It’s stupid, but you can’t turn it off.
There’s a backlash against this flick. From people who weren’t there the first time and wouldn’t be there if this era ever came back, even though it can’t.
You see the Sunset Strip was populated by castoffs, those not wanted, those who didn’t fit in, not Ivy League graduates. It was a different era, your parents didn’t bribe colleges to get you in, they expected you to leave the house after high school and stay gone. What you did…
Was your business.
It’s hard to describe the power of rock and roll. It’s something you feel, oftentimes in your genitalia. It’s a power, it’s a strength. With the guitars blazing and the singer screaming and the beat pounding so loud you can feel it in you bones you feel like…
The rest of the world doesn’t matter, that you can conquer all. For that very moment you feel content and happy, in a world where that’s oftentimes not the case.
That’s right, the critics don’t have a sense of humor. Of course it didn’t go down the way it does in the flick. But that’s one of the reasons you became a rock star, for the girls, for the sex. You can either be rich or famous, take your pick, otherwise you’re gonna have a hard time getting laid.
And the women attracted to wealth and fame are willing.
That’s what we can’t discuss. Not women wrongly accusing abusers, but women who want to partake.
Originally it was famous people, they even wrote a book about them, Frank Zappa even concocted a band of them, Pamela Des Barres built a whole career on her behavior.
And then it was a zillion girls in every burg the band came through. They lined up. They wanted to touch the fame, when there was no Instagram and no influencers and very few people were famous and your chances of meeting someone…
Furthermore, you got a story, which you could treasure or laugh about for the rest of your life.
Of course this doesn’t excuse the abusive behavior, notoriously of the English bands, but that was then and this was now, before smartphone cameras, when there was no proof and everything was underground.
That was part of the appeal. If you were on TV, you were bigger than life. And it wasn’t only rock stars, it was also those who surrounded them. The original MTV VJs, most notably Martha Quinn… You just wanted to get closer.
We knew the label presidents. And the A&R guys. And Tom Zutaut is portrayed as goofy, but the truth is the A&R guys were the links to the labels, and without one, you just couldn’t make it.
And Doc McGhee looks like your father. But the truth is he dealt dope to fuel his business.
There was a whole economy built around rock and roll. And if it worked…you were as rich as anybody in America, with much more freedom. You existed outside the system, yet owned it. That’s why everybody wants to be a “rock star.”
Now if you weren’t around back then, and most people who’ll view this movie weren’t, you’ll peer in on a past age that was not so exciting to live through but looks positively glorious from this distance. We had to leave the house, there was nothing to do and no way to meet people at home. So we’d go out to hear bands, even crappy bands, to be part of the scene, to interact.
And we all interacted. The educated and the dropouts. We were all there together, hooked by the music. There was no VIP unless you truly were one, you couldn’t buy your way in. So you’d peer behind the rope and see rock stars and executives and say to yourself…I’m gonna be there one day.
There was that desire. And it’s so hard to make it, and so hard to stay in it.
You practiced. You formed bands. The bands broke up and you formed new bands. You laughed, you fought, you got drunk and did drugs. And got laid.
The women would buy you meals, support you, they wanted in just that bad. Judge ’em all you want, but that’s the way it was, ask any band that started out living in one room eating ramen.
And when you made it, you were certifiably BIG! Everybody in the demo knew you, because everybody was watching MTV, even those not in the demo. You were royalty.
And Tommy Lee married Heather Locklear and then Pamela Anderson. They wanted to be closer to the sound, to the scene. And Valerie Bertinelli married Eddie Van Halen. And oftentimes the famous women pursued the men.
And nobody was talking, still nobody is talking, it’s the code of the road.
Jeff Bezos has a rendezvous with Patrick Whitesell’s wife… Metallica went on an endless tour and the band members came home and all got divorced. This was not traditional business. It was every night another arena, an endless grind, of endless boredom, no wonder the musicians did drugs and trashed hotel rooms to cope.
But the critics were never there. They’re like the uptight neighbors pooh-poohing the music. And the car salesmen. The BMW salesman wouldn’t give Steve Lukather the time of day, until he came back with cash.
Believe me, Wall Street didn’t revere the rockers like they do the techies, they were outcasts.
And then the whole thing flipped. The executives thought they were the stars, Napster killed sales and the internet flattened the scene, so there was no mystery and nobody was that big.
Which is why the younger generation is going to be intrigued by this flick, they not only want to know how it was, they envy it and want to re-enact it.
That’s right “The Dirt” will be influential. Never underestimate the power of rock.
And it plays more like “Wayne’s World” than drama. None of the characters are believable, the language is hokey, but the story remains.
And it’s on Netflix. Remember when “Eddie and the Cruisers” failed in theatres and then soared on HBO? Same deal here. It’s just a click away, just a click away.
Hell, I watched it, the hype got to me.
But you can’t get me out to the theatre, no way. And when those movies hit the flat screen it’s too late, the culture is on to something else, and it’s impossible to stay current, never mind catch up.
So if you’re an insider, it’s a must-see, just to see how the truth in your mind was depicted, the old days.
And if you’re a newbie… Sure, rappers shoot each other, get in trouble with the law, but rockers were more about getting drunk and getting laid and the truth is it can never be the way it was because of the aforementioned cameras, everyone’s got one in their smartphone.
And #MeToo. Rock is politically incorrect. Almost all of it. Could Jimi Hendrix even record a song called “Foxey Lady”?
I doubt it.
And my favorite Aerosmith song is “Lord of the Thighs.”
Nope, we’ve got to nix that one too.
But it didn’t used to be that way.
And “The Dirt” gets it right.