Bootsy X and The Lovemasters
Pusherman of Love
Sir Aquarius Records
So there I am, minding my own business and house-sitting in Hamtramck for a friend in a traveling band when I get this manic phone call from a local legend claiming to be a fan of this column. Seven minutes later, this wild-eyed character is at the door, with three boxes full of old D-town records, wearing a Zodiac Mindwarp & The Love Reaction T-shirt. The dogs are barking madly. And this guy, this Bootsy X, is striking kung fu poses and executing James Brown-style knee drops. Right there on the spot the guy is spontaneously pioneering an entirely original style of breakdancing involving flailing limbs while fervently pointing digits at various record sleeves. Without breaking stride, Bootsy shouts out these zoomingly jacked-up, rocket-powered, frenzied and furious tales of Motor City madness, co-starring guys like Lester Bangs and Kim Fowley and at least a half-dozen stripper ex-girlfriends — and this is all in the first five minutes.
If this guy Bootsy can find a way to rein in all that desperate charisma long enough to find some more earthbound collaborators and focus on a fresh batch of material, he could end up making some real and lasting contributions to rock ’n’ roll.
As evidenced on this, his last CD, the cat is super-saturated with killer rock instincts, personality and great humor, but traveling at poet-warped amphetaminic speed, he might not live long enough to grace us with classics like “Genius from the Waist Down.” That would be a shame, a cop-out and a waste. Make a big comeback, Bootsy. What the hell else ya gonna do?
Bad Bunny Records
Iris Berry is the long-reigning, phrase-chiseling, word matriarch from the seamy side of the City of Angels. On Collect Calls, her spoken-word book follow-up to Life On The Edge In Stilettos, Berry spins lovely little yarns about the unlikely retinue of characters who’ve accompanied her on her checkered swath through the mansions and morgues of Tinseltown. Like a punk-rock James Elroy in fishnets, Berry induces goose bumps with a voice as pleasing as imported beer. Her observant prose is so wine-colored that her rogue’s gallery of mobsters, hoods, and half-ass rock stars all seem to spring to life, breathing vomit, cigars and clove cigarettes in your face. Berry herself once resided at legendary ’80s-punk crash pad, Disgraceland, and has hung with everyone from the Circle Jerks to Guns N’ Roses. She and her lifelong ally, the inspired wordsmith, Pleasant Gehman, are some of the most adored beauties in all of East LA — but these ain’t mere girlfriends to the stars, they shimmer in their own right. Berry sang for the Ringling Sisters and the Lame Flames, in jazzy poems like “Thank You Henry Mancini,” “Ode To Sammy Glick,” and “When The Life Of The Party Turns Blue.” She vividly recalls scenes both shimmering and sordid that are invested with enough empathy to make you laugh or cry. Precious few have the authority or material to carry off a spoken-word CD, much less one you’d want to listen to more than once.
Ad Busters Magazine
Some would suggest that a primary reason why post-boomer generations have yet to produce many great artists or writers is that the best minds of my generation are working for the man in the marketing arts selling us “extreme-value taco meals” instead of “questioning the way institutions wield power, the way information flows, or how culture industries set their agendas.” Ad Busters uses the tools of Madison Avenue against said monsters, poking holes through corporate hypocrisy and lobbing intellectual Molotovs into the advertising world. With stark, provocative images such as that of a self-congratulatory limousine-liberal, Leonardo DiCaprio, bragging about his family owning four eco-friendly cars juxtaposed with a photograph of a starving child, Ad Busters demonstrates well the impossibly wide and growing chasm between the haves and have-nots in today’s world; a chasm that capitalism seeks to hide. Lance Bass from NSync has $20 million to piss away on a joyride aboard a Russian space shuttle: What has he ever done in his time to earn $20 million — really? What has been his contribution? Staying acne-free and obediently dancing in a line? Ad Busters, “The Journal Of The Mental Environment” seeks to make you think before you blindly consume, striking heroic, if tiny blows against an unstoppable empire hell-bent on gorging itself on everything in it’s path, with zero compassion for the poor, all for temporal profit. Open your eyes and see the lies right in front of you. And visit www.adbusters.org.
Take Them and Break Them
Michael Monroe was the memorably striking shouter for the overlooked amphetamine-punk phenoms, Hanoi Rocks, who broke up after its beloved drummer, Razzle, was killed in a drunken automobile collision in a car driven by Mötley Crüe singer, Vince Neil.
Mike’s post-Hanoi output has been inconsistent: Nights Are So Long was splendid, classic power-pop covers and Little Richard style rave-ups, whereas Not Fakin’ It strayed off into Bon Jovi-esque AOR land. Peace Of Mind suffered from a proliferation of covers, but had a lot of great originals; Life Gets You Dirty was only so-so. His band, Jerusalem Slim, the same that featured the guitar wankings of Billy Idol sideman Steve Stevens, flat-out sucked (and Stevens had the nerve to hijack some of Mike’s material for his following project — as Vince Neil sideman!) whereas Demolition 23 — co-starring fellow Hanoi alumni Nasty Suicide and Sam Yaffa — was utterly brilliant. This EP is basically flawless aside from Monroe still doing too many covers (the Wanderers and the Ruts), but high-quality originals like “Make It Go Away,” “Relationship Wrecked,” and “Where’s The Fire John” will tantalize longtime fans anticipating the debut import — a re-formed Hanoi Rocks available as an import and on Ebay. Monroe remains one of the all-time great rock ’n’ roll front men, alongside Iggy Pop and Steven Tyler.
Surf to www.michaelmonroe.com.
Issue #13 Winter 2002 (Free)
Unsurprisingly, the all-time best homemade rock ’n’ roll rantzine Trash is penned by one Frankie Delmane, the stylish and often brilliant lead vocalist of Teenage Frames, the coolest rock band you’ve never heard of. In this era, when we’re lied to by power so often we’re left neutralized and dazed, numb, and confused by buzzword upon slogan upon catchphrase upon mountains of doublespeak (current McDonald’s jingle discharges from my TV as I type this: “Making the world a better place …”), it is especially refreshing to read the brazen, tell-it-like-it-is hard gospel of Delmane. He’s an insightful and perceptive, expert-level trash-culture enthusiast, and he waxes authoritative in the current issue on Stiv Bators, the Bob Seger System, Nazareth, Keith Moon, Ian Hunter and Millie Jackson. He also praises trashy books like Less Than Zero, which he claims is prophetic in retrospect; as well as B-movies starring Dennis Wilson and Kris Kristofferson. He also goes lengths to explain why that nauseatingly commercial Orange County pop-punk crap is simply the new hair-metal. Paragraphs on fire by a highbrow eccentric with a cultivated palate for rock ’n’ roll garbage and lowbrow kicks. Send a buck or two to: Frankie “Sez” Delmane, 1731 Whitley Boulevard, No. 3, Hollywood, CA 90028
Surf to www.teenageframes.com.Dimitri Monroe is a freelance writer who lives where beer is cheap and life is low. E-mail [email protected]