Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Review: The Hoochie-Coochie Man

THE INTERNET, Dec 1 - I've spent the month browsing Destroy All Movies, a 450-page "complete guide to punks on film". It's an amazing book. On page 149, there's a reference to 1983's Get Crazy, a movie I'd never heard of. It apparently stars Malcolm McDowell, Ed Begley Jr., Daniel Stern, and Lou Reed. It also features Fear's Lee Ving as "Piggy", which is similar to the character "Lee Ving" he plays in The Decline Of Western Civilization, only more fun. Piggy's band plays a show at L.A.'s Wiltern Theater, which was due for a real-life renovation and thus green-lighted for a trashing. The result is this;

It's not Fear. But really it is. Fear's Derf Scratch and Philo Cramer are listed in the credits, and although I count nine guitarists (and a conductor) onstage, Cramer's signature bendy licks are clearly audible over the whole thing. A friend who know such things tells me that Cramer plays a Gibson without a whammy bar, instead bending the neck of the instrument itself. The movie's poster seems to confirm this, with a young woman joyfully riding a guitar into the night sky, stretching the neck like an old stalk of celery. Some particulars:

1. This actually exists. I'm not comfortable with the implication. Namely, that with enough due diligence, I can find a completely amazing unreleased version of a completely amazing song, by one of my favorite bands, with an accompanying 35MM video, if only I scour the internet long enough and hard enough and with a pure enough heart. This seems like a recipe for future disappointments.

2. The yell at 0:53. I've tried to do this very scream many times - in both my professional and private life - and never quite pulled it off.

3. Right at that moment when the human mind wonders 'how can this thing that I am watching top itself?' - one minute twelve seconds - everyone starts speaking German. Having never seen the film, I choose to believe that this is part of the original American edition, and was used to make something already awesome far more awesome still.

4. I've witnessed a few stage dives from balconies and rafters over the years, and each one was pretty terrifying. But this video makes such behavior - a volley of bystanders, young and old alike, drifting down to the dance floor in dreamy delight - look like something I would someday still like to do.

5. A giant shopping cart materializes at 2:37. Fifteen seconds later, maniacal laughter spills into the song. I would like to work both of these elements into my life somehow.