Friday, June 26, 2009
Grim Reaper Of Love
On Thursday, June 25, 2009 a triple-header of iconic deaths occurred which no Dead Pool enthusiasts in a million years would have predicted: Sky Saxon of the Seeds (Sixties), Farrah Fawcett-Majors (Seventies) and Michael Jackson (Eighties).
I immediately recalled that remark Charles Bukowski made of celebrity deaths: it’s not the celebrities’ deaths that hurt us but the death of that period of our lives that these celebrities inhabited. The Sixties was the decade of my childhood when my parents were happy. The Seventies was the decade of teenage discovery and approaching adulthood and the Eighties was the decade of Ronald Reagan-era snobbery and lower caste poverty, culminating in homelessness. Guess whose death affected me the least?
The eulogies heaped on Michael Jackson read more like an old Universal Pictures horror film synopsis than praise. Just like Frankenstein, The Wolfman and The Invisible Man, Michael Jackson was a lost soul gone astray who disintegrated into perversion, decadence and insanity. Val Lewton must be jealous as hell.
Farrah Fawcett-Majors was never a terribly sexy woman to me. Her hair style was goofy and she had a vapid look about her that seemed dead and stupid. Her hook-up with Ryan O’Neal reminded me of Barbara Payton shacking up with Tom Neal: another cheap blonde knocking boots with a surly, heavily-medicated actor.
Although Sky Saxon hadn’t produced anything in years I still listen to The Seeds with their tough as nails punk sound counterbalanced with the most delicate electric piano in history. His sneering vocals on “Pushin’ Too Hard”, “Can’t Seem To Make You Mine” and “Tripmaker” are the stuff of legend and dare I say it, he was a superior punk singer to the much-lamented Lux Interior. The happy memories of going to the beach in the daytime or the Fairfax Avenue headshops in the nighttime to 93 KHJ or KFWB 98 blasting out The Seeds and other garage-punk thugs warms my heart. The other two celebrities can evaporate in the garbage can of culture but Sky Saxon’s sneer will remain eternal.