SCREAM, LITTLE RICHARD, SCREAM!
Altamont Swamps was a real Detroit tiger. He loved rock and roll! As a kid in the Motor City, he'd collected all the records of big stars like Elvis Presley and the Beach Boys. Later he got into the tougher, punk sounds of the MC 5, the Who, the whole galaxy of stars who made this tough, working-class music what it was.
Authentic blue-collar culture!
Altamont was a proud man, proud of his working-class status, proud of his American heritage. He was born small, weak and ugly, but rock and roll made him feel powerful and handsome and strong. Rock and roll proved he was a man! He loved the macho power of the music, the way the guitars screamed like American eagles, the way the drums crackled like machine-gun fire or banged like heads against walls.
He didn't serve in Vietnam, of course.
But he loved when Buddy Holly sang "That'll Be the Day," making the words sound macho and tough, a promise of vengeance without mercy and retribution without compromise, just like John Wayne in The Searchers. Both real men, both American, both working class. Altamont Swamps knew his music was 100% American, 100% male. It was his music. And it would never change.
Every book he wrote about rock and roll said exactly the same thing.
Late one night Altamont Swamps was backstage at a Bruce Springsteen concert, licking the sweat off the Boss' backside at the end of another seven-hour show. "Let me serve you, master. Let me prove I'm a real man! I hate all rich kids, I hate all sissies, I hate all intellectuals, I hate, I hate, I hate hate hate . . ."
"Little buddy, I think there's someone you ought to meet. He's a real rock and roll hero. A searcher just like you and me." Springsteen rolled his eyes, like Dracula promising Renfield an endless feast of fat and juicy flies.
Suddenly a black man wearing pancake makeup and mascara came swishing into the room.
"Ooh my soul," the black gay icon screamed. "You've got the cutest little baby face. Rip it up, cause I'm a ready Teddy! We're gonna have some fun tonight!"
"No, master, no! Punish me, torture me, but let me live!" Altamont Swamps loved the macho power of rock and roll. He loved the way it made him feel like a real man. And in the end, he got what he wanted. But he lost what he had. For when Little Richard took him, savagely and without mercy, he forgot all about being an All-American working-class tough guy.
He screamed like a woman.
He screamed like a rock and roll star.