Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Born Under a Bad Sign: A Rock and Roll Horoscope

(As published in the Illinois Entertainer's 2002 April Fool's Day issue...)

Most rock 'n' roll fans won't admit it, but they feel left out by traditional astrology. Oh, they know that Jesus was a Capricorn and that Pisces Virgo rising is a very good sign, but say "heavenly bodies" to them and they think of Jennifer Lopez or Britney Spears.

Well, as the Monkees (fourth album: Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones, Ltd.) once sang, "That was then, this is now." Whether you're a Doris Day fan who's been humming "Whatever Will Be, Will Be" for forty-three years or a 5th Dimension fan who's been humming "Aquarius" for thirty, you can finally join the tabloid crowd in knowing not only the future but also what to do, when to do it, whom to do it to, and how.

What's the diiference between rock 'n' roll astrology and the traditional kind? Easy. Traditional astrologers consult the stars, rock 'n' roll astrologers consult the rock stars. Why not? There's only a few years' difference between the ages of the stars in the sky and the ones in Jefferson Starship anyway. As for the charts themselves, the musicians and singers whose names appear in parentheses were actually born during the astrological period in question. They are the stars that guide your life!

So read on and a have a clue for once. With Y3K right around the corner, it's the least you can do.

Aries (March 21--April 19): You're on drugs (Perry Farrell, Izzy Stradlin, Eric Clapton) and you drink too much (Perry Farrell, Izzy Stradlin, Eric Clapton). Keep your four-year-old son away from fifty-storey windows, unless, of course, you can write a career-rejuvenating song about how sad you'll be should the tyke fall out (Eric Clapton), and avoid driving your Corvette too fast on Whittier Boulevard unless your motto is "Rehab forever" (Jan Berry). Beware belts suspended overhead (Richard Manuel) and your father (Marvin Gaye). Take advantage of opportunities to use your voice to rid the neighborhood of unwanted dogs (Roger "Supertramp" Hodgson, Russell "Stylistics" Thompkins, Jr.), and don't let the fact that you're blind (Jeff Healey), overweight (Aretha Franklin), shameless (Elton John), and ugly (Amy Ray) get you down. Why? Because no one cares (Stuart Adamson, Eddie Money, Gerardo, Julian Lennon), and if you're not permanently out of your misery already (Billie Holiday, Phillipe Wynne, Jeff Porcaro, Muddy Waters), you will be soon (Gatemouth Brown).

Taurus (April 20--May 20): You're on drugs (Pete Townshend) and you drink too much (Pete Townshend). By all means feel free to attend the publicity party for your new book (Richard Farina) and cry if you want to (Lesley Gore), but by no means ride your motorcycle home (Richard Farina). You have a happy marriage (Nick Ashford, Bono, Susan Cowsill, Kim Gordon, Toni Tenille); do nothing--not suicide (Peter Ham, Danny Rapp), not Tanya Tucker (Glen Campbell), not time (Sid Vicious, James Brown)--to jeopardize it. Although overweight, you are popular (Fats Domino, Gary Glitter), but don't assume that your immense popularity will guarantee you a friend in the world five years from now (Fabrice "Milli Vanilli" Morvan, Peter "Peter Frampton" Frampton). You were, after all, born under a bad sign (Albert King), a fact that no amount of looking at life from both sides now (Judy Collins) will change, and a fact that manifests itself in your preference for ridiculous nicknames (Bono), an inability to show your face in public without abundant makeup (Ace Frehley), an unbelievably large schnozz (Barbra Streisand, Pete Townshend), and the inability to see for miles (Stevie Wonder).

Gemini (May 21--June 21): You're on drugs (Richard Butler, Miles Davis, Bonzo Bonham), you drink too much (Hank Williams, Jr., Ron Wood, Bonzo Bonham), you sniff way too much chicken poop (Bob Dylan), and you're probably surnamed Wilson (Ann, Brian, Jackie). Your troubled relationship with your father (Roseanne Cash) will tempt you to de-emphasize your feminine side either by affecting butchness (Laurie Anderson, Melissa Etheridge) or by developing and showing off your washboard abs (Paula Abdul, Gioia "Exposé" Bruno). On the other hand, you will also be tempted to exaggerate your feminine side (Stevie Nicks, Prince, Boy George) just to prove you're not some vestal virgin (Gary Brooker) but a wild thing (Reg Presley) who can still appeal to all the young dudes (Ian Hunter). Matters on the sibling front will prove no less stressful (Ray Davies), with both suicide (Rob Pilatus, Nick Drake, Tom Evans) and scientology (Chick Corea) beckoning bveguilingly from the wings (Paul McCartney). For now, though, opt for something more status quo (Francis Rossi). Stop your sobbing (Ray Davies)! Baby, workout (Jackie Wilson)! Hold your head up (Rod Argent)!

Cancer (June 22--July 22): You're on drugs (Johnny Thunders, George Clinton, Roky Erickson, Courtney Love) and you drink too much (Bon Scott, Woody Guthrie, Kris Kristofferson, Ringo Starr). Give up the search of that ever elusive eight-mile high (Roger McGuinn), and avoid Russian Roulette (Johnny Ace), dangling nooses (Ian Curtis), and public restrooms (George Michael). Take comfort instead from your rich American-Indian heritage (Robbie Robertson) and the fact that even if everybody seems to be doin' the loco-motion (Little Eva), it's really hip to be square (Huey Lewis). As for your quite rational fear of dying the same slow, painful death as your father (Arlo Guthrie), knock on wood (Eddie Floyd), and thank your lucky rock stars that at least you're not Salman Rushdie (Cat Stevens, a.k.a. Yusuf Islam).

Leo (July 23--August 22): You're on drugs (David Crosby, Jerry Garcia, B.J. Thomas, Phil Lynott) and you drink too much (Mike Bloomfield). You're in love with your car (Roger "Queen" Taylor) and you don't like Jews (Chuck D). You left your heart in San Francisco (Tony Bennett), but you bungle in the jungle (Ian Anderson). You know that good girls don't (Doug Fieger), but you do (Madonna). You get weak (Belinda Carlisle), you go all the way (Eric Carmen), you're havin' my baby (Paul Anka), you can see clearly now (Johnny Nash), and you still can't get no satisfaction (Mick Jagger). The lesson: you gotta know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em, know when to walk away, and know when to go running up that hill (Kenny Rogers, Kate Bush).

Virgo (August 23--September 22): You're on drugs (Charlie Parker, Joe Perry, Nick Cave, Billy Preston, Dinah Washington, Keith Moon) and you drink too much (Hank Williams, Sr., Dinah Washington, Keith Moon). As if your picture weren't grim enough already, you're at unusually high risk to die from complications brought on by obesity (Mama Cass Elliot), brain tumors (Bill Black), AIDS (Eazy-E, Freddie Mercury), and plane crashes (Buddy Holly). But don't worry--you will survive (Gloria Gaynor). After all, your spiritual reserves are practically bottomless (Leonard Cohen, Van Morrison, Debby Boone) even if you yourself are not (Barry White). Also, you have an above-average sense of humor (Loudon Wainwright III) and know how to laugh, laugh (Sal "Beau Brummels" Valentino). Ultimately, however, you'll have to admit that not only is the thrill gone (B.B. King) but the pigment is as well (Michael Jackson).

Libra (September 23--October 22): You're on drugs (Bob Weir, Snoop Doggy Dogg, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Nico, Frankie Lymon, John Lennon, Marc Bolan, Ray Charles, Shannon Hoon, Jerry Lee Lewis, Les Claypool, Ziggy Marley, O.V. Wright, Peter Tosh, Arsenio Orteza) and you drink too much (Jerry Lee Lewis, Arsenio Orteza). Your susceptibility to multiple sclerosis (Annette Funicello) and your cavalier attitude toward organized crime (Bobby Fuller), firearms (Snoop Doggy Dogg, Jerry Lee Lewis), marriage and children (Carlene Carter), open fifteenth-floor windows (Donny Hathaway), unsafe helicopters (Stevie Ray Vaughan) the videotaping of girls in public restrooms (Chuck Berry), and battery, disorderly conduct, and solicitation to commit an unnatural and lascivious act (Flea) further heightens your chance for unhappiness. So does the likelihood that your first name could be Chubby (Checker) and your last name Allbut (Barbara and Jiggs, the Angels). On the plus side, you could end up with as many as twenty-eight wives at one time (Fela Anikulapo Kuti) or at least the looks necessary to end up with as many (Julio Iglesias, Arsenio Orteza). And if you don't like your sister, don't fret; chances are she won't be around for long (Richard Carpenter).

Scorpio (October 23--November 21): You're on drugs (Anthony Kiedis, Dr. John, James Honeyman-Scott, Bootsy Collins, Graham Bond, Ike Turner,Gram Parsons) and you drink too much (Grace Slick, Ike Turner, Gram Parsons). You have slept with Madonna (Jellybean Benitez) or would like to (k.d. lang), but neither your accomplishments nor your hopes should distract you from the fact that cars (Rick Allen), motorcycles (Duane Allman), airplanes (the Big Bopper), and breast cancer (Minnie Riperton) are musts to avoid (Peter Noone). Furthermore, attempts to use manslaughter (Little Willie John) as a way of lashing out at the world for your problems--obesity (Mary Travers), premature baldness (Kevin DuBrow), ugliness (Lyle Lovett), nomenclature (Bjork)--will likely result in jail time (Little Willie John). Even touching yourself (Christina Amphlett) and not sleeping in subways (Petula Clark) will prove short-lived solutions. The good news is that when they lay you down to die, you're gonna go to the place that's the best (Norman Greenbaum). Oh, what a lucky man you are (Greg Lake)!

Sagittarius (November 22--December 21): You're not on drugs (Amy Grant, Donny Osmond, Ted Nugent), you don't drink too much (Amy Grant, Donny Osmond, Ted Nugent), and it feels so good (Chuck Mangione)--so good, in fact, that not even being nicknamed after a smelly mammal (Jeff "Skunk" Baxter) or finding yourself alone again naturally (Gilbert O'Sullivan) can make you say you're sorry (Brenda Lee) for sticking to your moral guns. Not that you won't be tempted to abuse drugs (Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, Gregg Allman, Keith Richards), drink too much (Tom Waits, Ozzy Osbourne, Dennis Wilson, Charlie Rich, Keith Richards), drive too fast (Harry Chapin), or seek the sacrament of holy orders in a dissident religious community (Sinead O'Connor). But in the long run your ability to keep on truckin' (Eddie Kendricks) and to psychically predict the future (Dionne Warwick) will enable you to respect yourself (Pops Staples) and to do "it" your way (Frank Sinatra).

Capricorn (December 22--January 19): You're on drugs (Elvis Presley, Marianne Faithfull, Syd Barrett, Janis Joplin, Shane MacGowan) and you drink too much (Jimmy Page, Paul Westerberg, Jimmy Buffett, Alex Chilton, John Denver, Sandy Denny, Shane MacGowan). Combined with your extraordinarily developed secondary sexual characteristics (Dolly Parton) and orgasmic potential (Donna Summer), your addictions make you a sitting duck for hot-blooded (Mick "Foreigner" Jones) Neanderthals on the make (Rod Stewart, Luther Campbell, Lemmy Kilmister). No matter how nicely one of them asks you to scratch his back (Slim Harpo), smell the glove (Harry "Spinal Tap" Shearer), meet his Auntie Griselda (Davy Jones, Mike Nesmith), rock him all night long (Malcolm Young) or walk, don't run (Bob "Ventures" Bogle), stand tall, don't you fall, and for God's sake don't go and do something foolish (Burton Cummings). If necessary, spell out what he can do to himself (Country Joe McDonald), hit him with your best shot (Pat Benatar), take the last train to Clarksville (Davy Jones, Mike Nesmith), and run-run-run run away (Del Shannon).

Aquarius (January 20--February 18): You're on drugs (John "Jake Blues" Belushi, Dwayne "Skinny Puppy" Goettel, Rick James, Tim Buckley) and you drink too much (Exene Cervenka, Eddie Van Halen, Alice Cooper). Run like hell (Nick Mason) if anyone so much as mentions pistol cleaning (Terry Kath), snow skiing (Sonny Bono), riding on the tour bus (Cliff Burton), raping armed women (Sam Cooke), setting the cottage on fire (Steve Marriott), contracting AIDS (Peter Allen) or joining him for a duet on "Ain't Nothing like the Real Thing" or "You're All I Need to Get By" (Tammi Terrell). And although you needn't fear the rockin' pneumonia or the boogie-woogie flu (Huey "Piano" Smith), agree to the amputation that your doctors are suggesting (Gene Vincent). Recovery will be tough, but don't give up (Peter Gabriel). There's nothing you can't shake, shake, shake (Harry Wayne "KC" Casey) with some red, red wine (Neil Diamond), a holiday in the sun (John Lydon), and some more red, red wine (Ali "UB40" Campbell).

Pisces (February 19--March 20): You're on drugs (Kurt Cobain, Johnny Cash, Sly Stone, George Harrison, Andy Gibb, Brian Jones, Lou Reed), you drink too much (John Doe, James Taylor), and you eat way too little (Karen Carpenter) when you're not eating way too much (Mary Chapin Carpenter, Bob "Bear" Hite). Still, although your partners are constantly running afoul of parked trucks (Dean Torrence), empty nooses (Mike "Badfinger" Gibbins), delusional fans (George Harrison), bad acid (David Gilmour), bad plastic surgery (Marlon Jackson), and overloaded syringes (Billy Corgan), you tend to survive--often to the acute disappointment of many (Michael Bolton, Nina Hagen, Paul Kantner, Dee Snider, Mike Love). In other words, when you're hot, you're hot, and when you're not, you're not (Jerry Reed). You've got personality (Lloyd Price), but you give love a bad name (Jon Bon Jovi) by choosing to hide your truly animalistic nature (Seal, Peter Wolf, Clarence "Frogman" Henry, Bob "Bear" Hite) beneath a don't-worry-be-happy (Bobby McFerrin) exterior that even has Michelle Shocked. Only by realizing that sometimes the snow comes down in spring (Vanessa Williams) and that every rose has its thorn (Bret Michaels) will you be able to extract a kiss from that rose (Seal) and roam if you want to (Cindy Wilson) from Electric Avenue (Eddy Grant) to Funky Broadway (Wilson Pickett) while talking about sex (Cheryl "Salt" James) in a fast car (Tracy Chapman) with some little Latin Lupe Lu (Mitch Ryder). Hasta la vista, baby (Tone-Loc)!

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