Monday, March 24, 2008

X welcomes us back to the States

(could anything look more sexxxy and dangerous as that...? I really don't think so. one the best band names eva....)

Pretty fucking sweet to come back from Ireland and see the legendary American (Wessssiiiide) poetic punk rock-a-billy rockers that I love and admire so much. AT the goddamn Cabooze, to boot! Such a strange but wonderful place to see X. My first (!) time. Whoa. I got to see John Doe at the 400 Bar on a press pass ( I had just phone-interviewed him that day) and it was, by far, one of the coolest journalistic experiences I ever had. He was so damn down-to-earth and easy to talk to. I was positively giddy.

here's the link to that interview with him...

They sounded incredible. Exene Cervenka and John (heartthrob) Doe had that amazing chemistry, still. So one-of-a-kind, that egalitarian, totally feminist vibe. Billy Zoom, looking a helluva lot older than the rest of 'em (cuz he is), was incendiary on that rock-a-billy guitar, dipping the neck of it into the crowd and holding firm ground with a power stance to beat the band. John *still* looks like that ragamuffin, skinny and lanky puppy like he always has...big ol' grin on his face fer most of the time. Exene looked severe and modest in her long burning-witch-at-the-stake-like black dress. She sounded divine. I gained a new appreciation for her on Saturday night. I loved watching her play to he crowd of sweaty, smiling pit po-go-ers that TOTALLY looked like they crawled straight outta 1979. She got nice and close to their faces and held some of their hands. It was kinda touching, really. X really did create a totally unique kind of punk atmosphere, if ya ask me. Socially political, passionate, a lil' touchy-feely, sexual, sensual music that transcends the violent nihilistic attitude that pervades most people's idea of what punk was and can be.

I got to witness what they were all about in only the way that live music can provide. I feel fucking lucky.

John and Exene are equals up there, harmonizing that truly unique soulful, punked out wail-drone that I will always be in love with. It sounded so vibrant, so urgent--I couldn't wipe the smile off of my face. Those prose/poetry-style lyrics still sting and engage me...

When they sang "Johnny Hit and Run Pauline" I got crazy chills. That song has always made me tear up and clench my fists. Musically, it kicks it into a frenzied Chuck Berry-mode, then the story unfolds and the vocals of Exene and John are downright mournful.

Dig those haunting words:

he bought a sterilized hypo to shoot a sex machine drug
he got 24 hours to shoot all Paulines between the legs
he'll throw 96 tears thru 24 hours
sexed once every hour
Johnny hit and run Pauline (x 4)
l.a. bus doors open
kicking both doors open
when it rested on 6th street
that's when he drug a girl inside
he was spreading her legs
and didn't understand dying
she was still awake
Johnny hit and run Pauline (x 4)
when he was waking up beside the bed he found clumps of hair
the last Pauline wouldn't cooperate
she wasn't what you'd call living really
but she was still awake
Johnny hit and run Pauline (x 4)

One of the most amazing "punk" songs ever, if ya ask me. (it's that "she was still awwaaaaaake" that always gnaws at my heart) I will never forget seeing an interview with John Doe when I was a kid. He described how kids at shows ended up pumping their fists, violently, mindlessly to that disturbing chorus. He said they "don't perform that song anymore" because these kids didn't even understand that it was an anti-rape song. (Can't help but think of the Reagan exploitation of Bruce, of course....) Course, that interview was probably over 15 years old, but I was still pleasantly surprised to hear 'em do it. It is such a powerful and awesome song.

And then, this was weird...Fitzy and I are watching (well, re-watching, for me) Six Feet Under right now and we're at the episode where Lisa leaves for a trip to Santa Cruz. Nate and Maya are chillin' and Nate is bopping her around to the sounds of....bamp-bamp-bamp-bamp- BAMP...“She-he-he, had to leave...Los Angeles.” X! In SFU! Such a totally fitting song for the scene and the story, too. It's like a way, way, WAY cooler version of the whole John Travolta and baby (voiced by Bruce Willis) doing their "Walking On Sunshine" number. sigh.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

"it always comes back to the music"

Lady Madonna looked downright chuffed. Eyes wet, she seemed genuinely humbled and honored to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Her speech was slightly stiff (never really found her actor/public speaking voice or flow after all these years…everything else BUT that, it seems.) But it was downright *moving." I actually thought the Stoic One might actually cry a little at a few points. One in particular was a great combo of part hurt-resurfaced, part fuck-you and part absolute gratitude: "The ones that said I was talentless, that I was chubby, that I couldn't sing, that I was a one-hit wonder. They pushed me to be better, and I am grateful for their resistance."

Justin Timberlake did a *weak* job of inducting her (gawd I was pissed when I heard he was doing it. I prayed for David Bowie--hoping the RRHF would do a Bruce U2 thing and let him induct her after she did it for him). And yeah, I know he just worked with her on her new record, and I know he's the best hot young thing out there, so they say...I just can't get into him. He just doesn't do it fer me. Ho-hum. He really did suck for the most part, with jokes that fell flat and silly sexual innuendos that seemed out of place. He had a few choice lines, though and kicked off the speech with those infamous quotes from those hater-journalists that slammed Madge in her early days. (Choice lines like, "she won't last six months" and the uber-infamous: she sounds like "Minnie Mouse on helium.") A great way to kick off an ode to a 25 year carreer. Still, I thought it was a shame not to have a goddamn woman do it at least. I mean, if you couldn't have Bowie do it, have Liz fucking Phair, or even friggin' MIA...or simply a woman (ANY woman) in rock that was touched by her existence. Cuz, face it, she shook it *all* up, and every woman that's come after her in the pop/rock/punk/dance world has Madge to thank for paving the way. All hail the muthafucking Queen.

Iggy and the Stooges (hey, there's Mike Watt!) were...fucking rad. They blasted though (my ultimate fave song of hers, "Burnin' Up" and the great "Ray Of Light," as a sweetly smiling Madge looked on. I still feel conflicted about that whole decision...kinda left wondering what her intentions were. I hope it was a fuck-you to the RRHF, cuz the Stooges were nominated, but didn't get in...Heh--Fitzy had a great (Simpsons, more...) line, "Maybe they just did it to freak out the squares," referring to the re-dick buttoned-down, industry-types that are all stiffly sitting in their chairs as Iggy writhes and licks his lips, all serpent-like. It was a cool Michigan-family move, and the punk of Madonna was certainly represented...fuck, it was really cool. haha. Iggy singing "Burnin' Up" was just so damn fitting, it could've been a Stooges song, fer chrissakes. I just woulda loved to have seen her up there with him, I guess. Whew--that would have been hot.

One of the most surreal moments of TV/pop culture spectating/icons colliding came when the camera followed Iggy and the boys off stage. We followed them through the kitchen, Goodfellas-style, down a hall, and to the voice of Madonna, saying, "Iggy! That was great!" Camera crew, on-lookers, et al surrounded them as photogs snapped shots of the sinewy punk prince and the lovely, snow-white was trippy and awkward and...really sweet and real. I loved it.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Madge perfor--er, wait...that's IGGY POP!!!!!!

That's right. Lady Madge gets inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Sham tonight and she will not be performing.

Iggy fucking Pop and the Stooges will be in her place.

More on this post.

Also: I am going to Ireland in a few days---I hope to gawd I will be able to access this beast when I'm in ova thar.