Bad boys


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One

Back in the day, when I was young and thin with long bleached-blonde hair and wore a black leather vest with no t-shirt and banged out too-loud, late 70’s rock-n-roll on my Music Man guitar, the nuclear reactor of our band Slick Richard’s bad boy angst—ergo, that which is worst thus best in rock n roll–was a drummer by the name of Rudy. Rockin’ Rudy, as he preferred to be known—or rather, remembered–was a little guy, shy of five feet tall, but packed in his small frame a wallop which behind the drum kit was, well, Keith Moonean in its ferocity and John Bonhamean in its thunder and more destructive, perhaps, than both prior gods combined, since Rudy’s big hammers made him almost unemployable, by both bands and the sorts of jobs a rock monster could find by day.

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Ultradrummers John Bonham of Led Zeppelin and Keith Moon of the Who, both prematurely dead of thunder’s excess.

Rudy could take a cover song like “Dirty Weekend” by Rod  Stewart or Thin Lizzy’s “Breakout” and somehow make it dimensionally nastier than anyone could have originally intended. Mirror sunglasses on to fend off the glare of our freezing basement’s single bare bulb hanging from a wire, baseball cap slung low over his brow, leather gloves on his hands for added purchase, Rudy not so much pounded on his kit as coldcocked it, again and again and again, all practice long, sizzling his sticks across the snares and toms while his feet stampeded on the double-bass. A monster, in the language of our nights, the melting core of every American garage band which bursts to smithereens barely into a second or third gig because its residing genius cops an attitude, declares his current band a dud, is going  nowhere, and packs up and leaves before anything really gets started.

He was not one for team spirit. Deliciously bad as he was at the kit, off-practice Rudy was an asshole, a bundled aggregate of resentments and frustrations he could only hammer at with everything he possessed in that furnace of a soul-gutted body. Frequently unemployed from telling off one dickhead bass player at night or boss by day, he careered himself from band to band and job to job until he ended up on welfare, spiraling down from there to permanent disability (but that part of the story comes later.) Just about everything he possessed was half-stolen and he lived in constant wariness of repo men. His whole existence was a rassle with the angel (or devil); a hard drinker (though he stuck to juice at practices), he was a mean drunk, telling everyone off, getting into fights, his nights ending usually with the bum’s rush – from bars and parties or anywhere else the drab yet successful, daytime-hour burghers of our lonely Western city gathered.

Rudy drove to practice in a rebuilt ’52 Chevy coupe (I think that’s the vingtage, but it could have been from the 1940s or even 30s) that was as a bad on the road as Rudy was at the kit, with a small-block 280 that could haul ass past the 100-mph mark in three suburban blocks, with Rudy shifting gears with one hand and giving a middle finger to stop signs as they flew past. I only rode with him once, on a night when practice didn’t go all that well; he’d bickered with our bass player over the middle 8 of Van Halen’s “You Really Got Me” (or was it “God Save the Queen” by the Sex Pistols? Three decades now have passed). Rudy had thrown his sticks at blameless Dave—my roommate–and stormed out of the basement, heading upstairs to our apartment where he took a crap in the john, using one of our washrags—Dave’s, of course–to clean up. The rest of us heaved our shopworn sighs, wiping down our rigs and polishing off tall Budweisers stacked on our amps. Sighing operatically, me, the designated diplomat at quelling Rudy’s frequent rages, I flicked the power switch of mine off, cradled my Music Man back on its stand and headed upstairs to try to talk Rudy into coming back down.

Rudy wasn’t having any of that quite yet. “Let’s go for a ride,” he said, with a voice so airy and casual I should have immediately read the coiled menace just beneath the words. Hindsight allows far more insight than I could ever have possessed at 21: Sure, I said, grabbing a beer from the fridge, thinking that we could talk it out as we drove.

But Rudy didn’t want to talk; he wanted to drive. I had barely shut the passenger side door when he fired up the ignition and jammed the gas pedal to the floor, tires squealing like a B-horror movie queen extended scream, my body smashed back into the seat from g-forces I’d never experienced before. The scene in the window was a vertigous, careening blur as Rockin’ Rudy vented his Ahab-sized spleen against our band, the night and the world on the road, ripping a bloody vent a car’s width wide through the whalish underbelly of our vast suburban necropolis.

We did not so much drive as hurl like a thrown battle axe through town for some thirty minutes, a ride so frightening and terrible I never, ever dared to get back into that car with him again. And throughout that hell-horse circuit (I couldn’t read anything of the route he was taking for all the horror of flat-out street racing, other than the speedometer at one point crossed 120 mph), Rudy was as calm, even happy, his smile smoother than a baby’s ass after a bath and a patting of baby powder. I’ll never get to ride shotgun with in a Sprint Cup car in the heat of things during a race; that night was my immoral equivalent, my single dance with the wheeled devil. Rudy’s calm at the burning center of destruction was the scariest thing of all, to be sitting next to that smiling maniac of rock n roll floating like a yogi over our impending smash into some ultimate wall. Bad to the bone, Rudy’s whole existence was a kit he pounded into dust.

After two dozen hard lefts and rights which careened over the abyss with three wheels spinning, suddenly Rudy hit the brakes hard and we were screeching, squealing, squalling to a stop which caused me to hurl forward in my seat and crack my noggin on the dash–not badly, but with a thump which seemed to deliver the last power chord of satisfaction Rudy had been hoping for.  I looked up woozily. We were parked back at my apartment. I clawed out of that devil car, my right hand pale and trembling on the door latch, while  Rudy sighed happily, pulling the keys out of the ignition and whistling an imitation of Johnny Rotten’s strangled vocals to “God Save the Queen” and flexing his hands, ready now  to resume his perch in the center of our rock n roll maelstrom, belting out set-ending anthems like  “Respectable” by the Stones, “Sin City” by AC/DC, Led Zeppelin’s “Rock n Roll.”

Rudy’s personal favorite was one of those covers you played second in a set, a bit down-tempo perhaps but meaner, too, its dynamics strung with fuse-burning dynamite: the song was “Headknocker” by Foreigner, sung himself lyrics through that PA system he’d put on an installment payment plan at Hoffman Music and managed to avoid making a single payment on. After an initial, lazy mash of power chords, Rudy would lean into the mike and sing:

He drives a ’57 coupe
Walks with a stoop
Swears James Dean isn’t dead
He’s a dedicated rockerA real headknocker
Don’t look at his lady again
Because if he catches you messin’

He’s gonna teach you a lesson
Don’t let me say it again

Headknocker, headknocker,
Comin’ on strong, a real showstopper
Headknocker …

And then Jeff would play the lead riff between stanzas on that Gibson Explorer patched into a Marshall twin, soaring and evilly sweet, nailing the notes with grit and squeal and vibrato—stuff an average player like me, enlisted in Slick Richard less for my talent than my former Rod Stewartean-looks (long gone, ladies), a guy who could handle the hooks but lacked the gusto of the kill and would go the way of mediocrity and latent alcoholism—stuff that me, a day-jobbing rather nice guy, didn’t have the balls to reach out and break the neck of the task at hand, as every true, dyed-in-a-witch’s-wool bad boy must, else he perish of boredom and spleen. –And with that guitar flourish we’d then be off  again, racing the badlands of a moonlilt night like a pack of wolves or a thundering horde of Sprint Cup cars circling Daytona’s 2-1/2 mile track, spectral greyhounds in hot and feral pursuit of dubious prey—purse, pussy, bragging rights.

Nice guys never really belong in the hoarier, hairiest wildernesses of the heart; at least,  they don’t last too long. Proved true for me, though some of my fellow bandmates are still at it, playing in bands two decades after I packed my last electric guitar way in its blue plush case. So it’s not surprising that NASCAR’s elders, having created a car and style of racin’ which has grown too nice for fans, have decided to wave the green flag for the bad boys to come out with changes in the rules designed to create more mayhem in the race. The question remains how this year’s class of drivers, tempered as they have become to one style  of competition, will fare under the bad moon now rising.

Decisions must be made …

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Two

Thus we come to NASCAR’s 2010 Sprint Cup season, where the gloves are coming off off and the racin’ gets in-your-face mean as a drunk hog with corncob buttplug. Roman citizens demanded blood from their mosh-pit Arena; and, according to Bill France & Co., so do NASCAR fans. As their logic goes, no bigger bangee rippee roaree, no more tickee buyers. And with a single  race generating tens of millions of dollars in a local market, allowing a few more of the devil’s details should nudge races in the more lucrative direction. Last year it was the double-file restart; this year, restrictor plates get bigger, wings will be replaced by spoilers and the yellow-line rule, which kept a modicum of order on the superspeedways, is wavering in the balance.

For racers like Mark Martin, Jimmie Johnson and Kurt Busch – drivers who shave the percentages with long-haul attitudes—these changes may not bode well for them, for they have translated the safer, more mannered COT into a winning style over the few years. Their challenge will now be finding a way to become more skilled at mayhem, at finding a level of braggadocio to match looser cannons like Denny Hamlin, Brad Keselowski and, of course, Kyle Busch. All the reigning purse winners of Sprint Cup Competition have gotten there by getting way ahead and staying out of the fray; but such finesse may fall by the wayside this year to unharnessed testosterone, boy Icarus acing daddy Phaeton, flaying the sun with their melting wings.

The Bud Shootout on Feb. 6 should offer a glimpse of the racin’ to come in 2010. I was at the Shootout last year, freezing my yarbles up in Weatherley Tower. I wonder how the mannered mayhem of what was already a purse-addled, wreck-fest of race won by Kevin Harvick will further descend into the oval maelstrom, how far the new rules-engendered ferocity will unhinge all those carefully mannered Dudley Doorights into a pack of howling’ Dick Dastardlies.

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Dudley and Dick.

An odd field will be going at it. According to the latest eligibility rules, each driver must have 1) made the 2009 Chase for the Spring Cup; 2) been a past Sprint (Nextel and Winston) Cup champions; 3) won the Budweiser Shootout; 4) won the Daytona 500 and/ore Coke Zero (Pepsi) 400; or 5) was the 2009 Raybestos Rookie of the Year. The lineup will be determined by blind draw, so we may see 4-time Sprint Cup champ Jimmie Johnson and back-to-back Shootout winner Tony Stewart taking up the rear behind the likes of Sterling Martin and Derrike Cope. (The ghost of the winningest Shootout winner, Dale Earnhardt Sr.–who took the victory flag in the race six times—is spookily present at the race. Maybe it was the full moon and the misty, Dunsinane-castle-like-chill of the late night as the bus dropped us off in Lot Seven, but I swear Dale Sr. was walking next to me as we walked back to our car, silent yet prescient as the moon. Daytona, who’s yer Daddy … ).

Speed will definitely be a factor in this race, with the larger restrictor plate this year allowing for greater horsepower. No one will approach Bill Elliott’s 197-mph average speed in the 1987 Busch Clash, but still the ’10 Shootout should post the fastest times for the generic car in a restrictor-plate race. The extra oomph under the hood should give the crowd plenty of dangerous thunder.

The rules change may splash gas on spats simmering from last season. Brashest newcomer Brad Keslowski and Cup-thirsty Denny Hamlin could pair off at the Shootout  paired like Billy the Kid and Pat Garrett, upstart and lawman having it out for the first time in 2010 under the lights of Daytona.

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Look for Pat Garrett/Denny Hamlin to take aim on Billy the Kid/Brad Keselowski at some moment during the Shootout.

Another dance to watch for is Tony Stewart and Juan Pablo Montoya, both hot contenders for the Cup last year who bumped, banged and wrecked each other on two different occasions last year at Homestead. Now these guys are serious Cup contenders, but they’re also fierce competitors with more than a little of the big bad boy in each of them. With the removal of the bump-drafting rule, Stewart and Montoya will have to battle their own fiery temperaments to keep the red No. 14 Old Spice and red No. 42 Target Impalas from chewing off each others’ ass. Let’s imagine Stewart and Montoya like Roadrunner and Speedy Gonzales with Wiley E. Coyote as their shared inner nemesis, that lustful, hellbent, vengeful, testosterone-addled ego which sees red when someone just like them shows up in the windshield or rear-view mirror, chortling it’s on baby, it’s on, in desert-dog fashion.

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Roadunner Stewart and Speedy Gonzales Montoya share the same nemesis in their own skulls, a certain Mister Wiley E. Coyote.

Now we come to Kyle Busch, everyone’s nemesis on the track, the driver who eats up asphalt like a hungry tiger and frequently leaves everyone else far back in his rear-view mirror. How will he take to these new rules? Now that he’s joined the ranks of team owner, will Rowdy smooth and slow into the  mild-mannerness of a Howdy Doody, the owner who measures his steps, in full awareness of the replacement cost of his cars?

Or will he take a hard left and retreat into his untutored yahoo devil boy self, become like pro wrestling’s The Undertaker, given full license to vent his spleen on the track, strewing his path with ripped chassis?

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Which road will it be, Kyle: Howdy or Goodbye Mutherf****r!


Even though she won’t appear in the Shootout – or Sprint Cup competition at all this year – mention here must be made of Danica. Patrick will be there at Daytona Speedway on Feb. 6, making her stock car debut in the Lucas Oil Slick Mist 200 ARCA race earlier in the day. (It’s rumored that DER will  decide whether to place her  in the next week’s Nationwide race depending on how she manages at the Hot Gooey Breath 200). I heard my very first stock car racing flat-out at that very race last year, emerging up from the concession bowels underneath to emerge on the grandstands next to the track – a cold, sunny day which was unzipped in a flash by the sudden upheaval of sound from the passing pack, sundering my ears with a terrible, thrilling noise I hadn’t heard since that night with Rockin’ Rudy, some 30 years before, both at the kit and behind the wheel.

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ARCA racin, Daytona Speedway, Feb. 7, 2009

It will be a strange debut for Danica, all eyes of the media fastened on her lithe little-gal frame as she climbs into her car for a race which Monte Dutton characterizes thus:

“When ARCA comes to Daytona, it’s country comes to town. It looks like the cast of “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad World” at Daytona, but these guys put a different kind of hurting on each other at tracks in DuQuoin, Springfield and Toledo … Where’s a young driver to get experience on superspeedways? It’s like practicing how to catch a bullet in your teeth. It’s like taking a few laps around a roller rink, then signing with the National Hockey League. It’s like learning how to drive on I-95, then learning how to race at Daytona.” (“Indiana Jones and the Arca Race at Daytona,” Feb. 7, 2009)

Last year it was Joey Logano who was the celebrity driver in the race, whose Home Depot Toyota was beat by the Wolpack Rentals Toyota of James Buescher. (Yah Buescher and yay Wolfpack Rentals.) This year all eyes, of course of course, will be on the GoDaddy Chevy with fierce D. at the wheel. Turning to the same crystal ball with its swirling, silver and black ichors, I ask of the outcome of her virgin stock car appearance:  Which way, globe of augur for better and ill, will her cherry bust? Will she go ten laps down as Penelope Pitstop, wailing for someone to come save her from all those mean old stock car drivers? Or will Catwoman come out to play on the burning  straightaways, raking her nails lovingly across the quivering, unmanned bumpers of her prey?

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What will it be, Danica—Penelope Pitstop, or Catwoman?


(Asked by a reporter, Kyle Busch said he would only think of Danica while he was lapping her. I assume that means passing her on the track—the alternative, though, gives one pause–but such dissing of the goddess, of Mother Nature and NASCAR’s virgin bride could boomerang. One wonders if Danica would think of anything while making a jackass out Kyle, doing burnouts while he cries for Mama in his trailer after the goo-green No. 7 Go Daddy Chevrolet beats the baby-blue and clown-orange No. 18 NOSs Energy Drink Toyota Camry.)

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OK, who will lap who in a coming Nationwide race—The speedy racer with a PR  ass for a brain, or the chick driver who shouts “Go Daddy”?

Polarities and disparities aside, there is a chance that we’ll see some real racin’ in the spirit of the Elliott-Earnhardt fender-banging Winston Cup of the 1980 (the other All-Star race of the season, now the  called Sprint All-Star Race) drivers who give no quarter and go for the jugular in pursuit of the win. For those of you who have forgotten, last year’s Shootout was anarchy at its finest, a crashfest which Jeff Gordon called “absolute madness,” with Greg Biffle tangling in the most crashes (4) and Kevin Harvick taking the win in Daytona’s usual fashion – being at the right place at the right time.

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Business as usual at last year’s Shootout.


With the Shootout already a classic bang-em-up, one can’t help but wonder what sort of race we’ll see with more of NASCAR’s rules unzipped in favor of bad boys.

To win in the new milieu of Wild West, transformations will occur. Will nice-guy, 4-time champ Jimmie Johnson molt a dark hide by necessity to run with these new wolves, following new rules which doom nice guys to finish way back in the pack? Will he become like Max Rockatansky, the Australian highway trooper who goes from state trooper and happy family man to a burnt-out shell of a man who discovers that the only way to beat the marauders of the end time is to become the Road Warrior, roaming the desert in the last of the V-8 Interceptors in search of his prey, savages with precious drops of fuel, like blood, to be drained from their tanks? Racin’ in the New Old Style could transform Jiminy Cricket into Mad Max.

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Choices are dire for Jimmy Johnson.


Indeed, Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior, that 1981 low-budget jeremiad of a demolition derby, may truly be the archetype of other driver transformations we may see in 2010 under the new rules.  So many of its characters pair with those choices, for better or ill, that other drivers must make.

To begin with, which drivers will stay on the bright side of the Forrce, easing off the gas pedal just enough in the name of sanity, throwing their lot in with the survival of caution, a move which causes them to lose almost everything (including races) except their humanity, a quality which may never had anything to do with racin’ anyway. To wit:

– Will Mark Martin hold his high moral ground and thus become Pappagallo, the noble leader of the settlers who have barricaded themselves in an oil refinery? Maybe a good choice for Martin—his onscreen visage is golden—but then Pappagallo gets done in by a trident hurled into his back by a marauder.

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Optimisitic nice guy Mark Martin becomes pessimistic good guy Pappagallo.

– Will Talladega-airborne Ryan Newman become the Gyro Captain, wily and courageous, a gangly wanderer who does battle from the air in a makeshift helicopter? An engineer by education, Newman’s got the smarts to turn his airborne liabilities into a smashing, finish-line assault.

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Ryan Newman battles gravity at Talladega; the Gyro Captain battles evil from the air.


– Joey Logano, the best thing since Sliced Bread (though not, yet, since Dale Earnhart), may find himself not maturing (a dangerous thicket these  days) but regressing, all the way back to the visage and attitude of the Feral Kid, that little tyke with the goatskin overalls who grunts like a dog, hurls a razor-sharpened boomerang at his opponents and rides shotgun next to Max as they attempt to punch through a phalanx of evildoers in an armored fuel tanker. Better duck, bad guys, the Feral Kid hangs with the good guys but he’s still bad to the bone.

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Joey Logano tries to gain an edge from experience; the Feral Kid gets his edge with a razor-lipped boomerang.


– Sorry, Danica, but because you aren’t racing in the Shootout,  pretty boy Kasey Kahne earns the honor of dressing up as the Warrior Woman, the  tough-bitch combatant clad in white armor and a white bandana, wielding bow and knife and grey-eyed steeliness in hand-to-hand combat. If the Warrior Woman were ninety percent more naked, she surely would have been a success in the rassling ring (and Kasey perhaps would score a slot on MTV’s “Jersey Shore”_ but sadly s/he gets nailed by a brace of darts while defending said tanker truck and dies, slowly and majestically, falling slowly from her perch. Take a bow, Kasey, somewhere between Lap 65 and eternity.

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Killer Sweetiepie Warrior Woman and Kourageous Kutiepie Kahne.


– John Andretti and Sterling Martin, you wouldn’t have a much of a chance at the Shootout under the old rules, so you damn sure don’t have a prayer in the new dark dispensation. I’m going to peg you as early race fodder, morphing you into those hapless settlers who tried to escape before the big bang-em-ups began, only to be captured by the desert jackal horde, tortured and then paraded around tied to the front of the fuel-injected dragster of Lord Hunumgous (see below) as witness to the futility of optimisim and wearing bright-colored clothes.

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John Andretti and Sterling Martin become human bumper fodder by Lap 7.

OK, now for drivers who decide to throw their lot in with the bad guys, driving without restraints into the melee of the  010 season. You gotta admit, the possibilities are a lot more interesting in the murk of moral ambivalence than those drivers who decided to run with the milquetoast side of The (G) Force:

– Beefcake Carl Edwards, fed up with his middling runs of 2009, pumps up even further into Lord Humumgous, leader of a vicious gang of post-holocaust, motorcycle-riding vandals  who loot, rape, and kill the few remaining wasteland dwellers, always in search of the last drops of petrol. Intelligent and articulate (he will try to woo the settlers out of the refinery with honeyed words) Lord Edwards hides his face behind a hockey mask and struts around  in bondage/motorcycle gear. Do not try to tangle with Eddie Humungous on the backstretch leading into Turn 4; cars may literally be coldcocked off the track and onto the midway beyond, splintering corporate booths and sending barely clad hawksterettes screaming hither and yon.

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Carl Edwards experiences ‘roid road rage as Lord Humungous.


– Kurt Bush, they guy who once famously said, “We have heavy hearts in the backs of our minds” becomes The Toadie, the gang’s crier, and lost beat poet of the desert, praising Lord Humunculus  as “the warrior of the wasteland, the Ayatollah of rock-n-rollah!” Watch for the Blue Deuce to position itself behind the No. 99 of Edwards like a parasite fish on the gills of a tiger shark, feeding on the bits and pieces of wreckage which careen out of the devouring mouth of E. Humunculus.

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Kurt Bush (with wife Eva) turns the wheel of the Blue Deuce over to The Toadie.


– Perhaps the most amazing transformation will be that of Jeff Gordon, a driver tired of falling by the wayside of his much greater, former glory. When the No. 24 Dupont Chevy rolls into the pits for the scheduled stop at 25 laps, clouds suddenly obscure the fading moon above, causing a creepy shadow to envelop the speedway … We can’t see that far into the cab of Gordon’s car, but Gordon, stuck in the rear doldrums of tepid runs, decides he’s had it with Mister Nice Guy. Removing his helmet and unbuckling his Hans head restraint, he looks down; when the face rises back up it now bears the visage of Wez, the mohawked, hockey-gear-shouldered lieutenant of Lord Humunculus, barreling  around on Harley with some prettyboy chained by the neck to the chassis. Once a teammate of Jimmie Johnson and Mark Martin, Gordon the Wez becomes their ultimate nemesis, eyes and mouth wide like bounding cougar about to fasten on the neck of the next quivering wildebeest. As Wez, Gordon hammers cars right and left, sending them careening into the infield in balletic spins and rollovers, fierce to gain purchase on the Nos. 48 and 5 up there toward the front, no more Mister Nice Guy, the post-lapsaian Prince of Darkness with the balls to prove it.

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Former Kid Victorious Jeff Gordon becomes Wez, Sir Viciously Victorious.


So there you have the latent possibilities of the new rule changes growing to a fullness, like a black orchid, soon to bloom. under the arch-silver light of the fading Snow Moon  on February 6. Of course, my scenarios are only that. Only a driver knows how deep, how alluring, how enabling their bad boy is in his or her heart, lurking just beneath the veneer of civilized driving.

No one as yet knows which transformations will occur,  but I’m betting that the permutations will be surprising. And fans may indeed be pleased, spreading the thighs of  their wallets wide to give up their honey of gold to the corporate minions of NASCAR’s Rome. That’s where the real bad guys of the desert hold court, you know, raking in the dough as the next race’s gladiatorial cars careen and smash and battle their way to victory.

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Three

I think Rudy’s still alive. He lost his liver to drinking in the late 1980’s and got a transplant. Last time I heard, he was on the waiting list for a second liver after the first one decided it wasn’t getting along with its new host. (Small wonder.)

When I last saw Rudy—it was back in ’91 or so–his face, thanks to the anti-rejection drugs– had swelled up to the size of a pumpkin. Pretty scary. He hadn’t played in a band for a decade. Not much of a person was left there, stripped of the old braggadocio, an asshole without the sticks which once redeemed him as a bona fide rock n roll bad boy.

It was a long, long time since that night Rudy came to practice complaining of a terrible headache, something sharper and meaner than a mere hangover at work under his skull.  Turns out he’d been to some party, gotten drunk, bellicose, and was summarily kicked out. Driving off he ran out of gas; the last thing he said he remembered of that night was pushing his car when a car passed him and something smacked him in the head. He braved a few more nights of practice before finally going to a Medicare doc who found a cause of his headache: a small-caliber bullet was lodged in his skull.

That was Rudy, one of rock’s baddest bad boys, going the way of his thunder, just like Moon and Bonham had gone. He never figured out how to let off the gas pedal once he’d  jammed it all the way down; he was fated—or damned—to drive right off the precipice of his own impeccable drive into the big night music, singing,

He might like to fight, oh but boy does he love to play
Ooh headknocker, headknocker (a three-chord slamdown right there)
Ooh headknocker

The lead guitarist takes it from there, sailing notes up the neck of an impossible yearning, wings on fire, sending a gorgeous arc of gold across the sky and down into the distant, wine-dark sea. At this year’s Bud Shootout, we may see more of “the ole ultraviolence,” as Alex, the lead droogie A Clockwork Orange put it. Buckle up and enjoy the show.

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Mick Jones of Foreigner, ca. 1979; Jones in 2009 after taking a ride in a Team Texas stock car at Texas Motor Speedway.

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