Mountain-Vu Trailer Court. Apache Junction, Arizona. 2:30 a.m.
I had the Clash going. Loud. The trailer was pumping. Pabst Blue Ribbon flowed freely through my veins, and the moon and stars shone with a vengeance. Everything made sense for a change. Until I heard Meth-Head Red, my illiterate, white-power neighbor, rein his pickup to a screeching halt in front of his single-wide.
Red looked like he'd spent the night getting in fights at 24-hour, all-nude strip bars again, and I guessed his tolerance level was even lower than usual. The pounding on my door came next. I'd guessed right.
"What are ya . . . one of the homos? One of them faaaaaags?" he yelled, pepped up on speed and booze. No way was I gonna open the door. "That crap you're listenin' to is queer shit. If ya don't kill it, I'll kill you!"
The last time Red threatened me, I managed to get my shovel to come down on his head. It's the only thing I remember. When I woke up two days later, my eyes were swollen to slits and my spleen was a squished tangerine. Worst of all, I couldn't drink for three days.
I ain't goin' through that again, I thought. Even if he does have the gall to call the Clash queer music. This, coming from a guy whose musical lineage was going to big ROCK concerts at county fairs and outdoor motor speedways, where bands like Black Oak Arkansas, Ted Nugent and Foghat raged, and you had to stand in line for hours just to get a beer in a plastic cup. And everybody there had Lynyrd Skynyrd hair. The bottles of Jack. The same eight-tracks in their primer-gray Pontiacs and identical Harley patches on their denim jackets. And they always left drunk, sunburned and mean.
So I flipped off the Clash and yelled back at Red, "All right, see ya, pal. See ya in hell!" Through a rip in the curtain I watched him move slowly to his trailer. I cracked another beer.
Looks like Hollywood Records has another stiff on its hands. Hee hee. It's Danzig's new one, and it's pure shite, mate. Just Nine Inch Nails-derived drivel driven by a chest-hair-sproutin' Jim Morrison knockoff who deserves the Police of Bad Poetry prize. All that goofy Death/Ashes/Sacrifice/Blood/Darkness imagery is just so banal. "Teenagers From Mars" it ain't.
Is Glenn Danzig a real tough guy? I mean, is he threatening with all them muscles? Nah, his Fred Flintstone physique and corny Jim Nabors baritone render the pose laughable. Truly, the only things evil are all the pro-rapist delusions contained herein. Little does the dimwitted Danzig know that his ideas are contrary to the ideals that separate us from the lower forms. Example: "Rape the garden of infernal delights . . . You want the power of darkness/You want it thrust inside" ("Power of Darkness"); or, "Girl I'm gonna eat your heart/Rip your little world apart/Girl I'm gonna make you come/Free your body with my gun" ("7th House"). Sexy, eh?
Hey, Danzig--leave the girls alone, pack it in and take your self-impressed ass back home. Sissy.
The last Silverchair CD still comes in handy, since I discovered it makes a perfect candleholder. At night, when the flickering flame reflects off the CD grooves, splendid hues flower the aluminum ceiling of my trailer, giving it an almost cheery ambiance. A simple kaleidoscope born of an intolerable disc. I impressed myself with that rare show of resourcefulness.
Freakshow is loaded with a ferocious rockin' venom unmatched since those rockist rabble-rousers H.R. Pufnstuf. 'Chair's singer Daniel Johns, like H.R.'s paragon of angst Johnny Whittiker, reeks of world-weary authenticity. In the new videos, he's appropriately armed with a Vedder/Cobain countenance which emphasizes his earnestness. The life and soul of the songs here exist on an emotional height obviously begot through pain, like the days of yore, when rock 'n' roll was made by people who did it not by choice, but necessity--ones who were too fucked-up to facilitate normal lives.
Johns bravely defines pomposity with lines like "Head's a crying wasteland/Just myself to blame/Have no life and/Being hand-fed pain." Oh, man, fuckin' brilliant. Certainly, these men have suffered like few before them. But if rock 'n' roll is easy, it's a swindle. Right?
I now have matching candleholders. My mom would be proud.
Trial by Fire
Styx, Night Ranger, Aldo Nova, Loverboy, Foreigner. Seventies and early Eighties American AOR radio champions playing some of the most whitewashed, lowest-common-denominator tripe ever. But the aforementioned can't touch the true king of quack-rock, the inspired master of the uninspired: Journey. Each Journey song the radio insisted on playing and millions had to own was sheer misery and complete despair to me. Everywhere I went, it was there, stinkin' up the air. At the bus stop blaring from someone's stupid car stereo; at Burger King, coming from those horrible hidden speakers in the ceiling; at the dentist's office, on those earphones they give you to drown out the drilling. Even with a toothache, I couldn't escape the horror that is Journey. I could've killed myself.
Then one day, they were gone. Bye-bye. I felt like my penance was paid for quitting as an altar boy. Hallelujah. Then this monstrosity found its way into my hands. You have no idea the suffering I endure in this life.
Get the Music Newsletter
Keep your thumb on the local music scene with music features, additional online music listings and show picks. We'll also send special ticket offers and music promotions available only to our Music Newsletter subscribers.