(14) LA Guns, "ballad of jayne"
(14) enuff z'nuff, "fly high michelle"
and will play in march shredness
Read the essays, watch the videos, listen to the songs, feel free to argue below in the comments or tweet at us, and consider. Winner is the aggregate of the poll below and the @marchshredness twitter poll. Polls closed @ 9am Arizona time on Jan 31, 2018.
In which the shadow Guns of Hollywood stretch out and get reflective about local history, trading Book of Angus riffage for an uncanny 12-string chime— squint and you might even hear echoes of local band of yesteryear The Byrds. The visuals reinforce this sonic departure: from our vantage point the Sunset Strip is but a distant glow, and we’ve been deposited in a courtyard of some black and white era— maybe the Chateau Marmont? Also, guitarist/founding member Tracii Guns brought a headshot of Duran Duran’s Nick Rhodes with him to his hair appointment (one assumes. And one seems to recall bringing a Hit Parader magazine clipping of Tracii with said haircut to Supercuts not long after). You know those songs that are all pensive guitar strums and faces dressed up as treatises on the perils of celebrity disguised as odes to specific tragic starlets of twenty years prior? This ballad occupies that genre of two with “Edie, Ciao Baby” by the Cult, which came out the same year. The brightest star here: Steve Riley’s keening voice, a granular-textured, androgynous thing, not unlike Peter Gabriel at Chipmunk-RPM.
When we think of glam in the eighties, we’re thinking of a neo-, second-wave glam: groups like Motley Crue, Hanoi Rocks, and early Guns N’ Roses paid tribute to and shared bills with the New York Dolls, sensitive, tough guys in make-up who aspired to be bluesmen— the filth was as important as the glitter. So it’s striking that there exists no street urchin appeal to glamor guys Enuff Z’nuff, going strictly by the video evidence. There are period-excusable special effects, there is mugging and desire to be sexy. The gang appear scrubbed and DayGlo. Remove the cosmetic overlay, however, sand down the sharp horns on those guitars, what remains might surprise you. Minus a showboating guitar solo and the aforementioned visuals, how different is “Fly High Michelle,” with it’s White Album descending drone-chords from something that School of Fish might have come up with a year later? Lyrics like “I wish we still could have done things / And not overhung things” might even make sense in the context of the subtle psychedelic accents on display in the songcraft (if not the production).
Gabriel Palacios is a poet and musician from Tucson, where he is an MFA candidate in poetry at the University of Arizona. His poems study how the violence of the Spanish Colonial era might surface in the present-day Southwest, like ghostly superimpositions in spirit photography.
At ten he begged his parents to buy him a Skid Row T-shirt bearing a cartoon image of the Mona Lisa in tattoos and a nose-chain. “IT AIN’T ART IT’S ROCK ’N’ ROLL,” the shirt declared.