Tag Archive for 'michael jackson'

The Only Michael Jackson Memorial Speech That Matters

But no matter how touching the moment is, it still can’t erase for me the fact that this poor kid was forced to share her personal heartbreak with the entire free world while her father’s gold casket was laid out in front of 20,000 people, most of them strangers, at a sporting arena.

And it’s freaky sad to watch the little girl unknowingly sacrifice a tragic slice of her childhood to the same spotlight that stole her father’s youth and destroyed him.

Fame is fucked.

Pour Some Out For Michael Jackson

After Joe Jackson beat his small children into stardom, before “Jesus Juice” and sordid sleepovers at Neverland Ranch with cancer kids, there was a the “moonwalk” and a sequined glove. I had the glove. I had the jacket. I had both jackets: “Thriller” and “Beat It.”

I bought them at Chess King. I wore them. I was a kid. Get off my back.

Thinking back now I actually wonder which had a larger audience.

The original…

Or Michael’s…

He didn’t seem nearly nearly as fucked up when I was a kid. Maybe he wasn’t.

I remember watching him moonwalk for the first time live and it changed my life forever. I learned the move on the linoleum kitchen floor 10 minutes later and knew then that I wanted to be a star.

I wanted to be black and adopt children from all over the world. None of this ever happened, but when I told my godmother, Aunt Joan, from Liverpool this (the one who introduced me to “The Young Ones” and “Ab Fab” and made my entire family get up before sunrise to watch the wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Di) she was certain I’d lost my mind. My biggest defender could no longer fight the good fight.

This woman had survived the German Blitzkrieg, cowering in high school gymnasiums, with her hands on her head, waiting for the sky to fall, only to live to see her cherished godson grow up to emulate a black man who spoke like a woman and was gradually turning himself white.

She called him a “freak” which only made me like him more. Because she was a freak, a brash, foul-mouthed old Brit who vowed to never become an American citizen out of loyalty to her country and the queen, took every opportunity to call somebody out on their bullshit and wielded her madness like a sword.

In the fourth grade St. Barbara’s School talent show I performed “Thriller” on the gymnasium stage, complete with a twenty-person monster cast, dry ice fog, hand-painted gravestones, and as my co-star, the only girl in my school who had the closest thing to an afro, Michelle Caruthers.

She was hot. She nailed it. I only missed one move and we frenched out by the bike racks after the curtain closed.

The only thing that kept us from first prize was Jeff and Kevin Malas’ half-assed, lip-synched, pentagram and leather-laden rendition of “Looks That Kill.” Though it was after their performance that I decided I wanted to become Nikki Sixx, remain white, have sex with big haired strippers, not get them pregnant, not adopt children, do cocaine, shoot heroine, pose for pictures wearing nothing more than fresh pig blood, crash fancy cars and - oh yeah - play in heavy metal band.

But that’s another post and a short time before Run D.M.C. really took over which is a whole different story altogether.

When I heard the news today my heart dropped, but my sadness was soon followed with that lightning quick “Who gives a shit? The guy was a fucking child molester,” moment I’m sure we all had. Didn’t he touch the kid from “E.T.” inappropriately? Or was that one of the Cory’s? Anyway…

It’s always a struggle to separate the art from the man, though I’ve often preached it should be so. At least this Michael had the balls to wear his weirdness on his sleeve. I’m a man. I talk like a woman. I’m black. I’m white — pet monkeys — llamas — Slash — Peter Pan…

Come to think of it two of the priests at St. Barbara’s were later defrocked due to charges of child molestation and they wore, you know, collars and capes and shit. So don’t judge a book by it’s cover.

Anyway, so I met the weirdo when I was 22 in Chicago when I was waiting tables part time at Planet Hollywood to pay for film school. Yeah, I said it. Planet-fucking-Hollywood.

That’s right. Nobody else would give me a job. I’d never waited tables before and it’s a hell of a lot easier to pay for college by conning tourists and show-off shitbag Hollywood stars into signing checks with inflated tips by adding ugly t-shirts and baseball hats to their bill than it to chip away at a five figure debt slinging crew necks at The Gap.

So I come in for pre-shift and the manager tells us to wait downstairs in the break room. We’re having a special “celebrity visitor” in that morning and apparently this person thinks they’re too good to witness the scraggly commoner college kids setting tables and filling up the ice machine.

Actually it probably wasn’t delivered in such a tight ass tone. Working at Planet Hollywood Chicago was a 24-hour party. No joke.

Nearly everybody that worked there was on drugs. People did coke in the bathroom regularly, in the manager’s office occasionally, and I tripped my way through my last table of the night on more than one occasion.

So the manager comes back down and tells us that there’s a change of plans. The visitor wants us upstairs now. Apparently our celebrity visitor wants to get a genuine feel of what the restaurant’s like when it’s up and running.

So we go upstairs and start setting up, the restaurant is empty and there are only a few of us working because it’s a lunch shift on an off day — and there he is, MICHAEL-FUCKING-JACKSON!

He’s like thirty feet from me. I act like I don’t care. I’m setting the tables in my section and is he coming towards me… he is… right towards me. He looks like a dead person. And I’m not saying this to be shitty. Ask anybody I know that knows this story. This is what I’ve always said about that day. He looked like he was made up for a casket, caked with base and rail thin.

He comes up and points to one of the nearby memorabilia cases and asks me something, but I can’t hear him. He speaks in whispers, like a nervous child. So I turn to the case to read the plaque to see, you know, what it says, if it’s the original from the movie. Whatever it was, a “Terminator” or a “Predator” or whatever, and I get this overwhelming sense that he’s closing in on me, but I don’t look back. I don’t want to scare him. Like I said a sneeze could blow this guy over.

And then I feel it. His gloved finger tickles the back of my neck… ever so slightly. But was it a tickle or a graze? At this point I can’t be sure. But that’s nothing.

As I’m making the decision to confront what’s already become a very uncomfortable situation with Michael Jackson, I feel now, what is unmistakably a pair of lips where the glove just was. So overcome with a world of emotion, some of it fascination, but most of it fear, finally I turn and…

I’m totally kidding. But he did ask me if this movie thing, this “Terminator” or the “Predator” or whatever, was the original and then he just started walking towards other cases asking me questions I couldn’t hear, which forced me to walk close enough to him so that I could lean in and hear him, and become his sort of personal tour guide, which was as creepy as it was cool. Like I said he looked like he’d woken up that morning at a funeral parlor.

And now he really is dead. I’m still freaking out.

So at the end of the day (channeling Brody Jenner) I guess he was just a weird dude who made great music, sang and danced better than most people, liked animals and toys a little more than some people, sold tons of records, was “Beatles” famous, molested children and spent the majority of his life getting plastic surgeries that would eventually carve his face out to look like some sort of elderly crackhead Pinocchio.

Whacky yes, but no reason to not pour some out…

Does It Offend You, Yeah?

‘The measure of a good record is if you like it.’ - Morgan Quaintance

For some reason I was expecting a bunch of fucked up, lucky guys in their early 20’s who had no idea how the they got where they are and not in a bad way, but in a ‘I don’t give a fuck’ way.

Maybe it was because of the visceral nature and power of their music or because I read some lame story on them that misrepresented who they really were. Whatever the case, I was wrong. They’re smart guys who understand the industry, music history and most importantly, what it means to be an ‘artist.’

I feel bad. Although it might not be obvious by watching the interviews, I wasn’t feeling my best. What I thought was some divine everlasting hangover, a direct punishment from some god I don’t believe in, for drinking a few measly beers at Hot Chip the night before, I later realized, was actually a full blown stomach flu. I spent the entire interview trying not to puke on these guys and my attention span was nil.

So thanks for ignoring my distracted presentation, gentlemen, if you noticed at all.

One more thing before we begin though, about something that ‘offends’ me. What offends me is that certain venues, once known for exposing local acts to the industry populous and hosting many out-of-town acts during their ascent to the stratosphere, now want to charge guys like me, who are trying to promote good shit out of the goodness of their heart, for shooting this good shit.

It’s very short sighted. I shoot a band at your venue for free and make no money off of it. The band gets more exposure. The band returns to your venue and sells it out. You make more money.

MONEY. MONEY. MONEY! You sell tickets, booze, even snatch a piece of the artist’s merch money, and guess what, Greedy Mcgreederson, I still make nothing.

By allowing yourself to be crippled by fear of the possibility that I might just make 53 cents in ad revenue off this clip some years down the line, and forbidding people like me to shoot at your club, you reduce exposure to the bands that play there (however small that reduction may be), and inevitably impede the upward trajectory of the careers of the bands performing in your club which can only harm you in the end.

If a tree falls, people…

So instead of rolling in with a couple of my regular camera setup, I had to sneak shots with a shitty still cam set to video. The show was epic. I liked this band going in, but I left loving the shit out of them. I have never seen a band light this particular club up the way DIOYY did that night.

There was a point, about mid-way through the show when a tiny girl was floating safely upon the hands of the raucous crowd. A security guard wandered into the crush of bodies and I was struck by the thought that he might not make it back alive, creating a feeling for me that anything, be it horrific or triumphant, could happen.

And it is that type of danger that keeps rock n’ roll alive.

So thanks for a great Monday Does It Offend You, Yeah?. I will be back. (hopefully with a real camera next time)


beats - hooks - success - celine dion - song writing - happiness


first memory - first album - solder - cities - fans - electro

Word Association/Character Assassination

Please Take This Moment To Get Over Yourself

Whether you’re a pouty face club kid or a vascular surgeon with a God complex, and even if it’s only for practical, pride-saving purposes on down the road.

You can take your life and your work seriously, that should be encouraged. But when you strut the earth, nose up, conveniently forgetting that you?re a mere mortal, there?s nowhere to go but down.

And you will go down.

I begin this Nyquil-fueled rant by introducing you to some people who took themselves too seriously and eventually wiped out, or got tackled and beat down on, the icy sidewalk of life:

Julius Ceasar: From hooking up with hottie Cleopatra and being declared ‘Dictator for life’ of the Roman Republic to getting stabbed, tunic down, 23 times, on the senate floor by his homies, it?s obvious a couple of thousand years later that Mr. Big Stuff should’ve taken a step back and asked ‘E Tu Brute?’ a little sooner.

Jesus Christ: Being crucified in front of your fans is extremely embarrassing I’m sure, especially when you claim to be the ‘Son of God.’ Dying for our sins? Please, dude. Great spin by the Apostles though. Rolling back the stone three days later would have been a great way to redeem himself, but it never happened so whenever I think of Jesus, I just think ’sad.’

Hitler: Dude went from being named Time Magazine’s ‘Man of the Year’ in 1938 and taking over mot of Europe, to washing down cyanide with a bullet in the rubble-covered Reich Chancellory in Berlin. (This could also fall under another category of ‘how dangerous taking other people can be.’)

Charles Manson: When Manson first went to prison, the press portrayed him exactly the way he wanted to be portrayed, enigmatic and pretty fucking scary. Now he’s just a bat shit crazy old coot in a cage with a really bad tattoo. Nobody’s scared and nobody cares, except for MSNBC, and me sometimes when I can’t sleep and there’s nothing else on TV but 3 a.m. screening of ‘Helter Skelter.’

George Bush: Still wearing that stupid, shit-eating, permi-grin, douchebag of the century is now, in a vain attempt to keep Wikipedia from editing down his entry to simply acknowledge him as ‘the worst president in the history of the United States,’ having to back peddle and acknowledge the fact (however disingenuously) that the rest of the planet wasn’t super down with that his balls out Wild West calls for invasion and war, his blatant disregard for federal and international law, his rejection of the scientific communities statistical data on global warming, and all the other bad decisions he made and waved like a flag in the faces of those who justly opposed him.

Sean Penn: Ever see ?I am Sam??

Actually, he was awesome in that sappy shit too, and as annoying as he is at least he’s a ‘doer’ so scratch him off until the next time he heads to the Castro Brother’s for dinner.

The carrot top dude from CSI Miami: Never watched the show, but a regular ‘guest star’ told me how Mr. Guy many times requires 30+ takes to remove his sunglasses and squint just the right way, all the while making the rest of the cast and crew stand around on set and wait. Lame.

For Axl Rose, I reference the hair extensions, circa ‘89 Staten Island OG attire and off-key vocals that visually and sonically smothered what was the most eagerly awaited live performance by any rock n’ roll band in the last two decades.

Kobe Bryant (aka ‘The Next Michael Jordan’): Sure we all remember this smug shitbag’s sexual assault incident’ involving that 19 year old girl in an Eagle Colorado hotel back in 2003, but that was nothing compared to the beating he took in the final game of the Lakers/Celtics series.

Prince: Yes, even Prince needs to get over himself. Did you see the lame set he did with his cover band at Coachella? Already a tiny man, by the time he finished his Vegas revue I was hoping Cris Angel would come out and make him disappear completely, forever.

He’s already donning a jumpsuit and has apparently forgotten the lyrics to his own songs. Now all he needs is a platter of fried peanut butter and banana sandwiches added to his tour rider and his own neon billboard hanging outside Caesar’s.

Now I’ll give you first name that comes to mind and a great example of somebody whose never taken himself too seriously and will inevitably end up more content than those who do:

Sean William Scott (aka Stiffler): I’ve hung out with the guy. He’s hilarious. And let me tell you, the producers of ‘American Pie’ didn’t hire him to play Stiffler. He IS Stiffler.

He’s perfectly aware of the fact that nobody takes him seriously and he doesn?t complain about it. And why would he? He’s living his dream.

He’s got perfect 10’s lined up to sleep with him every time he goes out, and they’ve got to get back to his multi-million dollar bachelor pad somehow. So he takes the parts he needs to fill the tank on that crazy dumb yellow Hummer he drives. No complaints.

Kudos to you, Stiffler!

And then there’s the idea of knowingly engaging in activities that run the risk of making you looking uncool, only to end up making you look cooler in the end.

Anthony Bourdain, other than being awesome for a wide array of other reasons, is also awesome because he’s aware of how uncool he can look and isn’t afraid to test the waters.

I?m no stranger to miscalculating my gravitational pull on occasion. In fact, I am a total cock sometimes. And to punish myself I offer you a few examples, off the top of my head, of how totally lame I am or have been in the past:

1. I had a massive crush on this girl once in film school. She was down and I was stoked until I got stoned on our first date, burnt my eyebrow off trying to light a joint on the stove burner and then tried to play it off like everything was cool, even though my eyebrow was gone and the girl kept asking me if I smelled something burning.

2. Because of the vibration, I get boners on planes. (Maybe this should go on the ‘cool’ list).

3. Years ago, riding a cheap high and feeling particularly bulletproof, after chatting up, and making out with, a some model girl at a party at some mansion in the hills, I got caught by that model girl mid-wipe in the midst of a ‘Trainspotting’ special.

It was an emergency. I found an ‘out of the way’ downstairs bathroom that had no door or lights (that I could find). There was nowhere else to go so I risked it. Then, out of nowhere, party girl appeared, reached in, flipped on the light, saw me, paper in hand, screamed ‘Oh my God!’ and I screamed ‘I’m just peeing!’ She left the party before I had time to flush and I never saw her again.

4. When I was in grade school I performed ‘Thriller’ at a talent show. I played Michael. Michelle Caruthers (having the closest thing to a natural afro) played the girl. I trained a troop of 20 or so completely uncoordinated kids to play backup monster dancers and made gravestones with my mom out of cardboard.

I wore the jacket. I wore the glove. I wore sequined socks. The whole thing still haunts me. So any time I’m feeling invincible all I have to do is think back to this moment and my feet are again planted firmly on the ground.

5. When I was 12 I went camping with my family in western Illinois. Some townies took me down by the Illinois River. We climbed out on a limb hanging 10 feet over raging currents. They pulled out a joint and offered me some. Playing the cool city kid card I played it off like I’d smoked a million times before. So we smoked and I got so fucking high, somehow, that first time, that I couldn’t climb back down the limb to shore. And those townie, hillbilly fuckers just laughed and laughed at my ass from the bank as I sat their paralyzed, terrified, waiting for the shitty ass Midwestern ditch weed to wear off.

And I still can’t hold my pot.

6. I went swimming tripping in a cold pool once and a super famous fashion icon then decided she’d like to see me in one of her crazy spandex neon uni-tard get ups. She walked in on me in the bathroom while, 9 dimensions away, I was re-learning how to dress myself and my penis was the smallest I’ve ever seen it, like Antarctic skinny dip, dry-humping-the-snow, small.

I?m a grower not a shower. Regardless: cold pool disappearing drug penis + pretty girl = not cool.

Anyway, there are so many… My heads a Theraflu-fueled particle accelerator right now. So as a temporary replacement, I offer you a final embarrassing moment had by my friend Julia.

Thanks Julia.

Julia (a brilliant, sophisticated lady and an awesome chef), Tommie Sunshine and I went to Lotus (hell) in NYC with an actor friend of mine a few years back. My friend was with Paris Hilton and Co. and we hopped up in her booth.

I was sandwiched between Paris and Julia. Everybody was dancing and downing some Euro-trash French dude’s magnum of top shelf vodka, then, out of the corner of my eye, I notice Julia, to my left, falling backward gradually, in a kind of slow motion, into the booth behind her.

Gallons of free vodka slowing my reaction time I reached for her but missed and she landed in the booth next to ours with her back on the seat bottom, her head against the table, legs over the back of our booth, victimized by simple physics, unable to get back up, looking up at Paris (and her naked vagina), Paris looking back at her and me doubled over in laughter and unable to catch my breath.

Julia is super cool and the entire incident would have been so fucking hilariously uncool if she didn’t own it. She laughed her ass off and later told anybody who’d listen about it, turning coal to diamond and somehow making herself appear even cooler than she was before she totally wiped out hard, wasted in a posh (cheeseball) NYC nightclub in front of one of the most recognizable (annoying) faces on the planet, cool enough that I’m writing about it years later.

BOTTOM LINE: There is always somebody smarter, stronger, faster, more talented, sweeter, funnier, better looking, more charming, with better taste, a better record collection, a bigger dick and nicer tits than you have. So embrace what you’ve been given.

Everything you do has been done before and probably done better, and if you have somehow convinced yourself that you’re work, if not involving some scientific, sociological or political process, will have a long lasting effect on any large scale on this planet, you are completely insane.

The fucking pyramids are crumbling.

But you’ve still got friends.

And your friends, no matter how nice you are or they are, will inevitably talk behind your back and reality is, your girlfriend or boyfriend at any given moment is thinking about fucking somebody else.

You eat and shit and piss like everybody else and one day you will die.

I don’t care where you work, what show you’re on, whose list you’re on, what Ivy League school you went to, what record label you own, who your agent or your daddy is, how high your MCAT score was, or if that?s a diplomat license plate on the tacky ass yellow Maybach.

Stop talking loudly on your new I-phone at Starbucks about the deals your doing and how hot the girl is that you ‘banged’ last night.

Stop bragging.

Stop gloating.

Always remember, a nod is not a greeting.

Make eye contact.

Don’t cut in line regardless of you know.

Don’t block somebody?s driveway because you’ll ‘only be five minutes.’

Don’t pull out into traffic and wait for everybody else to stop so you can cross the street.

Stop yelling at the taxi driver, the door guy, the valet and the waitress at the restaurant. (It’s not their fault and if you don’t like sesame seeds you shouldn?t have ordered the toasted tofu and sesame seed salad.)

Try laughing honestly instead of chuckling snidely.

And I know I sound a little crazy.

Because I am crazy. Crazy sick. And when I?m sick I get angry because I can’t think straight.

So in order to put some ‘positive energy’ back into the universe, I’d like to conclude by issuing forth a challenge to you, the reader, to be honest with yourselves, to embrace your fragile humanity and allow the rest of us to embrace it too.

Send me a dorked out picture, video or a true story telling me how not cool you are and I’ll post it.

Tomorrow starts with you, kid.