By Jeremy Hallock
By James Khubiar
By Observer Staff
By Kelly Dearmore
By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
Twenty seconds later, footage of this very tour plays: Seven girls wearing nothing but duct tape and panties gyrate around and touch each other suggestively while pouring chocolate sauce everywhere. Wait a second--which concertgoers were surprised by that?
After all, the Suicide Girls burlesque tour took place at punk and rock clubs throughout the country, home to their target audience. The Web site, famous for creating a community of goth, punk and indie rock girls who like talking about music as much as taking their clothes off, is popular enough among underground music lovers that nobody should've been shocked, though from the look of the DVD, the sold-out crowds were certainly awed.
With the success of 2004's nationwide rock-and-burlesque tour comes this retrospective DVD, and to promote the release comes--surprise!--another tour to spread the message of hot, confident punk rock chicks to the masses. On the video, Missy Suicide trumpets her vision for the Web site she created to give attention to atypical models: "Not the Baywatch girls, not the Playboy girls. The real girls."
Sure, eye candy is the main draw, but these tattoo-smattered ladies look good without bowing to grocery-store aisle conceptions of beauty, and the site is an even bigger deal thanks to its blogging, bulletin boards and music tie-ins.
"As part of the punk rock community, we want to support artists that we like, the members like and the girls like," Missy says on the phone from California. Indeed, the DVD plays like a genius mixtape, with great songs of all genres interspersed between dance numbers and interviews with the models (though the combination of catchy songs and hot girls can't hurt, right?). The tour continues this cross-promotion by sharing the stage with Japanese all-girl pop-punkers Tsu Shi Ma Mi Rae, too--"We found a fun, girly pop band that fits in with the aesthetic of the Suicide Girls," Missy says.
Unfortunately, the 2005 tour only sees two girls returning, with seven new ones. "A lot of different girls wanted to do [the tour] before and didn't get a chance to," Missy explains. Wait--did some of the Suicide Girls fight for the chance to join this tour? Where's the DVD of that? --Sam Machkovech
Are Franz Ferdinand and the Killers on this alleged frat boy's jock?
Bloodhound Gang frontman Jimmy Pop is a gifted writer and producer. No, really. Inspired by a sincere love of Europop, Pop has a knack for catchy songs that strike a fine balance between juvenile and poignant, but people might be too busy rolling their eyes at lyrics in songs like the new "Foxtrot Uniform Charlie Kilo" ("Batter dip the cranny ax in the gut locker") to notice that Pop is actually making fun of what he considers an unexpected frat boy following.
"Half the people get it and half don't," says Pop on the phone from London while on tour. "The joke's not funny if everybody gets it. That is kind of frat-boy if everybody gets it."
Through the Bloodhound Gang's body of smart-ass songs and videos, one consistent irony is the band's critical reception. Review after review describes them as frat boys, lumping them in with the same guys who Pop says beat the Gang up in high school. (See 1996's "I Wish I Was Queer So I Could Get Chicks," which recounts, "My friend Jerry Vandergrift kissed me in Home Ec class/Later on, some jarheads in the locker room kicked my ass.")
"I'm one of the few people that's been accused of being homophobic and gay-bashed at the same time," Pop says. "I've definitely made out with more guys than most gay guys have--kissing guys on stage, daring them to make out with me, just to fuck with them."
Not exactly performance art, but while it's easy to write off the Bloodhound Gang's stage show, it's harder to deny that Pop has a history of being ahead of the curve. His last hit, "The Bad Touch"--an Erasure-on-testosterone, keyboard-driven dance anthem loaded with sophomoric sexual references--prefigured the critically lauded retro '80s movement. And in 1996, the Gang's "Lift Your Head Up High (and Blow Your Brains Out)" used a backward vocal hook to universal critical silence. Six years later, Missy Elliot and Timbaland were hailed for doing the same thing in "Work It."
"We get absolutely zero credit," Pop says. "But that's OK. That's not why I do it. So when I turn on the TV and see Missy Elliot and Timbaland onstage at the MTV awards, they can have it. You don't get good reviews being in the Bloodhound Gang. We could have Juilliard School of Music students playing with us, but because I'm telling poop jokes over it, it's [perceived as being] just poop jokes. But I feel like we're in a better position than Fred Durst, at least. Because when we're backstage at festivals, people still want to talk to us."
Because--assuming you can handle poop jokes and a parade of single entendres--he's a funny guy.--D.X. Ferris
In case they forgot last year, SRV fans celebrate the blues great for the 11 year in a row
This weekend, if hundreds of local guitar wankers don't stretch properly, they may very well cramp their air guitar-playing hands after experiencing hours of sweet licks. The Stevie Ray Vaughan Remembrance Ride and Concert hits Dallas on Sunday for the 11th year in a row, starting at 9 a.m. at Deep Ellum Blues and winding down the highway with a car parade to Arlington. After the seven-hour tribute by local bluesers such as Pete Barbeck and Kenny Wayne Shepherd, fans will return to Dallas for Jim Suhler's after-party that will keep blues hounds wailing well into Monday morning.
Like his idol Jimi Hendrix, the influence of Vaughan continues years after his early demise--one only need look at the other guitar-solo-crazy acts inundating Dallas this weekend for proof, including Carlos Santana's two-night stand at Nokia Theatre and Steve Kimock on Saturday at Granada Theatre. It's because the Dallas-born guitarist not only made music that honored the legends of the blues (Muddy Waters, Albert Collins, Buddy Guy), he also made the music approachable to young rock audiences--the ones who never saw Zeppelin and whose exposure to Clapton came well after the Londoner's commitment to the genre had waned.
That said, many who have followed seem content to simply blister the fret board, proving speed a poor substitute for feeling; after all, Vaughan's talent was backed by the true range of emotions inherent in the blues, and he definitely preferred the subtle genius of Sam "Lightnin'" Hopkins to the virtuosic overkill of Eddie Van Halen. And while the rhythm and pulse so vital to Vaughan's best work is often missing from the latest generations of ax wielders, we can't hold that against local Remembrance players like Chris Duarte, Lance Lopez and Rama Satria Claproth, folks who actually play songs with their solos. Anyone willing to stomach that much blues in one day will certainly accept a few slip-ups, so long as they're observing the former glory of Vaughan's career and utter sadness of that helicopter crash 15 years ago. The house will be rockin', Stevie. --Darryl Smyers