Wednesday, August 02, 2006

The Mighty Fall -- or at least stumble incoherently

I wanted to do a picture essay to kick off this week. Sadly, though I scoured the web, I couldn't find the picture I needed. So instead, I'll do it in words, which admittedly just isn't as funny. It was an homage to Dave Navarro and his eyebrows. Remember the Seinfeld episode where Uncle Leo lost his eyebrows and Elaine drew them on with a Sharpie? Yeah. Those eyebrows were less stylized than Dave's.

It was a tough week again for me and my Dave hate. As I feared when I first tuned in weeks ago, my disdain for him runs low. Yes he dresses like a flake. But he also cracked a joke about it last night, and anyone who has a sense of humor about themselves can't be awful, right? Yes his perfectly made up face is pretty and ridiculous to look at, but every word that comes out of his heart-shaped mouth makes sense. Yes he's split from Carmen Electra but he still sits there, shirtless, with his brave "CE" tattoo showing. And even the gossip mags can't run this couple through. They ran a story about her flouncing around on the town with some other guy last week, and she responded with a laugh, saying, "I was at home watching TV. With Dave!" Ha ha ha. They're separated, but still the best of friends.

Last week, Dave made this comment to one of the contestants: "There is nothing worse than a grounded, centered, well-adjusted rock singer." Yes, Dave. I agree. But I'd also add that a grounded, centered, well-adjusted guitarist also blows. And Dave, he's proven himself to be utterly sensible, calm, collected, and grounded. I admit it. He makes a great host on this show. But really. One Hot Minute still sucks.

So that's what I have to say to that. See the irony there? He's a rock god, but it's because he no longer rocks that he makes such a great host. Another biting irony of this show? That Gilby Clarke has the balls to sit on his sofa of prestige, right next to Dave's throne of lies, and say shit like this: "Rock is all about rebellion!" Fuck off, Gilby. Just fuck off.

Yes, Gilby, I agree with your statement. It is about rebellion. But the irony is that YOU, Gilby, have become the de facto "suit" in this game. Flaccid Phil felt the wrath of the rock gods last week when he dared show disrespect and rebellion by giving interviews that didn't kiss Supernova's ass and instead talked about his own aspirations. On the show, they edited their kiss off of him to say they didn't think he was "committed" to the band. And then this week, they drove the point home to those remaining by gifting Magni with a visit from his family, because he's so committed to the cause. Translation: Magni toes the company line.

It's a tricky thing, this rebellion/respect. Because the contestants come off as snarling ingrates who aren't very well liked by the TV audience if they buck Supernova and don't kiss ass. Kinda like, remember when Jim Morrison pissed off the suits when he promised not to sing some of the lyrics to "Light My Fire" on the Sullivan show? But he did it anyhow? That was rock-n-roll.

Try as they might, network TV that's aimed toward the mainstream, by very definition, MUST be at odds with true rock-n-roll. Jim Morrison rocked. Supernova may end up playing some very listenable, rocklike music, but they will never again rock, because they have sold out and become the machine. And because of that, and because the format demands that someone who sides with them -- demure and grateful for the opportunity at fame and fortune -- will end up fronting them, their lead singer will never rock. They may be a great performer, and they may have a killer voice, and they may be interesting. But they will never be rock-n-roll. Because rock-n-roll is a snarling, sex-soaked, rebellious ingrate, and that's what's so great about it.

Speaking of everything that was once rock being corrupted, the distressing moment from last night's show was the use of The Vapors' "Turning Japanese" for a Dr. Pepper commercial.

On a brigher side, speaking of people who refuse to bend and are doing their own thing, let's talk for a minute about Jill and Zayra. First off, they both sucked last night. It's a shame, really, that they both suck at performing considering that they're the ones who show a spark of rebellious life.

Jill got reamed last week for using sex as a weapon by the mind-blowingly sanitized, indefatigably corporatized, bug up his ass, self important twat Gilby. Jill got snotty with them about it, but of course, they shut her down. This week, she stuck to her guns. And by guns, of course, I mean her tits. And by her tits, I mean the abnormally large saline bags that she had sutured into her tits. Good for her for continuing to play the stripper card! So sad for her that she does it in such a hackneyed, outdated way. It makes me sad for all us sexbomb dago girls from the east coast. It makes me sad because she's a pretty good representation of us and it's a really cliche picture when seen on national tv. With her tummy-baring jeans and big tits and big hair and eyebrows that'd make Dave weep, she shouted out the 80's anthem "Don't You Forget About Me" with all her fist-pumping verve. And it blew.

Zayra is also sticking to her schtick of being the weirdo. I admit it, it's won me over. I said before she'll never front the band but she makes for good TV. She knows it. Supernova knows it. We all know Newsted wants to fuck her. Newsted, by the way, continues to keep his dignity intact by keeping a low profile. Either by having the "what's that smell" look on his face when a performance sucks or the blatant, "I wanna fuck that" look on his face when he's watching Zayra, or by giving sincere props to the most mainstream of the performances. It's all good though. Jason can bring it on the bass and we all love him.

Zayra came out in a leopard print onesie with thigh high boots, and, get this -- a cape. I'm not shitting you. A cape! She also comes off as a stripper. But unlike Jill who's the common, garden variety stripper, Zayra puts on the flashy arthouse show, like an ecstasy-addled predator, who's still performing on Mike Myers's Sprockets. And by arthouse, I mean she sings out of tune and makes strange jerky movements while cauterwalling "867-5309." On the plus side, she awakens Tommy's writers, who invite her to mud wrestle backstage. On an even better side, Dave quips that Tommy is really good at mud wrestling!

Remember back in the day when Navarro claimed to be bisexual? Oh, would that that were true. Oh, if only Dave would play to that temptation. Instead of being seen exclusively with Pussycat Dolls and other sleazy models, if only he WOULD dive into that mud pit with Tommy. Such a scuzzy, slashy affair it'd be. That wouldn't be good TV. It'd be an instant classic, worthy of all that was once scandalously rock.

Not scandalous, but just plain boring, Toby managed to fuck up "Pennyroyal Tea" this week. He sounds good. Still sounds great, in fact. But all my earlier suspicions were proven last night. I thought I was projecting, having an almost reflexive reaction to his Aussie charm. But no. He proved he's a camera-fucking skater last night, trying to keep sliding by on his good looks and sexuality, which isn't sincere.

That's the thing about Tommy's himbo appeal: I believe it's sincere. I believe that Tommy loves the ladies. I believe that Toby likes for ladies to love him. He sang and then slunk into the crowd and captured a buxom blonde in a really forced, fake, smarmy embrace at the end. Dave told him it was anti-climactic, especially after Dilana had just gone in the audience and done it well.

Speaking of Dilana, she, of course, was great. She did "Can't Get Enough" while strutting around in weird pair of leather/fishnet pants, working the audience, working Supernova, working it all. Unlike Patrice, who, despite wearing a faux mohawk and stomping around still managed to disappear onstage, Dilana looks like she could hold her own. Patrice's problem this week wasn't her performance or her voice. It's that she had T Lee on drums as they did the Chili Peppers' version of "Higher Ground." It's a rare woman who can swallow Tommy, but he managed to swallow Patrice whole simply by being onstage in all his skinny, shirtless glory, banging away on his own set.

Patrice is good, but she just doesn't have the star wattage to hold most people's attention. Also, I'm certain of it now. Patrice is a bitch. And by bitch, I don't mean rebellious, strong, snarling rocker. I mean garden variety bitch. I'm sure she'll survive this week. But I'm also pretty sure that Supernova is taking note of her prime bitchitude and there's no way they're going to want to tour with her. It was hard to discern her bitch factor in the first couple weeks, thanks to her wide-eyed expression and strong voice. But a wide-eyed bitch is still a bitch.

Similarly, an asshole dipped in glitter is still an asshole. It's just that the glitter reflects some light and draws even more attention to the asshole. Thus out came Lukas. Lukas had built a lot of artistic capital with the band, and he blew it all last night in one fell swoop. Because much like glitter being a surface placebo, an affected stumble and mumble don't de-asshole the guy either. He did the same Lukas routine, and it's gotten old. He, apparently, is even sick of it.

It seemed quite the chore for him to get up and perform "Celebrity Skin" so he choose to keep turning his back to the audience. We know he wasn't strung out, cuz he was with it enough to laugh while Zayra performed. He was also cogent enough to look mighty sad when Ryan performed (cuz Ryan kicked ass.) And yet, he just couldn't really walk or sing or do anything other than snarl (in the totally bullshit, poser Lukas way) while he wore his glam red jacket and silver glitter, looking like an Oompa Loompa that'd dipped too heavily into Willie's private liquer candy stash. Also, he was a Mystic Tan mess, all fucking orange and shit. It was funny.

Faring much better than Lukas was Ryan. I've given the David Blaine looking bastard a hard time the past few weeks, but he played piano and sang "Losing My Religion" and he pulled off the illusion of seeming interesting for it. Tommy gave him mad props by saying that performance will get him laid. (Please see last week's column where I told you this whole brouhaha was all subterfuge for getting laid. Many of you thought I was crass and wrong. I wasn't. So fuck off.)

Magni sang Coldplay's "Clocks." Personally, I don't like that song. But Magni's a nice guy with a good voice and not much about him is fake. He missed his baby's first steps so Supernova decided to play fairy godmothers and bring his family over here. Also, it was a nice way of them to show how kissing their ass is worth the perks.

Dana was surprising again. She did The Who's "Baba O'Reilly" and her voice is so good it can carry her through. Her "badass" snarl is an act, but she's only 22. Here's my guess. She won't be the singer for this band. But if she was miraculously picked? All that wealth and star treatment would work its magic to turn her into a genuinely fucked-up person and then she'd be the real deal.

"Santeria" was a strange choice for Josh, who promised to bring the rock. Instead he brought the hip-hop/reggae. But I gotta say, it was really good. Again, it's not gonna work to front Supernova. But it was a good performance and good TV and I give Josh props for sticking to his shit. Like Phil, I think he's in it for personal exposure anyhow. He's just coy enough to not come out and say that, erego, Newsted told him his musicianship is great or whatever.

And that leaves us with Storm. Gone this week were the crazy-eyes and histrionics. Instead, Storm made the other wannabe sex goddesses Jill and Zayra look like fools by showing true sex appeal without being trashy or cliche. Or silly. Looking and sounding like a younger, less jazzy, less smoky Diana Krall, Storm wore a slinky black suit while doing Bowie's "Changes." She's got a good voice, even if it's not particularly distinctive. Put it with her all-American if vanilla face and her killer body, mix in her mature self-awareness, and subtract her previous self-consciousness and that's hot, baby. Hot.

The best and obvious choice to have fronted Supernova would've been Courtney Love. Because she is trashy and now cliche, but she fits what they're looking for and would've often kept eyes off Tommy and on her. But that wouldn't make for a TV series. And I don't think Supernova wants to deal with all that anyhow. But after another week of surprising performances, with Dilana and Storm leading the pack again, and with Lukas stumbling and staggering out of control and Toby tripping on his own dick, it's not inconceivable that they end up picking a chick to front this band.

A couple of them are showing some Rock Star wattage. And by that I don't mean snarling, sex-soaked rebellion. But it's a close enough facsimile in a grounded, well-adjusted way.


Cam said...

There are so many things I agree about with your post. Mostly with regards to Toby, Zayra, and Jill. I also see the thing that you called Gilby out for... the one with Jill using her sex appeal and compared it with what Toby did last night.

I kind of not hate Zayra as much as Ryan now.

Waaah, no Ryan hate in this post! Heh.

SusanD said...

Oh, I still have it in for Ryan! He just didn't suck as bad as the others last night though ;)

Anonymous said...

The best for Supernova would be two chicks: Dilana & Storm. And what fun for Tommy to be known as the only drummer who needed two chicks to eclipse him.

meep said...

Dead-on recap, as always. Someone disagreed with the sex angle last week? You're joking, right?

Just for fun, you (and any of your naysayers) might want to check out the documentary Metallica: Some Kind of Monster.

I did, for some insight into the band Jason Newsted sprang (ran?) from the midst (clutches?) of. In fact, the film has precious little of him, but gives lots of time to understanding an all-grown-up-and-still-dysfunctional metal band trying (much like our boys, Dave and S.Nova) to keep making the money...I mean...the music(!) after the bloom is off the rose.

Here's a game you can play. Watch this film and This is Spinal Tap back to back, and try not to lose count when adding up the herpes sores. Not about the sex?? Bwahahaha!

SusanD said...

Anon -- I think I agree with you.

meep -- thanks for the heads up, I'll definitely check that flick out! Too bad there's not much Newsted, I dig him muchly. Herpes sores or not! (you cracked me up with that one!)