Before you parents and DEA agents get all hot, though, remember this: Nothing is less appealing than a bunch of drugheads talking about their fun with substance abuse, and though Ian's Daily News is chock-full of drug stories (and sex stories, and disturbing photos, and cop stories), don't worry that your kids will read the thing and want to leap into the world of experimentation.
In their own backhanded way, the writings are as effective a drug deterrent as any of the "just say no" commercials. But we love Ian Daily News not for the content -- drugs are bad -- but for the writing; at its best it recalls the heavenly mini-soap-opera qualities of the late, great zine Rollerderby. Case in point: writer Mandy's (they're all using pseudonyms -- at least they'd better be) sermon on the evils of ecstasy: "The drug ecstasy has brought on a massive Happy trend. The evil ones are repulsed by this drug and by the crazy notions of PLUR. They don't even like coming to the raves anymore. It's no fun to tempt someone into evil deeds when the person thinks they are doing good. The dark ones miss the days when people danced in negative energy. They miss how people used to like parties due to the evil presence the demons created in the atmosphere. The days when people did drugs because they knew it was bad and they liked being evil."
The big hero, though (besides Ian Hard himself, whose "Ian Hard Cartoon Page" section is uniformly brilliant), is a girl named Onery -- we believe she means "Ornery" -- whose jaded style and tough attitude more than make up for Ian Hard's misogynist tendencies. We'll let her describe herself: "Onery -- Southern Neptunian Goddess. I am Onery. I am Oneriness. I am a pink, fluffy rabbit. Wax on, wax off. I am the incredible, edible (on a good day), neat, and always ferocious, one of a kind -- Onery. I pick my nose before I go to sleep because a lack of oxygen causes sleep apnea."
Here's another dose of the glory that is Ornery. "Now, I might be jumping to conclusions here, but I think my Mom is on E. And, if she's not on E, I think she might be smoking pot -- but not a little pot, a lot of pot. I wouldn't put it past her. She's all into natural healing and herbs -- so why not that type of herb? What my point here is this: I'm concerned about my mother. She's obviously been in with the wrong crowd, since she has been arrested by a Swat Team, and she is a little moody -- A definite sign of drug use."
Ian Hard polarizes the rave scene -- the neo-hippies despise him and his leather-skinned, often disrespectful ways. The "sophisticates" just think he's a loser. And it's not difficult to understand why: He's an abusive, abrasive asshole. But he's got more personality and wit than all the hippy candy-ravers put together, and the Internet's a better place because of him.
QUICKIES: 2000 Reasons to Celebrate collects many of the area's most talented female voices on one compact disc, shining a spotlight that crosses genre and age until all that's left is one encompassing musical vision. Celebrate features the beautiful work of Denise Thimes, CarolBeth True, Cheryl Stryker of One Fell Swoop, Beth Tuttle, Alice Spencer and Jessica Butler (whose "On N'a Pas Besoin" is the set's highlight), among many others, and all the proceeds from sales of the release go to AMC Cancer Research Center and the Cancer Prevention Fund. It's a worthy cause, to be sure, though the main reason to pick up the CD is that it's a fantastic snapshot of St. Louis music.... On the subject of good causes and charities, a benefit is scheduled for this weekend at the Firehouse: It's called "Computers for Kids," a benefit to purchase computers for the city's Bryan Hill Elementary School. Co-sponsored by Metropolis, Lexer and the Firehouse, the show features acts that'll surely pull in the bucks for the kids: Javier Mendoza, Languid, Like and Vitamen (sic) A (we think they should actually change their name to Vitamen (sic) A).
Rocket Park are busy with their follow-up to last year's Teenage Folklore, which was one of the strongest local releases of '99. They're doing it the right way: recording it at Mike Martin's Broom Factory studio, where they can get great sound at a nice price, then dumping a chunk of change by sending it to NYC to be mastered by the best in the business, Howie Weinberg, who has worked with pretty much every big-name artist of the past two decades (including, among many others, the Beastie Boys, Luscious Jackson, Smashing Pumpkins and Garbage).
Rocket Park, they're smart. Their debut sounded totally professional because they understand that poorly mastered music sounds like "local" music and doesn't stand much of a chance to catch the ears of a nation. Plus, the band understands marketing. Says Park drummer Eric Moore: "The first CD has sold well, approximately 600 copies to date. It's primarily sold at our shows for $5 (we feel it's a bargain), and it's starting to sell better in the stores. To get these CDs out of our houses and into people's hands, we sell them for $5 at the shows. We barely break even, but it's all about the name-brand recognition -- getting the name out to the public at large. We didn't want to have a CD that collected dust, because people do think twice about spending $10-$14 on a local CD when they can go get the latest from whomever they like for the same price. So at $5 they've been selling well."
The new CD should be out in May and is tentatively called The Effects of Eating Too Much Television.
Send local tapes, tips, discs and detritus to "Radar Station," c/o The Riverfront Times, 6358 Delmar Blvd., Suite 200, St. Louis, MO 63130; e-mail: Radarstation@rftstl.com.