OldStand: Rolling Stone, April 18, 1991

Take our ink-stained hands and join us at the OldStand, where Jon McMillan goes to remind everyone what an honest-to-goodness music magazine is supposed to look like.

We’ve suffered through some half-assed list issues here at the OldStand, but RS 602 (“New Faces ’91”) has a compelling mixture of the thoughtful, the prescient, and the ridiculous. On the plus side: David Fricke’s trip inside the acid-fried mind of Ministry’s Alain Jourgensen, the patron saint of Chicago’s Wax Trax records, and a primer on independent labels which, in the days before the internet, might have been a suburban kid’s first exposure to Matador, Sub Pop, Creation, and Flying Nun.

As with any exercise in picking the “next big thing,” there are some hits and some misses. The Charlatans UK (lead singer Tim Burgess looks “like New Kid on the Block Jordan Night on ecstasy”) and De La Soul are still active 17 years later, and it’s hard to argue with the Chris Isaak pick. Even the obligatory artists-recommend-artists section has a few gems, including Brian Eno on My Bloody Valentine: “[Soon] sets a new standard for pop … it’s the vaguest piece of music ever to have been a hit.”

And then there’s New Faces cover boys Extreme. Allow me to transcribe:

“There are lines you draw, Paul, no matter what you do,” Bettencourt is saying. “We could sell a million records, but if it’s all twelve-year-old girls who think that one of us is pretty, what the fuck kind of audience is that to have? Of course you want to be rich, but how far would you go, you know? Would you suck dick to do it?”

“Thaaat’s debatable!” barks Cherone happily.

Bettencourt and Geary shoot irritated glances at Cherone, then get back to the topic at hand.

“Seriously, what’s the most important thing to you?” asks Geary. “Maintaining your integrity? What I’m saying is, if you’ve got your bottom line, then shut up. You want your cake and eat it, too.”

The two continue to hammer away at each other; apparently neither realizes that although they’re approaching the argument from different angles, they’re both making the same point.

“I recently read this thing,” Geary says. “The guitar players in Warrant were in Guitar Player, and I notice that they’re struggling for respect from their peers. That’s a big major problem for them. They have all the money, and they’ve got success, and…”

“I’m just making a point,” says Geary. “Warrant is saying, ‘Jeez, I got a million dollars, but I don’t have any integrity,’ and you’re saying you’d rather have what you have than what they have.”

“Okay, then be quiet,” says Bettencourt sullenly.

More than words, indeed!

And it gets even more embarrassing, with a not-nearly-ironic-enough pullout fashion spread featuring dueling MCs Hammer and Van Winkle and a shitload of Z Cavaricci (Hammer: “Contrary to the Media, Vanilla Ice and I have actually been friends for about three years”). Now, I don’t know much about fashion, but I do know that in 2-4 years, when the coming early-90s nostalgia apocalypse comes, we will all look like idiots. Except, apparently, for Vanilla Ice, who will look like Frank Sinatra.

Please Hammer, don’t…do whatever it is you’re doing right now.

LEFT: Best. Bar Mitzvah playlist. Ever.

In case you can’t read the fine print, this guy apparently made $1.8 million selling cow-themed sweatshirts. Hooray for America!

Ladies and gentlemen, we have a DiVinyls sighting.

A who’s who of the independent scene — back when that word meant something.

As someone who lived through the Hypercolor era, let me preempt you by saying: no, these are not cool.

TMNT II, on the other hand, was extremely cool.

See, even Billy Idol gets it!

Reebok Pump clothing line = Bad Idea Jeans.