Eddie Munster marked for death
notes on a video
by Jim Hayes
"I rolled and I tumbled, I cried the whole night long"
"plagiarism is necessary, progress implies it!"
Guy Debord, Society of the Spectacle
The upshot is at best that the bourgeois legal conceptions of "theft" apply equally well to the "honest" gains of the bourgeois himself. On the other hand, since "theft" as a forcible violation of property presupposes the existence of property, Proudhon entangled himself in all sorts of fantasies, obscure even to himself, about true bourgeois property-
Marx: Der Social-Demokrat, No. 16, February 1, 1865
I entangle myself in all sorts of fantasies, obscure even to myself. The fourth of July was forced. I got up at seven and walked about two miles to the parade staging ground. The imposing red brick Baptist church from the sixties loomed over a junk street back from way back when the main drag was still "nice." Now itís half abandoned strip mine shopping malls, cracked sidewalks and mothers pushing strollers over three lanes of traffic. The oversize church is half empty. The police use the closed academic portion for active shooter drills.
There was no coffee. There were cub scouts and people moving strange looking patriotic floats and a woman with a radio gesticulating. A double decker Trump-reelection bus inched by to cheers from the bikers and vets. A friend arrived and we gossiped, his flat top rustling in the humid breeze. The radio squawked that the Munster mobile was on its way.
Ghosts are divided into two groups, one of those groups lives on in memories and the other are ghosts that no one remembers. Marina Abramovic writes her boyfriend out of history, so he says. itís easy to get written out of history. Itís even easier not to get written into history at all.
Itís not a Munster mobile1, itís a Munster Koach with a K, the eleventh letter of the alphabet, shorthand for occult influences (Magick? ut oh, I'm sceeríd! Eddie Munster: occult adept). The automobile has its own Facebook page. Look out the front door, what do you a see? A fantasy based around an ancient car. The Munster Koach w/ a neon green doll of his childhood TV persona propped up in the back like a Kampuchean fetus ripped from the womb and used as a black magick talisman called a kun krak-a "smoke child."
Eddie Munster, celebrated then thrown away like so many dust brooms. The video blows forward and the video blows back. Eddie Munster/Michael Rockefeller/Sean Flynn. All three of them driving around to state fairs and chili fests (Cheap Trick at the Smyrna chili fest! thatís a double album we all NEED). Electricity! This guy drives around to fucking parades and car shows. His life is a museum piece of flipping calendars/ a series of barbecue meet and greets/Khmer Baton Rouge Boin Soir.2 A sea of t-shirts reading "I stand for the flag and I kneel for the cross."
We look at the past as a reality that is FLAT, hence unchangeable/hence real. Not only do we see the shapes of the past, we see the shadows as well. And the shadows haunt and envelope us. The evidence of a successful parody always reveals a deep understanding of the genre. Whatís really being parodied is our earlier selves that believed such myths in the first place. You get so tired of running, where ever you go-there you are. when the past appears in the present it needs to be banished. The old man smiled.
The bloody red sun of fantastic Marietta: a short sharp shocking movie of Eddie Munster backing his coffin kar out of a trailer. The kar that is shaped like a coffin, symbolizing the ark. His Hawaiian shirt flutters, representing the lure of endless vacation, backing out of the grim cave you can see the faÁade of the Pub in the background. The true house of the holy. Is Eddie Munster alive or is he only undead? Bobby Pyn on the wheels of Steel, wiping for Germs incognito.
The first time I saw Eddie Munster, he was using a feather duster to clean up the Munster Koach. I was reminded of Kenneth Angerís short kustom kar commandos where the guy rubs down his hot rod to the tune of "Dream Lover." Eddie Munsterís car is his lover and his helper.3
Product placement, he is the product and he is placed all over the map. Heís a wax dummy, melting in the desert turning into shards of recycled glass. "I rolled and I tumbled, I cried the whole night long."4
"The Pub on the Square in Marietta where libations flow from the taps as patrons unite a fruity glass to survive the struggle that was meeting Eddie Munster."
In the town square, a teenager with a small table: "think of a card"-magick tricks, sator squares. He shuffles the deck and Eddie and the Hot Rod monsters pull off a king of spades. He digs his own grave in the pine barrens. Wherever Eddie Munster goes, there he is- he canít hide and heís getting tired of running from place to state fair to parade to TV morning interview death.
He washes the Munster Koach like a fetish object, a ritual cleansing; Metal Mcdonaldís video is an invocation of the demon other: the creation of an artistís body of work. A heavy metal parody video. but what is it really parodying? oi you skinhead. I look at the faces and I recognize the Atlanta rock scene. Oh yeah, there they are all in makeup and in case you donít know them, the video unfolds into a spectacular resume. A whoís who of whoís THERE.
In a way, the Metal McDonald video5 is a 78-card pick-up: the Atlanta rock scene in disguise. Motley Crue cult make up being chased through postindustrial parking lots, run rampant, the ramparts did wave: deep chocolate cherry cordial: the mutual hand job that is the rock industry. Teleportation- the Atlanta rock scene runs from its past, all of the bands that no one remembers. But if those bands were from Athens, by now theyíd have five-disc retrospectives and reunion concerts... bootleg demos downloaded like broomsticks. Atlanta isnít consecrated ground like Athens. The rock godz have not recently walked here.
Metal McDonald is a brilliant tour de force but the parody reveals uncomfortable truths- where is the creativity based upon a solid moment. Their weaknesses are based upon something else. Metal McDonald is a renegade priest surrounded by treacherous witches. You canít hide what you intend: it glows in the dark. I heard it on the X.
Mac Sabbaths are merely costumes. Metal McDonald is stadium rock envy- theyíre putting on costumes because itís an invocation. They really want to be what theyíre parodying so itís not really a one-joke riff. Itís a lot like the magician casting a circle. Strange Angel: the Jack Parsons Project (the phantom engineer makes good).
"I had to regain my self-respect so I got into camouflage. I had to regain my confidence so I got into camouflage"6 (Gang of Four). The notion of costume, the distance between putting a mask on and manufacturing a mask- the wearing of camouflage in an urban environment runs counter intuitive because it doesnít disguise instead it singles one out.
The video starts off with Brent from Mastodon pointing a sword and screaming like a Viking. Is it a scream of joy or a scream of pain- or is he merely asserting his dominance by starting the televised ritual off-the first rock star in the piece? A long time ago in a small backstage with a broken coffee machine stained rust Brent and I discussed Moby Dick. Last time I saw him was at Weather Warlock-another avant garde installment by a most serious occult adept of New Orleans, a voodoo high priest in fact.7
Perhaps Metal McDonald are not being chased but are chasing somebody else, maybe theyíre trying to get on the Pequod... The last of the Atlanta rock demons defeated while working for MCA... Nostos is Greek for homecoming. The story of the hero taking a long journey. As rock and roll is a miniscule market now, these tomes are only appreciated by those who read Latin.
The guy that repaired my Selectric saw Lynyrd Skynyrd the first night at the Fox. Working for MCA is a link to the credits... Eddie Munster rolled and tumbled, he cried the whole night long. 72 delta bluesmen beaten with clubs on a cold broken abandoned Atlanta parking lot filled w/ coils of expensive death. But the nature of parody means that it needs to constantly refer BACK to the original intention.
A friend saw a Boston band in the Ď80ís, Kreep Chamber. He told me it was the best neo-mystical neo-industrial parody heíd ever seen. I told him it wasnít a parody and his face dropped. It was merely pretentious and bad.
Kiss meets the phantoms of the parking lot. The video is a collection of people in kabuki makeup being chased through East Atlanta. Incredibly elaborate costumes and amazingly good-looking people. The song itself is an overblown metal power ballad with plenty of horns, Metal McDonald takes center stage playing a keyboard... gypsies, tramps and thieves. You get so tired of running-where ever you go, there you are. Yr never gonna get too far. ĎLet me hear you make some holy ghost crazy noiseí said the gospel radio station. He barks through a megaphone at a pep-pill rally: Ďhey kids, letís put on a show!í
Metal McDonald goes farther and wider. The sun rusts and the defense rests itís case. Taken before a tribunal of Michael McDonaldís lawyers. They cite precedent by mentioning the Doobie Brothers fighting bootlegging on an episode of Whatís Happening. Rerun was found dancing with a tape recorder strapped to his waist.8
Nerve gas sprayed on guitar strings, Russian poisons coating guitar centers nationwide. Grim visions of crumbling rock and roll mortality. Cutting off visions of personal misery w/ talk of bizarre white trash Olympic sports, the notion of camouflage. The Gang of Four on trial. Drill music, coded language and slang. Blind Jefferson Davis. Film at eleven.
Talk about a dream, try to make it real. The politics of joy, the construction of a set of music that merely entertains. I say merely because the lack of entertainment is a serious thing. Thereís an affinity with Steve N Seagulls in that the creation of elaborate covers and magnificent videos convey the sense of entertainment. U can blame it on the atmosphere the audience needs to hear something they KNOW.
The sax solo is bathetic, haunting and reminiscent of the E Street Band. The main event. Michael McDonald never had so much soul. Though the parody of the sphinx laden Iron Mountain is lost on me. At the time they existed, they were merely seen as an "a thinking manís" heavy metal hair band. They were definitely a Cold War relic of capitalist abandon poised against the insidious Soviet menace (Tesco Vee effectively demonstrates this in "Wine Wenches & Wheels" when he sings "tapes blasting Iron Mountain LIVE/so glad to be ALIVE").9
The video as avant garde gesture rooted in occult practices. The long list of credits is akin to California Proposition 65 that requires a decisive labeling of all ingredients. Sixty-five is the hexagram over the pentagram, as above as below: the number of the Holy Guardian Angel, so when the credits roll, itís an invitation to fulfill the playerís destiny.
Iím reminded of Greil Marcus seeing the Hawks in Berkeley. Instead of focusing on Dylan, he found himself mesmerized by Rick Dankoís facial expressions. I feel the same way watching the guitar player. He seems to have an air of disinterest, an air of skeleton making good.
Trying to find poetry in music and motion pictures is the politics of joy. Back in the sixties, in the UR days of rock music, covers were disliked. An incipient sign of creativity was performing original material. At this point in time (NOW), the cover, the crowd-pleasing number is accepted even extolled-especially if itís a cover with a twist on it (a mask is a necessary distance).
If theyíre called "experimental artists" thatís hipster code for "they suck."
Eddie Munster sees a darkness. His life goes on and on like a Mormon liver. Paper lottery tickets spread out over the street. A fan of disappointment spread out like happy flowers.
The confinement house gave him TenK to drive his mobile, his ulterior consciousness, the prism from which he sees the world- Eddie Munster he rolls and he tumbles, he cries the whole night long. It wasnít supposed to be this way. Eddie Munster as a cartoon behemoth: he came on time for no reason. He was surrounded by half dozen black shirted goobers, their shorts revealing expensive tattoos- it was some haunted house attraction situated in some third world shithole in the southwest part of the county.
Metal McDonald represents a significant change in music. Now, bands make videos and get hits. The formula of gig, record and tour no longer exists. You lot! donít stop. Give it all you got. The song itself is a center stage play, the long list of ingredients comprising holy destiny, inside I feel the skeleton of joy.
Running for the hills, running for your life. The Soviet bear in suburbia. Does Metal McDonald really escape? How many future funerals will this song be played at? Is he, in fact, running for his life? Is the video a tombstone? In the future, will there be visual monitors on grave markers? Like gas pumps?
Munster. The city of the Ana-baptists. Scenes of victory. A memoir of being in a punk rock gang in LA during the Ď80ís.10 Sex and violence, the seediness and a book whose pages are smudged with blood. Damn kids. Youth Gone Mad. The protagonist is partying in LA 1984. He recognizes a guy in a Hawaiian shirt who denies being WHO HE IS. Who do you think it was?
Metal McDonald and Eddie Munster. I had an idea of two magicians, one white and full of life; the other dark, heavy, leaden-but still powerful. Eddie Munster represents a static nostalgia while Metal McDonald is living, breathing and interested in the future. I saw rock and rollís future and its name is entertainment.
Thereís a joy of science in the Metal McDonald video. The horns are like a New Orleans funeral procession. Atlanta rock runs from its past, into the NOW. Eddie Munsterís NOW is always then.
Another dead punk band arrives in East Atlanta. The kids at the Pub debate going to see this í82 mediocrity. One of the first punk bands to unsuccessfully go metal. Itís only two guys and they were barely tolerable to begin with. Why would anyone want to go see them now? Make America Goth Again.
My proposition is that every time a dead punk band comes through, Metal McDonald recreate their entire set the next day w/ horns. Or at the very least they should pick the punk bandís signature song and incorporate that into their set. But I doubt if thereís much crossover from the true nostalgia crowd to the ironic nostalgia crowd.
Saturday Night Live had a very effective critique of 80ís punk. "Fist Fight in the Parking Lot."11 I laughed. The suit and tie guys at the "Cadena/Norton" wedding reveal their hardcore roots. They just survived differently than the Ď80ís hardcore band mentioned. A lot of people from those days havenít survived at all. Ghosts that no one remembers.
The rain cemented the lottery tickets to the pavement, to the sidewalk, to the grass. Grand opening, grand closing. I rolled and I tumbled wherever I went, I could never get too far. Death rot on the East Atlanta photo where the awning flaps.
1. https://youtu.be/EboexI0JbiQ ("Here Comes the Munster Koach"- an actual record.)
2. https://youtu.be/OBM8SkF3vmY (Baton Rouge 2-28-75)
3. https://youtu.be/oazgisGp2GU (Kustom Kar Kommandos by Kenneth Anger)
4. https://youtu.be/Pca_S6sj_SE (Baby Face Leroy Trio. 1950. The tour de force. Unbelievable).
5. https://youtu.be/6lrMhOfXZoc (Metal McDonald "It Keeps You Running to the Hills")
6. https://youtu.be/5fbXfk51R1o ("I Love A Man In A Uniform")
7. https://youtu.be/s9dV-dOCmT4 (Weather Warlock, "Wrongs of Spring")
8. As of NOW, the complete video is down but the Doobie Brothers were on What's Happening 1-28-78. Michael McDonald plays himself
9. https://youtu.be/q-Io1mZaSZI ("Wine Wenches and Wheels"- version with the heroic hysterical historical band)
10. Mattioli, Heath and David Spacone. Disco's Out... Murder's In! (Feral House 2015). p. 166.
11. https://youtu.be/nd-_UwzSSvQ ("Fist Fight in the Parking Lot")
Also see the Metal McDonald Facebook page
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