Have I ever mentioned how much I love Royal Trux? Any band legendarily that spends the almost entire production and recording budget on drugs and still turns out the most gonzo, primo druggie rock and roll ever tipped out onto the soundwaves, whilst looking cooler than they had any right to considering how fucked up Jennifer and Neil obviously were is worth a bit of fangirl action. Jennifer bawling “that’s ain’t working that’s the way to do it, get yer money fer nuthin’ and yer DICKS for free” on their cover of Dire Strait’s Money For Nothing, that turns that clever but dreary Chuck Berryisms ode to MTV and the rock and roll lifestyle into an edgy full force blow yer hair back hardcore punk rock pogo-worthy ball.
Somehow when Dire Straits sing “We got to move these refrigerators, we gotta move these color TVs” I see the boys working some dead-end job installing Japanese electronics for bored housewives that might be persuaded into a little bit of ‘ows yer father’ in the spare bedroom. When Neil and Jennifer wail into the microphone, those same exact words, the movie unreels in front of my bored tired eyes, with the two of them stealing a refrigerator from some poor bastard’s kitchen under their very nose, and ripping off his tv too. It might be a guilty conscience talking but seriously one of the most amazing feats of antiestablishmentarianism I have ever witnessed, a certain friend of mine did exactly that, under the nose of the hapless homeowner, and had the drugs home before suppertime.
Instead of that crystal clear overproduced hi fidelity clang of the Dire Straits machine, the dirty fuzzy overdriven guitar shreds into the three chord jive like an animal ripping into the carcass of rock and roll, and coming up bloodied snouted and missing a few talons but doing the honey badger wiggle into the bridge. This cover will rip your face off and have you saying thank you for the sheer ballsy pleasure of it.
Royal Trux never had any intention of working. Royal Trux wanted their “money for nothing and their chicks (or dicks) for free’. The convention-chasing chant of “I want my MTV” starts sounding like a hostage situation instead of a sweet little pleading for money and a better stereo just so the sheer CLEANNESS of Dire Straits can be fully appreciated. Royal Trux dirty up the song, heck, they MAKE this song. They don’t change the tune, they barely touch the lyrics, but the force of the attitude, the way they spit out the ‘faggot’ which goes so unnoticed in the Dire Straits version, but gains bite, viciousness, cruelty and spice, that gains teeth and grimness. Welcome to the poor white junkie bedrooms of the high and unrepentant.
This is how it goes. These are the conversations that go on. “Lets be rock stars!” (pass that joint, hey gimmie a taste…whaddyamean I already had a taste. That weren’t a taste, that was a vapor, darling. ..wrestles for the gun, wrestles for the baggie, pouts, promises oral sex….dirty peanut butter crank and Jack daniels…listen man…look at that dude….what that little fag…oi billy…that little “fairy” has his own fucking jet airplane, fuckhead….don’t see you in no lear jet ya cunt….gottacleanrig? That ain’t working baby…that is money fur nuthin’ that shit is kicks for free…I WANT MY MTV! I want my lear jet…I want me fucking mountains of cocaine and a sack of heroin in the kitchen cupboards…if I had that much smack, I swear I wouldn’t do so much, if I knew it was always there, I would go easy. I wouldn’t push it. Listen to that overdrive. Listen to that NOISE…isn’t it ugly? Isnt it beautiful? Isn’t it great? Nah, seriously, darling…if I had a SACK. I mean like a sack, like a Keef Richards SACK, and I didn’t live in fear of running dry, of kicking, then I could monitor it, I could maintain, I would be civilized. It wouldn’t be feast and famine. Nothing for it, we have to write a few songs. Get signed. Spend the recording budget on smack. It would be beautiful. It would save my fucking life. I reckon Dire Straits were talking about Queen Elton. the ‘Straits were always fuckheads. Bruce Springsteen wanna be. They wan’t fit to suck Elton’s dick.) I never said conversation was cute or clean or nice….Meth does that to you after a while. You hate yourself and everyone around you. Nothing fits ya. Can ya say gaunt? Sitting there in the front seat of the camino with a pot of peanut butter, taking a spoonful like hated medicine, getting thinner and thinner and gaunter and angrier and edgier…and nothing ever working nothing ever happening. Scrubbing those walls, staring at those halls, getting stuck in speed traps, shooting stuff that burns like an icecube in yer veins and hits your eyeballs like someone who just hit rung the bell. Strong man? Dead man. Superman? “Look at those yoyos on the MTV” Lester would have hated MTV. He would have seen it as hegemony. He would have seen it as the rule of those who didn’t want to say anything and did so with not even the decency to have style.
See, it sometimes isn’t WHAT you say, it’s how you say it. Dire Straits say it with a clean cut all American slightly coke driven perhaps, but basically sparkly clean machine. It is boring. It drags. Royal Trux? They are dragging the song over razorblades, injection git with pure adrenaline and methamphetamine sulphate kicks through the sheer force of their scuzz and their personalities, their talent, their punk credentials, their hardcore commitment. Royal Trux are real. Royal Trux are not about to deal, and they are demanding their kicks for free. They might have saved my life today, I was fading away from sheer stress and depression. I have been kicked around so much these past few days, I lost all my bite. It had faded into mauling myself, and an inability to cope with other people. Overdrive? I blew out my fuses. I smashed all the lightbulbs. I smoked so much weed I was not sure which way was up. This modern weed is a beautiful thing. It isn’t quite what yer want, but it is close enough to take off the edges from The Fear. A bit like Royal Trux, it is enough to sharpen the corners, to make everything brighter, more energetic, faster, funnier. Jennifer Herrera is the baddest bitch in music. I am a bit in love with her. She makes the music, she makes the attitude, the sound, the songs. Neil might be the musical genius, but she is that ingredient x. I don’t suppose begging these two to kiss and make up will work out…Like all good drug buddies it all goes sour when one of them spins out of control…allegedly.
Sitting here at what feels like an insurmountable end of the world, the disrespect, the kickings, the inability and unwillingness of the people around me to treat me like a human being, the demands and the danger, rock and roll did it’s job. It provided an outlet, a laugh, an inspiration. There isn’t another band out there who could have done it tonight.
From the opening chords, coming on like the Rolling Stones via Metallica with a soupcon of Dead Boys horror show, to the abrupt cut off at the end of the track, this is a tour de force. It is speed made loud. It is a point of the strong stuff in a U100 to the heart of the matter. Fuck Trainspotting, listen to Royal Trux. It’s almost better than the drugs and only 20 percent as dangerous. If you aren’t used to such scuzzy fabulousness, from 3.25 onwards might overdose you with cool and noise. Proceed cautiously. I am so in love with Neil’s guitarwork – it’s not Mark K’s preciseness, it isn’t perfectly hi fi, nor cleaner than a sterile lab. This is wuhan batshit crazy. This is genius.
(forgive me the quotation of the f slur…motherfuckers…I am too tired to edit them, and besides perhaps we all need to remember Dire Straits are basically banally evil. I believe it. I know it aint’ cool to hate on a band, but I can’t fucking stand em, and I ain’t worried. They were never cool. They never had that precious vox humana.)
I think I might have to set up the junkie fanclub for Royal Trux, or at least find someone with an amp and a guitar I can borrow. Fucking hell I need to let off steam before I collapse.