Gabe Saporta lifted the severed head of his one-time idol and mentor into the air and let forth a triumphant, guttural cry.
"Behold! The beast, Pete Wentz!" Saporta roared, eliciting awestruck cheers from the mob of admirers spread below him on the White House's south lawn. Eyes twinkling with cold amusement, the emo heartthrob savored their terrified glee as drops of blood pooled on the balcony tiles near his feet.
"Let this be a warning to ALL who would stand in the way of cool tunes and awesome good times," he declared. "They built this city on rock 'n' roll, but we built this city on disco beats, too!"*
Marquee Theatre in Tempe
Cobra Starship is scheduled to perform on Wednesday, October 28.
The crowed thundered. Fusion-powered airships screamed overhead. Laser cannons crackled in the distance. And Saporta smiled. Oh, it was so very good to be president.
Surveying the bedlam, he recognized a familiar face in the crowd: Access Hollywood host Billy Bush. Hand cupped over mouth, Saporta leaned toward a Secret Service bodyguard.
"That one," he hissed. "In the Lincoln bedroom. Now."
Say, for argument's sake, your favorite band is U2. You buy their records, go to their concerts, read their clippings. You love 'em.
But can you imagine authoring a fictional story in which Bono reveals himself as your long-lost father? And then posting it on the Internet?
Welcome to the world of band fan fiction — that sprawling, uncatalogued library of unsanctioned wordsmithing generated by music's most ardent fans. Overwhelmingly, band fan-fic authors are girls and women. And, typically, emo-rocker-dudes are the main characters, often envisioned as girly-men or domineering lovers.
Finally, one emo rocker — Gabe Saporta of Cobra Starship — is taking back the night. Quite literally, he's turning himself into a piece of band fiction, much better than any imaginative girl with a keyboard could do it for him.
Later, in the presidential chambers, Saporta found his Secretary of the Interior and life partner, former The Academy Is . . . frontman William Beckett, lying on their goose-feather bed, gently dabbing tears from his large doe eyes.
"Jesus, you'll get mascara all over the Natori comforter," the president sneered, unzipping his hoodie and unholstering his trusty Desert Eagle .50 handgun, the one he used to execute Good Charlotte singer Joel Madden in a truck stop outside Des Moines. The weapon clattered loudly on the room's fine mahogany dresser.
"Did you do it?" William demanded, with more guts than usual. "Did you kill him?"
"Duhhh," the president spat dismissively. "It was like my whole campaign platform."
The fictionalization of Gabe Saporta began in 2005, when he left his first job as a pop-punk bassist to reinvent himself as a synth-dance impresario. Launching Cobra Starship, he enjoyed immediate success when his eponymous contribution to the Samuel L. Jackson B-flick Snakes on a Plane became a hit on alternative radio.
Regarding Cobra Starship, the cause and effect is still a little sketchy. Did the movie, in fact, inspire the creation of the band? It certainly seemed like a one-off project at the time — a joke band for a joke movie.
If that was the case, Saporta isn't owning up. In 2006, he told interviewer Michael Schneider that the name for the band came to him during a weeklong "spiritual quest" in the desert that included a life-changing encounter with an extraterrestrial serpent.
It's a funny piece of blarney that Saporta keeps on shoveling, even as the band becomes a legitimate Top 40 force with their new Hot Mess album and its execrable hit single "Good Girls Bo Bad."
Could any band fiction authoress do better?
William buried his head in a pillow and began sobbing anew. Saporta ignored him. It was always best to ignore him when he got like this. Finally, William lifted his head and squared his chin, trying to make a show of strength.
"Fine, all of our friends are dead," he said, with quivering lip. "At least now we can do some positive things, like fix the environment."
"Yeah, right," Saporta said absently, knotting his favorite skinny black tie. "I hate environmentalism. It's so self-righteous. We're not going to kill the Earth. We're just a little speck of dust in the history of a planet that will live for five billion years. We're just a flash in the pan."*
"You're scaring me," William cooed uncomprehendingly, sinking back into sheets.
"I know," Saporta said, with a charitable smile. "C'mon. We have one last thing to do."
The president stalked out of the room. After a short interval, William followed.
The more sexually minded band fiction authors delight in pairing emo rockers with one another romantically. It's called "slash" (e.g., Pete-slash-Patrick, Brendon-slash-Ryan) and it's a tradition that goes back to the '70s, when outré Trekkies imagined a Kirk-slash-Spock romance.
In the band-fiction universe, the Gabe Saporta/William Beckett relationship has become canon. The two men even have their own Brangelina-style portmanteau: Gabilliam.
Still, Saporta band-slash-fiction is moot. He's perfectly capable of fostering his own homoerotic myths, thank you very much. In a recent interview with Alternative Press, he recalled some late-night clubbing with a "friend."
Quoth Saporta: "He was like, 'Yo, do you think if we pretend we're gay and hug each other while we're moshing, we could push people harder and not get into a fight?' So we did. We were dancing and hugging and no one fucked with us."
"Leave us!" the president commanded, sending his Secret Service detail scurrying out of the White House dungeon. William shivered. This was where Saporta kept all his ex-pop-punk allies: Grohl and DeLonge and the rest.
"Come, my sweet. The Day of Darkness is at hand!" Saporta beckoned as he swept toward the dungeon's massive pentagram-shaped altar. "The final reckoning must be put in motion. Virgin feminine blood must be spilled!"
The president ripped a black tarp off the altar, revealing the pink, writhing body underneath. William gasped in shock and horror.
There's something about the plastic boyishness of emo that specifically appeals to the female-dominated band-fiction set. One could almost view band-fic stories as a post-pubescent surrogate for Barbie/Ken playtime, complete with sexless, non-threatening playthings.
Devotees often take it a step further, foisting girlish qualities and behavior on their grown male characters. It's called "twinking."
"No, Gabe, no!" William pleaded.
"Quiet, pansy! Don't you see that the world must pay?" the president seethed. "My career was founded on the crassest sort of opportunism! And no one called me on it, even when I started playing around with Miami Sound Machine beats. Even when I started matching my iPod to my purple hoodie. I was 30 years old!"
He drew the dagger high in the air. The virgin's muffled pleas filled the dungeon.
"And then they elected me president," Saporta sneered. "Just think about it: What kind of self-serving ambition would lead one into politics?* The cynicism has to end here."
"Yes, it does," William gasped, firing three rounds from the Desert Eagle into the president's chest. Both men collapsed.
It is early 2009. Saporta is shooting the video for "Good Girls Go Bad." He also seems to be twinking a bit, bombarding the camera with silly "street" hand gestures and self-conscious smugness.
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Like the music itself, it seems more the stuff of Hanna Montana than what we understand to be "emo." It feels like the end of something, or the beginning of something worse.
Just as he got up William was again felled, this time by bullets from Secret Service handguns. He wheezed as the dungeon filled with agents. Turning his head, he locked eyes with the president's would-be victim, still tied and bound.
"You must redeem us," he sputtered, surrendering his last breath. "It's up to you . . . Nick Jonas."
(*Denotes actual Gabe Saporta quotes.)