Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Ziggy Stardust - Another Shameless Plug for Jay and the Americans

Max Ten had the house to himself; his parents, God knows where. "Paige was here, but she's gone out. Bring Gaia," but Gaia didn't answer, and I walked down Van Nuys Blvd. on a cool day in June. It was cruise night. I saw Driggers in his Super Bee with Laurie Heiser, so freakin' hot. They stopped by Coffee Dan's. I couldn't keep my eyes off her. "Come cruise with us, Jay. We're going to June Ellen's for donuts and then up to Mulholland."

"Can I make out with Heiser?" I looked at her. "Someday," I said and looked her in the eye with a grin.

"K. I'll let Gaia know."

He put the roof down and soared down Sylvan like a rocket. I crossed the street into Crane's Records by the Crocker Citizen Bank. In the window was Blue and Alice Cooper's School's Out. Honky Chateau was playing in the background. But I was after Ziggy. Max and I had gone mad over "Space Oddity," and I read in Creem about Ziggy. Bowie is an alien who manifests himself as a rock star to bring hope to a world that has just five years left. Max and I had read Clockwork and 1984 and We and Ziggy’s dystopian theme fit right in.

When Max Ten's parents were away last week, when he threw the big themed Mexican bash and we all dropped acid, we'd played like adults, using the good stereo in the living room, eating off the Fiesta Ware on the white sofa, but they'd be back in the morning and he'd cleaned and vacuumed and when I got there, they were in the garage. The garage was the kid's lair. His parents would throw parties and zip through cases of champagne and all the kids would be in the garage smoking pot. Paigeboy was an artist and she'd painted album covers on the doors of each of the cabinets. She'd painted Every Good Boy Deserves Favor and Teaser and the Firecat and Foxtrot. Sheets was there playing air drums; never missed a beat. Donna Miller was there, legs right up to her chin, which explained her beard (I always liked that joke). There was a pot haze in the room and Robert A. was suckin' on a bong. "Look." I pulled Ziggy out of the bag.

"Oh, man! We gotta get high first."

"Look, it says, 'TO BE PLAYED AT MAXIMUM VOLUME.'" Max was going through a lid of Colombian and then he reached into his pocket and said, "I forgot about this. Thai Stick." He took the bong from Robert A. and packed the Thai into it. It was the kind of high that you wanted to rip off your clothes and run down the street and yell, "I'm free," like Tommy (and freedom tastes of reality).

And oh, fuckin' A, "Five Years." The melancholy. Bowie, I mean Ziggy, yelling at us and then he screams, "So many people." I sat next to Max and Ziggy sang "I kiss you, you're beautiful, I want you to walk," and it was my imagination or his contact lenses, but Max had a rookerful of tears in his glazzies; Horrorshow, oh my brothers. "Soul Love" funked its way to "Moonage Daydream" without pause. "I'm a space invader," and then it was all Mick Ronson and so beautiful, and "Starman" too, and it felt a bit sad until those hopeful la la la's that make you want to smile.

"I wish Gaia could hear this."

"It Ain't Easy" was instantly recognizable with more of a classic rock 1960s feel to it, as if you'd known it all your life.

"It's The Kinks, man."

"Lady Stardust," had a little bit of an Elton John feel to it. I called Gaia again. She answered. "I want you to hear this with me." I put her on speaker phone.

"That's so pretty," she said. Then, "My mom said I gotta go." I was so high I hardly heard her, and I spaced out and I was far away and I came to and it was quiet and Ziggy crooned about time and a cigarette and it built up and Chev brakes were snarling and you stumbled across the road. You're a rock 'n' roll suicide. And Ziggy cried out, "Gimme your hands, gimme your hands, cause you're wonderful."

I dialed her number. It was Gaia's mom. "Can I just talk to her for a minute?" and I made Max play it again and I said, "Listen to this."

"Okay, Jay. I have to go."

She got off the phone and I sang, "Cause you’re wonderful" and Max repeated it. "Wonderful,"  he sang.
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