1.) I couldn’t see what he couldn’t see in this style of music that was so important to me. Well, that was so important to me as a kid.
“The melodies are catchy, the rhythms are driving –– I don’t understand what’s not to like about hair-metal.”
“It’s too lurid,” he scoffed, his voice on the other end of the phone curling downward like the slope of a dainty pinky over a cup of tea. “I like music that swings!”
I thought about asking him if he’d ever heard Coney Hatch’s one-and-only classic, “Monkey Bars,” but quickly thought better. Of course he hadn’t. He was Anthony DeCurtis, big-time Rolling Stone critic and, as such, an avowed fan only of The Beatles, Dylan, the Stones, and every other mainstream baby boomer act that R.S. had been tongue-bathing for decades. I was just a student reporter from the mean, garlicky streets of Pittsburgh’s Little Italy whose bedroom walls were adorned with torn-out magazine photos of Michael Schenker, Yngwie Malmsteen, Alex Lifeson, Neil Peart, and Eddie (the monstrous, homicidal skeleton, not EVH; didn’t get into the latter until later).
Our phone convo ended not long after I basically accused him of not doing his job, and I actually had no problem snail-mailing him my story, per his request, a couple of weeks later, knowing full well that I excoriated him in print. Print that was seen only by my teacher and me but print nonetheless.
And I’ve been battling assorted, multitudinous variations of Anthony DeCurtis ever since. I’ll be the first to admit I don’t like every kind of music. Bro-country, for one, is despicable. Talk about lurid. And juvenile. But as someone who writes about music for a living, I listen to that crap stuff without prejudice. (Uh, almost.) I guess I just assumed that a senior editor for the biggest pop-culture magazine in the world would be able to descend a couple of floors from his ivory-tower penthouse –– just a couple of floors, not even all the way to bro-country’s basement –– to consider a legit genre seriously. Even if only occasionally. Even if only antagonistically.
The only hair-metal I listen to now is either local or from the genre’s halcyon days of the mid to late ’80s. I still like it. And I still don’t see what’s not to like about it. The good stuff, at least.
North Texas is the midst of a hair-metal twofer. Last night, Bulletboys, a.k.a. the dudes who sang that “Smooth Up in Ya” song, played The Rail, and tonight (Thursday) at Trees (2709 Elm St., Dallas, 214-741-1122), L.A. Guns will hit the stage.
I actually feel a little bad for the Guns. Not only did some of them go on to glory via the semi-offshoot Guns N’ Roses, but Tracii Guns and company put out their eponymous debut album a year after Appetite. In other words, a year after GNR had already obliterated –– completely destroyed –– pretty much every other hair-metal act in existence. In other words, at the start of hair-metal’s demise, when spandex, facepaint, and high hair were beginning to seem as ridiculous, frivolous, and bourgeois as we all thought they were.
L.A. Guns still had a “hit,” though, and it wasn’t half-bad.
Cover is $20.
2.) It’s pretty much the same ol’ same ol’: boasting, toasting, violence. Yaaawn. But Floridian rapper and codeine enthusiast SpaceGhostPurrp –– “Purrp” refers to “purple stuff,” a.k.a. soda spiked with prescription-strength cough syrup –– will perform Saturday at The Prophet Bar (2548 Elm St., Dallas, 214-939-4321) with a bunch of other rappers you’ve probably never heard of. (And if you have, then mazel tov.) But Pitchfork is all over him, so you know he must be better than Romio No E, AD.d+, Rivercrest Yacht Club, Kyeyote, Blue, The Misfit, and at least a dozen other progressive local hip-hop acts that continue to languish in the purgatory of semi-obscurity that is Flyover Country.
He isn’t. He’s good. Don’t get me wrong. But better than the aforementioned? I don’t think so. Oh, well. Life’s not fair, and fame doesn’t always equal success. Or happiness. Tickets are $20-30.
3.) For balance, spend tomorrow night (Friday) at Trees (2709 Elm St., Dallas, 214-741-1122). That’s where AD.d+ and Blue, The Misfit will perform along with Dallas’ Sam Lao and Fort Worth’s Crit Life.
Cover is $15.
4.) Sunday is going to be the bomb at 1919 Hemphill (817-920-9665). Fargo punks Crab Legs, young Fort Worth ska rockers I Am Clark Kent, Fort Worth taco fans Not Half Bad, and hardcore Fort Worthians Dickwolf will take the stage.
Doors open at 7 p.m. Cover is $6.
5.) A new super-group of sorts, Picnic, Lightning, featuring ex-members of Modico and one former member of Jefferson Colby, hits the stage Saturday at Shipping & Receiving (201 S. Calhoun St., 817-887-9313) with headliners The Birds of Night from Denton and opener Luke McGlathery of Fort Worth’s Big City Folk.
Cover is $5.