Now we go to a bit of curb-side commentary. . . . . “Heavy Metal Parking Lot” can’t be beat!
See it now—see it here—as real as it gets. . . . . as two amateur joes in television wandered around a parking lot with a camera and microphone. Before smart-phones, smack dab middle in the randomness of all existence— a postcard from the pre-internet era.
There, an amphitheater rises out of the muggy summer dusk—this little snatch of buzzing cicadas and choked weeds. Down in Virginia—or was it Maryland?— a big show, a local event—beery brain-pans sniffing after the rich possibility of existence for how things seemed “in 1986”.
This is a video about metal-heads, for metal-heads. The medium, the message—a way of life.
You shall know it—feckless spontaneity and broken tennis-shoes like a raised brew.
An underground video popular with tape-traders. Bootlegged so many times, no one made money in the overall culture of drifters, dopers, burn-out’s, metal-heads, and apathetic street rabble congregated in this under-documented barnacle of the country.
It was a world of concert flyers and late night rock radio.
Dead-end jobs and corner drug-buys, literally thrashing it out of you—the curving horizon of all that was seen in heard under the purpling dome of sky. Bon-fires, bottle rockets, backroads—always the whirl of blow-flies and saw-dust amid the big stoner cook-out, like varmints and tail-gaiters at a bbq.
Stray lumber, flung-aside wooden pallets with a tractor pulling along a flat-bed of baled hay. Planting season, the June harvest—a two-bit, nowhere town. You shall know it by the wilder, woolier fields & streams of cheap scrubland and backwoods capitalism, industrial strength.
Beetlejuice would know this place
You had a homely country girl, her legs wrapped in a shower curtain like a torn, home-made dress drinking gin. Gap-toothed enthusiasts in rock concert t-shirts like rabble and lot-lice and somewhere, the aura of the military like the patriotic backbone and prerogative to kill.
Heavy metal dreams, escapist fantasy.
Nothing like a crowd, young and stupid. . . . . as he puts his arms around two concert-goer’s shoulders and mutters confidentially.
(– Or at least we take the ability to speculate he would)
Never far from the fever swamps of Baltimore where Edgar Alan Poe drafted macabre dreams as a proto heavy metal creative. Death—touching the face of nothingness. Power, like a chain-mailed fist. Dungeons & Dragons—a thief, an elf—a jaundiced, darting-eyed teenager in a black concert t-shirt with an askance appreciation for life’s little underhanded victories.
You could guess a ticket-holding reveler would walk away, reasonably intact. Whatever ignorance of the day and bygone rotting husks along the road as you trip by and kick the dirt.
You lived for the touring show, roadies and gypsies and exploding flash-pots and guitar feedback from Marshal stacks 12-feet high. A chewy bass-line and crashing drums as the singer snaked-around to the rhythm and lead guitars bristled and smoked like pustules—as fans pumped their fists and cigarettes tangled over peach-fuzzed chins.
You could literally feel it all the way up to the rafters and cheap seats— release.
Pop the tape in. Vivid, gross, vulgar video-tape with sweat and pimples and all. Recycled experience. Be a rumpus-room ganja Buddha reclined back on the throne of self—majestic, subtle, and just. Dunderheaded realization accruing like fly-specks, fried neurology and electric kilowatts of loopy, punch-drunk insight like warmed over Koolaid as you watched cartoons on a beat-up old t.v. Gonzo cartoon adventures—robots running over an electrical space-grid with badly-dubbed English.
. . . . . So who says you haven’t seen the rings of Saturn? Blink in good-natured surprise. You might see a bit of yourself on a grainy, duped VHS copy. Registering time—everywhere, nowhere all at once as affairs of state floated high above, as grand and distant as a zeppelin in Reagan’s America.
“15 minutes of fame” for an artifact no longer than about 15 minutes as the directors went on to film other parking lots. Classic American folk-art for the post video-age. Your calling card—the street level of fandom and the jostle of the historical record as seen by anyone, anywhere.
Now on YouTube and immortalized online.