Friday, January 21, 2011

Rock Me Tonite

As twisted as it may seem, I've long been an advocate of Billy Squier's music, which I suppose says more about me than it does the music. Growing up in New England, I felt a connection to the boy from Massachusetts who made it big, and hell, Don't Say No, aside from being an obvious date-rape mantra, isn't a bad album.

Then tonight (or as Squier pens it "tonite"), I was doing some YouTube surfing and stumbled upon this gem. Consequently, I must re-examine my position.

Take a second and watch this video. I'll wait....

Okay. Here are a few unsettling observations:

1. I'm having a difficult time with the overall vision of the video. Let me get this straight. Billy Squier wakes up naked and alone in silk sheets, although, seriously, who could sleep through those synthesizers? He admits to being "guilty of love in the third-degree." If anyone is a lawyer, I need some clarification. Is that a misdemeanor or a felony? He then dresses in canvas pants and a pre-ripped Hulk Hogan t-shirt (like we don't know what's coming next). As the music builds to its crescendo, Billy starts to have seizures. He rips off the Hulk Hogan shirt (big surprise) and puts on a pink tank-top and slides down a pole (who the fuck has a pole in his bedroom?). The next thing we know, he's wearing a bandanna around his neck and playing his guitar. Inexplicably, his band has arrived. Or they were always there in the next room as Billy seized? Has Billy been "rocked"? Was it "tonite"? Did the jury come back with a guilty verdict? What hell happened?

2. Truly, if people in the '80s watched this video and weren't creeped out by Billy crawling on his elbows toward the camera, I guess there's a cultural chasm that I'll never understand.

3. Here's the thing: I'm not a man who dances. I've never been able to dance or purported anything to the extent. But I COULD DO THAT! Admittedly, I'd struggle with the crawl across the floor---my elbows are very sensitive---but the arm swinging, sliding down poles, air guitar, I'm all over it.

I'm truly baffled and saddened by this video. Can I continue to make an argument for Billy Squier's music? Can I file this in the capacious bin labeled "It was the '80s"? Call Camus. I'm having an existential crisis.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

2011: The Year of The Bad Ass

In the past few years, I've made some remarkable strides in shedding the sensitivity I cultivated back in my ponytail-days as an undergrad. In some senses, it's natural selection. In the mid-90s, the sensitive ponytail man could adapt to the social and political climates of times. Now, after a decade blighted by war and terror and Sarah Palin, the environment demands that a man become bad-ass.

As I said, I've already taken some pro-active steps. For example, I've stopped crying when I'm intoxicated. For many years, you could've set your watch by my waterworks: "He's been drinking for three hours, and he's about put on a Jim Croce CD. T-minus 10." No longer. My tear ducts are like old pipes, starting to crack due to lack of moisture. Have you ever seen Clint Eastwood cry? No? That's because he's bad-ass.

So I've made a short list of some small things that will help me achieve my ultimate goal of becoming a full-fledged bad-ass by the end 2011.

1. Chew a toothpick. It seems too simple to be effective, but this small accoutrement goes a long way in bad-ass posturing. A toothpick in the corner of my mouth sends the message, "He seems preoccupied with his toothpick and slightly indifferent to everyone. He must be bad-ass."

2. Employ the term "beat-down" with rhetorical regularity. If someone happens to miss the toothpick and starts cramping my space, I'll simply say, "Are you looking for a beat-down?" Of course, I'm banking on the fact that the other person will recognize the question as rhetorical and back away. If I actually have to attempt a beat-down, I might end up crying.

3. Get a neck tattoo that reads, Son of a Bitch. As a general rule, it's best not to fuck with people who have neck tattoos. Now, imagine if someone has a tattoo that circumscribes the neck with the words Son of a bitch...ladies and gentleman, straight from federal prison, let's give a warm welcome to Bad-Ass!

4. Buy a Rottweiler and name him Jesus Christ. Not only am I walking around with a dog so dangerous that it could potentially rip out someone's throat, I've taken it to the next level with a name that's so sacrilegious my pup couldn't get a role as an extra in The Omen movies. Bad-ass men own bad-ass dogs.

5. Listen solely to Satanic Speed Metal. Whether or not the bands actually worship the Prince of Darkness is not my immediate concern, nor is the music, per se. I simply need a few CD's for my car (a Hyundai, yes, I'll work on that) and some band names to bat around when asked about my music. Therefore, I can rattle off, "Let's see, I listen to Destroyer 666, Sodom, Venom, Slayer. Toxic Holocaust is what's playing in my car right now. Why? You don't like it? Do you want a beat-down?"