Friday, January 23, 2004

I Love The 80's Strikes Back

If you've been watching VH1 lately (and even if, like me, you haven't been but just pay attention to stupid things) you've noticed a new show called Bands Reunited. Its a remarkably simple concept: take bands whose commercial and critical heyday is twenty years in the past, make them reunite and play a show for their fans and the viewing audience. Although I could argue that this gimmicky format would only tend to further trivialize already-misunderstood but still influential artists such as Frankie Goes To Hollywood and Flock of Seagulls, I will refrain from this because I do not wished to be laughed at.

Anyway, it seems to me that in their survey of 80's hitmakers, they missed one of the very biggest of that decade, and of any decade. At the time he was even bigger than Michael Jackson - and he certainly had better fashion sense (even if they shared that samed comically limpid gheri curl hairstyle). This guy was so big, he was practically a God unto men... but no, he was bigger even than God.

He was from Beyond.

After the success of the first two Secret Wars, the Beyonder had a hard time of it. He was so widely identified with those two projects (and with the strongarm tactics of his domineering manager, 'Slim' Jim Shooter) that he had a hard time making a place for himself in the diverse music scene of the late 80's and early 90's. Shooter distanced himself from his onetime protege, even going so far as withdrawing an already-tendered offer for the Beyonder to perform a guest vocal on Shooter's 'Unity' project.

In addition, the excesses of the 80's had taken their toll on the Beyonder's once cheery disposition. In a recent interview with VH1's 'Behind the Music', the Beyodner admitted that he was not sober a single day during the second Secret Wars. He teared-up as he shared the story of Spider-Man himself taking him aside and pleading with him to "get off the blow". Unfortunately, it would be almost a decade before the Beyonder would succeed in getting the monkey of addiction off his back.

However, in recent years, the Beyonder has turned his life and career around. He's four years sober (and counting), and living with his former stylist Vanessa Gordon in sunny Fresno, CA. "She saved me," he recalled during that same interview, "if it weren't for her I'd probably be dead... or just have grown a new body without any cocaine still in it. Either one, really." He's even dipping his toe back into the music business, making music on his terms and for no one's satisfaction but his own. The underground hip-hop community has embraced the one-time Omnipotent All, who recently dropped a blazin' guest vocal on a white label mix of 'In Da Club' rumored to have ben produced by, yes, Jim 'Dandy' Shooter himself. Apperantly the hatchets have been buried, old friendships have been mended and the future looks brighter than ever for the One From Beyond.

(And if that wasn't bad enough, go here for some truly horrifying geekery...)

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