LA Weekly (7.17.98)
THE LOW LIFE
Grave New World
Why do these things always happen? Sixteen years after BAUHAUS made their one and only L.A. appearance (three nights at the Roxy), and nearly 10 years since SIOUXSIE SIOUX and BUDGIE performed as the Creatures (and even longer than that since the days Siouxsie frequented the likes of Al's Bar), these giants of goth somehow ended up scheduled to play different clubs on the same eve. We just couldn't choose between the dark experimental Britpop goth gurus or the glam grande dame of goth. So, to the Batmobile! First, we zapped over to the Hollywood Athletic Club, where Bauhaus was playing a warm-up gig before launching a nationwide reunion tour with three sold-out Palladium shows. By the bye, we believe the HAC may have been the scene of one of L.A.'s first drive-by scalpings: As we queued up outside with guest-list geeks, industry dweeks and gloom freaks, one cheeky chap cruised the line from a cab, hawking tickets. Inside, we managed to claw our way out of the rump-bumping crush up to the balcony, where we overheard COURTNEY LOVE remark, "Everyone here is of a certain age." PETER MURPHY definitely defied that age as he hopped around the stage, back to the audience, flailing his arms about like an amped-up aerobics queen. All this bitchen baritone bombast while wearing a pair of Birkenstocks, no less -- we nearly fell off the balcony straining to catch a confirming glimpse of his footwear.
(Oh, the things we do to dash your illusions.) After a stiff start -- it was the first time Murphy and mates KEVIN HASKINS, DAVID J. and DANIEL ASH (the latter three went on to form Love & Rockets) had played together since Bauhaus broke up 15 years ago -- the band soared over "Silent Hedges" and into a sometimes superb, sometimes sloppy set, topped off by "Bela Lugosi's Dead." (The following night at the Palladium, the group turned in a tighter, brighter performance, kicked off with the image of Murphy's face projected on a screen -- "Hey, man, that's so cool," enthused a dude behind us.) In parties were RODNEY BINGENHEIMER, Cherry pie BRYAN RABIN, stylist KATHY JEUNG, pre-rave dance-club promoter SOLOMON MONSOOR, singer ANGELIQUE, art tart KERRY COLONNA and members of HOLE, RABBIT IN THE MOON, THE CENTIMETERS, THE BRIAN JONESTOWN MASSACRE, and XTC.
The lights had barely come up when we made like a bat out of hell and headed to El Rey, where Siouxsie and Budgie and crew enthralled a coterie of dedicated devotees at Coven 13 (whose promoter, JOSEPH BROOKS, started the Fetish Club, the first gothspot in L.A., in the early '80s). Our ears are still ringing from the shrieks of ghouls and boys screaming, "I love you, Siouxsie!" They wouldn't let her off the stage -- and she didn't want to go (a far cry from the Ms. Sioux of yore, who once stopped a show at the Whisky after a few songs because she didn't like the crowd's vibe). Her voluptuous version of the old Herbie Mann tune "Right Now," complete with a drag-queen-duo backup, was a righteous razzle-dazzler. Alas, John Cale, who's joining the Creatures for a tour that includes two nights at the Palace, didn't put in a cameo.
Good god, for a moment there we thought it was going to be the Who in Cincinnati all over again as panting posses of pre-pube patooties hormone-hurled past us towards backstage, seeking a peek of HANSON following the soul-popsters' sold-out show at the Hollywood Bowl. It was like stepping into a newsreel of the Beatles' first U.S. tour, or of Frank Sinatra besieged by bobbysoxers at the Paramount in the early '40s: giddy girls screamed, moaned, sobbed (an emotion shared by their parents in response to so much must-have merchandise) in an orgasmic orgiastica. Although with today's better technology one could actually hear the band over the cranked-up-to-11 cacophony, we admit we were more compelled by the screeching spectacle surrounding us than the Hanson brothers' bouncy beats. Don't even ask what a low life like us was doing at such a wholesome event. Chalk it up to pop phenom research.
Genesis' Exodus: Last month, a jury awarded former Throbbing Gristle/Psychic TV co-founder GENESIS P-ORRIDGE almost $1.6 million in his lawsuit against Rick Rubin and American Recordings for injuries suffered when Genesis fell escaping a fire at Rubin's Laurel Canyon home. (Next month, Genesis' lawyers will be asking the court for more than $250,000 in pre-judgment interest because Genesis' formal offer to settle early in litigation was spurned.) Genesis had been visiting Love & Rockets at the home (the band was a cross-defendant in the suit, but was found not liable), where they were recording an album for their then-label, American. "Winning this case came to feel like a moral and spiritual necessity to me," Genesis e-mailed us after returning home to New York. The proceedings started off oddly, he noted, when Rubin's lawyers, in an opening statement, told jurors that the case was a lifestyle trial. "It seemed that the jury was being told to suspend justice in my particular case, just because my life has been unorthodox and colorful." His life certainly continues to be colorful -- looks like it could be mostly green! Rubin and company, however, have 30 days to file an appeal.
Atlas Shrugging: Look for new owners to take over Atlas, the natty nitery -- opened by the late Mario Tamayo on New Year's Eve 1990 -- that ushered in the decade's swanky supper-club revival. Now that the MTA Metro-rail destruction and construction is finally over, Atlas' original investors, who include designer JEF HEUREQUE, actor STANLEY DE SANTIS, Beverly Hills socialite GAYLE HAYMAN, hair stylist VICTOR VIDAL, furniture designers JEFF GOODMAN and STEPHEN CHARLTON, and Atlas interior designer RON MEYERS, among others, recently decided it was time to cash in.
Code Blues: Where will it all end? Why is there no public outcry? First, they ripped off the water from Owens Valley, then they paved over Chavez Ravine, and now they have stolen those three little numbers that have defined generations of Angelenos. We vamoosed out of town for a few weeks only to find upon our return that -- stealthily, suddenly -- we're a 323. Well, almost. We're actually living on borrowed time: most of what's left of the 213 area code changes to 323 at the end of the year. Like we can keep track of the baffling proliferation of area codes over the past few years! It's time to give these tired fingers a deserved rest from all that walking.
And that's the low life -- dialed in for your pleasure.
Contributed by Jerry Burch.