So last night I was sitting outside as dusk settled, enjoying a marvelously sultry July evening. It was a spectacularly cliche scene of suburban stupor. The air was dense and there was a peaceful glow, a sfumato glaze of twilight in the encroaching dark as the fireflies came out to mate. Bright, yellow-green sparks, lilting and flashing as they signaled each other, each trying desperately to attract a lover with the strongest and brightest flash.
And then I remembered another summer pleasure and said, "Fuck this nature shit, it's time for Rock Stars." And when I went inside and turned it on, I realized that our little collection of wannabe rockers isn't so different from fireflies anyhow. This realization cheered me in its dual purpose of both relieving me of my guilt for choosing to go inside and mentally retard and sedate myself further with television, and by giving me my theme for this week. Thus, another review of Rock Stars: Supernova.
So. Fireflies. How so similar to Rock Stars? Well, if you view the tattoos and piercings and make up as a parallel to the firefly's flash, it all falls in line. These rockers doll themselves up in the most attention-grabbing manner they can imagine, trying desperately to grab the spotlight so that they can shine the best and the longest and the hardest. And for what end? Same as fireflies: To get laid.
That's right. It's all ultimately about sex.
Brooke Burke can parade her plastic self out in front of the audience and tell us how these rockers are all vying for their chance to front the most exciting new super-band to come around in like, forever! But the bottom line is this: They want the attention and they want the exposure and they want the money and they want the prestige but why do they want, want, want? They want all that shit because they want to get laid by the highest caliber people they can, and by as many of those people as is possible.
(And please, do bear in mind that I'm not bashing these folks for having these desires. I'd be a hypocrite if I was bashing them for their tattoos and eyeliner in the hopes to get laid. I'd be a double hypocrite, because not only do I have tattoos and wear eyeliner, I actually have my eyeliner tattooed on.)
And the proof of the payoff is sitting right across the stage from them all in the form of Navarro and his fucking eyebrows and Tommy Lee and his big fucking cock.
A new and unexpected development this week for me: I didn't care how gloriously huge T. Lee's dick is. Despite my seemingly non-existent gag reflex, it still hits a point where enough is enough, you know? His hard rock charm and lascivious come-ons were cute for a few weeks. But his puns are scripted and his innuendoes this week were out-of-synch and watered down. Usually, he bangs the beat of his own sex appeal hard, harder than he ever bludgeoned the drums back when he was in his prime as Dr. Feelgood, keeping the rhythm for "Girls, girls, girls." Tommy, I'm afraid, is a himbo. A fun and charming distraction for a while, but ultimately, this could be a bit too much to swallow. (pun intended) But this week, it wasn't that his hard-edged, himbo charm got old; instead, it was nearly non-existent. I've a feeling that CBS is either editing out the more raucous Tommy sections or T. Lee was feeling, for some reason, reticent last night. There's no joy in that. I don't care if it's uncouth or obnoxious or borderline lawsuit material.
When I tune in to see Tommy, I want to see him slobbering his lascivious charm at every female in the room. Hep C be damned, man, this is rock-n-roll. No one's watching him for his dignified, insightful commentary. Jason Newsted is there to lend credibility to Supernova's musical aspirations. TL is there to add the spark, the brilliant little flashes of light as he weaves and smiles and tosses the "horns up" sign and tries to mate with every female in the near vicinity. Come back and flash, you horny little devil, Tommy! Summer is waning and already the fireflies are getting sparse and dying off. Only the strongest will continue to shine the last of their incandescent signals for a few more weeks as they bravely make their final, glorious stand. And that's what Supernova is for you with your advancing himbo years -- one last chance to get the primo pussy. Shine bright and explode with ferocity, oh metal god of summer!
Lukas was the first to take the stage last night, in all his ersatz rocking glory. That's right, I said it, he's rehearsed and fake. He's not a rocker, he's a performer. It makes for good TV and a good performance on stage for the audience, but it still doesn't make him authentic. This guy, he's more phony than a Motorola factory when they're gearing up for the new Razr rollouts. Lukas tried to switch it up and show his range this week in a couple of different ways. He slung a guitar around his neck (left-handed, natch, just to add that extra visual kick of difference) while doing The Verve's "Bittersweet Symphony." But the real bonus was that he changed it up with his makeup. He showed how dynamic he is by forsaking his usual red eyeshadow with the dash of gold glitter for a whole new look of blue eyeshadow with a dash of silver glitter!
I will give him a few things: He was more coherent last night than usual. He's still mumbly enough to make John Mayer seem like a linguist, but it was better. And that deep voice of his is incongruous coming out of a little shit like him. I think we all know he's the front-runner to get the job with Supernova. But that's what's interesting about a show like this. It's one hell of a long audition. That means it gives performers a chance to grow, or to stagnate. Lukas is coming out and doing the same shit he's done since week 1. He captured everyone's attention with his bright flash, but it's been the same pattern since then.
Speaking of doing the same shit ad nauseum, Ryan got huge props for his performance of Live's "I, Alone" which I can't understand. They said he sounded great and brought the energy. I thought he was more off-pitch than Trevor Hoffman at this year's All-Star game. And his stock-in-trade move of stepping up on the drum riser and then jumping off is just like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. But hey, at least he jumps off the risers.
Patrice picked the unfortunate song "Remedy" by the Black Crows. I dig them okay, but that song blows. It's redundant and droning. I know lots of people love Patrice, but she bores me no end. This week she brought a little excitement after her performance by not handling the criticism so well, and by going after Dave Navarro with her frustrations. Now, listen. I'm all behind going after Navarro and his fucking eyebrows. But Patrice did it in a dumb-ass way that allowed him to totally put her in her place. When he told her that she's doing the same thing every week, she shot back, "Do you do all sorts of different things on the stage, Dave?" Dave, he didn't even shift in his seat or bat one of his lovingly mascaraed lashes. He just said, with more restraint than I could've mustered, "I'm not auditioning. I have a job."
Patrice had no comeback for that, and thus the damage was double. A golden opportunity to make Navarro squirm was lost, but worse for Patrice, her personality is shimmering through every week. Last week she got all saucy, too saucy, over the song selection. And this week she had a failed attempt at feisty with Dave. If this continues, I predict it won't be long before we'll see her bitch personality in full force. It'll be ugly. It'll look like something Van Helsing would hunt. It'll be wonderful television.
Speaking of ugly personalities, Zayra sucked it again. She came out in her metallic blue, latex catsuit with her weird, staccato gyrations and baby-doll, high-pitched voice doing Blondie's "Call Me." The catsuit revealed her prime asset: not having an ounce of fat on her body.
This lack of fat is something that some people admire, I suppose. I don't. Skinny bitches are a dime a dozen. And, just like most super-skinny bitches, Zayra comes off as more cold than sexy. So cold that I'd venture to guess that any guy who goes down on her ends up with brainfreeze. That's not admirable. A clerk at Dairy Queen can give you brainfreeze for the price of a Blizzard and without all the attendant ego. What I do admire is her complete oblivion and disregard to even try to squeeze a single finger of hers into the box that'll suit Supernova. She's like a lone, orange firefly, darting haphazardly and cluelessly amidst a teeming field of green ones. I like that. What I don't like is her annoying voice and ridiculous performances. Different is good, outlandish is great, but ridiculous sucks. Perhaps this girl is bleeding edge and I'm just too mainstream. But I don't think so. I think she's art-house, bleeding edge for 1976. I've seen the shit before, but sung better. However, that said, I'd be sad to see her go, because although she'll never be the winner, she makes it more interesting.
This week also marked the return of Flaccid Phil. After laying down "White Rabbit" last week, he got saddled with The Wallflowers' "One Headlight." Yeah. I know. You remember that song. It was played mercilessly that one summer. And then, it was never heard again. That's for a reason.
I'll give Phil this, he did make an innovation with the wallet chain, wearing a black instead of silver one and it was also perhaps the longest I'd ever seen, even longer than the one T. Lee was sporting last night. (though, of course, Tommy's was thicker and heavier and more potent.) Is that what the world of rock has come to? Wallet chain envy? It's a fuzzy picture, but can you see it up there? Hanging in all its big-chained glory?
Some other non-notables: Magni, he also chose to play guitar which didn't go over very well, but on the plus side, he did some admirable camera-fucking last night. Toby, the hottie from the outback, he brought Billy Idol's "White Wedding" and it was good enough. I like his voice. I think it sounds great. I like that he's not all decked out in designer clothes. I like how he stomps around the stage, leading with his dick all the time. He's not flashy, but he's got enough flash to light it up...somewhat. I guess.
Jill got the huge bonus of having Gilby play guitar with her on "Brown Sugar." After, Gilby was pissed because she was grinding on him. I could write probably ten essays about the whole "women using sex" and I'm still not sure which side I'd come down on. It's such a double-edged sword, that one. Some of the chicks, like Dilana, stood up and applauded Gilby's declaration that women don't need to do that if they're good enough. Part of me agrees. And yet, why should Jill be called out and Tommy not? Why SHOULDN'T Jill use her big, fake, plastic tits as part of her arsenal onstage? If that's all she's hawking, then okay, it sucks. But who the fuck is Gilby to try and tear her down and perpetuate double standards for her using blatant sex appeal when it's the same thing guys have been doing since Elvis. It's what Toby's skating by on. If Jill's cool with being seen as a girl who gets tapped more than a Vermont maple, then I'm cool with it, too. I said it last week, and I'll say it again this week: Fuck off, Gilby. Just fuck off.
Dave stuck up for her. Of fucking course. Because I just can't catch a break here. No matter what goes down, Dave fucking Navarro is the font of wisdom and good sense on this fucking show. He said that it's all just a matter of perception, because if he was onstage with her, they'd be grinding for hours. Frankly, I believe that's true, and I believe it's true because in Jill, Dave has found someone else with incredibly stylized and amazingly, grotesquely groomed eyebrows.
Look at them, will you? You think Dave's are bad, with his perfectly pointed arch and penciled in uniformity? Jill's are worse. Hers give her that look of perpetual surprised delight. Jill's been unhappy on the show. In fact, she's very unhappy in that picture up there. But you'd never be able to read it on her face because her brows don't furrow or dip or knit or any of that shit. They're happy and as arched as a McDonald's sign and they're staying that way!
Anyhow, Josh was another loser, barely flashing or lighting up the stage at all with Blind Mellon's "No Rain." Josh, he can't bring it. Josh, he wants to sing like Elliott Yamin. Josh, honey baby sweetie? I've seen and heard Elliott Yamin. Elliott Yamin is a cupcake of mine. You, dude, are no Elliott Yamin. I think Josh needs to go.
So all these weak little fireflies, flitting around the stage, barely lighting it up at all. Who's going to be getting laid if no one can send a strong enough signal to act as an aphrodisiac? Little known fact about the firefly. There are many different species, each with their own distinctive pattern to their flash. The females of many species learn how to imitate the flash of other species. This serves a dual purpose. When their own kind isn't around, they can still attract a mate. The unsuspecting male sees their call and scurries over and lets her have her way with him. But then, after she's had her fill, since he's not really of her kind, she devours the unsuspecting fool. Literally. She eats him right up.
That knowledge now imparted, let's talk about Dana for a minute. She came out and did an acoustic version of Nirvana's "About a Girl." Let's note this right off the bat: Whoever does the Nirvana song every week does very well. Know why that is? Because Nirvana songs are really good, and they're also basic songs that just still rock. Dana struggled last week during the performance show, bringing way too much pop instead of rock. But then Dilana, sweet Dilana gave her some advice, and Dana listened. Dana came back and did a Sass Jordan song with a little grit and impressed everyone.
Here's the thing about Dana. She's got the pipes to blow everyone else off that stage. She's also young and sweet and no one thinks she'll ever be able to be what Supernova wants. However, last night she put a little more growl in her voice and the determination in her guts is evident. Sweet, cute little Dana. She may not have stepped on that stage polished and rehearsed in the ways of rock like Lukas. But she's watching and learning and she's changing her patterns, giving off a whole new vibe.
Some will say, "Yeah, but you can't fake real rock, man!" Oh really? First, do you really think Supernova is real rock? Did you hear the admittedly very good but also very derivative tracks they played last night? Do you realize Supernova is band of guys in their forties who've seen better days and who've settled into comfort and are now going to "move some units" by playing some metal-classic rock hybrid shit that'll appeal to all us aging, reminiscing suburban fucks? Okay okay, you say. But you still don't think that kind of thing can be "produced" or faked in a sweet, poppy girl? Two words, baby: Alanis fucking Morrisette. Swallow that jagged little pill along with her manufactured success.
I'm not saying Dana is Alanis. But if Dana keeps growing every week and getting down and dirty, don't count her out of the hunt. She's young and hungry and has plenty of time to learn just the right cues and signals to get all the attention.
Also changing her style just slightly this week was Dilana. Her nomrally gnarled hair was still pink and black, but it was done in a cutie-pie, oh so stripper-trendy updo while she did an acoustic version of Cydi Lauper's "Time after Time." Tommy called her enchanting. I agree. First she brought the intensity, and then when I was fearing she was a two-trick pony, she come on this week and shattered that notion. Unlike Lukas, she knew when to venture and expand and show dimension. Plus, she's different. Her voice is ragged and gravelly but really unique. I'm still not sure how it'd hold up on an entire CD, but that's not really necessary, is it? Supernova needs to produce a couple of hits to move units, and I've no doubt Dilana can accomplish that.
And last, but certainly not least, was Storm in all her stage-diving glory. Doing "Anything Anything" by Dramarama, Storm finally hit the balance between theatrics and performing and she turned it out. Last week Tommy wanted to see more skin, and she delivered. With her short black skirt, she punked Jill's similar outfit by merging her red-hot sex appeal with a Wendy O. Williamslike predatory attack. Tommy liked her perfectly formed swan dive off the stage. I prefer them a bit more emphatic and less graceful, but she gets props for even attempting it. And it was different and left quite an impression.
Storm, Dilana and Dana lit it up this week. I'm not sure who's going home with all the lackluster performances. It could be a chick, like Zayra or Jill. Or maybe Josh or perhaps even Ryan if the audience votes on what they saw and heard onstage instead of what the Supernova judges fed them. But I do know this. Even the strong guys who're safe this week, Lukas and Toby, they'd better watch their ass and hope this trend doesn't persist. Cuz last night, the girls shined brightest. And if that continues, they're going to eat these men alive.