Y., and the whole scene is exploding around the country.

The Baron and I later run into Nate, who is the night manager/booking/all-around cool guy at the bar. I ask him about this supposed rivalry between two of Phoenix's derby groups.

He just laughs and tells me, "Sometimes they do come in here and beat each other up, pretty much. I think they fight for show."

When I ask him if he stops the fights, he says, "When it's girl on girl, I'm not breaking it up."

We all laugh as we look at the TV screens in the bar, which are showing the girls kicking each other's asses in the rink.

Finally, the conversation turns to who decides the winners of the derbies.

A hot nurse with bright red hair tells us that the judges do.

"I wanna be a judge," says The Baron, as he picks us up another round of PBRs. "I think I'm in the wrong business."

I nod my head in agreement.

And silently thank my lucky stars that it was never me they wanted to beat up -- it was each other.

And for the first time that night, I burp a Blue Ribbon belch of relief.

E-mail george.tabb@newtimes.com


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