As a child of the Eighties, my first experiences drooling over rock stars was the hair metal bands. And I say hair metal bands because that is what they were to me- several indistinguishable groups that made loud and fast music. Hey, I was just a kid. I wasn’t intellectualizing music yet. But then the Nineties came, along with Trent Reznor and Kurt Cobain, and all that hair metal just seemed silly. Now, with distance and perspective, we can begin to appreciate the music these bands created. And last night, I appreciated Jet Boy.
While JetBoy may not immediately come to mind when you think of the Hair Metal days, they were a prominent fixture, particularly in the Bay Area- their hometown- and LA. Also, while they looked ‘hair metal’, they were much more influenced by punk music than many of their cohorts. The lead singer, Mickey Finn, had a Mohawk, if that was any indication- but it was big, fluffy and platinum blonde.
It’s my last show of 2007, and I wanted it to be cheap, hard, local, and classic. I think this was achieved within the neon lit depths of Bottom of the Hill.
I arrived in time to see Flexx Bronco. Proudly claiming that they are from Hunter’s Point, which every local news org has deemed the no man’s land of SF, Flexx Bronco has branded their music as Dirty.Sex.Rock. Interesting. With dramatic waves of dry ice smoke, some synchronized guitar and bass moves, a drummer who strips a few songs in and plays the rest of the show in a red loin cloth, and a singer that looks like he might need a straight jacket- I’d have to say that that might be some accurate branding on their part. While I found their style a bit all over the map- their songs take turns using some combo of rock, metal, punk, and country, as are each members’ look- they are a fun watch. And their songs are funny- bar fights and ugly girls are some of the subject matter covered.
I felt that this JetBoy set could be very polarizing. Maybe the songs didn’t age well, and, speaking of aging, the Aqua Net and cocaine diets didn’t bode well for many hair metal stars’ looks. But, they came on stage and shattered any worries that I had. First of all, you could tell that these guys were all professional, talented musicians- and they were all really excited to be back together. Though I can’t help but look up there and think about what it must feel like to go from a heavy MTV rotation video, merchandising deals, soundtracks, and sold out clubs to a few hundred folks at Bottom of the Hill. Ad when Mickey Finn tells the crowd to “go buy merchandise…we need your money!”, I can feel my heart break. I don’t know why- they’ve all gone on to do their own thing- but to me, a band reuniting is like looking aging in the face, and to me, that is scary. Anyways, Ihave a great time rocking along to these classic Jet Boy tracks, watching Mickey Finn’s perfectly coifed black Mohawk defy the laws of gravity. They end their set with ‘Feel the Shake’ followed by and encore of ‘Great Balls of Fire’, which was much better than hearing it from the man himself, Jerry Lee Lewis, earlier this year. I leave BOTH satisfied and ready for more Eighties rocker reunions in 2008.
JetBoy youtube vids: