When he heard the Summer Sanitarium Tour was coming to St. Louis, Unreal benchwarmer and old-school rocker Tom R. Arterburn was one of the first in line to be committed, hoping that once inside he'd get to grill Metallica about the Napster suit that was, the E- and F-chord suit that wasn't, the recent crew meltdown and the new bassist.
As usual, though, he managed to screw everything up.
Tom Arterburn: Can you get me hooked up with backstage passes, a luxury box and a complimentary golf cart stocked with Budweiser so me and my, um, "editorial assistants" can, um, "cover" the Metallica show?
RFT editor: How about behaving like a real journalist for a change?
[Fast-forward to Friday afternoon July 25, concert day; Arterburn and photographer/co-conspirator David Dauer arrive at the Edward Jones Dome] We're with the press! There should be full-access credentials and a bunch of other cool stuff around here for us!
Receptionist: You need to talk to Justin Doyle. He's handling the media.
Doyle: [minutes later] Okay guys, here's how it's gonna go down. Meet me back here fifteen minutes before the start of each set and I'll escort Dave to the stage. You get to shoot the first three songs from each band. Then I'll take you up to the media center.
What about me?
Doyle: You can either sit in the seat assigned to you [Section 142, 50 yards from the stage] or hang out here in the media center [12 feet above the last row of seats, just beneath the rafters].
[Mumbling] No wonder nobody wants to cover this shit any more.
I said: Does the media center have a complimentary buffet and bar?
Doyle: [smiling] Not tonight.
Can I mill around and get some shots of the tittie flashers and mosh-pit mayhem?
Doyle: We obviously can't have folks in the crowd with cameras.
Do you have a spare pencil and sketch pad so I can put together some artist's renderings of the show?
Doyle: [smiling] I'll be back before the start of the next set.
[Arterburn, concealing a digital camera in the crotch of his shorts, makes a break from his personal handler.]
EJD Sky Captain: Can I help you?
I'm going to the restroom! I'll be right back!
[Out on the concourse, two security officers are cuffing an unidentified concertgoer.]
Bystander: What'd that dude do?
He was playing air guitar and humming the lyrics to "The Unforgiven" in a common area. You can't do that shit anymore, bro. That's copyright infringement. The record company'll fry you for that.
Bystander: No shit.
Letter of the Week
A July 7 missive from Anheuser-Busch International, Inc. vice president John Hanichak to Amy Rhodes of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA):
Dear Ms. Rhodes:
Thank you for expressing your concerns about cockfighting and the mistreatment of animals in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.
As a company, we care about animals and do not condone cockfighting. We looked into the matter and found that while we did not sponsor these activities specifically, our sponsorship of the overall festival associated our brands with an activity that we do not condone. Therefore we have instructed our distributor to avoid such sponsorships in the future.
For more than 150 years, Anheuser-Busch has had a recognized reputation for treating animals with respect -- from animal protection to animal rescue and rehabilitation to wildlife habitat preservation. Our company is a major sponsor of various conservation organizations including the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, The Conservation Fund, The Wildlife Habitat Council and Living Lands & Waters, to name a few. Throughout the years we have partnered with and contributed millions of dollars in support of conservation and wildlife programs.
Again, thank you for contacting Anheuser-Busch and giving us an opportunity to respond.
A New Chapter for D.C.
Last week, local radio shock jock D.C. Chymes, subject of D.J. Wilson's July 16 news story "The Worst of D.C.," changed his mind about seeking Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection and switched to Chapter 13. With the switch, the WMLL (104.1 FM) morning drive-time talker, whose real name is Isaiah Wilhelm, will have to repay most or all of his debts over the next several years. Under Chapter 7, much of his debt would have gone unpaid.
Wilhelm announced his decision on the air, during the "Steve and DC Morning Show" on July 21. He also took the opportunity to compliment the RFT's coverage of his plight. "There were 21 things in D.J. Wilson's article that were untrue or completely inaccurate," he told listeners. Unfortunately, he failed to say precisely what those were and did not return subsequent phone calls requesting that he do so.
Though he told Wilson that he had "not been involved in my own financial matters" and that his wife had managed the couple's money, he said on the air that "I do not, nor have I ever, ever blamed my wife Anna for any of this. I take full and complete responsibility."
He also told his audience that he'd suffered from a prescription-drug problem that had begun as a remedy for back pain: "A large portion of the things that D.J. Wilson talks about in his article happened during the time I was on that....[Y]ou're not your normal self. It alters your thinking."
Wilhelm promised to "take care of" the folks he owes. To that end, the court will determine reasonable expenses for him, in order to expedite the repayment of some $60,000 in unsecured debt, including $33,460 in judgments from former landlords.
Rappers' Secrets Revealed
St. Louis rappers know what other local songwriters don't: Two simple words are the key to shooting a single to the top of the Billboard charts: Plaza Frontenac.
How else to explain the fact that, in the past few years, two rap songs that mention the upscale mall have done precisely that? In 2001, Nelly's "Ride Wit Me" rose to No. 1 on the rap chart and No. 3 on the pop chart with the lyric "Facin' Plaza Frontenac/Don't know how to act." And earlier this month, Chingy hit with "Right Thurr": "She be shoppin' in Frontenac/Just look at her front and back."
As a public service, Unreal hereby offers, absolutely free, the following guarantee-a-hit rhymes for songwriters in other genres. All we ask in return is a shout-out in your liner notes...
For the metalhead:
I'm Wilde like Oscar
I'm Wilde like Zak
I buy all my leather at Plaza Frontenac
For the sexy R&B balladeer:
Lady, you so fine
You got quite a rack
The kind you purchase
At Plaza Frontenac
For the sensitive singer/songwriter:
Your eyes overwhelm me
Make me bellow, Huzzah!
They shine like the diamonds
In the Frontenac Plaza
For the female singer/songwriter:
The Galleria's for lowlifes
Wannabes and housewifes
But I buy lipstick at MAC
And there's not one at Frontenac
For the country & western singer:
I'm an American Spirit,
gonna buy me a pack
Smoke one outside of Plaza Frontenac
For the emo-punk:
I wore my heart on my sleeve
All-Stars in my backpack
Why'd you have to leave
When you caught me at Frontenac?