Gorgeous Brats

When I want to be a 9-year old country girl in the back of a pickup truck who’s shaking her ass, I reach for “Party In The USA.” When I want to be an alley dwelling derelict who’s roaming the city alone at midnight looking to score drugs, I reach for “LA Woman.” When I want to be an international hustler whose survival in the world has a life-arc bigger than ending-up on the side of a milk carton, I reach for “Paper Planes.”

Hanging on to your edginess is a waste of time. Pretending one rock star is more legitimate than another rock star is a waste of time. Debating artistic merit is a waste of time. They’re all sell-outs, which for me, personally speaking, is an endless source of envy.

I tried. I really did. I tried to be a rock ‘n roll sell-out. It didn’t happen.

I had a rock ‘n roll band. No one liked it. I sang. No one liked it. I threw a gigantic party in the summer of 1996, when I was given the opportunity to run the Chill Tent at Lollapalooza. Everyone liked it.

But I went bust, ending-up with a debt it took my younger self damn near 4-years to pay-off, working a job as an advertising sell-out, hating myself every day I walked into an ad agency, hating myself for the life I felt locked out of, but caught a glimpse of, when I was the Master of Ceremonies in the Chill Tent at Lollapalooza, in the summer of 1996, for 2-days.

I even slept in the Chill Tent, between the 1st and 2nd day, I so badly wanted something big to happen in my little, little life. It didn’t.

Turns out, catching a glimpse of something big can be the worst thing that ever happens to you. Especially when it’s taken away, never to be seen again, not from the perspective of doer, but instead, from the perspective of watcher, from the perspective of just another person in the vast, vast audience.

The only way to let go, and heal, was to stop going to shows, for damn near all of my 30’s. Finally, halfway through my 40’s, I started going to shows again.

I see it for what it is.

Miley Cyrus is a gorgeous brat with Disney Starlet DNA and a low class daddy who pimped her out. Jim Morrison was a gorgeous brat with sexy flowing hair only a guy with a JewFro full of hair gel can fully fall in love with. MIA is a gorgeous brat with lipstick the color of fearlessness.

Incidentally, my dream woman dances like Madeline Kahn, rolls her eyes like Olivia Munn, thinks like Aaron Sorkin, kvetches like Larry David and has a proclivity for antagonizing the world like MIA.

I’m doomed to be alone. Don’t worry, Mom, I’m good at it.

Speaking of being stuck and not knowing any better, my band was called Gumption Trap. It was the worst name in rock ‘n roll history. Jim Morrison took the name for his band from The Doors of Perception. I took the name for my band from Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.

If only I was kidding. If only I could blame the inevitable demise on the name of the band. If only I’d gone to law school.

Just what the world needs, another overeducated, overpaid liar with a law degree. My 20’s might not have crescendoed with me shirtless on the cover of Rolling Stone Magazine, just before an oh so glamorous drug overdose. But at least I spent my 20’s making decisions like I was in my 20’s.

Most of my friends who are successful spent their 20’s being 40. They were old before they were old. At this point in the journey, I’m halfway through my 40’s, which means my friends who are successful spent most of their lives being 40.

There’s nothing wrong with being 40, don’t get me wrong. I’m 45 and loving it. I’m glad to be here. But I wouldn’t want to spend my entire life preparing to be old by pretending to be old.

Sure, they own cars I can’t afford to look at. Sure, they throw $300K bar mitzvah parties with scoops of ice cream the size of spinning rims in martini glasses the size of Cadillac Escalades.

Here’s the downside: they make me feel bad about where I am, even though, in reality, it’s me doing it to myself, by comparison.

Here’s the up-side: when I see Miley Cyrus twerking, I see it for what it is.

Miley Cyrus is a gorgeous brat, shaking her ass bone to get more attention, more money, more time in the spotlight. Tina Fey and Amy Poehler are gorgeous brats, shaking their funny bone to get more attention, more money, more time in the spotlight. The only difference being, they have SNL Starlet DNA and the role of pimp daddy is being played by Lorne Michaels, a class act.

I call them gorgeous brats, but it’s a half-truth. They’re not brats. They’re success stories, big time success stories.

I admire the ability to blend gorgeousness, youthfulness, recklessness, ambition, heart, musical ability, sense of humor, discipline, all tied together by luck, to crescendo with twerking at the VMA’s, or even better, making fun of twerking at the Emmys.

If it was easy, anyone could do it. It’s not easy, anything but. And if getting to the tippity top is difficult, staying there is damn near impossible.

Ask Billy Ray Cyrus.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, when I want to be a cranky genius, cloaked in every shade of black known to man, I reach for “Hurt,” the masterpiece by Nine Inch Nails, re-imagined by Johnny Cash.

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5 Responses to Gorgeous Brats

  1. Claudia says:

    This Ted Cruz character has a flagrant disregard for brain cells. What is wrong with him?

    • Gregor says:

      Ted Cruz is an overpaid liar who took his Harvard Law Degree and shoved it so far up his ass, displaying appropriate lack of respect for the rule of law, he was actually granted permission by Chief Justice John Roberts to argue before the Supreme Court wearing ostrich cowboy boots.

      It’s astonishing what you can accomplish with a law degree, heartlessness and sadistic friends on the land’s highest court.

  2. Steven says:

    funny my wife fell asleep and I just happened to listen gumption trap on you tube which mark posted. I listen maybe twice a year then i read your column.Our band and almost every band that is not successful is a version of breaking bad..And like breaking bad the show we ended it at our best. Lollapozooza did not mean much b\c i was never really happy with the music even at that time..The creativity was always way ahead of our ability (greg and I) plus we had a late start. But i do remember our last gig. It was at the Continentel when Elaine came up on stage and Mary was playing rhythm guitar with her tits hanging out..And for that one night we had the audience.I can still see an image of a girl looking at us really into us but in a very calm way. Nobody was even talking but we had their divided attention. It took us 7 years but finally we had a cohesive sound and were really good at least for that one night.But by that time we all pretty much hated each other like a 5 way bad marriage and then the show ended…

    There is a movie Greenberg with Ben Stiller which reminds me alot about our band..There is a line in that movie when the two ex members were fighting..”I’m finally happy with the life I never wanted”. I guess that’s what most people who decide in the twenties to be an artist feel like.It’s been really really hard but I think I am happy with the life I never wanted..Sometimes?

  3. Steven says:

    I meant to say lollapolooza did not mean much to me

  4. Gregor says:

    Wish I knew what you meant by: every band that is not successful is a version of Breaking Bad.

    Don’t know if you check back in on comments, Steven. But if you do, please elaborate. It sounds interesting.

    Thanks.

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