The blond girl is reaching toward the stage, trying to grab the singer’s partially exposed ass as he leans out over the crowd. The tight jeans he’s wearing are now strategically torn in back, and she can see the pale skin just inside. She screams out to him, “Mickey!” But as her manicured fingers near their target, he suddenly reaches down and squeezes her hand, then turns and shimmies off across the stage, raising a bottle of expensive tequila to his mouth and gulping it down like water. The girl falls back into the arms of her friends, smiling beatifically, her glossy lips parting to reveal a set of expensive-looking braces. She can’t be a day over 15, and she’s obviously wasted. “Mickey . . .”
Like a young Mick Jagger, the singer is shirtless and skinny, ugly and pretty. He strolls across the stage holding a microphone, then grabs a noticeably drugged-out backup dancer and kisses her on the mouth. He shoves her hard across the stage, and she stumbles in her heels and falls forward onto the floor, legs splayed apart in her short dress, eyes closed the whole time. “Mickey . . .”
The singer’s head dips and bobs to a pounding beat emanating from the club’s sound system. His friend, also shirtless, stands next to him, leaning out over the crowd and pouring tequila into opened mouths as if delivering a communion. A large, athletic boy bolts across the stage and tries to tackle the singer before he’s dragged off. Raising the microphone to a face adorned with glittery, half-smeared makeup, the singer surveys the scene before him. Screaming girls? Uh-huh. Jealous and sexually confused boys? Sure. Sold-out show at the legendary Roxy? Okay. Is this the beginning of a full-scale glam-rock revival on the Sunset Strip? Despite the heady promise of drugs and debauchery coursing through the young and predominantly white crowd, not exactly.
The singer tosses his longish hair back and begins to rap. There’s a certain disconnect, yet strangely it works. His voice is a slightly effeminate drawl, teasing out the words . . .
“Mickey Avalon, dick thick as a baton, the illest motherfucker from here to Vietnam, I used to work nights on hot cock dot com, but then I got fired when my mom logged on. I’m on the run, my dad’s a bum, I asked my girl if she loved me and she just said —umm . . .”
Toward the back of the club, two lanky African-American kids are dressed in the uniform of the serious hip-hop aficionado — T-shirts, baggy jeans and tilted baseball caps. They are perched on top of a booth, surveying the scene before them.
“That dude used to be a homosexual prostitute,” one of them finally shouts over the loud music.
“For reals?” his friend asks in obvious disbelief.
The first kid just shrugs, and they continue watching.
Backstage after the show, Mickey Avalon strolls into the crowded dressing room like a middleweight champ in mascara and eyeliner. He pours a bucket of ice water over his head and lets out a joyful scream, then pulls two very young-looking groupies close, and the three of them start to kiss and grope one another. A nearby photographer grins and begins to circle around, shooting pictures, while a few feet away, a beautiful girl in a black designer dress kneels down onto the soiled carpet and vomits into a trash can, tears rolling down her cheeks.
“I like a girl who eats and brings it up, a sassy little frassy with bulimia. Her best friend’s a plastic surgeon, and when her Beamer’s in the shop she rolls the Benz. Manis and pedis on Sundays and Wednesdays, money from Mommy lovely in Versace. So rich, so pretty, the best piece of ass in the whole damn city.”
Mickey Avalon, the world’s greatest glam rap star — a genre of one.
I’m sitting with Avalon at a small kitchen table with his grandmother. The décor of her single-story Beverly Hills home seems to have been locked in place sometime during the early 1970s — colorful wallpaper patterns, prickly shag carpet and a minimalist tree painted on the wall behind me. We’re here to check some old photos, but when Avalon mentions I’m a writer, his grandmother sits us down and begins to tell her story. It is a harrowing tale for sure — she was a young Jewish woman in Hungary when the Nazis made their move. Avalon is supposed to be heading for a Silver Lake recording studio to lay down some tracks with producer Dave Cooley, but instead we sit and listen. As she speaks to us in her thick Bela Lugosi accent, I find myself staring at the numbers tattooed onto her forearm.
The ordinary details are the most unsettling. Watching the beloved family dog running desperately after the train as the family is hauled away. Josef Mengele casually sorting the new arrivals at the gates of Auschwitz, separating mother and daughter forever. Her handsome young husband, Avalon’s grandfather, a respected and beloved dignitary, was at Auschwitz as well. He’s in pictures throughout the house and looks like a movie star in tailored suits and a perfectly tilted fedora. The two of them managed to survive the Final Solution, though not entirely unscathed. The suave grandfather was used in one of Mengele’s medical experiments, which left half his body partially paralyzed for many months afterward. The grandmother was severely mauled by the attack dog of Amon Goeth, the sadistic officer portrayed by Ralph Fiennes in the film Schindler’s List. The rest of the family was extinguished.