Ass Kicking In the USA

Kicker: Reasons not to go see Mary Lou
Header: Ass kissing in the USA
Bar: Mary Lou Lord
Fri Aug 28, Crocodile
Mon Sep 7, Bumbershoot
Byline: by Everett True
Slug: Music Preview

I DON'T HAVE MUCH TIME to mess around. Dogs to kick, children to molest. Cities to bring down. You know. Here are some reasons why you might perhaps want to consider missing impish folk rocker Mary Lou Lord's two upcoming shows in Seattle.

* Her persona. Trite, annoying, cutsie-and dreadfully shallow. She didn't even write most of her "heartfelt" songs on her major label debut album Got No Shadow, preferring instead-quite sensibly-to leave that onerous duty to mentor and idol, Englishman Nick Saloman (from pastel folk-rockers The Beavis Frond). Her voice drips with such forced sincerity and Twee Hippy Loneliness, she sounds like a 50th Rate Joni Mitchell. It makes me want to punch walls.

What is it with her whole projected Olympia Grrrl Power image? Are Americans really so dumb to fall for it? Mary Lou moved to Portland for about one month, and has been riding the crest of the Northwest wave ever since. She's a corporate rock whore! Mary Lou fully understands it's not what you know, it's who you know-and in this town, a kiss on the cheek is inches away from oral sex. I fail to comprehend how this has anything to do with anything cool, female empowering or Olympian.

I have to hand it to her, though. She sure has her credibility rounded-off and well-marketed. So she still busks in subways at three in the morning. Are there any witnesses?

* Her persona. Winsome, irritating--and woefully untalented. She is still touting her one song-the trite name-dropping hippyfest of "Some Jingle Jangle Morning"-in her set about 30 years after she first decided to cash in on those two words "Kurt" and "Cobain". (I know the music business is still a very sexist business, but a record contract simply because you once slept with someone famous. . . oh, sorry. I'm being naive.)

If you check her other couple of self-penned songs, you'll notice they name-drop just as bad (cf: the ultra-superficial "Throng of Blowtown", the nauseatingly honey-dripping "Subway"). She thanks gonzoid rock critic Lester Bangs on her sleeve. . . Christ! Lester would have totally fucking hated her, her whole cloying pixie persona-I hope to God that after I pop my clogs there aren't a slew of winsome, impish, folky, cutsie, untalented troubadours all queuing up claiming to take credit from me. I would not like that AT ALL.

Mary Lou even uses the phrase, "My dance with Mr Brownstone got too rough" in "Some Jingle Jangle Morning", the poor li'l pixiebelle. Talk about original. . . or perhaps she threw that line in to show that she, too, lived on the edge? Drugs darling, don't you know? We should all try them. Very fucking radical, I don't think. I also particularly liked the faux-naive lines "And he lives in the suburbs and he carries a phone/I watch him arrive and I'll watch him go home" (from busking tribute song "Subway"). . . like Mary Lou spends all her time every single day on the underground.

* Her persona. Whenever she used to come through town, she would always give the same fumbling speech about how weird it was to be playing a rock club when she was much more used to busking. This, to the same few people each time. She'd then play a bunch of songs, none of which she wrote. . . although she was, apparently, present at their birth, the cute li'l baby-lovin' tinkerbelle.

* Her persona. Mary Lou Lord apparently thinks she's the only musician in the world allowed to busk (oh, but how cute!). A few years back, at industry snooze-fest South By Southwest, Pete Krebs and Kevin Richie (from Golden Delicious) were playing guitar on the corner with a little hat in front of them, when Mary Lou breezed in and kicked them off their pitch without any apology. She then flapped down a guitar case brimming over with 20s and 10s and 5s, spilling out onto the street.

I met Mary Lou Lord once, a few years back at a similar snooze-fest in New York. She kissed my ass so bad, I still had the lip imprints for months afterwards. I strongly recommend you give her shows a miss.

©Everett True 1998.