Monday, October 29, 2012

Old Gray Mule- Like A Apple On A Tree

 Old Gray Mule's new album "Like a Apple on a Tree" is where I'm headed to and I do apologize for taking the long-a-bout way of getting there.   This poppin' fresh collection comes  on the heels of OGM's second album, "Forty Nickels for a Bag of Chips"  which C.R. Humphrey recorded with drummer Kinney Kimbrough at Delta Recording Services in Como, Miss. .

"Like a Apple on a Tree" continues with the food metaphors, for reasons that I'm not privy to.  I did find out that the album title "Forty Nickels for a Bag of Chips" comes from Jon Spencer/ RL Burnside's collaborative album "A Ass Pocket of Whiskey" at one point Spencer is heard asking Burnside for "forty nickels for a bag of chips"

I also perused a review of "Forty Nickels for a Bag of Chips" written by Jim Caligiuri of the alternative weekly, Austin Chronicle.  Caligiuri sounds like he's  a contrarian and I realize that's a fashionable  thing  to be in the People's Republic of Austin.

He sums up the album by stating "One could argue whether this (the unrehearsed live takes) makes the results authentic or wankerific, only 10  tunes of repetitive guitar and drum riffs sans vocals settle the score by growing tiresome about halfway through"

Kudos to Jimmy  for working "wankerific" in there, probably been saving that one up since he stumbled upon it in the Hipster's  Dictionary.  Caligiuri sounds like a man who would wander into a juke joint and then complain to the management about the music being too loud. 

The repetitiveness is inherent in the North Mississippi hill country blues, it's a drone based  rhythm that elevates the listeners (or preferably dancers) into a trance like state of bliss.  It's the "Burnside Style" Mr. Jones, or maybe you didn't get that memo?  

As for "Forty Nickels for a Bag of Chips" making a damn good soundtrack for the movie adaptation of  a Larry Brown novel, my choice would be his unpublished manuscript about a man-eating bear terrorizing Yellowstone Park.  Starring Rutger Hauer with a shot gun... of course! 

The problem with alternative weekly  music writers is that they suffer from attention deficit disorder and  they  tend  to take on the solemn tones  of  folklorist, ethnomusicologist and archivist whenever they broach the subject of blues music. (Austin Powell of the Austin Chronicle being an exception to the rule)

 We have Alan Lomax, John Hammond Sr. and probably John Hammond Jr. to blame for all that.  "It's the blues, fellas it's not the solemnities of Epiphany and Ascension"  Climb on off your high horse and hit the dance floor, mufuggers

 Let's pop 20 D Energizers in the boombox and give  "Like a Apple on a Tree" a turn. 

Come On In – (RL Burnside cover) – featuring: Cedric Burnside - drums and vocals, CR Humphrey - guitar       C.R. does what he does best... lays down some brawny riffs with his beefed up Squire Telecaster. Cedric  (RL Burnside's grandson) is a propulsive and dynamic drummer, who for my money is one of the best  regardless of genres.  This is the title track off RL's 1998 album.  It's-a-meaty, beaty, big and bouncy.

Cotton Patch Disco – featuring: Snooks La Vie - harmonica and vocals, CR Humphrey - guitar and bass, Lightnin Malcolm - drums   An intriguing track for sure,  Snooks, the former lead singer for The Hiptones (who a writer described as "formidable - an oasis in an R&B drought called Australia") added his vocals and harmonica to the backing track all the way from Adelaide,  SA,  Australia. You'd think he was in studio, C.R.'s ties it together with some low key but gritty licks and that's some solid work on the drum kit by guitar virtuoso Lightnin Malcolm. 

Blue Front – featuring: CR Humphrey - guitar, Jason ‘JJ’ Wilburn - drums    A dose of Bentonia blues for ya'  The song title refers to The Blue Front Cafe in Bentonia MS., a historic  cinder block  juke joint on the Mississippi Blues Trail. It's owned by   blues musician Jimmy "Duck" Holmes. Nice meaty  tones from C.R.'s self described Franken-Tele,  or as C.R. puts it, "a telecaster I built out of parts" What parts? different parts!.... parts is parts.

Sexy Mufuggin Dance Party – featuring: CR Humphrey - guitar and bass, Lightnin Malcolm - drums    A rockin' Memphis style tune, C.R. does double duty on this track and he still  works  in  a nice impression of Duck Dunn on bass, if this don't make you dance, then you must've been declared dead. It's a tune that's tailor made for some Sugarfoot Hustlin' 

Break For Me – featuring: Lightnin Malcolm - vocals, CR Humphrey - guitars, Jason ‘JJ’ Wilburn - drums    Lightnin hands off the drum sticks to JJ Wilburn, this songs rolls out with a swagger that Jim Caligiuri would probably find downright intimidating. Someone should hawk this song to Kurt Sutter for the  Sons of Anarchy. Great vocals from Lightnin and C.R.'s Squire Telecaster spits out hot chords like an Ak-47 spits out spent shells. 

Thanksgiving – featuring: CR Humphrey - guitar and bass, Cedric Burnside - drums   I ain't going to lie to you, when Cedric plays the drums I get goosebumps. C.R. breaks out the amazing Guitbass again (my apologies to Junior Brown) this has all the uneasy energy of Thanksgiving  in the Eastern New Mexico oil patch,  where half of the guests are in the bathroom shooting meth and the  rest are working on each others last nerve.  "Pass me them rolls, you son of a bitch"

Someday Baby – (RL Burnside cover) – featuring: CW Ayon - drums and vocals, CR Humphrey - guitar   From R.L. Burnside's A Bothered Mind album, it's a great song  and my homeboy CW Ayon does it justice, Northern Mississippi Hill country blues meets Rio Grande Valley blues.  A tip of the hat to CW, this certainly isn't an easy song to sing.  That's some tuff guitar from C.R., that's tuff as in "cool, in a rugged wrong-side-of-the-tracks way" (thank you S.E. Hinton)

Issaquena – featuring: CR Humphrey - guitar and bass, Lightnin Malcolm - drums    This song  has kicked around a bit, it was also included on the "Forty Nickels" album and there may be another version out there. Issaquena County, Ms.  the birthplace of Muddy Waters, more folks are stuck in a one mile stretch of Los Angeles freeway traffic than live in the entire county (1,400) For some reason this song reminds me of Jimi Hendrix's Peace in Mississippi, maybe it's the geetar. 

Standin There Cryin’ – featuring: Snooks La Vie - harmonica and vocals, CR Humphrey - guitars, Dave Sims, Jr - drums  Wicked verging on evil vocals from Snooks, there's an underlying sense of malice to this song that would make it perfect for the motion picture adaptation of  Frank Bill's "Crimes in Southern Indiana Stories" starring  Rutger Hauer with a shotgun.... of course!  "Pulled the hammer back and she said please don't kill me baby"

Banda de Gypsies – featuring: CR Humphrey - guitar, CW Ayon - drums  Jimi Hendrix's Machine Gun, in a chingon Hill Country style. "Well, I pick up my axe and fight like a farmer, but  I play guitar like a gawd dang Texas Ranger" never could understand what Jimi was singing.  You can always tell just how good a guitarist is by how well he plays Hendrix.  C.R. passes muster and then some, CW when he's not having to play drums, guitar and sing all at the same time, is a bad ass drummer. 

I don't know about ya'll, but I'm still hungry for more... but damn! if my D-cells haven't run out of juice, before I head down to Dollar Tree to demand 20 D-Energizers mufuggers! let me wrap this up. 

Now we've come full circle, with the hill country blues the past is every bit as important as the present.  A new generation of bluesmen have sprouted forth from the flood plains, hill country and beyond. Youngbloods ready, able and worthy of carrying on the legacy of R.L. Burnside and Junior Kimbrough  

Never mind Muscle Shoals, the swampers are pickin' you up when you're feelin' blue, right in Central Texas. Old Gray Mule's "Like a Apple on a Tree" is top effort for what the Austin Chronicle calls "Mississippi thunder and Lightnin’ with Lockhart shit-kickers"  These are songs ready made for a night on Greasy Street, but what would they know about that? 

Oral tradition was vital to the spread of the blues in the 1930s, and that still hasn't changed. Facebook, Twitter and the internet are nothing more than an updated version of "word of mouth" Put these words in your mouth, go forth and spread the gospel.

Old Gray Mule is C.R. Humphrey of Lockhart, Tx. "BBQ capital of the World!" 

Like a Apple on a Tree is available for purchase and download right now!  Hard copies won't be out until Nov. 9th.  Preview tracks and pre-order at http// or go to Old Gray Mule's Facebook page and click on the new album link. 

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Death By Misadventure- Robert Johnson

Both Johnsons' (Tommy & Robert) implied association with the devil, may have been an early, though rather crude attempt at self marketing. Controversy equals curiosity which results in more paying customers.  The concept of meeting up with the devil at the crossroads was borne of Yoruba pantheon. Papa Legba is a horned spirit associated with Haitian and Southern  voodoo.  Legba opens and closes doorways and serves as the voice of God. Papa Legba also facilitates communication, speech & understanding. 

Both Papa Legba and Ellegua are known as the gods or guardians of the crossroads. Thus grew the legend of "going down to the crossroads to make a pact with the devil" Blues scholars would have you believe that when African Americans in the South spoke of "selling  their soul to the devil" that they meant something other than the Satanic version that we know so well.  Maybe so, but as a church going man that he once was, I bet that Robert Johnson had the horned red devil holding a pitchfork in mind as he composed his lyrics. 

 "I got to keep moving, I got to keep moving,
 Blues falling down like hail"

The Mississippi Delta was and is the cradle of American blues, a flat bottom nebulae that gave birth to the Hill country blues of Mississippi, the deep blues, the Delta Blues.  The  blue  devils of melancholy and sadness are never far away  and if you've lived your life with demons  nipping at your heels or with hell hounds chasing after your scent, then you're well versed on the subject.

The blues musicians were shrouded in mystery, swallowed up by their obscure circumstances and surroundings. Juke  joint messiahs howling deep into the Mississippi night. The music continues  to  live,  even as the musicians have returned to the soil that spawned them.

Son House played a National resonator guitar using  a 3/4" copper pipe as a slide. He would glide the slide across the  fretted  strings with a frantic energy,  alternating between gentle picking and slashing effortless strumming.  Charlie Patton deftly interjected spoken word passages around his slurred vocals without missing a beat.  It's said that his  voice could project five hundred feet without amplification.

Tommy Johnson was a raging alcoholic, so addicted to drinking methanol from cans of Sterno that he wrote and sang about it "I woked up a-this mo'nin with canned heat on my mind" The song "Canned Heat Blues" is a vivid portrait of a sick and desperate man. When there was no whiskey to be had, Tommy would also drink shoe polish filtered through a piece of bread Tommy  Johnson cultivated an evil persona,  often hinting that he had "sold his soul to the devil" in return for a wealth of talent, most likely he sold his soul for a bottle of whiskey.

"I went down to the crossroads and fell down on my knees,
 asked the Lord up above for mercy, save poor Bob if you please." 

Robert Johnson (no relation to Tommy) fostered a similar image. Johnson was the most influential of all the Delta blues musicians and if he made a pact with Ol'Scratch in return for fame and fortune, he got screwed in the process. Fame never came for Robert Johnson until long after he had paid the Devil his due. As described by Son House, Robert Johnson was  a  mediocre musician who suddenly channeled his meager talents and became the best there ever was.

Son  House, who knew Johnson as a boy said that he "was a competent harmonica player  but  an embarrassingly bad guitarist" That would change once he hooked up with Ike Zimmerman,  an obscure musician rumored to have learned his guitar technique by playing in graveyards while sitting on a tombstone at midnight.  After a few trips to the graveyard with Zimmerman, Robert Johnson was suddenly possessed with an unearthly talent.  Johnson supposedly said that   they preferred to practice in the graveyard, so as not to bother anyone.

A churchified  man at first, Johnson set out to do things the right way, he married  Caletta Craft in May 1931 and  settled down in Clarksdale, Ms. Caletta is said to have died during childbirth while Johnson was on the road playing music. Her family condemned him  for playing "the devil's music" and blamed him indirectly for her death. He abandoned all attempts at living a normal life and took to the road as an itinerant musician. Whether or not, this  led  him to associate himself with the devil in his music or enter into a Faustian bargain is up for debate.

 "Early this morning,  when you knocked upon my door
 and I said hello Satan, I believe it's time to go"

While performing at the Three Forks Store in Quito, Ms. according to a statement from David "Honeyboy" Edwards, who was there with Johnson. Robert drank from a jug of corn liquor placed near him by the barkeeper (the woman's husband?)  He immediately took ill and was transported to nearby Greenwood, Ms. where he lingered near death for three days. His suffering was immense as he was wracked with convulsions up until the moment of death. It remains a mystery as to what type of poison was used.

The symptoms and prolonged agony would discount theories that strychnine was used. (it has an odor and taste too strong to mask, a large dose would kill a man within a few hours) "Robert loved whiskey and women and some women you got to leave alone, you know what I mean?" declared David  "Honeyboy"  Edwards, his traveling companion and friend.  Robert Johnson cultivated women the way a farmer  cultivates his crops.  He had any number of women that would take him in when he was traveling. 

Musicologist Robert "Mack" McCormick claims to have interviewed the man who poisoned Johnson and that he confessed to the deed, however he didn't name the man or offer any type of proof.  "This man had a good looking woman, and he didn't want to lose her. And  Robert was about to take her away," says Honeyboy Edwards. He also tried  to  warn Robert about drinking from unsealed bottles offered as gifts. "Don't you ever knock a bottle of whiskey out of my hands!" Johnson had told him. 

"You may bury my body ohhhh down by the highway side, 
so my ole evil spirit can catch a greyhound bus and ride"

The following transcription was published in Mother Jones, part of  an article by Joe Kloc titled "Fact-checking the Life and Death of Bluesman Robert Johnson" It's mostly conjecture and speculation told in a cheesy, offhanded manner, but there is a gripping account  supposedly from Robert's own mother as  related to musicologist  Alan Lomax. 

"When I went in where he at, he layin up in bed with his guitar crost his breast. Soon’s he saw me, he say, "Mama, you all I been waitin for." "Here," he say, and give me his guitar. "Take and hang this thing on the wall, cause I done pass all that by. That what got me messed up, Mama. It’s the devil's instrument, just like you said. And I don’t want it no more." And he died while I was hangin his guitar on the wall. “Some wicked girl or her boyfriend had give him poison and wasn no doctor in the world could save him, so they say."

There's also an unfounded rumor that  Johnson got up out of his deathbed on all fours and started howling, a sign some people saw as evidence that he had made a pact with the devil.  Johnson died in a Greenwood shotgun shack (109 Young Street), as if the subject of  some dark blues song, he was laid out on the cooling board, possibly covered in an indigo blue shroud  and  was buried in the Mt. Zion churchyard in an unmarked grave.
Later, his body was dug up (at the bequest of his sister) and  re-interred at Mt. Payne  graveyard near Quito. (the Johnson family plot) Another account says that he was buried under a pecan tree at the Little Zion cemetery in Greenwood.  Today, the exact location of his grave in unknown. Three different markers have been placed at the grave sites mentioned. It appears that even in death Robert Johnson had to keep on movin' in order to throw off the hell hounds on his trail. 

This edition of Death by Misadventure is an offshoot of the prep work I've been doing for a review of Old Gray Mule's new album " "Like a Apple on a Tree"  It started out as an introduction but it grew all out of proportion.  This is nothing more than a primer, nothing that hasn't been written before. I can't really explain it, but I think the devil made me do it.

Old Gray Mule is NOW ACCEPTING PRE-ORDERS! PREVIEW TRACKS AND PRE-ORDER on the website or contact C.R. Humphrey at 512/227-4515 or      Old Gray Mule's  homebase is in Lockhart Tx, BBQ capital of the world, 28 miles southeast of Austin.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Sleaze Rock

a mixed bag of sleaze, these purveyors of bad taste show us that sleaze crosses over into all genres of music

This Sleaze Rock special is Pitbull - Hotel Room Service.  Pitbull, does this thing where he arches one eyebrow and smirks, that in a nutshell is what he does.  He can't sing, rap or dance for shit and yet this human floater pops up everywhere. That recent Walmart  ad campaign (Let's send Pitbull to Kodiak,Ak!) was as fake as Joe Arpaio's hair.   Top YouTube Comment: 99% porn 1% music  0% hair   Arda Kilic

This Sleaze Rock specials is Girl Gone Wild (Remix) by Madonna. Flamboyant homos sans chemise (actually Ukranian boy-band Kazaky) and enough gay imagery to make Don Cathy spit out his Chik Fil A milkshake and touch himself in an inappropirate manner.  I'm in total agreement when she sings "I know I shouldn't act this way" the old skeezer should act her age. Top YouTube Comment: Gays gone wild with a tranny granny  GeeZe Madii

This Sleaze Rock special is "Disrepect" which pairs up Dutch hardstyle DJs, Headhunterz (Willem Regergen) and Psyko Punkz (Sven Sieperda & Wietse Amersfoort) The homophobic slurs are disgusting and their phony gangsta posturing ain't fooling anyone. Hardstyle is the Euro version of the dubstep beats that we've grown to hate so much. Top YouTube Comment:  i fucking hate skrillex, and i listen to headhunterz a shit load    Ginger O Packy

This Sleaze Rock special is Jars Of Clay's Five Candles (You Were There), tis'  bland, innocuous generic Christian rock that you be wanting? From the album "Much Afraid" based on Hannah Hurnard's  allegorical  novel , "Hind Feet on High Places" Not much to be afraid of, these boys are harmless (though pretentious as fuck) Top YouTube comment: This is a song about a really crappy parent  Miss Tam65

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Empire of Dirt

In 1992 one of my regular stops during the "pre-digital downloads" music era was to the Sound Warehouse located on San Mateo between Menaul and I-40.  Their selection was shit, the clerks were elitist music snobs and the store reeked of desperation (with good reason) Within a year Sound Warehouse was history, swallowed up by Blockbuster and transformed into Blockbuster Music, resplendent in all its trashy corporate trappings. (as if Sound Warehouse wasn't)

It was Empire Records  playing out in real life, minus that pussy Rory Cochrane who made that movie so unwatchable.  I continued to make regular trips to the store after the rebranding, same pricks behind the counter, just wearing a different corporate logo. My only real reason for going there was to pick up a copy of  a free music tabloid that nobody else in town carried.  For the life of me, I can't remember the name of the publication or who wrote for it, with one sole exception... Ivo.

It was a well produced, pseudo fanzine in the style of Greg Shaw's Phonograph Record magazine (which was copying Rolling Stone) that he edited for United Artists in the early 1970s. For in-house publishing, offering in-house branding this newcomer was quite good.  Although the writers were on the payroll of either CBS or Columbia Records it didn't stop them from being profane, sarcastic, witty or funny. The album reviews were slightly acerbic, at times mean spirited and yet right on the money. 

They steered clear of the mainstream and were hip to all the latest happenings on the  grunge and industrial metal  scene. The staff whether by design or not, championed the  British shoegazer shit that was coming out back then, and pushed it on the masses like crack (which was also quite popular at the time) There was a coolly affected irreverence to their writing that said  "Fuck You! multinational conglomerate that bankroll us, we do what we like" so, it  was just a matter of time before the corporate powers pulled the plug. 

The best writer on the staff was Ivo, a style transcending writer, who was equal parts Creem era Lester Bangs, Phast Phreddie of Backdoor Man and Legs McNeil of Punk Magazine. Ivo was usually right on the money, Fudge Tunnel-Creep Diets, Manic Street Preachers- Gold Against His Soul, Suede-Suede, Swerdriver- Mezcal Head. Ivo went off the beaten path with his recommendations, The Obsessed, Royal Trux, Pavement and a band nobody had caught on to just yet, Green Day. 

Naturally, everything they reviewed or featured was accompanied by a multitude of adverts.  For all their 'tude, they were corporate tools, but I didn't care. In early 1994, having picked up the latest issue, an article caught my attention, "Farewell  Ivo" it said.  Upon further perusal, I discovered that it was essentially an obituary. "We bid farewell  to our close friend and colleague Ivo, who flew off into the sunset piloting his attack helicopter over the desert sands of Iraq"

So, I was to believe that Ivo was a reservist, a gunship pilot at that, who had been called to duty to enforce the no-fly zones over Basra & Kurdistan? No more information was forthcoming  and shortly after, Blockbuster Music stopped carrying the publication. I didn't know what to think, but it didn't sound right. As an avid news hound, I would buy and read up to five newspapers every day, there was no mention of a U.S. attack helicopter having gone down. 

The few issues that were saved up  became templates for a handful of album reviews, music critiques and failed  proto-zines that I wrote and tossed away in disgust.  My heart wasn't in it, my writing was little more than an Ivo rehash.  I abandoned every issue of that obscure tabloid in some shitty apartment that I fled just ahead of the sheriff who was coming to evict me (I had several outstanding warrants) 

Who was Ivo and what happened to him? Many links and Google searches later and I still don't have a clue. I imagine that he was a hard wired, intense guy who sported tribal ink and zubaz long before that became a cartoonish stereotype.  I could be wrong, after all for years, I actually thought that Capt America (Albuquerque's iconic zinester) was a grumpy old guy who wore a bandanna, smoked Lucky Strikes and lurked around clubs. 

I've surmised that Ivo was either a composite character created by the staff or a real person, who saw the handwriting on the wall and bailed on the publication. Either way, when they killed off Ivo, it was in an honorable fashion, a Viking's funeral and the entire tabloid soon followed him into oblivion. With the world wide web, there is no longer a need for in-house publications. If Ivo is still alive, you can be certain he has a music blog. 

Every writer has his reasons for writing, for me it's as necessary and vital as oxygen. A writer feels better about himself (or herself) if someone, i.e. anyone, reads what they write, although not having an audience isn't a deal breaker.  Writing for a blog is like having a baby in the house, it must be fed and nurtured. Feeding and caring for a blog can become a chore, there are times when writing becomes a burden and it starts to feel like an obligation. 

You just don't go Mike Vick on something that you love. Nor can I bring myself to abandon Dirt City Chronicles and let it wither on the vine (i.e. Luna Explorer) Thankfully, none of that is really necessary, for there's another option.... syndication! There's over 200 posts in the Dirt City Chronicles archives, why not make like I Love Lucy and repost the hell out of them?

Dirty City Chronicles as its name implies is a throwback to a time when people would read more than a handful of words at one time. The small pond of readers is drying up, internet browsing habits have changed, Twitter is now the dominant force. As strange as it sounds, thanks to texting and twittering, reading is no longer in vogue. So, what does one do when they don't feel the love? I've pondered this for the past month.

The times they are-a-changing and I prefer to change with them.  The irony is that in my quest to find Ivo, I've become Ivo.  So, is it time to kill Ivo? Perhaps a sudden deployment to Afghanistan during which he's last seen hiking into the Hindu Kush  with a backpack full of hashish? LOL! Fucking Ivo gives the brass the bird, pops Tool's Undertow into his Sony Walkman and strolls off into the mist. In heaven everday is Feb. 1st. 1995. 

Just like a redneck who throws a sofa & mattress out by the dumpster and then raises hell and calls the cops when some welfare momma stops to claim them (true story) There's a twofold  method to my madness, re- posting allows me time to watch and write about football while getting the Google Plus masses caught up on Dirt City Chronicles with  some of that funky old cheese. Once the auto-pilot is engaged, Dirt City Chronicles will be in a holding pattern.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Rerun: Femme Fatale/ Lorraine Lewis

Femme Fatale

 Femme Fatale blasted out of Albuquerque, quickly landing a record deal with MCA.  They would sell 200,000 copies of their debut album, the videos for "Waiting For The Big One" and "Falling In and Out of Love" received massive airplay on MTV. Then just as rapidly it all fell apart and the band dissolved.  Femme Fatale  was best known for the big voice, big hair and sex appeal of lead singer Lorraine Lewis (former lead singer for Babe Ruthless) who along with  her brother Rick Rael and guitarist Mazzi Rawd (that's a great 80's metal name) added Bill D'Angelo and Bobby Murray (both from Durtie Blonde) to form the band. (with D'Angelo replacing original member Michael Downey.)

Is was all about sexual innuendo, as Lewis sang about, "The Big One" "My Baby's Gun" or begged for some of that "Touch and Go" (what the hell does that even mean?) Lewis played the heavy metal rocker chick, but her stage persona and vocals were more Tina Turner meets Pat Benatar. Even by 1988 standards, they were cheesier than a can of Cheese Whiz, and between them they used enough hairspray to totally damage the ozone. But Femme Fatale received more airplay and recognition than any Albuquerque band ever had, it wasn't until The Shins hit the scene that anyone would match or surpass their success

Lorraine Lewis

Lorraine Lewis was the face of Femme Fatale, Albuquerque's aborted big time glam metal band. It would probably be safe to say that many of that band's fans were drawn to it, not so much by the music, but rather by Lorraine's sex appeal. Femme Fatale and Lewis did not shy away from dishing out the sexual innuendo, the comely Ms. Lewis had her slutty schtick down pat and the guys just ate it up. Yeah, her milk shakes got the boys to the yard...making her the fantasy queen of many a wet dream in the process. 

It was mostly an act, Lewis was not the rough and ready rocker chick that she played. In fact on stage she was more Tina Turner than anything else. Just think Tina as the Acid Queen in the movie version of The Who's Tommy but dressed in denim, lace and black leather. Her vocals were somewhere between Tina Turner and Pat Benatar without the power or range of either one. 

However from the start her looks if not her voice took her beyond  the ordinary. Lorraine Lewis had grown up in Albuquerque and cut her teeth playing the local bar circuit with Babe Ruthless. From there she teamed up with her brother Rick and they put together the group of musicians that became Femme Fatale. They moved to Hollywood and almost landed the big 'un, thanks mostly to the rock press' instant love affair with Lorraine. 

Ultimately, the band was flawed and after just one fairly successful album they broke apart faster than a Yugo.  What happened? the success of the first album was enough to warrant another two albums and a few rounds of touring. Lorraine offered an explanation in an interview with a Spanish metal music 'zine "The days of the big hair metal bands were finished, it was all about timing." Their label MCA felt that they had peaked after just one album, and the band was cut loose.

Lorraine stepped away from the music scene for a few years after that. In 2000 she returned as part  of Snowball, which was a messy mash-up of styles: metal, growling vocals, soft indie pop and electronic beats, all thrown together and mixed with loud guitars. Two years later she came out with her first truly solo album, "Lorraine Lewis", which lo and behold was a country album. Lorraine tried to explain the sudden departure from her rock foundations: "  "It's a little bit country, a little bit rock n' roll, I was born and raised in Albuquerque New Mexico and I love music with a twang, I used to listen to Linda Ronstadt and Lynyrd Skynrd." It was an all out effort by Lewis to crossover to the country market, but nobody was buying it, the album got decent reviews but sold poorly.  With Lorraine's initial dreams of country stardom dashed, she teamed up with country rocker, Tonya Watts to form Betty Sue on the Strip, which sounds like a musical version of Thelma and Louise, with a much happier ending of course. 

Lorraine Lewis is "Gypsy Femme", while Tonya Watts is "The Calibama Kid" together they go searching for their Hollywood dreams. Lorraine is a rocker who secretly dreams of being a country girl. Tonya is a country girl who dreams of livin' the rock and roll life style. It might've made a good sitcom on Fox but it came up craps when the Dixie Chicks stole all their thunder.  Not one to give up, Lorraine then teamed up with Jan Buckingham in the aptly named country chix duo, BuckinghamLewis. Lorraine's quest for a crossover to country was hampered by one small but significant detail, she was not a country singer!  Though raised in Albuquerque, her twang is not genuine, her country is not cool and she winds up sounding like what she is, a rock vocalist aping country vocals. 

Lorraine came to her senses in 2009 when she teamed up with former Vixen's drummer Roxy Petrucci to form the unfortunately named Roktopuss.  Lorraine has never been that subtle when it comes to sex, after all, she was the one who was Waiting for the Big One. Roktopuss is as subtle as a frying pan to the head, and that also describes the music the two produced. That's not to say it was bad, it's actually pretty good retro heavy metal, too bad it's not 1988 all over again. Roxy Petrucci was an "on again/off again" member of Vixen, an all female metal band from St. Paul, Minnesota. Their biggest claim to fame was an appearance in Penelope Spheeris' film "The Decline of Western Civilization II: The Metal Years" Vixen was signed by EMI and scored a hit with "Edge of a Broken Heart" a song written and arranged by Richard Marx. In 2010 Lewis hit the unemployment lines and put together a band made up of castoffs from bands long gone. 

The very unfortunately named L.A. Nookie consists of  Lewis on vocals, Alex Kane on guitar (U.K. band AntiProduct) guitarist Lisa Leveridge (Courtney Love/Hole) Share Pedersen, bassist (Vixen) and Jeff Bowders a drummer she found at Trader Joe's.  It seems that Lorraine's reasoning behind the band's name is "Sex Sells" and if you beat the public over the head with sex it'll sell more. Lorraine Lewis has firmly established herself as a heavy metal icon, and at the age of 52 she still has the looks, although now she's more gilf than milf.  I don't care, flaunt it if you got it...hmm!...I wonder if she's still up for some of that Touch and Go?