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The Trashman

I cracked a 40 of King Kobra, opened the curtains a bit, and took a seat. My trailer park's domestic-theater show had just begun, and my neighbor, Meth-Head Red, was in rare form. His lime-green La-Z-Boy, which usually sits in front of Red's TV, now lay on its side in front of his trailer. Incredible. The window frame looked to be much smaller than the La-Z-Boy, but somehow the chair had made it clear through. There was broken glass everywhere.

Red's rail-thin, scraggly haired, speed-freak girlfriend ran outside sporting a new black eye. Her mouth shot an impressive stream of insults at a good volume in an accent completely indecipherable. She was barefoot, dirty, and wearing Daisy Duke cutoffs and a yellow halter top. She had giant veins that snaked up her arms. She was 27 but looked 50. When the crystal is working, beauty is the first to go, followed by the mind, then the teeth and hair. She was at the stage between mind and teeth.

Never ones to pass up the chance to appear on Cops, my other neighbors formed a crowd. I looked at them. The goodwill ambassador of genetics had obviously passed them all up. Is it like that in all trailer parks? One of life's great mysteries.

Then Meth-Head Red brought out the shotgun, cocked, and aimed. The first round of buckshot sailed over his caterwauling girlfriend's head (she may or may not have been the target) and lodged into an electrical device affixed to a telephone pole, sending sparks free-falling into the futile air. My cowardly neighbors scrammed for cover. I did the same. I heard another shot. A hole opened in my aluminum wall, and my fish tank exploded. There was murder in Red's cackle. He called me a pussy and a punk-rock homo. I always have been impressed with his command of the English language. Shot number three rang out, sparking the eruption of my propane tank and filling me with flashbacks of a war I was never in. Now I know how my old man must have felt out in the trenches. Maybe I was channeling him.

Then I could hear the sirens, the cowboys wearing stars on their way. A fourth shot intervened, and a trash can was airborne. The cavalry arrived, and I got up to see Meth-Head Red apprehended without a struggle, then shoved into the back of a police car and driven off. The look of defeat on his face made me smile. His girlfriend was taken away as well, midhowl. Goodnight, Irene. I was left with the mean shakes, a trailer with a hole in it, and fish gasping for air everywhere. But at least I had the rest of my 40, and another one cooling in the fridge.

Hear in the New Frontier

The latest Queensryche pile-o-dung stacks the corn high as the band dons Clark Kent duds and braves a new world, not as millionaire former metal gods, but rather as two-bit community activists. The opening track, "Sign of the Times," enlightens with this bit of elementary-school-level social commentary: "Heading for the classroom yesterday/The kids filed through the metal machine/It tried to find what they may hide/You know it ain't right." Zzzzzzzzzzzzz.

What's most annoying about the members of Queensryche, aside from their leftover-Seventies-prog-rock/Rick Wakeman-is-God mannerisms, is the way they'd love you to believe they're the hard-rock band with a brain. Who the hell are they kidding? Just 'cause a few words in their lyric sheet are more than two syllables, they're Longfellows? The countless mystery chords in their songs make them Lennon/McCartney? Don't let these A-1 dopes dupe you.

The only honor Queensryche deserves is the Trashman's Cheez-Whiz trophy for most incomprehensible use of a cliche. The song "Spool" incorporates Descartes' crusty "I think, therefore I am" without a hint of irony. Oh, the shame.

Kenny Loggins
Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow:
The Greatest Hits of . . .

Kenny Loggins. Look at that. Two names that, taken together, mean something to my mother. No wonder I don't talk to her much. Kenny Loggins. I could never trust an old hippie (remember his pre-solo days in the flower-power-lite duo Loggins and Messina?) who's never acted in a film but still has more Oscars on his shelf than Robert Mitchum.

Yep, Kenny got off clean on multiple counts of aesthetic butchery. Several rotting corpses are here: Giorgio Moroder's "Danger Zone," from the horrendous movie Top Gun; the chestnut-from-hell "Footloose"; and what about "I'm Alright" from the Caddyshack soundtrack? In the liner notes, Loggins actually apologizes for his shoddy tunesmithing: "What can I say? This one was strictly for fun." What a dork. It ain't enough that Kenny's pap has lined his pockets thick and green, like the rain forests he's so devoted to saving--he still has the gall to show his hairy face at the Oscars every few years. Just look at that smile. I'd like to wipe it off his face with a weed-whacker, the happy, rich, perfectly coifed fake.