Saturday, October 24, 2009

Lap Dancing in L.A. Strip Clubs to be Banned?

Erectibus Interruptus
June 12, 2003

By Brian Bentley

Lap dancing in Los Angeles may be illegal if measure passes

Imagine the thankless task of the undercover vice squad cop assigned to the "Lap Dance" detail. You're in charge of ensuring that exotic dancers in Los Angeles strip clubs remain at least six feet away from patrons at all times. City officials are worried about the rampant spread of what has been termed "prostitution" involving strippers, often fanned by the writhing rhythms of classic rock tunes like Humble Pie's "30 Days in the Hole."

In 2003, sex industry workers in L.A. can't help but feeling manhandled by the long arm of the law. Last January, Hollywood City Councilman Tom "the bomb" LaBonge, managed to sneak through a measure giving local cops the power to confiscate the automobiles of suspected, not convicted, johns caught in the act of soliciting a prostitute. Nobody in local government or the media had much to say in response to this frightening precedent of government seizure of private property, not wishing to appear to endorse the same civil servants of sex who are featured regularly in hit TV shows like HBO's Hookers at the Point.

Obviously emboldened by this slap in the face of due process, the Gestapo of the ID are at it again, this time setting their sights on cleaning up L.A. area strip bars. A group of concerned citizens has helped author an ordinance that will soon be voted on by the city council and the mayor. If it passes, lap dancing in the Southland, the kind portrayed so stirringly in cinematic classics like Showgirls and A Night at the Blue Iguana, will be a crime.

"This will clean up the industry," said Councilwoman Cindy Miscikowski, chairwoman of the council's Public Safety Committee, who proposed the measure aimed at curbing prostitution and other crime associated with the clubs.

Somewhere Charlie Sheen is weeping. Larry Flynt is jumping out of his chair. Where’s Bill Maher and his soapbox when we need him? Didn't we learn anything from the swingin’ 70's? Let's just say that personal freedom and artistic expression are not taking center stage. As for the charge that strip clubs are actually fronting for prostitution, blame it on those old drunks and frat rats who regularly tip a couple of bucks to a dancer at Cheetah's or Jumbo's Clown Room and take her home. I mean, it happens all the time, right fellas?

On the flip side, the ordinance was immediately criticized by representatives of adult businesses as unconstitutional.

"Do we want a society where we're so controlled that we cannot do anything at all, that we can't move in one direction or another?" asked Roger Jon Diamond, a Santa Monica attorney who represents about 25 adult clubs in Los Angeles and who compared the law with prohibitions enacted by the Taliban in Afghanistan.

"What is the city next going to do, say you can't go to a teacher to be taught ballroom dancing?" Diamond asked.

He makes a good point, since ballroom dancing has always been considered a gateway drug to the slow grind. But what is next if this odorous piece of Puritan legislation passes and sinks its draconian claws into our culture? Does it send a signal to other prudes with enough time on their hands, to whine and complain and define for all of us what is obscene? Seems to me that the right to have a sweaty girl gyrate on your lap is protected somewhere in the laws of common sense. Otherwise, we stand to suffer an audit of all half-naked theatrical performers in any public place. My friends are in a band called Nudist Priest. They play naked on stage, with guitars over their privates. I think a full scale police investigation on the taxpayer dime is warranted. At least these salty dudes need to stay more than six feet from their audience.

As usual, nobody seems to notice crazy laws up for debate until it's too late. We’re still sore from that nice wedgie the FCC gave us after it relaxed Broadcast ownership caps (even though a lot of people sent angry e-mails to Barbara Boxer). Strip clubs don't have a road kill's chance of survival in these reactionary times.

Make a phone call or drop an e-mail to your local city councilperson urging them to Vote No on this upcoming bill. Working girls deserve better than to be tossed out in the street. Our local economy needs the revenue ... and lonely guys need a place to buy watered down drinks and window shop for luxury items beyond their grasp.

Friday, July 17, 2009

What’s Wrong with the Music Business?

I Just Wasn’t Made For
These Times

August 10, 1999

By Brian Bentley

Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys in 1966, around the time of Pet Sounds

God Only Knows how much I'd love to see Brian Wilson write just one decent song again. His new album, Imagination, is pretty much devoid of it, and the guy seems only slightly less sad than the state of popular music as we close in fast on the millenium.

Music (or is it the music business?) has been going down faster than Monica Lewinsky on a three day pass to Camp David. But, as any rehab counselor knows, it's necessary to hit rock bottom before you can crawl back up. That's why they invented the blues. And if you don't think the blues can still rock, check out the latest Mudhoney album.

A look at the industry big picture is enough to make anyone refill their Zoloft prescription. Many record companies pay only lip service to "artist development," trying to convince us that bands like Matchbox 20 and Third Eye Blind are actually focusing on "careers." Today's post modern, one-hit, radio rock wonders quickly become yesterday's Verve Pipe, with no safety net to catch their fall – like a bottle rocket that plummets to earth the instant it peaks.

According to my industry sources (who will remain anonymous for their own peace of mind), approximately 28,000 records are released every year. That's a staggering amount of product to find shelf space. Less than 5% of these albums achieve sales of 10,000 units or more. Is it any wonder that a major label like Columbia can't afford to lose Celine Dion because she literally keeps the checks and advance money flowing to develop the next Beck? Cost effectiveness translates to survival. But what's the value of a great idea – especially one that won't turn a profit until the third or fourth album? Can a label of any size afford to wait that long?

Since Nirvana's breakthrough is generally credited as signaling the start of the last great commercial rock era, it's interesting to note what happened next. While Nevermind was the single most influential rock record of the 90's, its mammoth sales weren't as important as its cultural impact (like the buzz Hendrix and The Who gave our forefathers at The Monterey Pop Festival).

Nevermind as well as Pearl Jam's Ten, changed the way record people regarded their profession. The workplace became exciting again. But the minute Seattle was besieged by A&R scouts desperate to sign anyone in a flannel shirt, Grunge headed south. The polarity and suffocating trendiness of present day society only fanned the winds of change. With Kurt Cobain's shotgun providing the final ringing note, Grunge left the building with no encore planned.

Today, any hard rock group with a guitar, bass and drums line-up that seriously expects to succeed would be best advised not to quit their day jobs. As for Seattle, it's becoming a disturbing new verse for "The Needle and the Damage Done." Layne Staley, lead singer of Alice in Chains (much like Stoned Temple Pilot, Scott Weiland), is a drug vegetable, a dead man walking. His co-dependent bandmates have been forced into half-baked solo records and assorted side projects. Aside from the A&M brass who pressured him to fold Soundgarden, does anyone give a damn about a Chris Cornell solo album?

Now go figure the Screaming Trees. In 1996, they released one of the best albums of the year, the quickly-brushed aside, Dust. By 1997, the band was on "hiatus" while Mark Lanegan dried out in L.A.., a modern-day Lizard King, complete with damaged vocal chords from booze and heroin. Meanwhile, Mercury Records' new A&R temp, Courtney Love, helped sign Radish, a much-hyped Midwest band who produced a dismal first record. After the mean-spirited frenzy of the Grunge crash, will anyone care to listen to their second?

The astute reader might ask the inevitable question, "So What?" For starters, just turn on the radio or MTV. Are either as good as they were five years ago? Now ask yourself. Is it because there's no more challenging music, or is it because good music has even less chances to be played? As playlists on both radio and MTV tighten and liquor conglomerates buy labels that have already amassed huge debts, diversity becomes the unheard music. When an over-the-hill dinosaur act like R.E.M. is guaranteed upwards of 100 million dollars, is there any money left to develop and promote Grant Lee Buffalo?

It's a complicated issue made up of simple choices. Will today's multi-talented, 18 year-old start a new band or a film production company? One thing is certain. If every man, woman, and child launched their own record label or pirate radio station, it would be a mess. One big, beautiful mess. Like Brian Wilson used to be – when he still took risks. But then only a fool takes risks when all you have to do is shut up and play the game.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

The Life Expectancy of a Homeless Jaywalker

Running Into Strangers
March 23, 2009

By Brian Bentley

Getting hit by a car while drunk is maybe better than getting hit when sober

Last Saturday night, I was waiting to get into the Echoplex to see a show by a psychedelic rock band called Black Mountain. I was standing near the back of the line that formed on the sidewalk on Glendale Boulevard, about a half block south of Sunset. A transient in a sweatshirt with a hood over his head came up behind me and gave me a hard shoulder into the middle of my back, with about the force one would use in a bar if you wanted to start trouble. I turned around and he was just staring blankly ahead, right through me. It was a dead eyed stare, the expressionless look of a haggard and lost soul. There was a Grim Reaper vibe to him. The bearded man was white and average height, somewhere between 45 and 55 years old. Though he was typically wino-lean, the guy seemed taut and muscular. I ignored him, as any sort of reaction to an individual like this can have significantly diminishing returns.

The man also said nothing. He just stood there, about two inches to my left side, for a moment like he was trying to communicate something. Maybe any kind of physical engagement was better than the usual night of stumbling around in the dark alone. With the entire sidewalk of concertgoers watching, he turned to cross the street the way bums lurch into traffic like they don’t give a fuck, like they are daring somebody to hit them, as if life has so stripped them of power that they’ve sunk to grabbing little pieces of it when they can from intimidated motorists with no choice but to yield.

I turned to the guy next to me. “Check this dude out,” I said. “He looks like he wants to get hit.” “Yeah,” he replied, “he may get his wish.” One car blew its horn, then another. The jaywalker was inching closer to the forbidden zone, that point of commitment where there is no turning back, and that point where 99% of drunks will stop in their tracks. There was a silver luxury car in the fast lane that had slowed a bit, but was still cruising along at about 20-25 miles per hour – no horn, no brakes. The walker made his move, stepping right in front of the vehicle. The headlights illuminated his lower half. The onlookers gasped, confronted with the kind of drama you can’t buy with a concert ticket.

There was this sound upon impact, a horrific crunch, loud enough to be mistaken for the collision of two cars, not several thousand pounds of metal, rubber and leather slamming into flesh and bone. A couple of women screamed. The jaywalker bounced off the bumper and to the car’s right. He didn’t go airborne and he didn’t go under the car. I turned back to the guy next to me. “Did you see that?” I asked. “Unfortunately yes,” he sighed. “I saw it coming from the minute he stepped off the curb.” We both agreed that the bum’s reaction upon impact and his resulting flight path were fairly athletic, almost stuntman-like in their agility. Maybe alcohol had played a part in keeping him loose enough to roll with the blow.

Twenty cell phones simultaneously dialed 911 and the paramedics arrived within two minutes. The guy was motionless, lying on his back with his eyes open, an old hippie with that dead confederate soldier in a field of grass look to him. “He’s fucking toast,” a punker said a few feet away. The driver of the car that hit the wino was a very large black man in his late 20’s in shorts, and the passenger was a dapper, grey haired gent who chain smoked and looked vaguely like someone who was late for a meeting. It was an odd couple whose origins one could only guess upon.

“He could have avoided that guy,” someone said. “He had all sorts of time.” On the other hand, most drivers would have expected the jaywalker to stop before he crossed that imaginary line in the asphalt. Even a suicidal transient has his limits.

Finally the cops trolled up and leisurely started getting witness statements. The driver was helpful and polite and everyone did their job trying to stabilize the flattened man, whose complicated and sad life was now even more wretched and broken. Eventually he slowly moved both his arms and legs and somebody gave him a cigarette. “How bad off can he be if he’s smoking?” I said. “Funny you should mention that,” a girl next to me offered. “I once saw a bar fight where a biker was stabbed in the head with a hatchet and he was dancing around in the street afterward, laughing and smoking and then he just died.”

I will never know if internal injuries killed the guy lying here tonight. Maybe even his family, if he had any left, would never know either. Once, he had been someone’s son, somebody’s boyfriend, but now he belonged to the street. After awhile, the ambulances were gone and the boulevard was cleared and the people saw their rock show and life went on. When I called the local hospitals to find out if the man survived, all they could tell me was that without his name, they had no way to trace his fate. I got a creepy feeling when I realized that if the dude was dead, then I was the last person he touched on this mortal coil. Now I wished he’d bumped into someone else. I even thought about how my reaction to his unwarranted shove could have saved his ass. If I had thrown a vicious right hand to his head, he would have been left lying on the sidewalk instead of maybe the county morgue. It’s funny how life can turn on a dime, or even a bump, a zig and a zag.

Melevolence: Riding Shotgun with Mel Gibson

Last Call for The Road Warrior
August 8, 2006

By Brian Bentley

Mel Gibson at the bar in Malibu, the night he was arrested for drunk driving"What Jew Lookin' At?"

Last Saturday morning, around 3 a.m., I had an epiphany of sorts. I was driving near Malibu at 85 mph. on Pacific Coast Highway when the face of Mel Gibson appeared in the clouds above. At first, I did not recognize him. Once, he had been young and invincible. As the leather-clad vigilante cop from Mad Max, Gibson was a punk rock superhero gazing out across apocalyptic landscapes with a heartless, blank stare of nothingness and rage. Now he appeared before me as an old man, a despondent Charlton Heston playing Moses. Still it was undeniably the voice of Mel that thundered down from the heavens.

I had to be hallucinating. After all, I was stoned on various substances, cranking the tune “Freebird” and determined to wrap myself around a telephone pole at the exact moment the song reached its three-guitar crescendo. I’d finally made up my mind to copycat Allen Collins (Lynyrd Skynyrd’s driving-challenged guitarist) and end it in a blaze of twisted steel. Life had become a bipolar mess. The pillars that propped me up had dropped one-by-one, like soldiers on the beach at Normandy. The night before, while watching Vanishing Point, I found myself actually laughing as Barry Newman, bathed in white light and smiling in mad anticipation of his deliverance, smacked head-on into destiny and a tractor-filled CHP roadblock, turning a perfectly good 1969 Dodge Charger into an exploding fireball.

My mind was made up and now Mel Gibson was ruining everything. His words shook the floorboards. “My son, you are special. I cannot bear to see you suffer like this any longer.”

What a time to start hearing voices. “Leave me the fuck alone,” I screamed out the window as the face above the highway kept pace with my front grill. Panicked by this unexpected development, I began reciting Gibsonian dialogue. “I am the Nightrider! That’s right, you shitfaced psychopathic aborigine… I am Peter Fonda … I am Adam Roarke! I ride the Night Sky straight into hell … you of all people should understand!”

Mel’s florid mug hung closer to the ground and I could tell he had been drinking. “Do not do this,” he implored. “You still have much to accomplish, don’t let them win, keep fighting, like I did in Braveheart. Drive a sword through those who would destroy you.”

The car began to shake violently like the wheels were coming off and then it seemed the vehicle was almost flying on rails, an amusement park ride, maneuvering on its own accord, effortlessly handling each hairpin turn, nearly leaving the ground. Suddenly, at the speed of computer graphics, Gibson morphed from specter into human form and then he landed right in my passenger seat, a very suicidal Martin Riggs, sporting a Lethal Weapon mullet and trying to wrestle the wheel out of my hands.

He was bellowing into my ear like a madman. “You want to die fucker? You really want to die? Are you really ready to do this? Hey mate, I’m the one who wanted out and now, they’ve delivered me to a fate worse than death! My life is truly, truly FUCKED!”

I tried to straighten the front wheels but Gibson was literally on a roll. “I could have stayed behind at the bar, gone home and spent the night with that waitress, and now, it’s the whole world that wants to screw me. Sanctimonious swine! What skeletons they got in their closets, eh mate? I know. I know they’re going to tell me, ‘Mel, you must go on Diane Sawyer, you must do the full confession to People. Get on your knees and pray for a second chance and please, dear boy, would you mind wearing a beanie for the cameras while you’re at it?”

It was at this moment that I realized I was dealing with a guy who was even crazier than me. He jammed his left foot down on the accelerator. The car jacked up on its two right wheels and when it found its four feet again, I mashed the brake pedal to the floor. The vehicle skidded for quite some time and then went end over end, landing miraculously in one piece without as much as a scratch.

Adrenaline and sheer terror can be a mother and like electroshock it snapped me out of my terminally depressed state. I felt different. Something elemental had changed.

By this time, Gibson’s booming baritone and whisky breath were wearing thin. He was giving me a splitting headache. I thought of pepper spraying the blowhard bastard with my free hand, but finally gave in and let go of my grip on the wheel as he gently steered us into a parking lot off PCH.

On the car radio, “Freebird” had segued into a .38 Special song and the mood was forever broken. Something very paranormal had just occurred and it made me realize that there are some fates worse than death. One of them is to be trapped in a car with a drunk Mel Gibson.

Looking at him now, it was hard to believe that just eight short days ago, he had been a respected, Teflon-coated box office superstar. He had boozed and brawled but still walked on water – a guy’s kind of man and a pin-up boy for suburban hot tub mamas everywhere. But in the age of instant information, eight days is an eternity. Now the good guy story was old news, now he was damaged goods.

Credibility is like virginity, it’s an innocence lost that can never be restored. The cottage industry that thrives on celebrity crucifixion made sure of it. The self-righteous players surrounding the movie studios, all the industry rats who reap enormous profits from exploiting the darkest sides of human weakness had circled their wagons around the “J” word and in these “sensitive times” (you mean 24/7 World War?) Gibson’s soggy soliloquy to the traffic cop was the dumbest, most ill-timed career move since Hugh Grant stopped along the Sunset Strip to roll down his window.

At least for the time being, Mel Gibson was an outsider, just like me. And for that reason only, I decided to finally forgive him for making What Women Want.

“Dude,” I told him, “thanks for stepping up like that … nobody else bothered to.” “Not a problem mate,” he replied. He reached into his pocket and produced a golden whisky flask. “Want a snort?” he offered.

“No thanks,” I said. “I’m driving.”

Gibson stared off into the night and his eyes began to mist and glow. “You know,” he intoned, “Jesus Christ was all about forgiveness. But religion, religion isn’t about forgiveness anymore. It’s all idol worship, my idol against your idol, my God against yours. Besides, they got it wrong. I never said I actually owned Malibu.”

The question was begging to be asked. “Mel,” I said, “Why the fuck did you pick on the Jews? Jesus man, what were you thinking? Couldn’t you have ranted on about despising Paraguayans or loathing Turks or disemboweling Canadians? I mean nobody gives a pine tree about a Canadian…”

My words trailed off and Gibson shook violently for a moment. His physical form began to change dramatically. His face became a face without pity, the face of Officer Mad Max Rockatansky, a face who had seen hell and lived to make others regret it. There wasn’t a trace of forgiveness in those cold blue eyes. In the end, I guess, life has a nasty habit of grinding all of us down. For years, Mel Gibson’s hubris had been a shovel and he had finally dug his own grave with it. Like Max, the circling vultures could smell his blood, the scent of fresh road kill.

It was obvious that the incredible death-defying evening had come down to this one defining moment. His eyes narrowed. He stared at me with malevolent intensity. I could see this one coming long before he opened his mouth.

“Why do you ask that?” he said. “Are YOU a Jew?”

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Friday, June 26, 2009

Lynyrd Skynyrd: Gimme Back My Rock Stars

Gimme Back My Rock Stars
Lynyrd Skynyrd vs. Emo

June 21, 2009

By Brian Bentley

Lynyrd Skynyrd in 1976, at a photo shoot for the Gimme Back My Bullets LP© MCA Records

Back before Axl Rose got botox and boy musicians wore gay sweaters with reindeer patterns and played in coed Emo bands with long goofy names, there was something called a “rock and roll star.” A rock star was somebody like Robert Plant or Paul Rodgers or Keith Richards or Keith Moon. There was no specific criteria for these individuals except that they did not look like anyone else you might see in a typical day. A rock star usually wore very tight clothes that barely concealed his package and if he did not have an enormous cock, he lived every day like he did. He was not sensitive or particularly introspective. In many ways he was an animal who got by on instinct – the darker the instincts the better. The instinct for survival was the least important.

Bon Scott, the original vocalist for AC/DC, the fellow who wrote the lyrics to “Night Prowler,” the song that inspired serial killer, Richard Ramirez, was such a rock star. Bon, like Jesus, died at 33 years of age. They found him half frozen, behind the wheel of a car parked in the snow, eyes wide open with a whisky bottle clutched in his mitt. It was the perfect and logical ending to a script Bon had been writing for years. He lived and ended his life in harmony with the elegant art of self-negation that had become his musical canon – fast women, faster cars, too much booze and a band of brothers who saw themselves as a small army that would conquer the music world or die trying. It’s a long way to the top if you wanna rock n’ roll.

That was decades ago when rock music meant something. It was back when performers like Bowie and Kiss resembled extra-terrestrials from another planet, not the guy who works as a checker at Vons and still lives with his parents and wants to date an actress and get written up in US Weekly. It was back when musicians had original ideas and dressed like the royalty they were. The geeks were the spectators in the audience, not the guys playing the instruments. If you got up in front of the wrong crowd in the 1970s with a name as queer as Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, you might not make it out of the building alive.

Today, it’s a different tune. What passes for rock music is more theater than reality. Image is all that matters. Punks may resemble Sid Vicious, but even a maniac like Pete Doherty seems to exist simply to work the ACT of being a rock star. Hard rock and heavy metal are genres stocked with fashion poseurs who look about as tough as a runway model in a studded leather jacket. Exceptions can be made for the dudes in Queens of the Stone Age, a few Southern bands like Mastodon, and certain former members of Nirvana. At least they are real men.

Thirty five years ago, before the Freedom Rock infomercial, there was a group called Lynyrd Skynyrd. You might remember them for the hit song “Sweet Home Alabama,” which later became a chart-topper for Kid Rock and a soundtrack mainstay for countless Indie films. On October 20, 1977, a chartered plane carrying the members of Lynyrd Skynyrd, their wives and girlfriends, senior tour crew members and their road manager, crashed into a swamp near McComb, Mississippi. The crash killed four members of their entourage, including two band members and cut their careers perfectly short (before they could make a jazz-rock album). The original Skynyrd was nothing like the passionless fat clowns who’ve carried on in their name. They were a badass bunch who grew up as street kids in an impoverished Florida neighborhood and had to literally fight their way to the summit of the rock world.

In the beginning, Skynyrd was playing hard, electric blues music similar to English bands like Free and Humble Pie, but it was filtered through Neil Young-quality lyrics and chord structures. These were simple and powerful songs made more powerful by the band’s razor-sharp chops and guitar prowess. Skynyrd was more than just a bunch of guys dressed in flares, playing as fast as they could.

The band’s first three records were produced by legendary Dylan sideman and New York fixture, Al Kooper, who saw them tear up a small club and instantly signed them to his newly formed, Sounds of the South label. Their tour manager was Peter Rudge, who also handled The Who. Skynyrd’s ferocious live attack discouraged other acts from following them to the stage. But a typically fearless Pete Townshend demanded they open for The Who throughout his 1973 tour.

Check out the steely looks of vacancy and determination in the top photo. Four of the six original members of Skynyrd died in separate incidents that seemed to define the concept of the doomed blues man. The short one who looks like punk record label owner, Long Gone John, was lead singer Ronnie Van Zant. The son of a Golden Gloves boxer, Ronnie had a code of “honor” that landed him in jail a dozen times for fighting and public drunkenness. He died in the plane crash. Ronnie did not listen when the wives of the band members pleaded with him to ground their rickety tour plane. Ronnie just said, “When it’s your time, it’s your time.”

Lead guitarist, Allen Collins (second from right), was constantly beaten up in high school for his soft manner and quiet voice. After the plane crash that took away his band, Collins’ wife died of complications during pregnancy. After her death, he gradually disintegrated. Over the years, he was involved in four horrific automobile accidents, mostly involving trees and other inanimate objects. His final car crash killed his girlfriend and left him crippled from the waist down and unable to play guitar. He didn’t drive after that. Collins lost whatever will he had left to live – weakened from barbiturate addiction and constant psychic and physical pain, finally succumbing to pneumonia at 37.

Ronnie Van Zant was the son of a Golden Gloves boxer
Lynyrd Skynyrd lead singer
Ronnie Van Zant was arrested 11 times

It sounds like a corny cliché today, but in the early seventies, if you wore long hair in certain circles of the South, you were really asking for trouble – physical, life-threatening trouble. Ronnie Van Zant pushed his own altercation envelope, while Lynyrd Skynyrd embraced elements of Dixie danger and wore them like a crown of thorns. Similar to the Death Row rappers in 90's Compton, this was music that sprang directly from life, a byproduct of it, not a jive re-creation. It was thematic inspiration and tortured art that became a living canvas of turmoil, triumph and tragedy. Skynyrd was the embodiment of all things a “rock star” band must be. The plane crash was a sadly fitting coda to a lifestyle of excess, drinking, car crashes and self-destruction that has no parallel in rock history – and you can include the legacies of Hendrix, Morrison, Brian Jones and Kurt Cobain in that equation.

Rock has slowly died in a similar manner of lost potential, but instead of leaving us for good, it’s just morphed into a commodity and another day job. I miss the times when rock and roll stars lived their lives out in their music; when they were in it for real and didn’t sweat the details of retirement. To paraphrase the late comedian Bill Hicks, I wanted my rock stars to be fucking rock stars. I wanted them totally screwed up, on drugs and drink and scaring the shit out of people – with a groupie hanging from one arm and a needle from the other. I wanted to live my life vicariously through them as they took the risks and paid the prices that normal people could never afford. Johnny Thunders and Phil Lynott and Marc Bolan had the right idea. I wonder what they would have thought of Fall Out Boy and the Arcade Fire and the new definition of rock and roll.

Heroin was the love you gave
From the cradle to the grave
Boys and girls don't understand
The devil makes work for idle hands
I cut myself but I don't bleed
'Cause I don't get what I need
Doesn't matter what I say
Tomorrow's still another day

Birth, school, work, death
Birth, school, work, death

Yeah I been high and I been low
And I don't know where to go
I'm living on the never never never
This time it's gonna be forever
I'll live and die don't ask me why
I wanna go to paradise
And I don't need your sympathy
There's nothing in this world for me

Birth, school, work, death
Birth, school, work, death
Birth, school, work, death
Birth, school, work, death

The Godfathers Birth, School, Work, Death