The Plate: The Rudest Man in Rock (Part 2)

Note: You can read Part 1 of The Rudest Man in Rock here:

The Plate: The Rudest Man in Rock (Part 1)

Now, to conclude our tale…

Now we arrive at Thomerson’s well-documented fascination with the late 1980s and early 1990s. He has been known to wear hypercolor shirts on stage, soaking them during encores to reveal explicit messages. He has thrown pogs into the audience at shows in New York and London. His stage name is drawn from a character actor popular during the 80s and 90s, so, we have to ask, why the fascination with that era when he himself was born in 1984?

He stares out into the morning light, weighing his answer. “Things were different then. Purer. More alive. People dared to believe in things. At the very least I can bring that to the kids today, ones who never experienced it.”

When we point out that the defining trait of that era was actually considered to be apathy and that, perhaps, his own experiences as a child during that period colored his view, he scoffs.

“Oh, sure. That’s what they want you to think. You think that Kurt (Cobain, one assumes that Thomerson is on a first-name basis with the legend) could have done what he did if he didn’t care? He was purer than you or I could ever hope to be. But it’s not just him. It’s the whole Seattle scene, man.” He becomes animated and begins name-checking, counting each band off on his fingers. “Pearl Jam. Soundgarden. Candlebox. They were all hanging out together. They got it. It was a movement. I’m telling you, man, I was born at the wrong time.”

We ponder whether he’d cite Nirvana as an influence for the new album?

“Influence? I think it’s more than an influence. It’s more like…” He shrugs. “I’m not saying I’m like Cobain, but…” He tails off again, lighting another cigarillo, leaving the reader to wonder what might follow.

Does he consider himself some sort of medium, channeling Cobain’s spirit into his music?

“Don’t be ridiculous. Next question.”

The question is not so ridiculous as it seems with a modicum of research into Thomerson’s past. He has become a master of the controversial statement, the troll of the modern music world. One can also point to THE Controversy. In a 2010 interview with Rolling Stone, Thomerson compared Magic Bullet Theory to an overweight, African-American transgendered woman (in far less PC terms). While he later insisted that the quote had been taken out of context, he refused to apologize, though a proper explanation of the context never materialized.

We ask him if he’d like to take advantage of this chance to finally set the record straight.

He becomes far more animated at this line of inquiry. “So that’s what this is all about. Trying to ambush me. You almost had me.”

We intended no such thing.

“Sure. That’s fine, though, I’ll play your game. Maybe you can get a quote for this one, too, drive the knife right into my back. We were originally discussing the fact that we had been getting dissed in the press. Not just that, but other DC bands thought we were faux-punk sellouts. So we were the extreme minority and accused of dressing like something that we weren’t. Doesn’t that make sense?”

We admit it makes a twisted sense, then ask i he realized that it was an insensitive comment.

He rolls his eyes. “I never meant to hurt anyone. Look, I was frustrated that Doggy Punch Bowl got such bad reviews, okay? There. I said it. Can I help it that nobody in the world has good taste? I don’t think so.”

On that note, we ask him about the knee-length, black leather dress that he’s recently worn on stage.

He scowls. “It’s not a dress. It’s a Gaultier.”

We wonder if there’s a symbolism to it – does it have something to do with the controversy?

He laughs. “Stop trying to box me. Just because you have problems with gender constructs, it doesn’t mean the rest of us do. It’s a statement, and that’s all I’m going to say. Those who need to get it, get it.”

One final question for him: how does he reconcile his image as a hard-partying, hard-rocking, confrontational rock star with the hand-knitted merchandise that he creates for his personal website?

“What was I just saying about trying to box me? You try to put people in these neat categories, and I get that, it’s the name of the demographics game, but come on. You look smart. You should know that we’re just people.”

We are not trying to categorize anyone.

“Yes, you are. It’s like I said earlier, the sacred and profane. Yin and Yang. Fred and Barney. Western civilization was founded on guilty pleasures.”

We’re not quite sure that’s true.

“Really, you think Caesar wasn’t a guilty pleasure? ‘Oh, oh, I’d just love to be ruled’. Meanwhile, it’s bad for your fucking health.”

We point out that he just might be over-simplifying the creation of the Roman Empire. That’s when he stands up.

“This interview is over,” he declares, and leaves the room without allowing us another word. His publicist appears from the dining room. She shoos us out of the chalet and into a waiting car that takes us back down out of the mountains, a return to our mundane lives. It is difficult not to feel like prophets dismissed by a mad, vengeful god, one that makes up reality as he sees fit. We wonder what it is like to live in that rarefied air all the time. One imagines that it cannot be good for the ego.

The solo album should be a fascinating affair, indeed. Watch this space for future information.

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7 Comments

  1. This is really pretty clever, Jonathan. I sense some fun-poking going on. I like it.

    • Jonathan D Allen

      Thank you 🙂 I realized a couple of weeks ago that I really love these kinds of postmodern plot devices and wanted to take a crack at one myself. And yes, there are a few artists being parodied in there 🙂

  2. Great continuation to the interview. I love the “stop trying to box me” section. I don’t believe that’s what the interviewer is doing, but I understand Thomerson’s hypersensitivity. I’ve been doing a lot of thought about fame and what that means for the person who attains it, and it seems to that fans want to overlay their opinions and beliefs on the famous, until the object of their attention becomes a fiction of themselves. It’s hard enough to decide who we are (or is that just me?) without someone else you’ve probably never even met trying to shape you. Your story puts all this much more engagingly than I am!

    -aniko

    • Jonathan D Allen

      It’s funny that you mention that because I didn’t think that had been an issue for me lately, but your comments do highlight some of the things that have been bouncing around my head and came out sideways in this story. I tried not to get too high-handed, but I wanted to imply that the “categorization” in which the interviewer engages is just endemic to our culture. He’s so blind to the fact that he’s doing it because it’s just a default state of being. Thomerson is a pretentious ass, but he’s dead-on about a few things.

  3. Love it. I don’t know what it is about this piece. Maybe the voyeuristic style of the emails, the familiar interviewing style of a rock star (I just watched “Get Him to the Greek” recently and for some reason, I’m getting hints of Russell Brand’s character), or just some of the great lines. Probably a combination of all of the above. My favorite line?

    “We point out that he just might be over-simplifying the creation of the Roman Empire. That’s when he stands up.”

    Awesome.

    Paul D. Dail
    http://www.pauldail.com- A horror writer’s not necessarily horrific blog

  4. “Stop trying to box me. Just because you have problems with gender constructs, it doesn’t mean the rest of us do. It’s a statement, and that’s all I’m going to say. Those who need to get it, get it.”

    *snort* Those who don’t need to get it can just go screw themselves! 🙂

  5. Finally I got to read the end. I loved it. I loved how the interviewer is trying to make him out to be eccentric or extreme, when he is just saying how it is and not prepared to live by the rules and ‘boxes’ of society. You have written it so realistically!

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