In “Pussy,” the girl singer of the eponymous band cracks up after her lover and the band’s creative center dies. When her manager tracks her down she is living anonymously in an East Village tenement, rarely going outdoors, and hoarding her own discarded hair, dead skin and other physical castoffs.
In “Greetings from Finsbury Park,” a British rock star comes home from L.A. only to find that the customs agent going through his suitcase is an embittered ex-schoolmate whose wife once slept with the star before he was famous.
In “A Happy Ending,” a deeply shell-shocked ex-superstar (think Brian Wilson) struggles to keep the voices in his head quiet during a meeting with a hot new producer for a comeback album the A&R boss envisions as an unholy alliance of Neil Young and Public Enemy.
“Love Stain” charts the emergence of devotional offerings, cottage industries, and a pecking order of proximity to the spot where an up and coming young rocker dropped dead on speedballs outside a London cluband his best friend chats up a rock journalist about the tragedy and the conspiracy to murder his friend, all while trying to get her to cover his own band.
In “Rhinestone Tombstone Blues,” country music singer-songwriter LeeAnn Starmountain copes with the disappearance of her inspirationthe violent fantasies of her abusive mother’s death, which she can no longer indulge in after her mother actually perishes, cooked to death by her electric blanket after a stroke.
In “Close to You,” a cult devoted to Karen Carpenter springs up after the singer’s image appears in the paint on the wall of a London kebab shop.
In “From a Great Height,” controversy erupts when the frontman of America’s biggest rock band urinates off his hotel balcony, soaking a crowd of adoring fans.
In “And Alien Tears,” a California limo driver with a gift for Jim Morrison impersonation becomes a star in his own right in Germany, hosting a talk show as “Jim.”
The hottest band of cock-rockers in America finds their tour going off the rails in “Allergic to Kansas” when the misogynist lead singer starts growing breasts.
In “Diet Cola Cancer” Pussy, the lead character in the first story, returnspost-breakdown, and racking up the younger boyfriendsand even gets sued when one of said boyfriends commits an indiscretion at an LA rock club, and Pussy douses the paramour in “carcinogenic” Diet Coke.
In “I Kissed Willie Nelson’s Nipple,” LeeAnn visits England on command performance for the Queen, and tells the story of her many marriages, the “greatest hits” of her abusive relationships, and the self-explanatory Willie Nelson film role that put her career back on track.
In “Spitting Image (The ‘80s Retro Track),” the famous British television show (they made the puppets for Genesis’s famous “Land of Confusion” video) agrees to sell one of their puppets to the star it comically representsbut when the puppet is “kidnapped” on the way to its new home, and someone sends the star the puppet piece by violently detached piece, he finds himself cracking up.
In “Too Weird for Ziggy (A Dream of Holes),” a famous rock god is dead, and MTV isn’t content to let him rest. So in an unprecedented live television séance at the palatial home of one of LA’s most overcompensated rock managers, they hire a voodoo practitioner to raise him from the dead, on live television.
In “Jeremiah 18:1-10” the band from “From a Great Height” returns and now the drummer has a stalker, who claims God has commanded her to become his wife. The trouble is, she seems so innocent and naïve, no one takes her seriously until the drummer’s stripper fiancée suddenly turns up dead.
In “The Audience Isn’t Listening,” the bass player and guitarist from the same band cope with the rumor that the megalomaniacal singer is planning to dissolve the band and keep the namewhile the guitarist’s wife has secret designs of her own on the singer.
In “Baudelaire’s Dog” the cracked-up Brian Wilson type from “Happy Ending” is back with the album in the can and a press conference to get throughbut he is having a hard time keeping quiet about his constant visions of the brother he secretly murdered during his years of madness.
In “Autograph,” Spike, the rockstar from “Finsbury Park” and Pussy’s second new boyfriend in “Diet Cola,” has a new problem to contend with: the ex-girlfriend he dumped as soon as his band got big. She’s a nurse with ready access to narcotics, and when he goes home for his mother’s funeral she gets a junkie to help her kidnap him, and gives him her autographwith a tattoo gun, on his privates. Unfortunately, her name is Minerva (Mini) Smallwood.
Finally, in “Patron Saint of Amputees,” Pussy returns, waking up in the bed of a much-younger MTV VJ the morning after the séance/party, to drag herself to a meeting with her record company about making a comeback album. Only they have news for her. It’s Pussy (her plus her ex-backing band) or nothhhhhing and Taylor, the supposedly dead ex-love-of-her-life? Alive and well. She’s not sticking around to find out moreshe bolts and asks her limo driver (recognizable as the ex-Jim Morrison impersonator) to take her “the fuck out.”
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About the Author
Sylvie Simmons is an award-winning writer and one of the foremost music journalists working today. Born in London, she moved to Los Angeles in the late seventies and started writing about rock music for magazines such as Sounds, Creem, Kerrang! and Q. She is the author of acclaimed fiction and nonfiction books, including the biography Serge Gainsbourg: A Fistful of Gitanes and the short-story collection Too Weird for Ziggy.