Flash Metal Suicide: Motorcycle Boy
This week: Popsicle, a scrappy, rubber-legged collection of jukebox-ready glam-slammers
“We used to kick up our heels and cut loose/but now I feel like I'm runnin' from a noose” - Cool You and Me
If the aliens ever landed and I was in the arguably envious position of explaining to our new tentacled overlords what rock'n'roll is, what it sounds like, and what it's useful for, I would not show them Elvis videos or Gimme Shelter or take them to see a seven-hour Bruce Springsteen concert or a KISS convention. I would play them Get Some by Motorcycle Boy, from their debut (and only) 1990 album, Popsicle. Everything that rock'n'roll ever aspired to be is encapsulated in the four gorgeously decadent minutes of that song. They would understand instantly. And then they'd jet right outta here on a wild, intergalactic search for kicks. But before we discuss that, let me explain who we're dealing with here.
The Sunset Strip was still doing brisk flash metal business in '88 when one Francois blew into town in his sharkskin suit and impeccably blown-out hair. Francois had already spent nearly a decade in the punk trenches of Spokane, Washington and the grunge-drenched mudwaters of Seattle and was ready to bring a little class and old-world glamour to the hopeless spandex hair-wars raging through Hollywood.
Surveying the landscape in two-inch rattlesnake heels, he quickly hooked up with chick-magnet drummer Kenny Toye and a skinny Swiss mister known affectionately as Mister Ratboy (because he looked like a rat, naturally), who just happened to be the hippest Johnny Thunders rip-off artist in a town where everybody dressed like Johnny but nobody ever played his records.
I mean, that was the thing with Motorcycle Boy, nobody had to explain what was up to these dudes, they already knew. They liked the Stones and the Dolls and they were fashionably skinny and elegantly besotted and they dressed like Satanic dandies, and if you had to open for 'em, it just made you want to give up. That's why they ended up recording for punk labels and gigging in underground rock'n'roll circles with other dark-glam heavies like the Hangmen, Coma-Tones, and the Ultras.
Imagine being in Pretty Boy Floyd when Motorcycle Boy show up. Suddenly you're just some painted-up clown in pleather peddling third-rate Kiss riffs. There was just no two ways about it, man. Motorcycle Boy were the coolest band in town. Hands down. Here's how cool they were: Alice Cooper wanted them for his backing band, so he asked them to audition. They showed up – late and drunk – and didn't bother learning any of his songs. Too much trouble. They didn't get the gig, but that Coop's loss, not theirs.