Rock Star: INXS 8/14/05 Recap: There is No “JD” in “Team”
Welcome back to Rock Star: INXS! Last week we said good-bye to crazy ol’ Brandon, who was sure his last performance would ensure his permanent and unfailing sanctuary from the bottom three. Hmm. Miscalculate much? I’m sure that right now, Brandon is enjoying a delicious, steaming platter of poached crow with chives.
But there’s no beating around the bush for this episode. Nope. We open to a shot of Dave Navarro, striding towards the mansion with great purpose in his step. He’s like Death. Death in leather pants and make-up.
Today, he announces to the rockers, it’s time for another clinic, and this one will focus on songwriting. They will be split up into two teams, be given a brand-spankin’ new INXS track, and must write lyrics and vocal lines for it. The winning team receives an SLS Q-Line sound system, designed by Quincy Jones. If you don’t remember who Q is, he gave the Austin Powers movies their mojo with that awesome theme song. Also, they get a night out on the town with INXS, themselves! Hooray!
Ty gets to be a team leader for winning the encore performance last Wednesday and receives first pick. He picks Marty, but—oh! That just means that Marty is now his opponent and the captain of the other team. Sneaky!
Team Ty: Suzie, Deanna, and MiG
Team Marty: Jordis, J.D., and Jessica
Butterflies and Sundrops
When Ty’s group first listens to the track, which is a pretty standard, guitar-driven, blues-based number, Suzie and Ty immediately get ideas. Ty begins singing an unintelligible melody, but it fits nicely and everyone likes it. Ty describes the whole process as “ridiculously diplomatic,” as everyone is adding ideas and morphing the song into something new and harmonious. Suzie is having so much fun, she’s dancing around the room like a little kid as they sing, and the rest aren’t much better . . . particularly Ty boppin’ around in his sock-feet. Their song turns out to be titled “Stop Go,” and Ty is very proud of it. He says it’s soooo INXS. You know? Kick! Stop Go! He says he can see the cover now. I'm seeing the cover, too. Ty feels confident that his team will win, unless the other team has written “Yesterday” or “Let it Be.” Well, Ty, I think you would still win, because in that case the other team would be guilty of copyright infringement, and the whole lot of them would be hauled off to prison. Dinner with INXS would be moot at that point.
These two words have been the downfall of too many great bands to mention. Huddle close . . . you’re about to see it tear apart a band before they’re even a band!
Marty’s group’s work begins when J.D. suggests that they choose a “musical director.” J.D. elects Marty. Hmm. Good thinking. I will say one thing, though . . . J.D., bless him; he’s full of ideas. Jordis, however, will have none of his ideas; she finds them too obvious. Long story short; Jordis would prefer to go with lyrics so vague that you don’t really know what the song is about, while J.D. has a vision of a song that tells a story. Neither one is flexible, and Marty has difficulty keeping his team on task. J.D. feels ganged up on, but is thrilled when Marty tells him his lyrics are “genius” and encourages him to keep writing. Little does J.D. know . . . they’ve essentially brushed him off by sending him outside to work on a song that they won’t even consider using. I actually feel a bit bad for the guy! When J.D. returns and no one likes his song, he decides to simply bow out of the project, since he’s not digging Jordis’ song at all. There is some fussing, and Jessica tells J.D., “That’s not about being in a band!”
J.D. replies, “We’re not in a band. We’re competing to be in a band.” With that, he takes his leave. Poor J.D.—maybe his song will become a hit yet. I can see it all now.
Le Cheese Factory
Now it’s time for Andrew Farriss of INXS and Dave Navarro to hear the two teams’ songwriting chops. Ty’s team is up first, and they’re as beaming as ever. All in their places with bright shiny faces, they belt out “Stop Go,” which is . . . ah . . . the rock equivalent of Kidz Bop? Dave says via confessional that it had a sort of Electric Company feel to it, while Andrew laughed that it “wasn’t what he expected, musically.” J.D. laughs in the background. When all is said and done, however, Ty and Co. worked well as a team, which was the whole point of the exercise.
Next, Marty’s team takes the stage, as it were, and performs Jordis’ song. Or, should I say, Jordis, Marty and Jessica perform the song while J.D. sits sullenly. It’s performance art! When Dave inquires why J.D. was so quiet, J.D. spills the whole story about being ignored and finally bowing out. Dave and Andrew nod solemnly, seeing that Marty’s team missed the point of the clinic. Though Jordis’ song thrashed and bashed “Stop Go,” Ty and the Gang win by default, since Marty’s team did not function as a cohesive machine. “However,” adds Dave, “Could you perform your song, J.D.?” He and Andrew are curious what great missive drew J.D. away from the team. Ironically, it’s the best song of the bunch! J.D. knows what he’s doing. He just gets “does not work well with others” written on his report card. Marty, a bit skeptical of the whole affair, thinks that it’s “psychotically clever to peel away from the group so you do something that focuses 100% on yourself.” Don’t hate the playa, hate the game!
We’re Not With Them
As the big winners, Ty, Suzie, Deanna, and MiG go out to dinner with INXS that night, while J.D. and the rest are stuck with Julie Chen’s leftover peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. And it’s crunchy peanut butter, much to J.D.’s dismay. Put it on a slice of toast, J.D.! It will wash all your blues away.
MiG says it’s great to get to know the blokes from INXS—his heroes—as people. Everything is going swimmingly until the contestants decide to break out into an impromptu performance of “Stop Go.” INXS suddenly looks terribly embarrassed, and I bet they call for the check right then.
You’ve Been a Bad Boy!
When the contestants enter the billiards room the next day, a slightly different sight awaits them. Rather than eight songs for the choosing, there are eight crimson folders, each marked with a contestant’s name! Freedom of choice . . . dead. Suzie, however, is excited, and thinks it’s just like Christmas. Let’s see if Santa is good to them:
MiG receives “Baby I Love Your Way” by the inimitable Peter Frampton. I hope this ushers in a double-LP, “MiG Comes Alive!” I sincerely hope that MiG’s career is not jeopardized by such staggering shampoo debts, however.
Suzie receives “Bring it on Home to Me” by Sam Cooke. Suzie hasn’t ever heard the song, so it should be interesting.
Marty, receives . . . wait for it . . . “Hit Me Baby One More Time” by Britney Spears. The sound that emits from Marty’s lips can only be described as the cry of a man losing his very soul. The band wants to see him do something that’s not so serious, but Marty doesn’t have a clue where to begin with it. Come on, Marty! Glam it up! Strut! Make it fierce!
Need I explain why you should tune in on Tuesday night? The teaser has promised the most emotional concert night yet, and some lucky contestants will get to go live on the radio with an all-acoustic INXS. You won’t want to miss it!
Still fighting for my artistic integrity, Mantenna@fansofrealitytv.com