By On the occasion of our 20th anniversary
By Gustavo Arellano
By R. Scott Moxley
By Alfonso Delgado
By Courtney Hamilton
By Joel Beers
By Peter Maguire
By Charles Lam
Fifi Larue—the self-proclaimed Gothic killer clown of rock & roll—thinks big. Larue takes the stage clad in glitter and face paint—which can take as long as 90 minutes to apply—to front a band called, well, Fifi Larue. The rock clown is either ambitious or delusional enough to already have plans for a rarefied arena-level rock stage show. Luckily for you aspiring stars, he's willing to share some of his heavy metal wisdom.
Fifi lays out the band's raison d'être: "We put the 'kiss' back in Kiss, put the 'twist' back in Twisted Sister, put the 'oo' back in Mötley Crüe, and the 'oop' back in Alice Cooper." The Long Beach group recently got its chance to do all that on the American Idol spin-off The Next Great American Band, but, Larue laments, things didn't quite work out. "We went there without a guitar player. [He] couldn't get out of work."
Larue also recently took a chance at becoming a new horror-film-hosting icon on The Search for the Next Elvira, another reality show. Rather than trying to fill the famed hostess' low-cut dress, Larue had another approach. As he explains, "What better sidekick for her to have but a clown named Fifi Larue?"
But when not appearing on reality shows, both the band and the man put their time and effort into saving rock & roll and putting on a live spectacle to remember. And Fifi was more than willing to offer tips for bands needing to glitter up their act.
"One: Have stage props," says Larue. Fifi likes to shop Halloween stores during off-season sales.
"Two: Have great musicians backing you. If you don't have good musicians, it looks like a cheesy show.
"Three: You've got to put chicks onstage. If you don't have eye candy, it's not going to work."
Fifi's tips are pragmatic, as well as theatrical.
"Four: Have good equipment," he says. "And get roadies. You want to make an impression of the rock star life. How can you do that if you set up your own equipment?
"Five: You've got to have a backdrop showing your name. When people are walking around drunk and they're not listening to you, you want that logo hitting them in the face."
And for those who might question Fifi's approach, he brings it back to what's at the heart of rock & roll.
"Six: Have good songs. You've got to have catchy tunes. If you walk out of a club humming their tune, a band has accomplished what it set out to do."
Summing up his advice, Fifi concludes, "When they walk out of the club, people are going to remember our name, our look, because I look like a goddamn clown, and they're going to remember the songs."
What do these tips add up to? "I want to be a multimillionaire," says Larue. "I want to be corporate. I'm selling myself. And I want merchandise to go with it, too."
But the Gothic killer clown of rock & roll isn't just in it for himself. "Heavy metal's dead, so it does need a messiah or a monster to bring it back," says Larue. "Blasphemy or not, I'm bringing back heavy metal. I don't think I'm God . . . but I am a rock god."