Rock and Roll Hootchie Koo

So you want to be a rock n roll star?
Well listen now, hear what I say
Just get an electric guitar
Take some time
And learn how to play

~ The Byrds

Picture it... 1988, a club -- dark, smoky, kinetic. Electric. Air sticky with sweat, cigarettes, hair spray, pot, Drakkar Noir, Obsession.

New York, maybe.

No. Definitely.

New York.

A band takes the stage. Keyboards. Guitars. Drums.

The drummer counts off the beat. Instruments start to move, creating sound. Breaking into the density of the air. Cutting off the murmuring conversations.

Out of the darkness comes a voice. Low, husky, strong. Sexy. Attitude dripping from every syllable.

Midnight gettin' uptight
Where are you
You said you'd meet me now it's quarter to two
I know I'm hangin' but I'm still wantin' you...

The voice becomes embodied; a figure moves confidently into the light. Eyes brimming with passion and intensity. Commanding attention. Demanding focus.

...I hate myself for loving you
Can't break free from the the things that you do
I wanna walk but I run back to you, that's why
I hate myself for loving you

Joan Jett?


Patty Smythe?


It’s me.

Albeit only in my dreams.

Music is the traveler crossing our world
Meeting so many people bridging the seas
I'm just a singer in a rock and roll band.
We're just the singers in a rock and roll band.
I'm just a singer in a rock and roll band...

~ The Moody Blues

So I’ve been checking out Rock Star: Supernova as a mindless summer diversion. Watching. Listening. Observing. Noting. Giggling (at the disarmingly charming Tommy Lee, natch.)

Imagining myself as a rock chick.

With an ass and hips that demand to be clad in black leather.

A discreet tattoo. Located someplace that’s for me to know and you to find out. (No superfluous piercings, though. Ouch.)

Dark hair tumbling over rolling shoulders.

Lots of black eyeliner. Layers of mascara. Deep purple lips.

Tambourine in hand, keeping time on my rhythmic hip.

Soulful intonations into a microphone. Being in synch with the music and its players.

Part of a whole.

Yet still individual.

Oh yeah.

Rock on.

Wait. Better consider the vocals. The real foundation of a girl singer in a rock-and-roll-band. The reason I’m up on that stage in the first place.

Would I have...

...the dramatic delivery of Grace Slick
When the truth is found to be lies
and all the joys within you dies
Don't you want somebody to love
Don't you need somebody to love
Wouldn't you love somebody to love
You better find somebody to love

...the edge of Chrissie Hynde
In the middle of the road
Is trying to find me
I'm standing in the middle of life with my plans behind me
But, I got a smile
For everyone I meet
Long as you don't try dragging my bay
Or dropping a bomb on the street

...the soulfulness of Cass Elliott
But you've gotta make your own kind of music
Sing your own special song
Make your own kind of music
Even if nobody else sings along

...the rawness of Liz Phair
Why can't I breathe whenever I think about you
Why can't I speak whenever I talk about you
It's inevitable... it's a fact that we're gonna get down to it
So tell me...
Why can't I breathe whenever I think about you

...the pureness of Karen Carpenter (OK -- so not a rock chick, but her voice is as close to that of an angel as anyone’s)
Talkin' to myself and feelin' old
Sometimes I'd like to quit
Nothing ever seems to fit
Hangin' around
Nothing to do but frown
Rainy Days and Mondays always get me down

...the attitude of Debbie Harry
One way or another, I'm gonna find ya'
I'm gonna get ya', get ya', get ya', get ya'
One way or another, I'm gonna win ya'
I'm gonna get ya', get ya' ,get ya', get ya'

... the forcefullness of Pat Benatar
Well you're the real tough cookie with the long history
Of breaking little hearts, like the one in me
Before I put another notch in my lipstick case
You better make sure you put me in my place

In reality -- my voice is nowhere near the caliber of a Benatar or Mama Cass or the divine Karen Carpenter. (Hey now! I can actually carry a tune pretty well. I’ll sing something for you sometime to prove it... just ask me.) But here, in this fantastical context, I can sound like any one I damn well please.

Wonder why this desire, this yearn is so powerful for me...

Maybe it’s because it’s something radically different for me -- from the way I’ve lived my life and am living my life.

Maybe it’s because this image of myself as a Rock Chick brings to the surface elements of who I want to be. And who I am, somewhere deep within.

Maybe it’s because even in fantasy, the rush of such an experience is exhilerating, heady, seductive. Hot.

It’s rather nice to know that the girl who sang into her hairbrush, harmonizing with Tom Petty on “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around” is still around. A little older, a bit wiser -- but still finding the rhythm around her intoxicating and infectuous.

I’ll likely never make it on stage with a live band. Closest I’ll get will probably be a drunken night of karaoke. But you damn well better bet that although I’ll be crooning into a mike in front of some slightly intoxicated friends -- in my mind, it’s CBGBs, baby. Standing room only. And I’m the featured attraction.

1 comment:

SusanD said...

I wanna be at the drunken karaoke party! Would LOVE to hear you sing.