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Thursday, April 03, 2008

 

Crazy From the Heat




I keep finding myself reading tomes on pop cultural icons. I made it through all 900+ pages of Bob Spitz's doorstop on The Beatles a little while back before diving into Neal Gabler's book on Disney (thus yesterday's ridiculous post comparing Walt to Sam Adams). Now I'm working my way through David Lee Roth's rambling, often incoherent but extremely entertaining 1997 autobiography Crazy From the Heat. It doesn't disappoint. Here's an excerpt from a chapter Roth devotes to stage props from his live shows:


The giant microphone, as well as the parade saddle, the inflatable legs, et cetera, all had to be designed and manufactured, okay? The best meeting was when I said, "Okay, we'll use the boxing ring again, but we should put four devils, statues of devils, on each corner, like the album cover A Little Ain't Enough. And on cue, I want them to pee Jack Daniel's into the audience. There were several technical meetings involving prop managers, stage directors, experts.

They showed up a week later and said, "Okay, we really talked about this. Our biggest hurdle is that because of the sugar content of actual Jack Daniel's, you're going to foul the tube. So with this in mind, we came up with such-and-such motor, with such-and-such a reservoir for the liquid, and it will come out in a spray.

I said: "No, no, no. I need a stream that goes at least fifteen feet..."

"Yeah, but the heat of the engine..."

"I don't care about the heat of the engine. Invent a cooling system and put it up the devil's ass."

Tens of thousands of dollars later, we have four gargoyle red devils on a Spielbergian level of excellence, and they peed Jack Daniel's a solid fifteen feet. Every night one of the crew guys would have to go out and clean out the tubes, so to speak, and load the reservoir. But for budgetary considerations purely, there are other forms of that very beverage we can use that are cheaper than Jack. So he would go to the length of loading a bottle of Triple Rose Knoxville Especial into a big bottle of Jack Daniel's, knowing the press would all be sitting out there watching every move when he would go out and load the devils.

The word got around, and you would see people four meters away from the boxing ring catching it in their mouth, bathing in it, yelling, "Heal me!"

That's entertainment.


Entertainment, sure. Or at least more entertaining than paying $100+ to see Springsteen in the year 2008 "At times (mostly before the show and on the MAX afterwards) it felt like the uncomfortable last moments of some accounting firm's Christmas party." Yikes.

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