That 70s Week

White-trash fever heats up as the millennium approaches

Photo by Mike BassoWe were lying in bed the other night, minding our own business—which is really all we do these days anyway [sigh]—when Convoy, starring the foxy Mr. Kris Kristofferson, came on the TV, or, as we like to call it, the "damned infernal picture box," though it's not nearly as troublesome as the voodoo magic of Mr. David Blaine, who has positively made a pact with the Devil. Surely you saw him levitate?

But back to Convoy. It's based on a song—yessirree, Joe, the whole movie's based on a four-minute pop song—by C.W. McCall. The aforementioned Kristofferson plays renegade trucker "Rubber Duck," who leads a convoy containing, among other folks, 11 longhaired friends of Jesus in a chartreuse microbus. It's a great song, though it makes no mention of any love interest. Never fear: one's supplied anyway in the modern personage of Miss Ali McGraw, who wears lots of tube tops and looks perturbed much of the time, especially when it becomes clear that the Duck, in whose rig she has thumbed a lift, is going to crash right through the National Guard's roadblock! Of course, we turned it off and went to sleep a long time before that came to pass, but we know the song, and that's how it ends. Oh, yeah: and Ernest Borgnine plays the evil ol' sheriff. Hooo-whee!

When did we stop idolizing those romantic roamers, cross-country truckers? How is it that there's no B.J. and the Bear these days, consorting with bevies of hot mamas with wispy voices and names like "Stacks"?

The last time these fine examples of freedom-seeking American manhood were properly adored and feted was in the '70s—and though the '70s have come and gone at least three times since the end of that decade, bringing disco and funk back again and again, the white part of the decade, the trucker-lovin', Lynyrd Skynyrd-listening part, had apparently died.

Until now.

Perhaps it's Robbie Knievel breaking his legs just like his fearsome daddy. Maybe it's the vaunted distrust of the government (pronounced "gubmint," thank you) that the weary seekers in our generation are flaunting, typified in the daunting personage of Jesse "The Governor" Ventura. Maybe it's bubbas like George Dubya Bush infusing this great nation with Texas style. But have you noticed there's an awful lot more Motocross being perpetrated in these parts than there used to be? Just a few years ago, we were ironic about it, going to Southern Culture on the Skids shows to be pelted with fried chicken and sing along to rousing anthems about going to the drag races. Now it seems quite serious. And so it was that we attended Skirt Night at Speedway at the Orange County Fairgrounds with our best friend, Greg the Fireman; Annie His Special Lady; and various and sundry small children.

OC Weekly: Why do you like Speedway?Greg the Fireman: The kids enjoy it, and I wish I was doing it, too. Why?

It seems like it'd be fun, and you get all the chicks.

But you already have a special lady.Annie His Special Lady: [snorting in a very unladylike fashion] Like he doesn't get all the chicks at work anyway.

We both nodded knowingly, our eyebrows raised in condemnation. Poor Greg! But Speedway seemed promising: when we entered the parking lot, there were guys in skirts peeing in the bushes, which is usually a positive sign when you're looking for a good time, and surely that was the plot behind several episodes of B.J. and the Bear, or maybe it was Bosom Buddies, which wasn't about truckers at all, but about cross-dressers in the '70s—or was that the '80s already? We were quite small at the time, but we just knew the blond one would be a huge star someday!

Anyway, the stands mostly seemed to be filled with small children, like a Spice Girls concert, and we were all on tenterhooks, waiting for someone to wipe out. After what seemed like an eternity of guys skidding sideways around the curves and doing wheelies when they won, which we think is pretty cool, three dudes wiped out at the same time and got run over. One guy seemed pretty jacked, but he eventually walked away from the carnage, and that's the important thing, whether or not he actually collapsed once out of the crowd's sight. And then the "quads" came out, and we weren't sure it could get any sillier short of monster trucks. One had little googly eyes in front, like Herbie the Love Bug.

Then, luckily, it was time for the hot legs contest! Even the little kids got the joke when a bald guy appeared in a wedding dress, and everyone was filled with joy when another ran around, baring his soft, womanly, thong-encased beer ass. The MC asked Bobby, a diaper-clad Costa Mesan, what he does, and Bobby replied, "Nothing," and everyone hooted with love and approval. Someone else, after saying he's from Anaheim, said, "All guys from Anaheim wear skirts." Words to live by. Some hot mamas won the contest.

We took our boy up to Los Angeles (pronounced "Los Anjeleez," thank you) for Rhino's Retro Fest. It was rad, and we got to sit behind the wheel of Starsky & Hutch's big ugly Torino. Also, we got to see the General Lee, and although we were very small when the show aired, we just knew the blond Duke brother would be a huge star! We'd like to take a moment to review all the various swag the fine PR folks at Rhino have sent us over the past few months, seeing as how we promised we would.

The Very Best of Nicolette Larson. Our parents had her debut album when we were a little girl, and we loved it very much and would sit in front of the stereo and read the lyrics over and over, and she sure did have beautiful hair! The Sugarhill Gang: Jump on It. Our boy Jimmy likes this children's rap album very much. Thanks, Rhino folks! Willie Nelson in Concert video. A humdinger! Hot Rods & Custom Classicsbox set. Extremely thorough. A great Christmas gift for that special someone! Women of Country. Dolly sings her original version of "I Will Always Love You." Funny, we don't hate it like we do when Whitney sings it. This is a beautiful album, and it has already been stolen! The Monkees Greatest Hits. We're pretty sure Rhino sent us this. It was a long time ago. It's the dreamiest!

A '70s week wouldn't be a '70s week without some big old arena rock, so we spent Friday evening in the company of heartbreaker Tom Petty at the Irvine Meadows Amphitheater. May we just say that, while other formerly hot rockers have become unbelievably boring in their old age—we mean you, Sting, Rod Stewart and four out of five Rolling Stones—Petty keeps getting better. His soundtrack for the Jennifer Aniston flick She's the One had something like 16 glorious tracks, and his new one, Echo, isn't bad either. And as the only blond Traveling Wilbury, we just knew he'd be a huge star.

Clarification: Twisty Lemons, referred to in last week's column, is not in fact a lesbian, as several readers thought. We only meant that she's a girl and she rocks hard, like the guitarist for Best Revenge. Threats of legal action should be sent to CommieGirl99@hotmail.com.
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