The Power Of Music, Or How Specimen Turned A Suburban Preppie Into A "Ded Gurl" In Only Three Songs!



Back in '83, this groundbreaking UK goth band released their debut EP, Batastrophe, for Sire Records and then, as most of my most beloved bands do, they promptly fell off the face of the earth.  A couple years later, while making a pilgrimage to Wax Trax!, I was astounded to see that they'd released a new 12" single on some fly-by-night indie label.  If that wasn't cool enough, upon leaving the store with fresh, new Specimen 12" in-hand, I cut through a filthy alley (by Lincoln Park standards) and noticed one lonely black-and-white flyer haphazardly pasted to a dumpster.



Why I looked, I dunno, but what I saw freaked my shit out: Specimen was playing in Chicago.  Tonight.  I promptly scalped two Cubs tickets outside a McDonald's and informed my girlfriend that there would be a slight change in plans.

That night, two strokes past the midnight hour, Specimen hit the stage looking like an off broadway version of Rocky Horror Picture Show that had seen better days.  From the opening bass riff  and slashing guitars of "Kiss Kiss Bang Bang", I stood transfixed by the hard-rock gender-bending goth rock show that unfolded before me like the Devil's tongue.

By the third song, "Dead Man's Auto Chop", I felt my girlfriend's hand break from mine.  It took another moment to register that the space she had occupied had been swallowed by a bald dude with "Kill Me" scrawled on his forehead.  I turned to catch one last fleeting glimpse of her before she reached the exit.  She was unrecognizable, fear having turned her porcelain visage into an ashen shell of its former self.

After the show, I exited the venue in a sweaty, drained euphoria and found my Swatch-watch princess sitting on the curb with shell-shocked eyes.  We drove back to Michigan in the wee hours trying to ignore the icy silence that enveloped the car.  Once home, we did not speak to one another for an entire week.  I feared the worst, began to pick up the pieces and move on.

And then came the knock on my door.

I opened it expecting to see one of my neighborhood friends but was taken aback by the goth chick whose black leather ultra mini-skirt, fishnet stocking, leather jacket with "Ded Gurl" written in crossbone-shaped letters, jet black dye job, eyeliner, and lipstick made me wonder if Siouxsie Sioux hadn't just moved into the haunted house next door.

Wow, she drives the same car as my girlfriend, too.  That's odd.

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