It turns out that pretending to be dead might have been the best career choice Johnny Rock has ever made. Last week, a fluke story about him choking on a chicken bone kick started the rise of the new Gigi-fronted band, the Assassins. Rumors of Rock’s passing have brought his rock and roll lifestyle back from the dead as well: This week, the whole crew went to Belgium, where the Heathens could make the same transition on an even bigger stage (and for even bigger money).
But though he’s back in the good graces of the Belgians, Rock’s old demons are still there. Even though he is devoted to his daughter doing well, he clearly hasn’t adjusted to the idea of standing in the background. As Ira points out, Rock was seemingly born to be a frontman, and the draw of the spotlight and the roar of the crowd still turn him on. That isn’t the only thing that drives him, though. He’s also permanently seduced by the trappings of the show’s title, and it’s hilarious how fast he forgets about everything else to focus on exactly what kind of wildlife he wants in the dressing room before the Belgium show.
Meanwhile, Flash continues to cultivate dissent. His relationship with Gigi seems to be getting more and more intimate (they’re using pet names and having coffee together), and he explains to Gigi that Johnny will never have his priorities straight. That suggestion seems to pay off immediately when Rock starts naming off insane stuff to put on the backstage rider. Gigi calls him out right away. “We are being handed a huge, huge opportunity here, and instead of focusing on the music, all you care about is the rock star bulls— side of things,” she says. “It’s stupid.”
The draw of diamond-crusted bottles of vodka and 27 peaches is just too strong for Johnny Rock, and the band ends up steeped in expensive nonsense before the show in Belgium. But as it was back in 1990 (and 1993 and 1994 and 1996 and 2003), the drugs get the best of Johnny Rock, and the combination of super-strong Dutch weed, a series of cutting-edge pharmaceuticals, and Bam Bam’s drum solo force a bad trip half way through the opening song, which forces Gigi to take over for him.
Ultimately, it’s Rock’s crippling self-doubt that costs him the gig, and his spot on “Team Assassin.” Flash fires him in the limo after the gig, but he ultimately gets overridden by Gigi, who delivers another great monologue to wrap things up. “You’re all on Team Gigi,” she says, steamrolling Flash and the rest of the band. She even demands that everybody go to therapy. “This band is so freaking dysfunctional it makes Metallica look like the goddamn Jonas Brothers.”
After making a number of rider demands for the next show in Belgium and officially declaring the band “Gigi and the Assassins,” is Gigi starting to get a bit of a rock star ego of her own? I’m now really looking forward to the entire group seeing a shrink. Bottle (service) episode!
- Let’s be real: If you paid what was probably big money for a rare reunion show by a cult band, and halfway through the first song the singer freaked out and was replaced, you’d be super pissed as a fan, right? There’s no way that actually ends well for the Heathens. Like, if the Smiths got back together, and during the opening song (let’s say it’s “This Joke Isn’t Funny Anymore”), Morrissey just decides to leave and gets replaced by Sammy Hagar, that ends with the building being burned down, right?
- Rock is mistaken for Christopher Walken at the Assassins’ photo shoot. In real life, Denis Leary was recently mistaken for Jane Lynch. By the power of transitivity, does that mean Jane Lynch looks like Christopher Walken?
- I’m also going to need a Batman bong.
- Can we talk about how wonderful Elaine Hendrix is as Ava? Her drunk song and dance about going to Europe and waiting for Johnny to screw up is pure gold. Also, there was totally no reason for her to be in her underwear during her hungover heart-to-heart with Johnny, but I’m certainly glad she was.
- What’s on Bam Bam’s rider? “Twelve filet mignons in a box, like meat donuts.” He also wants the real Melissa McCarthy to be his backstage masseuse.
- “You know what would be really cool? Stigmata!”
- Memo to Nikki Sixx: Your record for length of a backstage rider snake has officially been trumped.
- That shot of Johnny hallucinating the owl flying toward his face is very reminiscent of the cover of Rush’s Fly By Night and almost certainly not a coincidence.