June 12, 2006

VH1's Long Live Stupidity

Legal wars over who owns the phrase "Bat Out Of Hell" is not only a wasteful misuse of the justice system, but highlights just how idiotic certain kinds of "rockers" are.

Rather than come up with anything new, former musical partners Meatloaf and (the poor man's discount Phil Spector) Jim Steinman have been whoring
out Bat Out of Hell for 28 years (there's even a live symphonic version!).

But sometime in 1995, Jim Steinman legally trademarked the phrase, which just seems silly to begin with. Imagine how uneventful someone's life must be to pay attorneys to draw up legal papers on a cliche. It feels like he longed for that day in the future when he would pull a hissy fit over Meatloaf's 18th comeback attempt, and have an opportunity to huff the exhaust of a dubious achievement. Plus, he's probably frightened off Bonnie Tyler from pulling a
Total Eclipse Of The Heart II: Bright Eyes Turns Around... which is actually quite the achievement.

While this moronic event is as compelling as debating which direction toilet paper should spin from the dispenser, Meatloaf and Steinman have, so far, avoided total moron meltdown...

...whereas Ronnie James Dio's past pronouncements on his Devil Horns trademark should be included as a special bonus feature on the next DVD repackaging of Spinal Tap.

In 2002, Dio threw a girly snit after seeing Britney Spears flash the horns, and tried to take control of the hand gesture. While admitting he didn't originate the sign, he did make it clear that it was clearly identified with him, and that got quite a bit of free publicity for another of his embarrassing garden gnome gothic records. It didn't help his sales any, but the event may have been the inspiration for the self-absorbed show biz minutia that consumes a character like Johnny Drama.

Review Dio's comments on Devil Horns:
"The point is that you can't just flash it. You have to have a face that goes with it. There has to be some emotion behind it. It can't just be the raising of the arm, trying to get your fingers in the right position... A lot of times, bending of the knees always puts it in a slightly different perspective. It puts you in the Sumo position. Now you're ready to charge!"

You just know he delivered those quotes with intense seriousness, and comedy writers across the land kicked themselves for not having imagined it first.

Meatloaf, Steinman and Dio have one thing in common: strict adherence to album covers that make 5th grade boys feel all warm inside.
Actually, they have something else in common: strict adherence to infantile, overblown lyrics that make 5th grade boys feel naughty and/or evil.

At least Loaf & James center on paperback romance novel hoopla, indicating that they once had sex with women. But poor little Dio... he's been working the winged unicorn sailing through demonic dragon's breath schtick for decades. And he shows no signs of maturity other than maybe switching from the board version to the cyber version of Dungeons & Dragons.

So, maybe "rockers" like this mine the same collapsed vein because they are tragic cases of arrested development. The performing arts are a safe haven for the IQ challenged. But someone like, say, Cameron Diaz hires a PR firm to keep her most embarrassing utterances and deeds out of the paper. Or going back to Idiot Rock, Sammy Hagar at least matured into a tequila and chain restaurant entrepreneur.

But Ronnie James Dio continues to sit in his chain mail-covered Lazy Boy watching
Excalibur on an endless loop, while Meatloaf & Jim Steinman bitch slap each other over who gets the last stale Milk-Bone in the box. VH1 should do me a favor and corral these 3 for a reality show, a la Supergroup. But in this case, sould the title be Super Stupid? Or Long Live Stupidity?