Confidential, Monday, January 11, 1999
I headed over to Coney Island High on Saturday, December 12th, to catch the band Velvet Mafia. Bebe Buell (former wife of Aerosmith's Steven Tyler and mother of Liv) was in tow, looking stunning and ageless as ever. She kissed me hello and said that I "always smell so clean." I responded, "I do shower on occasion, only because when the paste starts building up it's difficult to remove." If you're looking for glamour tips, honey, you've come to the right place.
The band Starr was scheduled to open for the Velvet Mafia. You may remember their frontman Zane (ex-frontman/guitarist of Lovemaker). He's a memorable kinda guy all shaved legs and buttocks, five inch platform shoes, long dark wavy hair and a few layers of pasty make-up of his own. His act is a must see event. Unfortunately, Starr's drummer made such a late arrival that the rest of the band had already split. As Confucius say, timing is everything...
Soon it was time for the Velvet Mafia and fortunately all members were present and accounted for. Front person Dean Johnson, a six-foot-two-inch drag queen clad in a virgin-white wedding dress, took the stage looking much like Sinead O'Conner's less attractive sister. The Mafia opened their set with "Mona Lisa" during which Dean attempted to convince the audience that Mona Lisa was a drag queen. I guess that explains the crooked smile.
Needless to say, the Velvet Mafia are one of the more unique bar bands around today. They have the right stuff: flamboyant appearance, vibrant punk rock tunes, and the icing on the cake: a lead singer who entertains the crowd duly with deliciously delivered slander.
For instance, Dean: "Wanna hear some drag gossip? Jayne County claims that Hedwig is based on her life and Lady Bunny [drag singer and founder of Wigstock] claims the same for Babe: Pig in the City." With this the band rolled into the next number, "Fierce Ruling Diva," a tune loaded with haughty attitude which basically describes 90% of their repertoire.
Dean: "Hey folks, do I scare you? I don't mean to. You know, my mom says to me, 'Dean, honey, you could be such as success if you could just keep your pants on.' "
"I'm sorry you can't see my whole band," Dean apologized about midway through the set. (His wedding gown obscured the view of the other members.) "I'll just take off my dress that way my crotch can breathe too," he said as the band moved into their name-sake song "Velvet Mafia," a fantasy about a call boy who sleeps with a rich man, followed by "Love Sucks," which needs little explanation.
After "Baby Looked Good," a tune about sex, murder and other family values, Dean shouted, "Money can't buy you love, but it can buy you me!" and he proved it by passing around a bowl for contribution. "Well folks, I can't let you go without one more," he said before singing the lyrics of the final tune: "You got it going on and no one's gonna love you when your looks are gone..."
Dean obviously has things all figured out, which is more than I can say for most. To find out when the Velvet Mafia will be appearing again or to read Dean's latest rants, check his website.
More NY Rock Confidential Installments:
12/04/98: the Misfits
10/19/98: Didi interviews DJ Chumley and DJ Quick
09/01/98: Hellfire '98 (benefit for NY Underground Film Festival)
06/04/98: the first annual New York City Tattoo Convention
05/02/98: Didi's S&M Special with Flesh Fetish
03/28/98: No More Tears and Soft Parade
02/27/98: Ace Frehley, Sebastian Bach, Mick Rock, Lenny Kaye,
12/26/97: Ramones, The Dictators, The Undead, more
11/29/97-12/11/97: Sexus, Princess Superstar, more
09/19/97-10/26/97: Blowtop, Crazy Raymond & the Watchdogs, more
05/21/97-08/17/97: Toilet Boys, Nashville Pussy, Turbo A.C.s, Waldos,
07/23/96-09/09/96: Electric Frankenstein, The Wild Bunch, more