Thursday, December 08, 2011

Flash Metal Suicide: Britny Fox

Britny Fox
Britny Fox
1988, Sony

Anybody raised on radio in America's suffered endlessly through that old Foreigner rotter, "Jukebox Hero" about the hard rocker kid shivering out by the backstage door in the heavy downpour-well, that was me, sometime in the late eighties, traipsing through the filthy winter slush of a Detroit Rock City heavy metal parking lot in my black leather jacket with the skulls painted on the sleeves, biker boots, Circus Of Power rising sun t-shirt, probably, underage with a flask fulla cheap vodka cos we used to think you couldn't smell it*, hoping some platform booted older rock scurve would sneak me in with 'em to the venue. The tour bus pulled up and it was a real "Almost Famous" moment I s'pose as a cluster of fat girls in stonewashed denim with glasses and bad hair appeared out of nowhere to welcome the band. Britny Fox came off the bus like all the third-string rock doods of that time, all regal and cocksure, smug, and solemn in their Lisa Lisa & Cult Jam style, poorly assembled velvet glam metal pirate duds. Bewigged and "ready to rawk". These are the kinda corporate wank bandwagon chasers that ruined rock n' roll for so long. More hardened, Philadelphia factory town lookin' redneck/Jocks begrudgingly trussed up to look like Wendy & Lisa and sound like every other mediocre AeroKiss copycat hack bar band on the planet. Hilariously, no poignantCameron Crowe/Jukebox Hero celluloid scenario panned out for me, cos I figure they could sense I wasn't really there to see them anyway. When one of the blonde guitarists strutted by in his wig and doofy trenchcoat and I asked if he'd help me evade the strict +21 door policy, he mumbled, "Sorry Kid" and the single leather glove wearing roadie slammed the heavy backstage door behind the 'Fox and their mostly unattractive, small entourage of groupies with a heavy clang. It was snowing, so I pushed myself back around to the front of the building where a line was forming, downing my rotgut vodka on the way and promptly hooked up with some other concert trash loitering 'round their vans and Trans Ams and accompanied them to their nearby crashpad/rehearsal space to watch their Janes Addiction rip-off band thunder through a song called "1-900 Jesus" (the band was Murder City--and I was mad cos MY band was gonna be called MURDER STARS after my hero Stiv Bator's Lords Of The New Church song, "Murder Style", yeah- I was mad about the Murder Junkies and Murder Dolls, too. I've finally let go...) and then, not being much of a pot smoker and resenting all the elaborate vocal processing foot pedals the Murder City singer had to help him sound more like Perry Farrell, I drifted back towards the show, all good 'n' sauced up on Peppermint Schnapps, and was approached by two drunk and "foxy" older women, both hot blondes, who were immediately, taking me by the hand, and lavishing me with praise and kisses, referring to me as their, "purple velvet boy" cos, uh, my trousers this goth chick had so kindly made me, and these broads were luckily shit-hot Detroit scenester/photographer/makeup artist types who did all the ads forNoir Leather and knew the door people and got me effortlessly waved in, probably even stamped "high" cos they fed me foo foo girl drinks all night and it seems I fell in loves. I think I remember some ducky young punk locals warming up the crowd-it wasn't the Happy Death Men, but somebody like 'em, probably, performing a shithot revved up version of the Stones' "When The Whip Comes Down". All my memories from that era are a blur of rotgut vodka, peppermint schnapps and overpriced foo foo girl drinks, but I'll never forget being chumped by Dizzy Dean and the boys. HAR! And come to think of it, I guess IDID end up getting my Penny Lane moment. (Hello Linda and Monique xo)

Britny Fox were one of the many, many poor man'sAerosmith's of the corporate hairband juggernaut, not REALLY glam rock in the purestDolls/T.Rex/Bowie sense-though I seem to remember all the cash-in metal merchants picked an old classic to bludgeon (Sweet F.A. ruined "Taxi Driver" by Hanoi Rocks, Krokus used to do "School's Out"**, Great White and Quiet Riot andJoan Jett, come to think of it, based their whole careers on 70's glitter rock covers! etc. etc.) and I seem to remember Britny Fox doing "Gud'bye To Jane" at some point, Britny were far from being another poorman's Stones or Aerosmith, really, they were the poorman's Ratt or Cinderella, almost. I think their bewigged guitarist Michael Kelly Smithwas actually an original member of Tom Keiffer'sCinderella at some point.

In fairness to the 'Fox, I did dig their tune "Girlschool" -hell that mighta been back when another one of my fave rockers Mike Monroe was dating the Girlschool broad. Or was that Lemmy?*** Anyhoo, Dizzy Dean Davidson had that eighties metal screech and could howl along with the rest of the alleycats, probably somewhere in between Keifer and that weirdo with the braids from Roxx Gang. There were alot of bands goin' for that Kiss without the makeup look-you know-kinda hairy chested, gold necklace, black plastic pants from Lip Service and a bad velvet trenchcoat from a smalltown's local theatre tropes production of "The King & I" or "Man Of La Mancha" or something. The brunette vocalists, according to noted metal guru, Tracii Guns' logic, just never had the bitch magnet appeal of all them Jani Lane's andTed Poleys and that's why Poison outsold L.A. Guns, and the vocalists who looked more like Paul Stanley than David Lee Roth got lost in the shuffle when glam rock was being exploited and mutated into that sickly strain of lifeguard metal powerballadry I call "Secretary Rock". By the time clowns like Kip Winger---lemee say that again for emphasis, "KIP." Kip Winger, Joey Tempest, Mike Tramp, Mark Slaughter,  and their ilk started squeezing into the day glo tights, the chairs were on the table and I was out the door baby . Everybody had their party anthem and then their three power ballads. Fortunately, aside from "Long Way To Love" or whatever, I can't seem to recall many of  Britny Fox's weary road ballads, but I figure they musta had three or four songs like "Long Road",  "Long Way Through the Halfway Valley Of A Long Cold Winter On The Way Back Home", etc., right? Just horrible-all those hairbands destroying glam. In order for these sinister U.S. gone global imperialist, bloodthirsty corporations to keep propping up all their capitalist myths of "fair and balanced coverage", "freewill", and "equality", they always need us dumbed down five dollar an hour, eternally in-debted wage slaves and slave class carpetbaggers ("now hiring smiling faces"=no benefits, piss test, background check, personality profile questionaire, credit check, five fifty an hour with no affordable housing left almost anywhere...) to have our illusions of "choice", cos that's what keeps us coming back for more: Coke or Pepsi, Coke or heroin,Britny or Cinderella, Britney or Christina, the Strokes or the Hives, right? Sadly, it's usually all the same hollow shit at the end of the dreary workday.
The Fox' main legacy might be that their faceless bar band glam-metal probably only really succeeded at kinda legitimizing Cinderella, though Dizzy Dean did probably help sell some satin frocks and flowered leggings from one of them overpriced boutiques they used to have on Melrose. Heck, the Fox even made Danish second stringers like D.A.D. (and their spaghetti western hard pop twang and spark shooting construction helmet) seem incredibly fresh and compelling and exciting and original in comparison. I mean,KISS were ALREADY unmasked by then, y'know? What d'ya need Tuff for if you've already been POISON-ed? Whadya need Britny Fox for if you already own "Night Songs" and the positively essential, "Gypsy Road"? I'm sorry to be so hard on the Fox Network, but us aging Flash Metal Causalities kinda got to call 'em as we see 'em. Last I heard Dizzy Dean had formed another band called BLACKEYED SUSAN, then another one called "LOVE SAVES THE DAY". (Apparently the lyrical genius behind "Girlschool" happened by the famous 2nd Ave. thrift store in NYC at some point, and said to himself, "That's IT!" which begs the obvious question about how many trustfund junkie chic artschool Pussy Galore wanna beez considered naming their noise bands Gem Spa, thinking their being really imaginative and witty like those clever, Murder Stars" Har.Har.)

Ain't it strange how every shit hairband can still make some kinda remote living off having once had a video air on Headbangers Ball? Even when little alleycats like me were violently sick of all that fake corporate glam spew being pimped by the end of the eighties and even somewhat into the nineties, for many of us, the nasally, brooding, Hootie Howl of grunge was no solution, either! I basically spent the latter haffa the eighties seeking out my own alternatives to Flotsam & jetsam and Autographand Two Bit Thief. I'd traded in Jetboy for theJetboys and instead of referring to mags like Metal Forces, Metal Hammer, Faces Rocks, Hit Parader and Rip for my flash rock kicks, I started to follow and get really excited by the trashy
FLASH PUNK REBIRTH that was being documented in more underground zines like Flipside, Ready To Snap, Full Blast, and Sonic Iguana. Real rocknroll never dies, it just goes back underground.
After the glut of Britny Foxes we had to contend with back when Poison, Bon Jovi and co. were ruining rock n' roll for all of us, it was thrilling the see the static-y technicolour sunset alit with all kindsa REAL ROCKNROLL roman candles: Smack, Soul Asylum, Material Issue, Clawhammer, the Replacements, Action Swingers, The Goops, The Campus Tramps, Flies On Fire, Pillbox, Lazy Cowgirls, Redd Kross, Das Damen, Fluffy, Imperial Drag, Celebrity Skin, Hello Disaster, Divinyls, Cheetah Chrome and the Ghetto Dogs, Uncle Sam, Leaving Trains, New Model Army, These Immortal Souls, Jacobites, Bounty Hunters, Snatches Of Pink, Suicide Twins, Nick Cave,Godfathers, Earth 18****, old Flaming Lips, Fuzztones, Jesus Christ Superfly,Manic St. Preachers, Junk Monkeys, Flaming Stars, the Hangmen, Tommykockers, Slow Motorcade, the Joneses, the Viletones, the Comatones, Pontiac Brothers, Love Spit Love, the Ultras, etc. etc etc Nowadays I'm down to a shoebox full of cheap cassettes: the Leps, Roth, Peter Murphy, no kidding, that's about it. I like this Glam band called Silver, sick o' Jet. Dysfunctional, depressed, one of the millions left behind. It sucks. So take heart B.F. I'm sure you still got loadsa fans who love you in Japan. Why can't I find a used copy of that Slum Lords album or the Soho Roses?

Further: Britny Fox official site
-Pepsi "Fashizzy" Sheen Will Wk. For Dental

*True. And SO fuckin' wrong. Just ask my first half dozen employers.
**AND Ballroom Blitz!
***It was Lemmy. Which is the official default answer for all flash metal trivia questions for now on.
****Earth 18, you Trex ripping-off motherfuckers, please get in touch. Your Flash Metal Suicide is waiting.

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