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By Johnny Angel

Crystal Balls:
Is Goth slouching toward Rock & Roll Bethlehem?

Wanna know what the lot of the prognosticating professional rock scribes can be boiled down into? Something along the lines of "I predicted this was gonna be the next big thing, so now I am the oracle of wisdom." Yep, folks, hit the bull's-eye right on the zeitgeist (or vice-versa), and you may get to parlay your smarts into a high-paying job as an A&R man or sumthin'.

Well, I'd rather eat horse-apples than take up residence in the belly of the music-biz beast, but I would like to indulge a bit o' theorizing and postulating here in Pissed!-ville. I gaze into my crystal balls (guess I should get out more, hahahahaha, bad macho joke, sorry) and what do I see looming on the pop muzak horizon? The first bona-fide Goth superstar, owning the upper reaches of the charts, as well as the public's morbid fascination.

See, I love rock & roll still, can't help it, blah blah. But I figure that hip-hop has already made too many concessions to the mainstream, techno is faceless, punk is everywhere and reaching mass saturation, reggae and ska and surf are party-hearty, fun-loving sub-genres and therefore too present to be exotic. That leaves the Goths to captivate the kids, and they're perfect for the job.

Figure that, like punk-rock in the early '90s, the Goth scene has managed to linger in the demimonde without any appreciable loss of focus. Its adepts are fanatics, much like punk's college radio-digging vinyl fetishists were BGD (Before Green Day). The local scenes in every city are small and vital, just like the first Goth scene was in London around 1982 at the BatCave. I'd say the time is right.

Besides, what better to absolutely infuriate parents than the regalia of the ersatz Transylvanians? Kohl-rimmed peepers, chalky rice powder falling all over mom's sofa like death dandruff. I know of more than one parent whose inner soul has been rattled miles past Valium-huffing by the sight of little Johnny or Janey aping Siouxie Sioux, and if history teaches us anything, the Banshee's garb will be positively mild by comparison to what's up ahead.

I can't wait to see the malls overrun with these salubrious souls decked out as ghouls--better that than as pseudo gangstas any day. I mean, a mall-rat aping Snoop or Nate may just pull a gat on me to establish cred, but Goths are more likely to aim that sucker at their own temples just to prove how angsty they are. And, frankly, better them than me!

No way that current pretenders will make the cut either. Reznor will carry O.G. status with the savants, but he already has made too many moves into the maw of the middle. "He likes fuckin' Sade," said Courtney Love (surely the kiss of death--or life, as the case may be). Nope, the Goth King or Queen will be young, pale, skinny and full of self-loathing and the ability to project it without destructing. And if you know anyone who fits that description, write me here. As George Harrison once said, "If we knew what made us popular, we'd go out and manage our own bands." I'm thinking of becoming the Brian Epstein of Goth. Pays better than here, y'know!

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From the March 14-20, 1996 issue of Metro Santa Cruz

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