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Bret Michaels declares “We love it here in San Diego!” at least a half dozen times

It felt like I was on the set of an ’80s VH1 music video

It’s all there - the wagging tongue, the bandanas, the gloves, the jewelry, the teased hair…the tights!
It’s all there - the wagging tongue, the bandanas, the gloves, the jewelry, the teased hair…the tights!

Some call it glam rock. Others, hair metal. My friend Joe calls it butt rock: as in, on August 28 at Petco Park, Joan Jett & the Blackhearts, Poison, Mötley Crüe, and Def Leppard rocked our butts off. From whence does the term “Butt rock” stem? According to the internet, it was probably spawned by someone mis-hearing a Texas radio station advertisement pitching “Rock, Nothing But Rock.” That seems a likely enough origin, but how does one define the term? On that, few internet experts seem to agree.

Place

Petco Park

100 Park Boulevard, San Diego

Even without definition, San Diego was graced by butt rock royalty on that warm summer night. Whittney Blue and I were dropped off just outside the stadium by an Uber. As we got out of the car, a big black party bus pulled up next to us, and out tumbled a dozen butt rockers, dressed in a panoply of zebra- and leopard-skin prints, leather, bandanas, sunglasses, heavy makeup, and wigs (I assume), their tongues lolling from their enthusiastic faces and their hands horned up. “This is going to be a fun one,” I said to Whittney. “I can already tell.” I chased after their butts and asked if I could snap a picture. They obliged. I heard one of the dudes say “Come on, babe, let’s make the guy’s day.” It was like being blasted back to the ‘80s in an instant. All that was missing was the cigarette smoke.

Unfortunately, by the time we arrived, we’d missed Joan Jett & the Blackhearts. She went on around five o’clock and didn’t play long. A disappointment, but I don’t think she gives a damn ‘bout her reputation. A woman like Joan can do what she wants to do, and I respect that. Poison slithered onto the stage and played a solid set as the daylight started to wane. “We love it here in San Diego!” Bret Michaels repeated at least a half dozen times between songs, as if confirming his location. Still, the frontman brought nothing but a good time (that’s a song, son), and did a great job of keeping the lively crowd geared up for Mötley Crüe and Def Leppard.

Plumes of pink smoke began to envelop the 40,000 seat park as bloody visual effects splattered the Jumbotron screens. We weren’t sure which band was following Poison; our eyes strained as we looked on from our ground floor seats, double fisting $15 tallboy Pacificos in anticipation. Then the red Mötley Crüe lights lit up the stage and the crunchy opening riff of “Wild Side” hit the tracks. Mick Mars could still do it — although it did look as if there might have been some invisible rock ‘n’ roll angels holding him upright. He didn’t move much, but his seventy-one year-old fingers crawled around that fretboard and hit the notes, just as they always have. The rest of the band was still moving okay. Nikki Sixx stayed cool, Vince Neil kind of looked like a nice old lady, and Tommy Lee refrained from dropping trou. Overall, the set kicked ass and the fans all around me fist-pumped hard enough to fuck up a rotator cuff, especially during “Shout at the Devil.”

While Mötley Crüe made their final curtain call and Def Leppard hit the stage, Whittney and I walked up to meet some friends who were sitting near the front of our section. I found it peculiar that they were dressed in full formal attire: dresses, buttoned-up tuxedos, gold necklaces, the whole drab. Apparently, they had been a part of a wedding earlier that day, and the wedding party was now at the show. It felt like I was on the set of an ‘80s VH1 music video. I mingled with some of the wedding guests, but noticed no bride. Did she run away to become a groupie? I guessed this would be the place to do it. Then it was brought to my attention that it had been a gay wedding: only happy grooms and rocking butts.

So there you have it. A carousel of wigs, spandex, eyeliner, cheap perfume, lipstick, jewelry, free flying tongues, sunglasses at night, black leather, red leather, sweat, lust, and gay love, all twirling together to the harmonies of electric guitars, shouts, and dudes in their late thirties demanding that young people name three songs from the band whose shirt they were wearing. With that, I do believe I’ve correctly discovered — and hereby donate to the internet — the correct definition of “butt rock.”

You’re welcome.

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It’s all there - the wagging tongue, the bandanas, the gloves, the jewelry, the teased hair…the tights!
It’s all there - the wagging tongue, the bandanas, the gloves, the jewelry, the teased hair…the tights!

Some call it glam rock. Others, hair metal. My friend Joe calls it butt rock: as in, on August 28 at Petco Park, Joan Jett & the Blackhearts, Poison, Mötley Crüe, and Def Leppard rocked our butts off. From whence does the term “Butt rock” stem? According to the internet, it was probably spawned by someone mis-hearing a Texas radio station advertisement pitching “Rock, Nothing But Rock.” That seems a likely enough origin, but how does one define the term? On that, few internet experts seem to agree.

Place

Petco Park

100 Park Boulevard, San Diego

Even without definition, San Diego was graced by butt rock royalty on that warm summer night. Whittney Blue and I were dropped off just outside the stadium by an Uber. As we got out of the car, a big black party bus pulled up next to us, and out tumbled a dozen butt rockers, dressed in a panoply of zebra- and leopard-skin prints, leather, bandanas, sunglasses, heavy makeup, and wigs (I assume), their tongues lolling from their enthusiastic faces and their hands horned up. “This is going to be a fun one,” I said to Whittney. “I can already tell.” I chased after their butts and asked if I could snap a picture. They obliged. I heard one of the dudes say “Come on, babe, let’s make the guy’s day.” It was like being blasted back to the ‘80s in an instant. All that was missing was the cigarette smoke.

Unfortunately, by the time we arrived, we’d missed Joan Jett & the Blackhearts. She went on around five o’clock and didn’t play long. A disappointment, but I don’t think she gives a damn ‘bout her reputation. A woman like Joan can do what she wants to do, and I respect that. Poison slithered onto the stage and played a solid set as the daylight started to wane. “We love it here in San Diego!” Bret Michaels repeated at least a half dozen times between songs, as if confirming his location. Still, the frontman brought nothing but a good time (that’s a song, son), and did a great job of keeping the lively crowd geared up for Mötley Crüe and Def Leppard.

Plumes of pink smoke began to envelop the 40,000 seat park as bloody visual effects splattered the Jumbotron screens. We weren’t sure which band was following Poison; our eyes strained as we looked on from our ground floor seats, double fisting $15 tallboy Pacificos in anticipation. Then the red Mötley Crüe lights lit up the stage and the crunchy opening riff of “Wild Side” hit the tracks. Mick Mars could still do it — although it did look as if there might have been some invisible rock ‘n’ roll angels holding him upright. He didn’t move much, but his seventy-one year-old fingers crawled around that fretboard and hit the notes, just as they always have. The rest of the band was still moving okay. Nikki Sixx stayed cool, Vince Neil kind of looked like a nice old lady, and Tommy Lee refrained from dropping trou. Overall, the set kicked ass and the fans all around me fist-pumped hard enough to fuck up a rotator cuff, especially during “Shout at the Devil.”

While Mötley Crüe made their final curtain call and Def Leppard hit the stage, Whittney and I walked up to meet some friends who were sitting near the front of our section. I found it peculiar that they were dressed in full formal attire: dresses, buttoned-up tuxedos, gold necklaces, the whole drab. Apparently, they had been a part of a wedding earlier that day, and the wedding party was now at the show. It felt like I was on the set of an ‘80s VH1 music video. I mingled with some of the wedding guests, but noticed no bride. Did she run away to become a groupie? I guessed this would be the place to do it. Then it was brought to my attention that it had been a gay wedding: only happy grooms and rocking butts.

So there you have it. A carousel of wigs, spandex, eyeliner, cheap perfume, lipstick, jewelry, free flying tongues, sunglasses at night, black leather, red leather, sweat, lust, and gay love, all twirling together to the harmonies of electric guitars, shouts, and dudes in their late thirties demanding that young people name three songs from the band whose shirt they were wearing. With that, I do believe I’ve correctly discovered — and hereby donate to the internet — the correct definition of “butt rock.”

You’re welcome.

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