Rock Star: Supernova 7/05/06 recap – Insane, Dirty, and Tattooed . . . and That’s Just the Women!

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Superfluous Introduction—if Van Halen had them, I can, too.

All right, people. I’m not going to lie to you—when I first saw the premise and leading players in this beautiful thing that we call Rock Star: Supernova, I had my doubts. I saw the names Tommy Lee and Gilby Clarke and thought, “Psssh. More like Rock Star: Superdinosaur.” But, over the weekend, the most incredible things happened. I went into the mountains, became one with nature for four glorious days, emerged to play a little acoustic show with my two best friends, and celebrated the long and glorious history of overeating and blowing things up. ‘Merica! Hoo-ah!

I was in a much better mood. When I returned home and came to, I found, to my great surprise, that it was already time for the first episode, which I was recapping. I quickly watched the online premiere, which you, too, can (and should) see here, and heard Gilby Clarke state that Supernova is not going to be a heavy metal band. With that phrase, my Aqua Net nightmares were laid to rest, and now I come to your poor and huddled, tattooed, hair-dyed and eye-lined masses, ready to RAWK!

Introducing the Band

Well, it’s good to be back. Some of us are probably ready to put the whole JDINXS affair behind us and see some fresh faces, and here are the charming ol’ ruffians behind Supernova:

Tommy Lee: Wielder of the sticks for legendary sleazesters Motley Crüe, there’s not much that I can say about Tommy that hasn’t already been said. Or seen in that video. I beseech divine inspiration to avoid all the obvious “stick” puns. It’s already too late.

Gilby Clarke: A long-haired, mustachioed fellow, Gilby Clarke played second banjo to Slash in that little outfit “Guns N’ Roses,” which has to take some guts. Aside from being a talented guitar-slinger, the interview segments suggest that he’s quite the affable chap.

Jason Newstead: As his bass work for Metallica shows, Jason is simply an incredible musician. My dear old mum says he looks like the most respectable one. I laugh.

Joining them to critique is producer Butch Walker, who was named the Rolling Stone producer of the year and will produce Supernova’s debut album.

And hey! Look! Brooke Burke is back as our smouldering hostess and Jane’s Addiction and ex-Red Hot Chili Peppers guitarist Dave Navarro is here to look sort of pretty and maybe offer advice. Maybe he’ll just leer at Brooke Burke. Best of all, Paul Mirkovich’s House Band from last year has returned, who are a “supergroup” if I’ve ever seen one.

So, what’s at stake? Just the instant thrust into stardom that fronting a supergroup would entail. There will be at least one single, an album, and an incredible show-stopping . . . er, show at Peter Morton’s Hard Rock Hotel and Casino. “What’s at stake here is frickin’ huge!” declared Tommy Lee. Curse you, Tommy. I’m trying to keep my scruples, here.

After this big bang, perhaps Supernova will make like their namesake and disappear from the cosmos forever, but hey! When have I ever been the death of the party!? It’s time to see what these fifteen hopefuls are made of!

There’s an Obvious Storm Pun Rollin’ In!

Our first performer is Storm Large from Portland, Oregon. That is her real name, thankyouverymuch, and she says that while some accuse her of exploiting her sexuality, she is first and foremost an entertainer, and she’s here to entertain the people. Well, okey dokey! She performs The Who’s “Pinball Wizard,” and I think she does a nice job. Her vocals during the verses are, dare I say, very subtle, and she brings it up to a scream as the song progresses. Well done, with a theatrical flair that befits her name.

Dave immediately declares her “superdope and bad-ass,” and Tommy concurs. Gilby asks if she was scared to kick things off, and Storm replies that she “likes being first”—she gets a clean mic!

Next is Ryan Star, who, if Storm proved herself helpful in the online debut, proved himself dazed and confused. He was the only contestant that didn’t improv in the studio when the contestants met the band, so this will be his first chance to impress the band, with the Goo Goo Dolls’ “Iris.” Ryan has whipped out the acoustic guitar for this performance and sings with a great emotional range. He goes from a husky whisper to a growl, and while it sounds nice, it also sounds a little “rock-lite” to me. But, hey, I was never a fan of those silly Goo Goos, either.

Dave thinks it was great and believed his passion. Jason loved his versatility with the guitar, but called him on looking down for the chords. It kind of reminds me of a piano teacher that would slap you with a ruler for looking down at your hands. Unlike Miss Old Bat, however, Jason was captured enough by the performance to like it, overall.


Our next performer is Aussie rocker Toby Rand, who dropped out of high school to follow his dream of being a musician. I have high hopes for this mate, as I adore his countrymen, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. Yes, I realize that this is as silly as basing an opinion of American music on Creed, so hush it up in advance, you! However, Toby performs the Dylan classic “Knockin on Heaven’s Door,” and he throws that shrimp on the freakin’ barbie. Toby has an excellent, ragged voice that soars over the acoustic arrangement, and interacts very well with the crowd, eventually sitting cross-legged in the middle of the elongated thrust stage.

Dave thought the acoustic setting was a great choice, while Tommy notes the going-wild-ness of all the ladies in the audience. Gilby, still reeling from hearing Axl Rose sing this song 9,000,000 times, says it was a “great change” and says “he killed it.” Butch, to remind everyone that he’s there, notes that, to his producer’s ear, Toby sounds really, really good through the mike.

Who shall follow? Patrice Pike from Austin, TX shall follow, Lord. Patrice belts Jefferson Airplane’s “Somebody to Love” with great effectiveness, showing power in her voice and slinking nice and close to lead guitarist Rafael, which always gets the guys in the band excited. She must have watched last year.

Dave pronounces another song killed (in a good way) and makes note of the band interaction. Yep. Gilby loves her tone and says he “can tell that she really wants it.”

Welcome to the U.S.A.! Now, Get Dirty.

Magni says that he’s probably one of the ten most recognizable pop stars in Iceland, but he’s set his sights on world domination, beginning with tonight’s performance of The Rolling Stones’ “Satisfaction,” which I maintain is a lousy song. Whatever, Keith Richards jumped out of the coconut tree because he heard this bloody song on the radio for the billionth time! Magni, to his very bald credit, has a very gravelly voice and does an okay job. Not bad for his first performance in ‘Merica.

Tommy congratulates Magni for his U.S. debut, but Dave accuses him of sounding “too much like J.D. Fortune a Vegas show.” Magni pipes up, “Dude, I haven’t even been to Vegas!” “Well, you should go,” retorts Dave. Oooooh! Gilby says that Magni has a good voice, but to keep in mind that they are a dirty, filthy rock band.

Next up is Zayra Alvarez, who grew up in a small town in Puerto Rico, but left because her dreams were too big for that one-horse town. Her vocal jam in the studio was just strange, and tonight she will be performing Evanescence’s “Bring Me to Life.” Zayra’s vocals are, once again, rather strange, but her outfit, which is a combination of spandex and a black train, makes things even more uncomfortable.

Dave says “Spanish-spanish-spanish-the Spanish guitar opening reminded me of the homeland!” Butch believes she is “like a cross between Mazzy Star and Björk.” What!? Absolutely not—Mazzy Star is wonderful. Björk, maybe, because I don’t think Björk is human. Jason, obviously seeing only one possible hope in Zayra, asks her to marry him. She agrees, and I can hear the wedding bells tolling the death-knell of Supernova. Can you?


Hailing from Montreal, Jenny Galt is up next, armed with a Les Paul, and she’s performing Nickelback’s “How You Remind Me.” Jenny was sick during the online premiere, and her vocals are still shaky for this performance. Of course, this doesn’t distress anyone, as Nickelback was lame and had the airwaves clogged up like Star Jones’ arteries, so it’s a good thing if the tune is unrecognizable, right?

Dave immediately notes and praises the hot, sexy curves . . . of her guitar. Ouch. However, he adds that it was great to see someone so comfortable with her instrument. Jason compliments her for looking “as though she belongs onstage.” I hope, for her sake, that Jenny has fully recovered for her next performance.

Determined to bring things back on track, Josh Logan is set to bring his soul-influenced vocals to the Black Crowes’ “She Talks to Angels.” As Josh takes the stage, my poseur alarm instantly goes off . . . this guy is clearly wearing his dad’s preppy clothes. Also, by “soulful” he must mean “nasally,” because his vocals are pinched and don’t do much for me until the latter half of the song, where he sort of gets better.

“It’s sort of like Chris Robinson went to finishing school!” declares Dave. Tommy says the song was an excellent choice for Josh’s style, and Jason questions Josh on how his style will fit in with Supernova’s brand of RAWK. “I’ll just bring it,” smiles Josh. We’ll see about that, cashmere Avril.

Next up is Matt Hoffer, who is attempting to escape the corporate world and become a rock & roll star. A wise choice, Matt. And for his rockin’ debut . . . Coldplay’s “Yellow”? Hmm. Do you know how I know you’re gay, Matt? Just kidding. I own all their CDs, too. Matt looks almost . . . sweet as he sings this song, and while he has a very nice voice, it’s not exactly stirring the blood.

Tommy Lee says the performance was “beautiful,” and you know you’re something when Tommy Lee calls you “beautiful.” Dave agrees, but says he wants to see something a bit uglier next time. *sigh* Po-tay-to, Po-tah-to.

And lo, I saw the spirit of punk rock, which rose up from the sea like a great beast. . . .

At this point, the show needs a swift kick in the leather chaps, so I sincerely hope that the tattooed, fiery-haired, face-pierced Dilana can deliver. Dilana’s style is shaped by her life in South Africa, where she recalls a childhood of great poverty. Well, what they say about hardship begetting inspiration must be true, because her performance of Nirvana’s “Lithium” is simply stunning. She stands motionless for the first half of the performance, her dark eyeliner stare enough to frighten small children and cause Victorian ladies to swoon, suddenly exploding into a frenetic fury during the second chorus. She’s trying to strangle Sasha, the bassist! All of Supernova give her a ragged standing ovation as the crowd goes wild.

“That was insane!” exclaims Dave, who loved the intensity. Tommy can barely speak.

Who could follow an act like that? It’s up to the young and innocent-looking Dana Andrews to ride the energy wave with Melissa Etheridge’s “I’m the Only One.” Dana says she was sheltered in her youth and sang backup at weddings, but she must have picked up on good music along the way, as she, too, knocks her performance out of the park. Dana has a powerful voice with a great, solid quality—there are no signs of her voice betraying her, even on the longer phrases.

Dave gives Dana props on the great performance, and asks what her parents would think about her going on tour with Tommy. “Oh, it’s great!” she cheerfully replies. “I could even keep you guys alive!” Oh . . . zing-a-zoo. Butch says that her voice and pitch are great, especially for a younger singer. “Normally, they can’t sing their way out of a sack without being auto-tuned and whatever.” Jason says she has an incredible gift, and they are watching it develop before their very eyes! (The future is here . . . today!)

Yeah, Whatever, it Doesn’t Even Matter, Manny

Next up is the ex-shy band kid, Phil Ritchie, who gave up a multi-million dollar career in chemistry to play rock n’ roll. Well, Lord knows he could do both. He has chosen to perform Living Colour’s “Cult of Personality,” and while his vocals sound okay, he looks pretty bored, honestly. He sort of shambles around stage with his gangly limbs going in random directions, eyelids half-closed, perhaps after-effects from the last chemistry experiment.

Dave loves that song and says Phil’s vocals were strong, but his stage presence was rather lacking for the explosive SUPERNOVA. Gilby says it was pitchy, and Tommy says it was a crazy song choice and takes a very “like that other show” moment to stress how important song choice is. Phil, shockingly, doesn’t display great emotion at hearing any of this.

On the other hand, the 4’8” Jill Gioia is percolating with energy, perhaps a little bit too much. Dressed like Shakira and eager to not move away from the “small girl, huge voice” comparison just yet, she screams her way through Janis Joplin’s “Piece of my Heart.” It’s all right, if a little grating—she’s certainly no Janis.

However, Dave says that she did a great job and Jason whips out the “dynamite/small package/big bang” metaphor. I’ll look forward to hearing a tad more subtlety from Jill.

Southpaw Stammer and Yell of Chucky

Our penultimate performer is Chris Pierson, the all-American rocker who turned from baseball to music after being sidelined by an injury. He’s clearly full of courage, as he was the first to jam with Supernova in the studio, and he chose the emasculatingly high “Roxanne” as his piece for tonight’s performance. How will the ex-jock fare? Not so hot, I fear. Chris has moved the vocals to a much lower range, so now he’s effectively singing only three notes . . . and they aren’t his good notes. It’s just bad, especially since he doesn’t have the “obscenely high Sting vocals” excuse to fall back upon.

Dave is not a huge fan, as he believes the song showcased the limitations of Chris’ range. Jason notes that there aren’t many male vocalists who could handle Sting’s range, and Butch asks if the new arrangement was Chris’ fault idea. Chris says it was an attempt to update the song and make it more raucous, and Gilby says that while it was a good idea, the execution just plain sucked. Such an acid tongue on that one!

Finally, it’s up to Lukas Rossi to take us out with a bang. Lukas has apparently lived off the streets of Toronto since he was fifteen, but that still doesn’t explain why he looks like Chucky. Good Lord. Very ugly transvestite Chucky here is not someone I’d like to stare at for a long time, but man, can he tear up the stage. Growling his way through Billy Idol’s “Rebel Yell” as though it were filtered through The Birthday Party and gargled with razorblades, Lukas delivers a feral and wholly satisfying performance to close out the evening.

“That was insane! Awesome!” cheers Dave. Also channeling that other show, Gilby says that Lukas really made the song his own. “Can you say ‘Rock Star’?” asks Tommy, before dropping the microphone and nodding with respect.

Why yes, Tommy, I can say “Rock Star,” and this looks to be a fantastic season of music and mayhem. Be sure to tune in tomorrow for the results of tonight’s performances. I hope you’re as excited as I am, my little rock n’ roll dearies!

Sex, drugs, rock n’ roll, love, and kisses,