[24 September 2007]
Does the name Twiggy Ramirez rings a bell? If it does, you probably wish it hadn’t. Twiggy, whose actual name is Jeordie White, was the guitarist and principal songwriter for ‘90s goth superstars Marilyn Manson. And although he spent most of the mosh-pit decade wearing dresses and overly-applied women’s make up, Jeordie White has spent his formative rock years as a roving musician for countless non-cheeseball acts such as Queens of the Stone Age, Nine Inch Nails, and A Perfect Circle.
Perhaps adding a bit more to White’s credibility is his Goon Moon collaboration with the “Godfather of Desert Rock” Chris Goss and machine-gun drum virtuoso Zach Hill. Goss is known for his work with Masters of Reality and Queens of the Stone Age, while Hill serves as drummer for noise rockers Hella, Marnie Stern, Mick Barr, and just about everyone else along the Pacific coast who needs a session drummer.
Through all these side projects White has not found his niche and he hasn’t completely been able to shake his Twiggy moniker, but then again, maybe he doesn’t want to. White’s post-Manson work has been less cheese and more rock (Perfect Circle, Nine Inch Nails), but he still doesn’t mind name-dropping the ol’ Manson tag every once in a while, just to remind people how he got famous. It’s too bad that he needs to associate with this image, because White has a insane amount of talent which will serve him well in some capacity at some point in the future—it just doesn’t quite do it here.
White and Goss started this project a few years back, releasing a mini-LP in 2005. Goon Moon is a spastically indecisive hodgepodge of musical flavors. The selections seem to span decades from polished NIN-ish rock to sunny ‘60s California harmonies and a even a ‘70s Bee Gees homage. The artists seem to be trying on a variety of different hats, while not quite sure they want to wear one at all. From the opening squeaks of “Apple Pie”, it seems evident that we’re in for an unorthodox musical experience, as White’s cryptic couplets are regurgitated over some bongo and soft backing harmonies. Take the lyrics: “Count the sheep above your head / The end is near. We are the dead”. Pretty bleak, right? Then comes: “Bake the children in the pies / Sip the tea. Watch your demise”. That’s just awful.
Licker’s Last Leg then proceeds with “My Machine” and “Feel Like This”, two pure stoner rock tunes which deceive you into assuming where the band is heading before “Pin Eyed Boy” breaks into some surprisingly tame pseudo-alt rock harmonies. Then there’s the Bee Gees cover tune. As if to culminate the head-scratching, “Every Christian Lion Hearted Man Will Show You” provides us some sorely need Barry Gibb influence on this eclectic effort. “Balloon?” gives us a dose of familiar rock before we are assaulted with the epic track “The Golden Ball”. This insane tune starts with ridiculous lyrics and sunny psych-pop harmonies. The track then meanders into eight different subsections which include everything from Jeordie White singing about his cats to a spacey kraut rock jam.
Goon Moon makes some ballsy moves on this, their first proper full-length album. The combo of Goss and White (along with Hill) doesn’t seem to care much who approves of their eccentric stoner rock. Actually, I don’t believe they even mind if anyone’s listening. I guess those Marilyn Manson royalties are still paying the rent ‘cause Jeordie White seems to be doing whatever the hell he feels like—and good for him, he’s earned it.