"Hey, this song's called 'Catharsis,'" thunders Angry Aggro-Rock Dude.
"WAHHHHHHHHHH!!!" screams Delighted Pack of Teenage Girls.
Ozzfest pop-metal: It's not just for sexually frustrated teenage dudes anymore. Now the ex-girlfriends doing the sexual frustrating are getting heavily involved. And if only to spite you, dumbass, they love it.
Join us now at iMusicast, the famed Oakland Webhead idle yoof hangout, packed with a couple hundred ebullient catharsis-seekers this fine Saturday evening, as Angry Aggro-Rock Dude, frontman for Nor-Cal's own Forthmorning, shouts at us in a rather soothing, empowering manner.
No, Cannibal Corpse fans, we're not talking about your metal. Forthmorning is slick, radio-friendly, poppy. Think Incubus, and keep thinking it. But these Forthmorning boys are heavy all the same, chunka-chunking with all the guitar amp bravado they can muster. They make excellent use of the classic good-guy/bad-guy singer routine, wherein the frontman croons sensitively while the backup singer/guitarist hoarsely screams like Chris Farley auditioning for Death Angel.
Nothing to write the cows back home about, but it beats the hell outta Staind, Trapt, Dumpd, Crappd, Disnfrnchsd, and so forth.
The ladies eat it up. Indeed, the vast majority of iMusicast's ebullient catharsis-seekers are of the ladylike sort. They sashay around in fabulous outfits -- best T-shirt: "I kissed the lead singer" -- and patiently wait for tonight's main attraction, Fingertight.
"WAHHHHHHHHHHH!!!" screams Delighted Pack of Teenage Girls, eight times as loud as before.
The Fingertight primer: Hails from Martinez. Signed to Columbia, which released In the Name of Progress in September. Big-shot tours with Mudvayne, Trust Company, Powerman 5000, and other Ozzfest luminaries. Current darling of the Bay Area rock-that-might-actually-get-played-on-the-radio scene.
Introduced by some dude at iMusicast as "The Second Coming of Metallica," of which frontman Scott Rose, informed of this a few days later, replies, "No, he did not. Oh my God. Jesus Christ. The next Metallica? Yeah. There you go."
Scott is attempting humility, but this is somewhat difficult, as he's the wide-smiling, chest-pounding, back-flipping pinup crush of high-school chicks Californiawide.
"They're there for the music," Scott insists. "You try not to start thinkin', 'Oh, I'm that sexy.' They're into the music, and that's really flattering to me. And if they like comin' out and wearin' those little tops it makes my job a lot easier. It gives me inspiration onstage, that's for sure."
For sure. Scott bursts onstage at iMusicast and stares down a surging sea of inspiration; Fingertight explodes, and the club does likewise. It's clear these boys also worship at the Incubus hard-rock-with-a-poet's-soft-core altar, though Scott wisely denies it. At the moment, however, he's back-flipping and flailing about onstage like a gold medalist in the Frenzied Frontman Olympics. The scorecard:
Back-flips off drum riser, lands on back, immediately segues into pelvic thrusts.
USA: 5.1, Russia: 5.8, France: 5.5, China: 5.0, Germany: 5.9
(It's your shtick, babe. Roll with it.)
Dives into crowd during first song.
USA: 2.5, Russia: 1.9, France: 3.7, China: 0.8, Germany: 4.0
(Don't shoot yer wad too early, now.)
Flips from crowd back onto stage.
USA: 6.0, Russia: 6.0, France: 6.0, Canada: 6.0, Germany: 6.0
(Well done. Didn't see that one coming.)
Kneels and sings directly to nubile young blonde in front row.
USA: 4.5, Russia: 2.4, France: 6.0, China: 3.8, Germany: 4.3
(Shameless pandering, but understandable.)
Spits straight up in the air, catches it in mouth.
USA: 0.4, Russia: 0.6, France: 1.4, China: 5.7, Germany: 0.7
(It came from the third grade.)
Wails passionately while staring longingly at a point high over our heads.
USA: 2.5, Russia: 0.5, France: 0.4, China: 0.3, Germany: 0.5
(Dude, this ain't Phantom of the Opera.)
Holds mic to crotch, simulating masturbation.
USA: 0.0, Russia: 0.0, France: 0.0, China: 0.0, Germany: 0.0
(Even the French have abandoned you, perv.)
Dives into the drum set as the encore ends.
USA: 5.5, Russia: 6.0, France: 4.7, China: 5.1, Germany: 5.8
(A fine set-closing gesture, but be forewarned: Drummers get really pissed about that shit.)
"Really pissed," Scott concurs. "Yeah. Especially when he's not looking. He got really mad and threw a drum at me one time. I put my foot on the kick drum and just jumped right onto him. And it just totally flattened him -- he's a big guy, too. Totally flattened him, and he just got done playin' a show. He was all nervous, so he picks up the drum and throws it, hits me in the leg."
"It hurt pretty bad," Scott says. "But kids like that: 'Yeah, you guys are crazy.' That's the coolest thing about my job. You can't do anything wrong. The crazier and kinda stupider you are, the better. People wanna see that stuff."
Verily, they do. There's a clownlike sheen to his hammy acting and spastic flipping, which began as a one-time-only spontaneous act until Scott realized people loved it -- "I thought it was kind of goofy" -- but that only underscores why sane people prefer David Lee Roth to Sammy Hagar.
"I just think I give them something to focus on," Scott explains. "They want something to keep their eyes on. I don't think there's a lot of stars out there; I don't think there's a lot of heroes. I think that's important, and I think it's coming back, hopefully. I want to be a great frontman. I want to be a great entertainer. That's my dream."
Badass hard-rockers like to give internationally adored Incubus frontman Brandon Boyd guff for playing the dreamboat card -- even Scott notes the boy-bandness of it all -- but even if it's not your particular ball of lint, you've gotta admit Fingertight ain't no Backstreet Boys, and Scott ain't no Enrique Iglesias. Sure, what appear to be underage women make up 80 percent of the front row -- and, Scott figures, 80 percent of the feverish posts on the Fingertight.net message board, gleefully recounting how cool it was to see him at the mall -- but they don't so much offer Beatles-caliber adoration as demand catharsis.
"You know, it's funny," Scott says. "Ever since we started, women seem to dig our music. Which is cool. Maybe like when we started we thought 'Aw, we wanna make heavy music, man,' you know? But for some reason, the lyrics especially, women seem to get -- even more, I think, than men. I don't know what that says about me, but ..."
It says you're insanely popular with the one demographic your typical indie rocker smirks at when not completely ignoring it.
It also says you're realizing that, while easier on the eyes maybe, most of those women want to rage against the machine harder than you do.
So Scott helps them, and he does it through his willingness to publicly kill himself. Repeatedly. "That's what people go to shows for," he notes. "They wanna see somebody dying onstage. You gotta die onstage every night. Literally keel over and die. At the end of the show, if you're not dead, out of breath, feel like shit, and you're about to swell up, and your head's spinnin', you didn't play a good show."
Scott's sole purpose is to make it happen. Even if he has to pretend to beat off.
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