Man On The Prowl
J.J. Jackson: If you had a chance to meet anyone who has ever lived in history and to speak with him, who would it be and what would you speak about?
Brian May (guitar): “Leonardo da Vinci.”
Roger Taylor (drums): “John Lennon, actually.”
John Deacon (bass): “William Burroughs, alright? The only reason for that is because he’s had quite a few experiences in his life. And I’d probably end up asking him about drugs and what kind of effects they have, so you wouldn’t have to take them yourself.”
Freddie Mercury (vocals, piano): “Marie Antoinette.”
J.J.: What would you talk about?
“Jewels, of course.”
Princes Of The Universe
You know you don’t belong here. These are the last words you will hear when you flee Waldorf Astoria security. To break into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction, take a dumbwaiter ride in a chef’s smock, then strip down to a black wedding suit.
One cellphone feint, and you’re in. Time this mission, for you know which band will open. If not for Jann Wenner’s overlong oratory, the lack of nametag would not be a problem. But it is. And no credentials either. Game over, superfan.
Soak in the stage before you’re busted. Look—is that the bass drum from this video?1
I will crush you in the Mime Contest.2 My stagecraft will destroy you. I do not require three others to round out the members of the group. I will mimic Freddie, Brian, Roger and John all by myself—a four-way mime, all at the same time. It is wise not to challenge me.
If you do so, you do not need to tell me the order of the three songs in the Mime Contest. I am ready to mime any order of the songs the Officiants choose. In fact, do not even tell me what three songs will be used at all; I will mime any song, anytime. My showmanship is that superior.3
Do not challenge me. I will win. There can be only one Mime Contest Champion.
My Life Has Been Saved
I walked up Main Street as my boombox blasts Greatest Hits. Sean the Bully sneaks up and locks me in a sleeper hold. “What are ya listenin to this fag bullshit for?” he scowls, squeezes my head. I break loose and lose my sneakers running away.
I make it up to Main Street Music, the record nerd safehouse, where Gerry the co-owner takes me in. Sean the Bully was caught shoplifting an Iron Maiden poster and is barred. We watch him outside the glass, still on the attack. We order in cheese steaks.
Gerry plays T. Rex, his favorite band. I walk home barefoot and keep the boombox off.
I’ve played a green Guild Brian May guitar in my East Village music store countless times. The price has gone from $900 to $1300 to now around three grand. To barre chords on this Red Special puppy is like gripping the fat end of a softball bat.
Timmy, the guy who lets me try the guitar, owns 13 such BHM1 models. He moonlights in an XTC tribute band, and is a dead ringer for Andy Partridge. I’ve never asked Timmy how a guy with 13 Brian May guitars ends up playing in an XTC tribute band.
One day the fan club rang him up and bought all of his guitars. He moved to L.A.
Star Fleet, part II
AIR GUITAR and curly chords. Brown noise and session players. The guy from REO Speedwagon drums. At this point, I am HUNGRY for anything that ROCKS. I want to HEAR it: anything with HEAVY GUITAR. I LOVE everything with BIG HAIR and SUNTANS.
Air guitar and CURLY CHORDS. Mini LPs. Two AXEMEN side by side. EDDIE VAN HALEN and BRIAN MAY, having a BLAST. Broken strings and laughs. I remember playing this RAW. I remember it ROCKS. The Magic Tour cribs the dual double scales. I get GOOSE BUMPS.
I want GUITARS. I want to ROCK. I want GUITARISTS to act like ROCK STARS.
I can only mark off to utter asshole foolishness to whatever compels my friend Henry and I to don blackface and dress as Public Enemy for a Halloween frat party. But dear readers, we do it. Sipping plastic beer cups at Tau Epsilon Phi, no one looks at either of us.
We walk out to the streets of Camden, NJ to refresh the cork on our faces. And when we run up to a friend’s car to say hello, they don’t recognize us. The tires lay wheels and tear away. Taking off my Chuck D Raiders cap, I hear autolocks click as it blows the red light.
That was the first night Flav and I hear it: Ice, Ice, baby, to go. Word to your mother indeed.
1. No, it’s not. The font is similar, but it’s red here, and it was silver-white at the induction. Pretty sure it’s from the “Friends Will be Friends” video. Anyway, they use an edit of this song for the Highlander TV theme, so that’s cool.
2. Description from Breakthru Convention 2002 program: “This is a true Mime Contest. Singing skills are not important.”
3. From Brian May’s speech at the The Victoria State Final,
National Air Guitar Championships, Melbourne, March 14, 2003: “Where there
is air guitar there is peace—which means there is no fucking war!”
[Forever after at http://eyeshot.net/queennester.html]
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