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June 13, 2012

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Lord Henry

Is it just me, or does Russell Brand look like Pierre Clementi?

I'm on a Clementi kick at the moment -- BELLE DE JOUR (masterpiece), THE CONFORMIST (masterpiece), and I was halfway through THE DESIGNATED VICTIM (hmm) before the bourbon took hold and I snoozed off. Going to try to finish it tomorrow night.

PARTNER? Caught a few of the old Bertoluccis at the NFT recently, but couldn't make this one. Thought BEFORE THE REVOLUTION was overrated, and THE GRIM REAPER under-.

Also, off-topic, just wanted to give a big thanks to the people who recommended the various Parker novels here a while back. Went through nearly all of them, just BUTCHER'S MOON left. Cheers!

Lex

I enjoyed the GK review, but take issue with his besmirching of THE CRUE. As a total child of the late '80s-early '90s who saw every godawful Mr Big, Tesla, Slaughter, Firehouse, Jackyl, solo Vince Neil, Def Leppard in the round tour that came thru town and had all this shit on cassette, I acknowledge the era was cheesy, but it wasn't at all the cheese this movie seems to promise. Why is Hough acting all wide-eyed and like Sandy from Grease... What role was there, really, for women, in this scene, beyond groupies?

There was Lita Ford and Vixxxen, and otherwise this GOOFY light-musical character wouldn't just be stripping, she'd be shooting up Nikki Sixx inside of a week and taking on six guys at a time... On what PLANET was there was equal-opportunity cute-chick Mormon girl holding her own on stage with Axl or Vince or Sebastian or Dee or whoever the sam hell she's supposed to be playing?

Glenn is one of those dyed-in-the-wool punk guys who probably still listens to some horrible FEAR albums and would rather get hit by a bus than bow to the CRUE, but even before Bob Rock, especially on their first two albums, they had TONS of awesome songs, like "Toast of the Town," "Black Widow," "Piece of the Action," "Looks that Kills," all of which were better than punk bullshit (except Misfits), and you know what?

This idea that CRUE was cheesy until "Feelgood" (and even that would be argued by music snobs), but this MYTH that GNR was some Sex Pistols-type revelation that blew the hair rock out of the ground... eh, a bit exaggerated. Anyone who reads my Twitter (good idea) knows I'm CAPTAIN GNR, but really, "Appetite for Destruction" is JUST as cheesy as Poison or The Crue, both of whom I'd argue are a lot more fun and amusingly sleazy than the COWBELL O'CLOCK first overrated GNR record. "Rocket Queen" is the one true masterpiece from APPETITE outside of the way overplayed singles, but this idea that GNR was some DANGEROUS SHIT-- like Nikki Sixx COMING BACK FROM THE FUCKING DEAD or Vince Neil's debauched antics or whatever weren't sleazier and as "on the edge" as GNR?

If it weren't for GOD AXL's awesome narcissism and egomania, you're left with Slash's STUDIO SESSION GUITARIST LICKS... I prefer Guns just because of Axl's crazy ambition and indulgence, but MUSIC WISE? Crue had a tighter sound, a rawer sound, and most of Appetite and a good HALF of the Illusion albums sound like some embarrassing Sunset/Gardner jam session with HARMONICAS and COWBELL and dorky blues licks and bad lyrics. Crue were MUCH more bad-ass, other than Axl.

All taking it back to this movie, I don't even know what world they're recreating here; REO, Foreigner and Journey were mainstream pop-lite-rock AM acts from five years earlier, more akin to an early '80s version of Boston and Kansas than HAIR METAL... Bon Jovi was its own thing... the Warrant and Winger and Poison scene on the Strip SEEMS to be what's being homaged here, but to anyone who knows anything about the era, these are wildly disparate scenes and styles, and the fact that Cruise seems to be a mashup of like Axl, Vince Neil, Brett Michaels, and Bon Jovi, four dudes with NOTHING in common... I give up.

J. Priest

Rock music and broadway theater will never work well together. I like them both, I think one can successfully incorporate elements of the other, but when it comes to a full-blown fusion of the two, I've never been a fan of it. Not "Hair," not "Grease," not anything by Andrew Lloyd Webber and not even "Rent" much less this. Something about it is never convincing to me, regardless of whether it's sincere or it's tongue-in-cheek.

J. Priest

(Actually, that should be "musical theater" and I really ought to capitalize "Broadway.")

Glenn Kenny

Lex, I appreciate the Crue love. I have to admit to a HUGe amount of chauvinism here, both in terms of regional bias and taste, going all the way back to the notorious/hilarious Deborah Frost account of the Crue in the (effete, snotty, etc.) Village Voice back in the day. I also thought it was kinda tacky of the guys to write songs dissing their dealer twenty minutes after checking out of rehab. It's absolutely true that "The Dirt" is one of the great rock and roll documents of our time. You almost have me convinced to re-check out their "early" "work."

For the record, I never got into Fear. My favored L.A. punk bands WERE very usual-suspectish, though—Black Flag and the Minutemen, etc.. As for the Misfits, I actually saw their FIRST gigging lineup at the Show Place in Dover New Jersey in 1978, not far from their home base of, yes, Lodi. I will admit that at the time I was WAY too much of a pseud snot to appreciate them. In fact I distinctly recall looking at Jerry Only and thinking "Mesh t-shirts were so 1976" or something to that effect. Jesus. I do like their latest record quite a bit even if Dez Cadena did break Allison Grace's heart. I see now I'm going on a bit of a tangent...

Anyway, your point about Cruise channeling four guys with nothing in common is spot on, really.

Peter Labuza

@ J. Priest

"Next to Normal," despite having a some what ludicrous/melodramatic story more fit for Lifetime, was expertly composed rock and roll music for musical theater.

Henry Holland

Longtime lurker here, I wanted to surface so that I can encourage Mr. Kenny to never, ever give in to a Chuck Klosterman-esque fit of nostalgia for the LA hair metal bands. They were and are horrible, including Motley Crue.

I was a struggling musician on the LA club circuit during the 80's and my friends and I couldn't believe that guys like the dudes in Poison were selling millions while great bands around us like the awesome Minutemen (RIP D. Boon) struggled to get people to buy their records and come to gigs. Yes, it's always been that way, but still.

If Nirvana never did anything else, "Nevermind" putting the hair metal bands out of business almost overnight would still make them Rock Gods.

Stay strong, Glen, don't let your guard down in a moment of ironic "they're so bad they're good" weakness.

J. Priest

Not a fan either. I like the singles off of "Appetite for Destruction," and some of the stuff Van Halen did with David Lee Roth is pretty fun, but that's about it. I am glad that 'Rock of Ages' kept their hands off of Black Flag, the Minutemen et al...

@Peter Labuza, I'll have to check out that soundtrack. I can forgive the ludicrous narratives if the music holds up.

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