Reverend Norb

column from MRR #174 - November 1997

Three albums i am quite unimpressed with: New Riverdales LP, new Head LP, new Swinging Neckbreakers LP. Band whose records were much better than i thought they would be once i got around to playing them: The Von Zippers. Record that kicks total ass and you should buy right away: Spaceshits "Winter Dance Party" LP (one could certainly include the dandy new Infections LP in this rather short list, however, i figure everybody's already gonna attack this one like a hungry shark smelling blood in the poster, er, water, so no editorial prodding is really needed. 'Sides, nobody likes a bootlicker. However, since it has been brought to my attention that inclusion of the Infections in my industry-standard Rock Band Holy Trinity would yield me a copy of the Spastics 45 with the rare b-side, let me take this opportunity to publicly post a revised Holy Trinity, accurate as of 2:30 PM CDT 9.13.97, consisting of the aforementioned Infections, the Spaceshits, and Loli & the Chones. BY DECREE OF IMPERIAL ODIN, SO BE IT! The Donnas, previous Holy Trinity front-runners, have been placed [rightly or wrongly] on the "inactive" list, owing to scuttlebutt indicating that their post-secondary EDUCATION [note! note! this issue of MRR has an EDUCATION theme! this is a very exciting topical excursion for a punk mag, i'm sure you'll agree, and my compliance must be important, as i received not one but TWO official e-mails on the subject, so i'm happy as a worm in a bag of Uncle Ben's Rice {true story, but not in any way connected to the Uncle Ben mentioned last month, slain in cold blood due to moral torpor on the part of his friendly neighborhood Spider-Man™} to fulfill my contractual obligation thusly, although, quite frankly, what we need are less "theme issues" involving also-ran topics like education, and MORE of 'em like the legendary "All-Japan" issue. By golly, i'm sure many of our loyal readers will agree that international relations were only set back a fraction of what they could have been with that issue, and the job could be done a lot more effectively if MRR were to publish said issue as a joint venture with The Probe.  LESS EDUCATION! MORE MASTURBATION! But i undress] was leading to a de facto dismembering of the band, ergo booting them into the Holy Trinitus Emeritus category and out of active bandly duty. Of course, i also heard they were recording an album for Lookout, so whadda i know? [course, i heard all this stuff like third-hand {the only questions i actually personally put to any Donna when they were in town were if they wanted any of my cookie ((answers: yes, no, yes, i just want to pick the M&M's out of it)) and if Donna F ((i dunno what the "F" stands for, but i suspect it is a word that rhymes with "uckable")) thought my newfangled white leather quasi-platform Chuck Taylors made my feet resemble those of vintage '78 Ace Frehley ((answer: yes. WHOO-HOO!))}] [actually, while the Donnas did unquestionably sort of rock the adoring Titletown throng last month, they rocked in a very definite "second coming of the Runaways" motif, as opposed to rocking in what one could term the Classic Donnas Rocking Tradition. Since i own exactly 0 Runaways records, one could rightly assume that i was not exactly stirred to dizzying heights of passion and frenzy the first time around for the Young Adult Hard Rock Vixen Sound; and, although i do not disapprove of runaway Runawaysism per se, it's not really the type of musical angle i embrace with best-band-in-the-world type ardor, as opposed to the Classic Donnas Rocking Tradition, which is. Ergo, were the Donnas not bumped from the Holy Trinity to the inactive list, the best chart placement they could hope to achieve with their current "Queens of Noise, Part II" modus operandi {don't you loathe all these italicized foreign terms? I certainly do, but i like to spread the discomfort around equitably. As the French say, quel fromage} would be the number four spot, so, in order to spare them this indignity, i shall allow them to resign from active duty with full rank. Just doin' it for the kids, man {although a high-school-attendin', female Donnas fan friend o' mine's comment that "they weren't dressed in black, they had glitter on their faces and they looked like the kind of girls I beat up in school" is indeed going to be a bit difficult to finesse their way out of, should there come an eventual reckoning for these types of things -- however, the fact that they delivered swell covers of "Speedin' Back To My Baby" off the Ace Frehley solo album and Sweet's "Wig Wam Bam" but yet gave absolutely no indication of knowing "Backstreet Noise" by Nick Gilder can merely written off to mental errors on the part of upper management}. I mean, i'm sorry, but Second-Coming-Of-The-Runaways-Ism is just bad business, for whither lurks the potential of being the second Runaways, so too doth loom the potentiality of being the second Venus & The Razorblades -- and, as anyone who latched on to a copy of that particular treasure in the 25¢ bin in 1980 can attest to, that's not exactly cause for universal rejoicing {although, come to think of it, i guess Kim Fowley did co-write two of the songs on Kiss's "Destroyer" album -- although, come to think about that, i'm not so sure there's a lotta bragging rights attached to that either}] Regardless, the call stands: Donnas OUT of the Holy Trinity, Infections IN. Donnas LP will tangle with the Infections LP at the end of the year for the 1997 season Vince Lombardi Trophy, and all interested parties are more than welcome to keep the bribes coming [i'm sure everybody's got that Rip Off 45 by now, "Here Come The Bribes"? {actually, i'm sure the first thing Greg did after signing the Bribes, er, Brides was to send them out into the streets of Chicago to try and find his goddamn bass!}] [while this probably should not have been the case, the relatively thoroughly cranium-punting grandeur {hey! italicize that!} of the Infections alb'm was a mild surprise {or, more correctly, "would have been" a mild surprise had not my advance scouting parties clued me in to its nascent swellness}, since the two songs on their earlier 45 were evenly split down party lines of "great" and "shit" {"Kill For You" being the one that wasn't shit}, and witnessing them live last year gave no solid indication that their repertory trout pond was stocked with any lunker tuneage other than "Kill For You," which was originally a Rip Offs song anyways, i guess. Looks like somebody cracked the whip at the Hunters Point equivalent of Tin Pan Alley, 'cause the only song on the album that i officially deem too stupid to live is "Pretty And Pink" -- and even that is not-uncharming in its exploration of the rock'n'roll/female wee-wee connection, which, as one might have surmised from last month's column, i myself take more than a passing interest in. HOWEVER! Now that i have broached the sordid topic of the sucky song on the Infections 45, as well as mentioning the Donnas in the same breath {i take rather deep breaths}, who themselves have been known to mention Mötley Crüe and Poison with some type of inexplicable reverence {actually, the reverence is probably quite explicable, but i choose not to think about it too much} in their song lyrics {imagine my shock when, upon receipt of a Donnas Fan Club Book ((which i got for free, hence should probably consider a bribe, and respect as such. Okay, the Donnas are back in the Holy Trinity. Who didn't grease my palm yet? The Spaceshits gave me one measly poster -- goddammit, i want a copy of the Rat City 45 or you jokers are history! And Loli & the Chones haven't given me SHIT! What the fuck is this? I NEED MORE FREE STUFF, YA BASTARDS!!!)), i learned that the line i had foolishly thought was "Monday I was smokin' dope/Tuesday I checked into chope" actually WAS "Monday I was smokin' dope/Tuesday I checked into chope!" Next thing ya know, i'll be findin' out that the guy in the Suicide Commandos actually is singing "I need a cunt, I need a muff, I need a guy in a gym" in "Real Cool"...}, as well as making reference to certain covert West Coast Operatives who funnel important advance insider information to my Midwestern nerve center that i may grow and thrive as well as any of us second-class citizens can be expected to do, and from whom i learned that the, for want of me expending the quarter-erg of mental energy it would take to think of a better term for the shit, "Mötley Crüe/Poison thing" is beginning to make some type of re{?}surgence {perhaps merely a surgence} in Pacific Coast hipster enclaves {e.g. the most recent Bobbyteens 45, which, i feel, pretty much blows relative to their excellent debut outing ((hey, man, every second this alleged Mötley Crüe/Poison thing delays them from recording a cover of "Bubble Gum" by the Cichlids is a crime against nature!)) ((i'm gonna re-write "Hey Roxy" in honor of former Green Bay Packers useless piece-of-shit sawed-off loudmouth first-round-draft-pick cornerback and current Miami Dolphins useless piece-of-shit sawed-off loudmouth cornerback Terrell Buckley, and it's gonna go "HEY-HEY-HEY BUCKLEY! HOW'D YOU GET SO UCKLY?" and it's gonna sell millions of copies in Wisconsin and the AFC East region [[Prediction: Pats return to Super Bowl! Packers watch on TV! If it's Tampa Bay the Packers are watching, i'm defecting to the CFL! Pinball Clemons!!! Pinball Clemons!!!]]. Holy fuck, how'd you like to be in the Riverdales and go through the rest of your existence with fucking Buckley's number tattooed on your arm? Ye gads! [[the funniest thing is when i take a leak when i'm wearing a Riverdales t-shirt. Should i chance to look down to inspect how the process is going, all i can think of is how their shirt design looks like a 27 -- Terrell Buckley's number of the Least -- ringed by the phrase "Lo-Cal PunkRock." It gets me every time! Pee-pee goes everywhere!]] and i'm never gonna hafta work another day in my life))}, please allow me to state, for the record, that, as of 4:45 PM CDT 9.14.97, and, in fact, since the dawn of recorded history, POISON AND MÖTLEY CRÜE FUCKIN' SUCK. They sucked then. They suck now. There is no possible way i can envision the tides'n'eddies of the Rock Continuum shifting in such a way that somehow, someday, they will not suck. They are not good bands. They did not make good records. PLEASE STOP ME IF THIS IS TOO ADVANCED A CONCEPT FOR YOU TO GET A HANDLE ON RIGHT NOW. I mean, they weren't, like, the worst bands in the world, like The Mistakes, or Pennywise, or whoever, but they were definitely not good. "Talk Dirty To Me" by Poison was an okay song, i guess, although if i really wanted to hear a scrubbed-up, tamed-down, FM rock neutering of Cheap Trick's "She's Tight," i'd go watch fuckin', fuckin' HEARTBEAT or somebody cover it in the cocktail lounge of the Ashwaubenon Ramada Inn; at least they got free food during happy hour there. I saw Poison. I'm somewhere in the crowd footage in the "Every Rose Has Its Thorn" video. Let me tell ya, they were no John F. Kennedy! They fucking BIT. They SUCKED. They had virtually no decent songs. They WERE NOT GOOD. Their bass player -- no better a player than i am, and that's saying something -- and drummer were particularly inept. Their guitar player might have been good, but who the fuck cares? They were top-to-bottom lousy. I mean, they were sort of a tolerable lousy, but lousy just the same {more Nørb-vs.-Poison trivia: 1) when i used to deliver pizzas, i once waited for an elevator at the Embassy Suites hotel with Bret Michaels. Two arrived at the same time; i got in one, he & his bodyguard got in the other. Remind me to lay off the pancake base. 2) The high point, in my eyes, of the Poison concert which i attended was their completely stupefyin' choice of "Train Kept A-Rollin'" by the ((presumably)) venerable Tiny Bradshaw as their encore. I mean, i guess it's not that stupefyin', considering Aerosmith ((who were actually a good band at one point in time and who, let the record show, made a number of good records)) used to do it, but i'm not so sure Aerosmith's fan base was composed mostly of ugly junior high girls with hairy arms. Anyway, for years'n'years, standard Rock Procedure for performing this song has involved a rather simple call-and-response process during the chorus whereby the band sings "TRAIN KEPT A-ROLLIN'!", with the audience following that up with "ALL NIGHT LONG!". Why Poison thought the mullet-coiffed adolescent hordes in attendance were hip to this i'll never know, but the scenario played out as follows: Singer: TRAIN KEPT A-ROLLIN'! ((holds mic out to crowd)) Crowd: ??? Singer: TRAIN KEPT A-ROLLIN'! ((" ")) Crowd: ??? was a thing of great beauty}. Mötley Crüe were more pro-actively unlistenable, by my standards, with the notable difference between them'n'Poison being that they kind of, um, i dunno, kicked ass when i saw 'em live -- which is no mean feat, considering i don't like any of their songs whatsoever except for "Kick Start My Heart." The highlight of their set, apart from neat lasers, was when their drummer introduced his new Wacky Drum Contraption, a flying saucer-slash-monorail thingie enabling him to play a drum solo {whoo} whilst slowly traveling above the crowd. Apparently, on the previous tour, he'd had a different Wacky Drum Contraption, and, as he introduced Wacky Drum Contraption II to the crowd {singer's worst nightmare: drummer with a microphone}, he said {and i'm paraphrasing} "DO YOU ALL REMEMBER THE WACKY DRUM CONTRAPTION I HAD LAST TIME WE PLAYED IN TOWN???" -- and there was this strange second of stunned silence, followed by the inevitable "YYYYYEAAHHHHHH!!!" I later found out that the moment of silence was due to the fact that Mötley Crüe had never played in Green Bay before. So it was like hmm, do we remember that? YEAH, SURE, OF COURSE WE REMEMBER THAT!!! WHOOOO!!! WHAT A FUCKING GREAT SHOW THAT WAS, DUUUUDE!!! THE WORLD IS FLAT!!! FREEDOM IS SLAVERY!!! ROCK!!! ROCK!!! ROCK!!! Truly the supreme 1984 rock'n'roll moment, except that it happened in like 1990. My only other dealings with The Crüe was that i picked up a used copy of the original "Too Fat For Love" LP on Leathür Records {shitty fucking record, like if the Paul Collins Beat were transvestites and tried to pass off watered-down Sweet and Cheap Trick swipes as "rock." Lousy fucking band} for eight bucks, and turned around and sold it to some moron kid for $100 {you read that right, ONE HUNDRED CLAMS}, and took twenty bucks of that hundred and scored a copy of the first Supercharger record {back when you could get 'em for only $20, although i have to wonder if the bootleg and the reissue on Estrus has collapsed the market any ((oh, and speaking of the Estrus reissue, as of 5:37 PM CDT 9.14.97, the original version of "Zodiac" kicks total fucking ass on the Rip Offs' cover of same [[more trivia: i used to think the song went "hey, I'm okay, when I lay on the zodiac" and was about picking up chicks by asking them their sign. Seriously!]]))} -- my net cost on this item being a juicy negative-seventy-two dollars, which, some would say, is "about right." So, anyway, Mötley Crüe could fuckin' play, dude -- but, COME ON, they still sucked. Hard. If anybody can explain to me some feasible way that Mötley Crüe and Poison might not suck, i'll send you a prize of some kind. Idunno what. Probably the rest of my Brain Formula with Gingko Biloba™, you probably need it worse than i do] [ironically enough, this passive mention of brain-related merriment seems to wish to steer me back towards the topic of EDUCATION. How unfortunate. Okay, my main Beef-a-Roo™ with America's schools is that the people who aren't irresponsible morons {the minority, obviously} are shoveled into a system designed to forcibly provide a lowest-common-denominator education for people who are irresponsible and moronic. This wastes VAST hunks of time for the non-morons, and, of course, inevitably winds up not only not educating them to their fullest potential, but moronizing them as well. Case in point: yours truly. I used to be a brilliant little kid. I could read at age 3 {not to mention identify all existing NFL team helmets, which helped my dad win several drink bets down at the local waterin' hole. HEY, I CAN ACTUALLY STILL DO THAT! I AM GIFTED! I AM TALENTED! WHOOPEE!}, blah blah blah, so when i started goin' to school, they had me attend the next higher grade's reading and math classes, which i don't recall as being overly challenging, either, However, due to my fabled lack of social skills, the powers-that-be decided that i was sort of too much of a freak to handle being just plain skipped-up a grade with people a year older than i was, so i kept on doing the homeroom stuff with the kids my age, in hopes i would become less of a spaz {i'm not so sure that worked}. Anyway, long about fifth grade, the powers realized that once i became a sixth-grader, it being a K-6 elementary school and all, they'd have no place to send me for math & reading. So, in fifth grade, they put me in math & reading with the mid-level sixth graders, instead of the upper level students they usually stuck me with. Then, when i got in sixth grade, i got to take the same classes over again, but this time with the upper-level sixth graders -- so my whole fucking payoff for being a smart little kid was that, in essence, i got to take sixth grade twice. Once as a fifth grader, and once as a sixth grader. Quality use of human resources? You tell me. They basically slowed me down to the mental pace of everybody else merely because it was convenient. THEY MADE ME A MORON, and i LET THEM make me a moron, much to my eternal regret {needless to say, it was like an eight-foot fluorescent lightbulb exploding in my head the first time i heard the line "they made you a moron/a potential H-bomb!" in "God Save The Queen," as, goddammit, they did make me a moron, and the wonderful fact that i might also be a dang H-bomb had never occurred to me ((although i probably misunderstood that line, and he was really singing "I need a cunt, I need a muff, I need a guy in a gym" or something))} {they also made me a jerk, but i've decided that's sort of an indispensible social skill, and fuck you if you don't like it}. Anyway, if you honestly, in your hearts of hearts, think you are not yet a moron, and legitimately believe there is a real and present danger of you falling prey to the moronmakers, JESUS FUCKING GOD, DO WHATEVER IT TAKES TO ELUDE THEIR CLUTCHES. Drop out of school, run away from home, join a monastery, join the circus, make your parents send you to genius school with Bart Simpson, whatever -- just don't let them moronize you, or you'll wind up being some weird old goofball who can't do much else but make bad puns and get good scores on video trivia machines. However, if you're already a moron -- and, if you read this far, i'd assume you are -- don't do any of that aforementioned stuff, you'll just get in trouble {and, as the Automatics said, we don't want trouble!} -- and, hey, there's at least a little hope -- regardless of how stupid public schools made me, i still came away with enough goddamn horse sense to know that Poison and Mötley Crüe fuckin' bite!!!]). Thanks.

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