Even they gotta be embarrassed

30 10 2009

I don’t like Kiss.  Never have.  Never will.   But I did like at least one song, “Lick It Up.”  Notice the past tense; “did like.”  In 1983, this song seemed catchy, with a good pop-metal hook.  Now it seems insipid.

The video, though, is hysterical.  In the early 80’s, the video was kind of cool and had a tough-guy rock vibe.  Now it’s comic genius.  When the band walks down the street singing and flexing, why are there human skills on the ground?  The band had “unmasked” several years before this.  Their make up and costumes was replaced with huge hair, tight jeans, ripped t-shirts, belts, bandanas and all the other trappings of hair bands.   They look like Flock of Seagulls meets New Jersey housewives.

Vinnie Vincent, Ace Frahley’s replacement on ax, is in all his gender-bending glory, with his pink guitar and soft feminine features accented with more blush, mascara and eyeliner than you could find at an Avon party.  I remember thinking, “Dang, he looks like a girl.”  And he did.

Why are they guys drinking out of plastic gas cannisters?  At one point, one of the savage girls and later a guy on the band look like they are drinking out of a mustard squirt bottle.  Crimped-haired dolls feed the band like they are starved savages.

Not surprisingly, the video more or less ends  with the band “performing” on a stage beset with fire.  The whole set looks so post-apocalyptic.

Paul Stanley couldn’t be bothered to actually play the guitar he’s holding.   He’s too busy swinging an thrusting his pick hand in the air.  Ditch the guitar Paul.  It’s an instrument, not a prop.

No Kiss experience would be complete without having to see Gene Simmons’ slithery snake-tongue.  Sadly, I think Gene has always believed that is sexy to see.

And just what are we supposed to “lick up”?  What is the “it”?  They don’t really tell us.  But we do know that “it’s only right now”.  If you take anything away from this masterpiece — and my ramblings about it — remember this: “it ain’t a crime to be good to yourself.”



25 10 2009

Busy and uninspired lately, I’ve had nothing I felt I really should or could say.  But writing nothing, or waiting for the urge to write, seems unwise.  So here’s a little filler for you.

For whatever reason, this song and video came to mind.  As a Van Halen fanatic as a kid, I thought this song was one of the best of the Roth era.  Actually, it’s gotta be in my top 10 favorite Van Halen songs.  The video, though kind of fun for 13 year old boys (and back in the day when the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition was risque), is somewhat embarrassing now.  Still, it’s a great song and the video has camp.

Without further ado I give you…”Hot for Teacher”

Unearthed electronic press kit for Heathen Chemistry

15 10 2009

Oasis’s official website, oasisinet.com, recently dusted off an on old EPK or electronic press kit for the album Heathen Chemistry.  It just hit youtube yesterday and here it is for your viewing pleasure.


8 10 2009

lennon #9 dream

If he were alive today, 10/9/09, John Lennon would be 69.  He was born in Liverpool England on October 9, 1940.

The number 9 turns up in a lot of things related to John, some of that, of course, was intentional on his part.  But the recurrence of the number as it relates to him is interesting. His second son, Sean Lennon, was born on his 35th birthday, 10/9/75 (happy birthday to him as well.)  His first wife, Cynthia, was born on 10/9/39.

Then there are the songs: “Revolution 9,” “One after 909,” “#9 Dream.”  John “divorced” the Beatles in September 1969.  09/09/09, of course, was the release date of Beatles Rock Band and the remastered album catalog, a happy coincidence.

Be all that as it may, today is his birthday.  I will remember this flawed but brilliant man and express my gratitude for all the wonderful music he gave us.

Video Flashback: “Just Like Paradise” — David Lee Roth

8 10 2009

1988 — I was a huge Van Halen fan and had really liked David Lee Roth’s first solo LP, Eat ‘Em and Smile.  So it was a big deal when DLR released his second LP, Skyscraper.

I don’t remember when I first got my hands on the album, but I do know I was a “sandwich artist” at Subway, two doors down from the (now defunct) Harmony House music store in our town.  A young, cool musician-type — wannabe hair metal singer — came in for a sandwich and we struck up a conversation about music.  By that time I had heard Skyscraper and recommended it to him.  He raced over to Harmony House, bought the cassette and came back for more chit-chat.  Ultimately I put him in touch with a friend who was an excellent guitarist and a new band was formed, but that’s a different story.

Around that time I happened to be at my friend Brent’s house.  We didn’t have cable but he did, so I did most of my MTV viewing.  We were lucky enough to catch this video together — he had already seen it.  My memory of the video is that I thought it was quite cool.  I really liked the song save some of the cheesy synthesizer work.  It ended up being one of the more catchy and enjoyable songs on that album.

But like most of the things I loved when I was 16 or 17, I outgrew the song and the album within a few years.  I heard “Just Like Paradise” last night in a store and it brought back these little memories.  I was reminded of why I liked the song.  Watching the video tonight, I am reminded of why I outgrew this stuff.   The staff antics of DLR and his band are just plain corny.  Steve Vai is a guitar wizard, but his stage presence is almost embarrassing to watch.  Of course, there is no bigger cheeseball alive than David Lee Roth, and he’s in typical form in the video.

Despite all that, a part of me still likes the song and video.  Catchy is catchy, right?

Go Green! Go White! Go State!

2 10 2009

In anticipation of tomorrow’s big game against the Michigan Wolverines, here’s a little clip from youtube of the Michigan State University Spartan Marching Band.