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By Johnny Angel

Fine Print:
Read the label, expose a fraud

It's the job of every journalist to expose the real story, that is, the one behind the seemingly unbelievable events that occur daily in the news. So much seems inexplicable that often the real story is obscured by the hype and lies that the Machine rams down our throats--especially in the entertainment business.

It's the goal of record companies everywhere to make consumers believe that they can't live without this CD or that concert ticket in order to get them to fork over the hard-earned, because music is a luxury, not a necessity. And with most '90s acts virtually interchangeable, the amount of money and time it takes to manufacture the all-important "buzz" is growing by leaps and goddamn bounds.

How else can you explain the inclusion of bubblegummy, punk wannabes Goldfinger on the bill with the Sex Pistols this summer? I've seen and heard this quartet in the flesh and on the radio, and I think they're the polar opposite of what the Pistols claim to stand for. Goldfinger offers nothing but innocuous pop tunes, stagy punkiness, love songs and goofball macho parody.

Unlike the Sex Pistols--who were a self-generated phenomenon--the prefab Goldies are absolutely products of Hollywood-based calculation. Under the aegis of "indie band" (their label Mojo is a front for Uni-Geffen, the label whose primary backer made his fortune off of The Lion King), they've attempted to latch onto the notion of "up from the underground."

That is crap--the band's members have been major-label scions in other acts, and routinely sniffed for deals for years. I lived there in L.A. with them, I know them--God bless them--but let's call a biz whore a biz whore, okay?

So, in order to create a mise en scène of credibility, the band's powerful management (shared with Guns N' Roses) sends them on the road with the Buzzcocks and the Sex Pistols, as if this makes Goldfinger "O.G.s" by association. Don't believe it. This group is a bunch of nice, business-savvy guys who've paid their dues and wouldn't do anything, anything to upset the apple-cart. Punk? I don't think so. The irony is that Goldfinger will find themselves in the unenviable position of opening Johnny Rotten's circus and become target practice for the headliner's knucklehead fans.

And this is only one tale from the naked city, folks. You gotta assume anything from L.A. is automatically trysting with the demon majors, but I can name a slew of SoCal acts far more worthy of attention than these leering frauds: Sluts for Hire, 10 Cents, Abe Lincoln Story, Padded Cell, 22 Jacks--the list goes on forever. So next time you see an ad for some would-be tough guys or grrrls staring out at you from some store display, check the label affiliation and ask yourself how this got to this point. Caveat emptor, okay?

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From the July 3-10, 1996 issue of Metro Santa Cruz

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