Chronological Distaste: Open Up And... Well, Take One of These...

Poison
Open Up and Say... Ahh!
Capitol/Enigma
5.3.88

Approved by God.
I didn't really care that Bret Michaels was dudded up like some tranny from the Strip. Nor did I care the C. C. DeVille had the Melanie Griffith equivalent of a Brian Setzer pompadour. To be honest, I don't know what it was that pulled me to something the likes of Open Up And Say... Ahh!, except perhaps "Every Rose Has Its Thorn" seemed meaningful at the time. Plus, there was a cute girl slung into black lingerie in the "Fallen Angel" video, which also seemed meaningful at the time. I guess the concepts of diminishing returns from fading relationships and the great potential for failure as the starry-eyed wanderer leaves Hicksville to pursue fame and fortune in L.A. weren't something I was too familiar with, being that I was 11 when this album came out. As far as I knew, Michaels was spouting Nietzsche, though I was at least aware that "Nothin' but a Good Time" was just a party song to get the groupies riled up. And, it did. And, for some reason, it still does.



Remarkable now is that Poison has managed to build their career as the back-up band for Michaels' turn as a reality television shill, wherein he continues to evade S.T.D's from a viewer capacity contrasting with the secrecy with which his various dressing room escapades remained purely a backstage occurrence. With the addition of his porn tape with Pamela Anderson, Rock Of Love is truly just Michaels proving his appeal and virility to the now forty-somethings that used to see him play the high-scale venues, boasting in some way that he still has it going on even if his cast of potential hangers-on are mostly busted and externally victimized by long nights of drinking and second-hand smoke. And then there's age and, of course, bad surgical decisions. You do get what you pay for, and most of these girls need only fill a top to compete for Michaels' affections, or to at least be the next "Every Rose Has Its Thorn" girl.

Now, for his audience, he hangs out with his kids in the show Bret Michaels: Life As I Know It. I guess he wants to add a dose of humanity to his reality TV persona? Or, he's just tired of getting shots.



Anyway, one very significant detail about this album for me is that is was my first experience with the religious and parental influence over music censorship. These were the days of Swaggart and the Moral Majority, so television was constantly overrun with stills of Ozzy Osbourne's maniacal smile, or Slayer's lyrics to "South Of Heaven." Parents were playing metal albums backwards to protect their children and ideas and theories regarding Satan worship in rock music were so ridiculous that an album as weak and insignificant as Open Up And Say... Ahh! was subject to the same scrutiny. Why? Because the girl on the cover had a long tongue. Poison were into fuckin,' not sheep-gutting or virgin sacrifice, (in the literal sense). Long tongue? C'mon now, Gene Simmons made all his money and nailed all his groupies thanks to a long tongue. Then again, he was another one under attack for being "The Demon" and drooling corn syrup on stage. Now? Yeah, he's a reality television joke, too.



Lock up your children!
There's a long tradition of out-of-touch adults being upset by lyrics and costumes, evangelists rallying their respective clans into all-out war against the corruption that their children may be consuming and I laugh at how foolish and easily swayed these people were/are. As a parent, I understand what it's like to be afraid for my child and worried about the people she'll meet and the trouble she may find as she gets older. But, I'd be making sure she could read or that she knew a thing or two about the world before I'd waste a second of my time offering free press to another so-called threatening pop star or before I'd sign a petition to ban the cover art of an album as weak as Open Up And Say... Ahh!. I get the feeling that if these people had heard what Poison had had to say, the only controversy would have been directed at how the band was able to make money. Or, get laid.

Sincerely,
Letters From A Tapehead
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