Earlier today, while rereading various things by David Foster Wallace, I came across this paragraph in his report on the 1998 awards event sponsored by Adult Video News, the journal of record for the pornographic film and video industry:
[T]he endless lists of categories and nominees are interspersed with little entr'actes of musical entertainment. Ms. Dyanna Lauren, for instance, appears between Best-Selling Tape and Best Foreign Release to sing her original composition "Psycho Magnet," a hard-rock ballad about being a porn star and getting constantly stalked and harassed by mentally ill mooks. The song's argumentation strikes yr. corresps. as a bit uneven, but Ms. Lauren struts and contorts and punctuates her phrasing with uppercuts to the air like a genuine MTV diva. The downside is that vocally, even with heavy amplification and digital synthesis, Dyanna Lauren sounds like a scalded cat, although Dick Filth points out that so does Alanis Morissette, and H. Hecuba chimes in by shouting: "Say whatever you want about the song-and-dance numbers here, they sure beat what Wahlberg and Reilly were coming up with in Boogie Nights!"Filth and Hecuba are DFW's "native informants" from the industry. Anyway, when this essay was reprinted in Consider the Lobster a few years ago, I recall wondering what the song "Psycho Magnet" actually sounded like, but had no luck finding out. (Not that I quite applied myself to this effort.) Today, however, it is possible not only to hear the song but to witness the performance in question:
It certainly adds a little something to the experience of reading DFW's essay. ("The song's argumentation strikes yr. corresps. as a bit uneven...") "Psycho Magnet" is available on the self-titled album of Lauren's group, Thousand Year Itch, which is, all things considered, a pretty great name for a band that played that particular venue.
The album was released ten years ago and I don't see any sign of Thousand Year Itch going on to do anything else, but on Amazon you can hear clips from it, including the TYI covers of "Son of a Preacher Man" and "Helter Skelter." The latter somehow reminds me of being dragged by a friend to a proto-hair metal bar in Dallas in 1980. But recording "Preacher Man" was a nice touch.
The studio rendition of "Psycho Magnet" has much less ardor than the live performance, and I am just glad someone preserved it for posterity, having now listened to this video three times and finding it kind of pricelessly unhinged, especially the guitar solo, which shows the influence of the great Nigel Tufnel.
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