The first party had been better decorated. That one was in Rivers' garage, or as he pronounced it, "g'rage", and had surf boards and posters of Kiss. This one was pretty sparse, just the occasional streamer and inspirational posters. One read, "Open your mind, and let the good stuff out." "Everybody wants a love" Was this for real? [Allegory note: It's really lyrics from this album!]
Rivers, dressed a bit casually, was there to greet us. The band was all there, with the substitution of Mikey Welsh for Matt Sharp on bass. They seemed swell, if not overly participatory, and they seemed overglossed by their producer, Ric Ocasek, of The Cars, who did such a good job mentoring the first party. However, some of the principle characters that had come to the first two parties weren't there. River's brother in construction, the girl who looked like Mary Tyler Moore, the lesbian with a pink triangle on her sleeve, the Japanese fan, these were the people who had made those parties a success, them and their stories. This party was mostly teenyboppers and music industry bigwigs.
At first I was pleased with the food selection: all cheeze doodles and jolt cola. How fun, I thought.
The music was a little samey. There was a lot chugging guitars, in the current punk pop vein, going almost all the time. They weren't doing much Pixies type dynamics or clever interplay, which one would expect, knowing River's taste in music. No, they just chugged along, at brisk tempos, and almost burying the vocals, which did have nice harmonies and some catchy melodies, if not sung terribly enthusiastically. [Allegory note: this is actually the music from the album.]
Rivers seemed distracted. He chatted up some girl most of the night, and wasn't the same dry witted raconteur he'd been the last two parties. I asked him if he had a cold one, or a bottle of Steven's, but he just got me a cup of Jolt. He bitched about the last party he'd had, which he thought was a dud. No one showed, he complained, because he tried too much with it. As I recalled, people did show, but just in a trickle, by word of mouth, way into the night. Rivers had just had a lot of trouble in a relationship, and talked about it all night, cracking self-deprecating jokes and then crying into his beer. And the music had totally rocked, not like this happy fodder. [Allegory notes: I'm actually discussing sales for Pinkerton, which were slight at first, but kept going, by word of mouth, since it's a killer record. Also, I don't actually know Rivers Cuomo, and he probably will never talk to me about anything. It's an allegory.]
The "high point" of the evening was when we passed around the "Hash Pipe." It was good smoking, but seemed a possible indicator of what was wrong with Rivers. [Allegory note: Don't do drugs kids! This is the single, usually just the most commercial song on an album, but it this case, also the best song, due to its discernable riff, a tried wooga wooga. Slap a vocoder on it, and it's Bon Jovi's "Waiting on a Prayer"; still it works.] Then we talked about how nice it would be to get away from it all. "Hip Hip" Rivers agreed, "It makes me feel so fine I can't control my brain." While this wasn't scintillating conversation, it was the most animated, and had some of the yearning feeling of old, and some gentle guitar plucking which was a welcome relief from the chugging guitars. ["Island In The Sun"]
That was about it. Nothing much else of note happened. We ate cheeze doodles and drank jolt cola until our mouths were orange and we couldn't blink. After a half hour the party was over. [Actual length of the album! The cheeze doodles and Jolt represent the poppy feel and lack of variety on the album.] I don't even recall leaving, I just remember ending up in a bar, with cheeze doodle gunk in my teeth and some songs from the party stuck in my head, for a little bit. Then I hit the jukebox and got myself a beer.
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