Stuck in the Middle With You

Awards, violence, preening, bickering!

Photo by Jeanne RiceThe Orange County Register's chief music ruminator, Ben Wener, may have found the Orange County Music Awards at The Grove of Anaheim Saturday night "sluggish" and "overplayed," but Wener obviously didn't have our seats. If he did, he could have watched in mortified glee as Hard 9's Lary Spears threw change—and then a full drink, ice cubes a-tumblin'—at Wonderlove as the double winners played "What It Seems." Oooh, direct hit! Singer Chris Paul Overall flipped him off as the quarters were flying, and then, furious, seemed to talk himself down from killing Spears with an "It's all right! It's all right!" that didn't sound all right at all as the drink got him in the head from a good 20 feet. He kind of sounded like the legendary Grady Moseley. Aw right, aw right! Shadoobie!

You don't mess with Texas, Wonderlove or, in this case, Miss Linda Lou Jemison. Linda didn't sic Spears on Wonderlove; her alibi's water-tight. But there are plenty who are harboring ill will on Miss Linda's behalf, after the beloved band she managed and proudly referred to as "my boys" and into whom she poured two years and $15,000, fired her last week. Dave Beste thanked her from the stage after Wonderlove won Best Rock, but the others were silent, and Lary was drunk.

The other thing Wener didn't seem to get was that unlike one of those awful Grammys or Oscars or anything else that I refuse to watch, it didn't matter that it lasted four hours. Nobody had to sit, except Wener and our own Rich Kane, but that's what they always do. Everybody else was in the lounge or the courtyard, smoking and drinking and ignoring whatever was going on in the great hall. It was a lovely schmooze, with people you hadn't seen in a while, like George and Barbara Fryer (George left without a big gorgeous handmade plate/trophy, but his wife is hot, so he can't really bitch about his lot in life) and Michael Ubaldini, who also got skunked. Michael Ubaldini's mom was there, too.

Some of our favorite moments from the evening:

The Moment won Best High School Band, and when they showed up to thank The Academy, they looked like they were about 26 years old—"high school kids" by way of 90210or 21 Jump Street. They were darling, and we adored them, and then they got up later to play and sounded really, really goopy, like they should spin 'em on the local Christian station, KFSH 95.9. Get it? The Fish? Oh, of course you do! My readers are smart! Also, they posed a whole bunch, and my boyfriend was all appalled they were posing and the guitarist was jumping around like he was Rick Nielsen from Cheap Trick. I want you to want me!Still, if the sound had been off, I would have thought they were like cute, fun, posing little puppies.

•Everybody snickered and made faces during the set of last year's best female, Ashley Bee—one song was called, snickeringly enough, "Spare Me." It was an easy rip-off of "Mary Jane's Last Dance," but you could do worse than ripping off Tom Petty. Anyway, she sang flat even if she did have cute Lisa Loeb glasses. Wasn't she blonde last year?

•Two idiot sorority girl-type presenters exhorted everyone to come down to the Crazy Horse Saloon like they were asking people to go to Daytona for Spring Break—woooooo! They totally, totally want you to come!

Live Magazine's Martin Brown, who founded the awards, had to take the stage when Billy Zoomand Mike Rouse forgot it was their turn to present and apologized with, "They're probably propping up the bar." But anybody who has ever read my seminal interview with Zoom knows he has only one Coors Light a night—alone, at home—because he's on the Atkins Diet, and Coors Light has the fewest calories. He used to be anorexic!

•The MCs were supergay, and I mean that in a negative, pejorative kind of way.

Weekly editor Will Swaim and I, who presented the award for Best Male Acoustic, are much funnier in print. Still, we looked gorgeous. I had never heard of the winner, Brook Lee, but he stammered something about having had a crush on me for years, so I now think he's a swell fella, and I'm sure his music kicks ass.

•And Vanessa Zarate, who was all slim and disgustingly sexy in some leather-type spangly pants, sang some fool kind of opera thing in a soprano truer and more pure than any I've heard—and I've heard Kiri Te Kanawaand Cecilia Bartoli. Of course, Zarate, like Gwen Stefani, stubbornly refuses to live here anymore. She has hotfooted it to Portland, Oregon, which doesn't deserve her. Portland thinks it's so cool!

•I had an oddly overpowering urge for a Budweiser, a Weekly and an Elmore Toyota. And orange is the new pink.

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Ben Wener and Rich Kane may have stayed for the whole shebang, but we had seen enough and had enough fun for one evening—no, really! It was fun! But it was also time for karaoke!

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