You Can’t Go Home Again in November When it’s Raining

I went to the Guns n’ Roses show at Roseland last Friday, and have been debating on whether to report it. Then today I found myself home alone in the office at work, which never happens since Ms. PF does not believe in allotting much floor space for things like offices or backstock, so there are too many people to find yourself alone at work…like, ever. Contrary to the fashion fantasy, there are 7 stations packed into one tiny, noisy, messy office. It’s a real joy when we’ve got interns rolling in and out and the phones are ringing off the hook. But today everyone is gone with a list of excuses that run from trade shows to hangovers, and the phones are remarkably quiet, so it seems that the Universe is practically begging me to sneak something in.
Handsome Dick Manitoba and his band Manitoba opened on this particular night, and as his gorgeous wife Zoe Hansen is the Patsy to my Edina, the Edina to my Patsy, she insisted that she wasn’t going unless he got me into the show as well, which was difficult as each member of the opening band got only one guest pass. Some wrangling ensued until an extra pass was conjured up for me, one of the members of the GnR band that we are friends with took pity on Dick’s domestic plight and added my name to his list. So I am extremely grateful to all concerned for being so generous, and this is the reason that I am somewhat reluctant to post a review that is not 100% positive. But it would be pointless for me to blog otherwise.
My affection for all things GnR has been well-documented in past blogs. I will sum up by saying that the band meant everything to me in the early days. I saw all the first New York shows–L’Amour in Queens, the two at the Ritz, one at that smaller side stage they used to have at the Garden–and in my memory they were some of the best shows I have ever had the pleasure of viewing. I remember standing in the audience at the Ritz with my mouth wide open, feeling like my hair was blowing back from the energy of the band. They were that good. But everyone knows this.
So now it’s well over 20 years later and things have changed. Axl essentially stole the name from his bandmates and performs with a band of hired guns. You can’t help but feel for Slash and Duff, even with their further successes it has got to be galling every time this tour rolls around. And who knows what Izzy is feeling these days, I always picture him on a tropical island with a tan and a blond. But I am happy for the musicians, as mentioned I am friendly with one of them and he is a major talent and I’m so glad he’s got a gig that can showcase his abilities and give him a proper paycheck. I don’t begrudge any one of them their talent or their livelihood. And I was very excited to see Manitoba open and have a night with my girl listening to songs I love.

So here we go–

Zoe and I got there, waved our VIP stickers around and shouted, “The old whores are here!” We made a half-hearted attempt to get backstage and were rightfully rebuffed, then tottered about on our heels until we found a prime sitting spot–a table at center mezzanine just over the sound booth (always a sonically promising place to plant yourself). Let the cocktailing begin! “Oh waitress! Over here, Darling!!”
This is how we began. Dignified. Ladylike.
Manitoba killed it. I was so happy for them. The band was super tight, Richard is very comfortable onstage and he used his charisma to win over a crowd that was keenly focused on Axl’s arrival.
GnR came out and almost as soon as it started I thought, “Why did I think I would love this?” It sounded amazing. Axl’s voice is in top form. I don’t know what he’s doing to keep it there, I hear rumors of oxygen tents. Whatever it is, it’s working. And he’s in pretty good shape physically, he looks like a long lost member of Skynyrd these days, which in my mind is a do-able look for a man my age. I don’t expect anyone to look exactly like they did in 1988.
 This quote from from Andy Greene of Rolling Stone sums it up pretty well:
If you closed your eyes, you could almost imagine you were seeing Guns N’ Roses on the Sunset Strip in 1987. Axl sounded that good. Then you open your eyes, and see a 50-year-old Axl in a black cowboy hat and sunglasses singing alongside some guy named Bumblefoot and you’re brought right back to reality.” 
Erm…yes. And to add to that were the visuals. The visuals!! [Raises fist to the sky!] They made me sad. So very sad. 
We (the audience, not just Zoe and me) were presented with the most unbelievably generic video and light show, which in my mind was Axl’s way of saying, “I just don’t give a fuck and I’m going to allow my staff to illustrate the supreme level of my not giving a fuck with the absolute lamest Playboy channel outtakes possible mixed in with some flashy colored light stuff from 1995. Remember that band you loved? I ate it. Thank you very much and good night.”
Exhibit A, which btw, is labeled on youtube as “Axl and a bunch of dudes who aren’t Slash playing Rocket Queen.”
Sigh…So as I watched the admittedly gifted dudes who aren’t Slash run around playing Rocket Queen perfectly and as if their lives depended upon it, in front of slow motion stock catalog bikini footage, I realized that in my excitement over Manitoba opening, getting in at the last minute, our awesome VIP passes, the great table we were sitting at, and getting a night out with my partner in crime, that I had forgotten the most important factor: that Guns n’ Roses no longer exists and what lies in its stead is, at heart, a bastardization, and therefore completely heinous, no matter how good it sounds when you close your eyes. 
Luckily, oh so luckily, tequila was available. And thusly, I was able to numb the pain and bravely, yet somberly, soldier on like the trooper that I am:
Yes, that is Ross the Boss behind us.
I shall leave you with this palate cleanser: Rocket Queen as it was meant to be seen, along with one aging rock slut’s quiet prayer: Oh dear Axl, please do the right thing and get on bended knee and beg Slash for enough forgiveness to join you at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame ceremony. We already know Duff has forgiven you, and Steven Adler will show up whether he’s invited or not. And Izzy…Izzy? Are you out there? It’s time to come back in from the beach. The world of rock and roll needs you now more than ever.

Could Not Have Said It Better Myself

From my sister:

Sadly Rock of Love 2 concludes this sunday evening. I will be there to watch Daisy receive her crown, as we all know at 37 Ambre is much too old. I hope the evening of sex goes well for the two lovebirds and that the headband stays on. Nobody wants brains spilling out on the bed. ok.”

I spent two drunken hours on Wednesday night arguing the finer points of this delightful show with BROOKE, who is pro-Ambre (yes, that’s right–the R goes before the E), while I, along with my sister, am pro-Daisy. Last week’s episode was an absolute delight: Bret donned a lace-front wig to prove to all of us that there is indeed hair (even if it had to be purchased) under the headband; we learned that Destiney (with an extra E for Excellent!) chose to vie for Bret’s affection on a reality television show rather than spend some time with her dying father, who was given six months to live and has since passed away; we watched Bret force the parents to watch a lengthy Poison dvd while Destiney flipped her hair and did a crazy and mortifying whore dance around the room; we cried as Ambre admitted that she is totally head over heels in love with Bret but that she lied about her age for “business” purposes; and we shook with nervous fear as Bret continued to grill poor Daisy about her home life with her closet-case ex-bf Charles.

I am madly in love with Daisy Duck. I can’t get enough of her. The ridiculous fake lips, the giant fake boobs, the perfect little waist, the way she weirdly holds her hands in front of her face when she cries, her tiny spinning hamster brain. She’s an absolute delight. And Bret thinks so too, I have to cover my eyes in shame when he gets all sexy around her, which is often. But Brooke thinks that Ambre’s better for him because she’s intelligent and closer to his age. Ha! As if those are even considerations. Although I will admit that Ambre has been pulling some diabolically Machiavellian moves the last couple episodes, which have kept Daisy extremely confused and Ambre close in the running.

And can we talk about Bret’s fashion for a moment? That super stiff garanimal matching Ed Hardy leather jacket and cowboy hat he wore last week made my heart sing. Almost as much as the full length cow print duster from last season. Oh Bret, you are the king of cheese, thank you so much for such quality entertainment. I’ll see you on Sunday night, hot stuff.

Use Your Beautiful Asian Drag Illusion

I have had a very entertaining couple of nights.
On Friday I was stuck in the store until 10 pm for one of our ridiculous staff meetings. I won’t even get into that can of gay worms. Afterwards, since it was so late, I decided not to eat anything and just go home, but while walking got hijacked into stopping into Lucky Chengs for a drink with some co-workers.

For those of you who don’t live in NY, Cheng’s is an absolute pit located on First Avenue. Years ago the theme was “Delicious food served by beautiful Asian drag queens”. Unfortunately, they soon ran out of beautiful Asian drag queens willing to waitress and over time the place morphed into a burial ground where the trannie prostitutes go to die. 
It is unbelievable in there. Half-naked, gorgeous black boys in drag, with asses you could park your drink on, falling off their heels and squawking at each other, aging white boys in bikinis and Marilyn wigs trying to keep the cutlets from falling out of their bra tops, and the occasional actual Asian in a cheap slip, drunk and wobbly, leaning against the bar for support: all of them suffering under the weighty demands and whims of squealing gangs of chubby bachelorettes in penis hats and veils. 
These denizens of the outer boroughs, Long Island, and New Jersey travel in packs in white limousines to visit the freak show. They stand on their chairs and dance while shouting “Whooo!!” at each other, bitchily demanding more appletinis and high five-ing their sistren while taking photos with the staff like its a grown-up Disneyland. I kept expecting to hear one of them yell, “Dance, Monkey, DANCE!!”
And to make it even better, there’s karaoke. So the brides to be can get up and sing the hits for their friends. So while youre having a cocktail at the bar you can watch a drunken sorority sister with a mom haircut belt out “Hit Me With Your Best Shot” while getting spanked by a wasted, spindly-legged trannie in a miniskirt. Gorgeous!

As I settled into my second glass of wine a particularly masculine faced ladyboy staggered into my chair looking tired and sad. I asked, “Are you okay?” She narrowed her eyes and said in a very thick accent, “You a crazy faggot? You a crazy faggot??” I said, “Why, yes. Yes, I am a crazy faggot.” Seemed the appropriate answer.

It is an unholy place for sure. So of course I stayed for three glasses of wine and then teetered home chuckling to myself.

Then Saturday I cursed my co-workers and the seedy allure of Lucky Cheng’s and suffered a nice little no food/cheap wine hangover. And my good friend Michael Schmidt has been in town from L.A. for a few weeks and we had made plans to hang out on Saturday night.

Some of you know Michael, he is a brilliant designer of jewelry and clothing and was the mastermind behind Squeezebox. He has made clothing for Deborah Harry, Cher, Sebastian Bach, and other famous types. He’s been my friend for 20 years, we both landed in NY from the Midwest at the same time and have much history together. And whenever we’re together cool shit just happens. He is in town right now helping Don Hill renovate his club, and he also had a hangover but we dragged ourselves out in the pouring rain to see Supervillain play at Continental.

I would just like to interject a little aside here and state for the record that Trigger, the owner of Continental, is an ass. New Yorkers already know this, but the rest of the world should be told. I am sick of his shit. I’m not one of those people that expects to get in free all the time, and I like putting money in to support my friends’ bands. And I NEVER ask him to comp me, but once in a while it is a natural courtesy and there area few reasons why anyone else on the planet would comp me on the odd occasion if they were standing at the door at Continental. For one, I played in a band that had some notoriety. But that was quite a while ago so I don’t use that card very often. But then I frigging managed Coney Island High, right around the corner from his sorry ass, where he entered and drank for free any time he wanted. I also made sure to comp him everything when he visited Remote Lounge, a horrible club I managed a while back. And lastly, I was Jesse Malin’s girlfriend for seven years, who Trigger worships and comps and butt-kisses at all times. Any time I am with Jesse, he comps me, but most begrudgingly of course. I know he hates it, even though I have never been anything but polite and respectful towards him. The man is notorious for his issues with women, though, so I don’t know why I’m always surprised at what a dick he is.

So last night I walk up to the door, by myself, and Trigger is standing there next to his doorman Karl, who I know. Karl looks at me, smiles, looks at Trigger, then looks at me again, then back at Trigger, like, “Dude, wtf, youre gonna make me charge her?” Trigger just stands there in his ridiculous coolie hat watching silently and waiting for me to pay like the douchebag he is. I just pulled out my money, smiled at Karl, and paid. The guy felt so bad he apologized to me later. I told him I know his boss is an asshole and not to think twice about it.

Anyway, end of Trigger rant…So Supervillain rocked and afterwards Michael wanted to go by Don Hill’s to get some cash and to show me the Misshapes party. Don is the polar opposite of Trigger, the most generous club-owner on the planet and even if I hate the party or band going on at his place it’s always fun to hang out there. And the Misshapes, for my metal friends that aren’t surrounded by gay club kids all day long, are three horrible, pretentious 20-something hipster DJs that rule NY right now. Exactly the opposite of what I think is cool, but I was curious to see what the scene was like and it was a chance to see Don and his staff. So Michael’s words were something like, “Come on, Doll. We’ll get drunk and you can pick on the hipsters.”

Which we did, most heartily. But before I get to that, in the cab on the way over and totally out of the blue, Michael turned to me and said, “Remember that time we went to the pyramid and Axl sat down at the bar next to you and you guys started talking about how he has YOU tattooed on his arm?” I said, “Yeah, that was the first time we met him, remember, before they played the Ritz. We laughed about that tattoo and then talked about jewelry.”

Fast forward to the party. It is a sea of pasty, indeed misshapen children, all dancing with great bursts of flapping irony to the sounds of Journey and The Strokes. The place is packed with little girls in Karen Oh drag. I don’t hate the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and she’s cool enough, but essentially its just sloppy Pat Benetar gear with a crappy haircut. Let’s just say it’s not very pretty. Or sexy. Or cool. It was all fairly hideous as far as I was concerned. 
And the boys were even worse. They were even pastier and more misshapen, and were all wearing headbands. I am not kidding when I say this. Headbands! Yucky, mealy little boys in badly fitting jeans and stretchy Olivia Newton John circa “Physical” HEADBANDS. So me being me and Don being the purveyor of many shots, I drank a substantial quantity of tequila and began loudly and repeatedly announcing that I wouldn’t fuck anyone in the place, even with Karen Oh’s vagina. Michael patted my cheek and said, “Here’s another shot, honey. Now please don’t hit anyone.”

About an hour into the drinking and ranting, Ronnie G, Don’s partner and one of my favorite people on the planet, comes up and says, “Axl Rose is here.” Yippee! Finally some action. Plus I couldn’t believe it– Michael had fucking conjured Axl, which is the kind of thing that always happens when we’re hanging out! I was beside myself. Back in the day I was friendly with Duff, and I think what Axl did to his bandmembers was pretty rotten and destroyed a band that was a total powerhouse on stage. I loved Guns and Roses. But I can’t help having affection for him and who he is.Yes, hes a crazy mess but I have an affinity for crazy messes and he is forever connected to some of the best times of my life. Plus he’s always behaved like an absolute gentleman towards me.

So Ronnie leads Axl and his posse to a quickly roped off section near the DJ booth. He’s wearing mostly white and is followed by one male friend in a trucker cap and black t-shirt, an older woman who is probably wrangling him for the evening, and a few fairly hot rock type girls. I thought, thank God, actual women with boobs and butts wearing something besides Flashdance sweatshirts and shag haircuts. And Axl didnt look as bad as expected. He still has those wacky cornrows but he doesn’t look as shiny and facelifted and scary as he did during the MTV awards show. But of course, by this time I was blind drunk, so its all a little bit of a blur. He could have been wearing beautiful Asian drag for all I knew.

So, me being me, I marched over to his area and smile at him. He stood up and took my hand, and I leaned in and shouted over the blaring speakers, “We’ve met a few times before, I’m Raffaele from Cycle Sluts from Hell.” He smiled and started to say something but because he stood up and leaned over the rope a little, a huge swarm of nasty little hipsters started shoving and crowding around to take pictures with him. It was crazy and I felt bad and retreated back to the nearby bar so he could sit back down in peace.

After a little more time at the bar being banged into by badly dressed children, I turned to Ronnie and said,Come on, we’ve got to go sit in there.” It probably came out like, “Cermn. Weef goddasiddin.” But Ronnie was loaded too so he got it. He grabbed my hand and walked me into the section. The guy in the trucker cap says his name is Vegas and he knows me, and immediately gets up and puts me in the seat next to Axl. So now I’m totally amped–I’m in a VIP section sitting next to Axl Rose! It’s so old school! I love old school! And I have a million things I’d like to ask him but the unfortunate abuse of tequila made my brain mushy. So I said, gesturing to the clamoring toddlers in headbands trying to get his attention, “I don’t know how you deal with this. It’s totally nuts.” And he laughed and said, “Thats why I didn’t go out for 13 years. This is actually pretty mellow.”

So then we start talking about jewelry because that’s the first conversation we ever had, and he shows me the most gorgeous silver bracelet with skulls on it that I have ever seen in my life. It was pristine, totally badass and obviously incredibly expensive. He told me the name of the designer, but of course I can’t remember it today. And then we chitchatted about other things, NONE of which I can remember because I was so hammered. I eventually got up because I felt funny hogging the hot seat, and I said, “It was really great to see you and I hope we meet again soon. I’ll be at your show at the Hammerstein.” He took my hand again and said, “Do you need help getting in? Take Vegas’ number in case you need anything.” What a fucking champ. Trigger can’t give me a break at his door even once and someone I barely know is making sure I have a way into his sold out show.

I was completely giddy for the rest of the night and spent another half hour happily stomping on hipster feet (since I was the only one in heels) and texting my friends about the Axl sighting. We left Don’s and went on to Cups, where I slurred nonsense into Rik’s ear for a half an hour. And then finally when it was well past time to go home, we did.

It could not have been a better weekend if I planned it.

The end.

4/24/06 ADDENDUM!
Found this pic today.You can see my partially obscured face in the crowd, but I am posting it because it is clear photographic evidence of blatant and shameless headband usage!!

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