Music News

The Trashman

Something snapped. The wind blew, the dust rose, and inside my trailer, an empty malt-liquor bottle came sailing for my head from the kitchen, which was a good 20 feet away. My excellent reflexes afforded me a timely duck that spared my skull but killed my prized possession--my 12-inch black-and-white Mitsuba. The deadly 40-ouncer lodged an explosive direct hit, sending sad bits of picture tube all around my feet and ending my long-standing love affair with Baywatch boobs, Kojak reruns and Lee Marvin movies. Oh, the unexplainable horror. Television (along with Henry Miller, the Clash and beer) makes long stretches of grinding poverty and blinding Arizona summers endurable.

I sat there in utter disbelief.
I looked up, and she was standing there, her big eyes all wide, hair wild, heart pounding and mouth going, "I've had it with your drinking and yelling at the roaches and neighbors! You lay around all day while there's no food to eat!" Her face was getting all red. "And you cut everyone down, people who work hard! Why are you so bitter? Why do you hate everything?"

She was some kind of exotic in a natural, meaty, Texas-bred way. Thick, blond hair and a full mouth. Beautiful. She was also crazy, but I was in love. I also knew she'd leave sooner or later, because good things don't reside here. I wasn't looking forward to the agony of abandonment. I offered up false optimism, though I realized she no longer wasted faith on me: "Ah, baby, it'll be all right. Everything will work out, sugarplum, I promise. Don't leave me. I'll try harder, I swear."

"You're as cheap as your words," she said, with a knowledge of me greater than my own. "And I'm sick of being your living-room maid, your bedroom whore and your cook in the kitchen! You don't know how to love. I want a man. I want flowers. I want away from you!"

She stormed off, and I followed, watching her pull all her thrift-store blouses, skirts, pumps and weathered lingerie together. She went around and grabbed all of her knickknacks, the feminine things that somehow took the edge off this place, and piled them with her dime-store cosmetics. She found her photo album, the only evidence of her past, full of people she'll probably never see or hear from again--the ones, no doubt, I would hear her softly talk to late at night, in spite of the fact that I haven't had a phone for years. I could only imagine the pain. It made me want her more.

She stuffed it all in that puke-colored suitcase I bought for her (the only thing I ever bought her) the night we met in California, when she said she had nowhere to go. And me being from nowhere, I took her back, via bus, to my trailer in Apache Junction, Arizona. That was a half-year ago.

Wearing jean cutoffs, flip-flops, mirrored sunglasses and my old Ramones Rocket to Russia tee shirt (obscenely stretched to accommodate her heaving chest), she grabbed the suitcase, pushed the screen door open and took her first steps away from me. As she made her way past the neglected yards of other trailers, her figure fading into June twilight, she looked like an angel. The sight nearly killed me, and I knew I'd never see her again. Whatever I did, I didn't mean it.

Life just got worse. Way worse.

John Taylor
Feelings Are Good and Other Lies
(DeRock Records)
A million screaming girls can't be wrong.
--Brian Epstein

The fascinating thing that was Duran-era John Taylor was his embodiment of the pure pop star. He proved that being able to feign rock-star fabulousness, without the distraction of developing a songwriting base, can make you a millionaire. Unfortunately, genetics will take one only so far.

Now, without a load of overworked publicists and couture-ornament babe girlfriends, John Taylor has unwittingly established that he has no rock star in him (hanging with Michael Des Barres should have been a dead giveaway). Worse, the Pistol/Guns/Duran/Neurotic Outsider thing proved J.T. couldn't rock. And his first solo recording confirms that all he ever could do was take a good photo (past tense, please!).

Millionaire bassists from lucky Eighties hype like Duran Duran pushing their luck does not a good album make, and Mr. Taylor's Feelings Are Good and Other Lies is such a profound nonevent, I bet Hagar the Horrible could take him!

Sammy Hagar
Marching to Mars
(The Track Factory/MCA)

With saddle sores still stinging for certain after the boot from his ride as Sheriff Halen dude, Hagar the Horrible returns with yet another unwelcome solo muscle-flex crammed with the usual barrage of racket best described when using the adjective/preposition combo "free of" as prefatory to the nouns fun, songs and wit.

Victim role-playing/Van Halen resentment breeds thinly veiled vitriol and plenty of boredom on Marching to Mars, best exemplified on its first AOR burner, "Little White Lies." In it, Hagar the Horrible holds up the honor of hack lyricists everywhere with stunning couplets like "Little white lies been around for years/Little white lies ringing in your ears" and "You turn around [they] come around back to you/Well that little white lie is catching up to you." Huh?

Speaking of hack writing, there's no shortage of outside specialists having a hand in the muddle as well. On "Who Has the Right," Hagar the Horrible teams with hitmeisters Jesse Harms/Craig Chaquico to preach in eighth-grade vernacular that women shouldn't have the right to choose (I smell a future GOP candidate collecting his ego), and they wrap the whole thing in that piss-stained sap that bloated the waists of should-have-been-taken-out-back-and-shot crap artists like Journey and Jovi.

Boy, I'll tell ya, brothers Halen and bloated/bald bass guy sure know a wuss when they see one. They oughta know. Hee, hee, heeeeee. Surely, Sir Roth knows a good laugh when he sees one.

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Bill Blake