BEHIND THE IDIOCY
There’s a prolific alchemy about rock documentaries that take us into the studio to see music actually getting made, as opposed to the usual boy-meets-boy/boys-form-band/boys-become-rock-stars formula. All the more so when the material in question ends up being hailed as a masterwork. The Beatles’ Let It Be doc, Godard’s exploration of the Stones’ Sympathy for the Devil and Metallica’s Some Kind of Monster have all become edifying companions to the creations — and the creators — they chronicled. Now we have Heart Like a Hand Grenade, an insider’s look at the making of Green Day’s American Idiot, by the band’s longtime friend John Roecker. Full disclosure: Roecker’s also been a pal of ours since our Weekly cover story about his controversial puppet epic Live Freaky! Die Freaky! (in which Billie Joe Armstrong provided the lead voice-over). Last Wednesday, we attended the one and apparently only theater screening planned for the film along with hundreds of salivating Green Day fans, at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood. Pal or not, we were thoroughly entertained, and not just by Roecker’s wicked sense of humor (he opened with a speech about it being his intervention and held the after-party at the leather-boy dive The Eagle in Silver Lake). He also rewarded GD fans who had come the farthest (one gal flew in from Germany just to see it on the big screen) with giant word cards used by the band in the opening homage to the ’67 Dylan doc, Don’t Look Back. The true reward for hardcore fans was definitely on film, though. Grenade may lack the band drama of the aforementioned movies, but it is a raw and fascinating look at the recording process, with lots of silly-fun studio banter, writing footage and rehearsals (mostly in Hollywood’s Ocean Way Studios) as well as performances from the boys’ first live show debuting Idiot tracks, at the Henry Fonda Theatre. Even those who weren’t blown away by the Grammy-winning CD’s rock-opera arrangement and pop-infused punk fervor will be impressed by the chops and song-crafting seen in this one. We hear the movie will finally be coming out on DVD soon (a date hasn’t been set yet). Meanwhile, the Northern Cali–bred band have a musical-theater version of Idiot debuting at the Berkeley Repertory Theatre this September, and their latest release, 21st Century Breakdown, comes out May 15. After hearing a leaked version of the title track on the net, let’s just say they’re definitely not abandoning the monster-sized melody-driven anthems that made Idiot a career-changing opus.
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Birthday bashes have been dominating Nightranger’s calendar of late, and last Saturday was candle-clustered in the best way. A groovy house party for two babelicous BFFs — White Trash Charms’ Brooke Dulien and The Start’s Aimee Echo — was first on the blowout list, and when you’ve been rocking and styling in L.A. as long as these girls, even an intimate BBQ will be filled with musicians, fashionistas and familiar faces (many of whom, we discovered, are ram signs too). Of course, there’ll also be amazing sounds: the guy spinning ’80s gems in the living room was none other than She Wants Revenge’s Adam 12, still one of the best selectors in town. Could’ve cut the rug to his mixes all night, but instead it was off to H’Wood for another shindig, party boy/PR rascal Rich Royal’s b-day soiree. It’s our job to stay on top of L.A.’s hot spot du jour, but with a new one opening up seemingly every month, sometimes it’s tough to get to ’em while they’re still hot. Never got out to The Stork (H’Wood’s previous incarnation), but judging by how quickly it nosedived, that’s probably a good thing. The Wood, on the other hand, looks to be a keeper, at least in nightlife terms. The lounge (designed by Amanda Scheer Demme) is definitely aflame when Ana Calderon (formerly of Dim Mak) holds court on Saturdays. Royal reigned in the space last Saturday. (He even gave us a full tour of the venue — owned by Loyal Pennings and John Terzian — which includes a stunning larger dance club next door.) Speaking of which, Nightranger can reveal here exclusively that party maven Bryan Rabin is coming out of a long clubbing retirement (his legendary Club Cherry closed in ’01) to helm a new Thursday night there with Kelly Cole and Ian Cripps, plus a copious who’s-who “host committee” (including yours truly)! Called Diamond Dogs, the rock & roll discotheque debuts Thursday, April 9. Come out of the garden, baby. …
Got to our final Saturday-night destination, the dapper tapper known as Society at Bordello, just in time to see featured dancer Hector Extravaganza take go-go-ing to a whole new level with costumes, masks, props (balloons, umbrellas) and astounding moves. There was also a fashion presentation from Rojas followed by a rap attack from Lisa D’Amato, surely the nuttiest contestant ever on America’s Next Top Model (she got shit-faced and made friends with shrubbery — nuff said). D’Amato has been doing the music thing since she left the show, and she’s obviously going for a Peaches-meets–Mickey Avalon type of humpty-hump, all woozy flow and freaky electro beats. It works not necessarily due to musical talent but because of her undeniable presence and gift for lyrical lunacy. Titles include “Skinny Little Bitch” and “Idontneeditsucka.” It also doesn’t hurt that she has three hard-bodied hotties pumpin’ behind her. Catch her at Crown Bar this Monday, April 6. Promoters Billy Burgess and Corey Deist recently moved Society’s gussied-up, mostly gay groovin’ from WeHo to Bordello, and the decadent downtown digs provide a saucy backdrop for the flocks o’ fancy coattails and feathers and, of course, dancey tail feathers. Check it out every fourth Saturday of the month.