Confessions of a Metalhead

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by Moon Zappa
Published in Harper's Bazaar
April 1998.

We had two rules growing up in my house: 1. If you're going to take a shower, do it with whomever you're dating so you don't waste water; and 2. If you buy one for yourself, buy six, because chances are everybody's going to want one. The first rule traumatized me because I used the bathroom right next to my parents' room, so I didn't date much, and the second one, well, I was the only one who followed it, so it wasn't exactly a two-way street. Needless to say, it occurred to me when I was old enough to make rules of my own that they should be fair and simple. Mine was, if the Bon Jovi video with Jon walking down the street singing "she don't even know my name" came on, I was to be notified at once. Since it was the only rule I had, I wanted strictest attention paid to its enforcement.

You see, I knew Jon Bon Jovi was mine. How did I know? He wore a little crescent moon around his neck, which could be seen quite clearly in the video. So it was only a matter of time.

Up until seeing Jon on the tube, I had spent most of my life locked in my bedroom, miserable about my raging acne and "friend" label with the guys at school. In those days if you didn't have a concave stomach while lying flat on your back at the beach (so you could see your pubic hair in your bathing-suit bottoms), you just weren't noticed. My dad's music had made me shy, almost repressed about my own anatomy, with his lyrics about ramming things up poop chutes and shooting too quick – this, from my dad! He was so open creatively that I was off in search of black turtleneck bathing suits with long sleeves. "Valley Girl," the song my father and I did together in 1982, made me feel like a sad zoo specimen. Going through puberty in front of the world on shows like Solid Gold and Merv Griffin only added to my self-consciousness. But Jon lifted me out of all this. I felt uninhibited, unbridled lust for him. My attention became focused on the love I felt coursing through my veins. Who cared if my legs touched at the top? That's when I started perusing magazines like Kerrang! and Circus for Clues to meeting my dream man. I was studying photos of him backstage at Ratt shows and Mötley Crüe gigs when it dawned on me. Start going to rock concerts! Hang out backstage!

My brother Dweezil was already into metal and had been trying to get me interested in Van Halen, Def Leppard and Ozzy for years. He is two years younger than I am, so that was reason enough to reject his worldview. But now I had a purpose! By day I dreamed up ways to make Jon mine by using some elementary witchcraft: writing my name in cursive with "Bon Jovi" as my new last name, dripping candle wax on the curling j's and n's, and burning the edges of the page to make it look like something out of medieval times while reciting made-up virginal incantations. By night, Dweezil and I would go as far as irvine to see shows: Aerosmith, Mötley Crüe, Ratt ... no sign of Jon anywhere ... Dokken, Rough Cutt ... hey, that guitar player is kind of cute ... no, stay focused! I would think. Stay close to the implants; they must know something because they keep getting asked into the inner chambers backstage.
I wasn't lucky enough to be born with a body that responded well to acid-washed jeans and lycra, so I had to rely on my last name to get past the bodyguards. Dweezil sensed my lack of interest in the guitar solos and ditched me when I started spending nights at metal clubs on sunset strip like the rainbow and the cathouse, hoping for a glimpse. At one point I was so desperate that I was prepared to try gazzari's, the lowest dive on the head-banging totem pole, when Dweezil took pity on me and tossed me a golden bone: a pass to the NAMM convention, a trade show devoted entirely to the latest amps, guitars, drum kits-a musician's dream. Endorsement city! Surely Jon would be there.

He wasn't, but Dweezil and I did get invited to the rock & roll charity bowlathon that Jon was expected to attend. We were hot on his trail! I could feel my future as his bride gathering momentum. On the magical night, we arrived to see the likes of Tom Petty, Gene Simmons and Rob Halford trying on bowling shoes and throwing gutter balls like normal folk. I spotted some of the guys from Poison and Faster Pussycat and all of Whitesnake when, sweet Jesus, there he was! The spell worked! As if in a dream, I approached him (very anti the rules), introduced myself and stood there staring at his moon necklace, waiting for him to kiss me. Destiny! But he didn't get it. He looked around the room at the other girls, the ones whose legs didn't touch at the top. The spell didn't seem to be taking. Oh, why wasn't I lucky enough to be a video vixen crawling out of a manhole on a steamy, wet street at night? Or standing in front of a wind machine, dressed like a cross between a waitress and a hooker in red vinyl with a cherry in my mouth? Why wasn't I lucky enough to be a stripper (sorry, "dancer") standing on the hood of an expensive sports car in stilettos and a leopard-print bikini? Why wasn't I Tawny Kitaen? He'd want me then. I tried to get his attention back. "What sign are you?" I asked, trying to help him realize that what he was looking for was right under his perfect little nose. "Pisces," he said politely while beginning to move on. The room was spinning now. Pisces? It can't be! Not at all good for a libra. I was devastated, ruined. That's when I spied the guitar player from Rough Cutt ...

After all the shows I had seen and after all the music I had ingested, I realized I'd become as fickle as the next metal head. I bowled the night away, all the while singing Bon Jovi's "Wanted Dead Or Alive" to myself: "It's all the same, only the names have changed."

In the end, I guess what I'm saying is that all that wishing energy must go somewhere, so be careful. Sometimes you chase a dream, and another one catches you instead. In my case I chased Jon but landed in the lap, literally, of a certain other rock god (okay, demigod), with whom I had my singlemost formative and traumatizing sexual experience to date. At his show I could see clearly that although thousands of screaming fans adored him, he was playing for me. Finally, someone who didn't like me for my mind! I won't disclose the horrifying details of the event, but I will say that later that night he was generous enough to let me sleep on the wet spot.

A year after, I bumped into him at another NAMM show, and he told me he was sorry about everything that had happened, that it had caused him suffering, too, and that the only person he felt he could talk to about the whole thing was his close friend – say it with me now – Jon Bon Jovi.

I may have lost Jon, but the good news is that I can sing along, by heart, to any albums by the following: Ratt, Winger, Scorpions, Metallica, Queensrÿche, Nelson, Cinderella, Extreme, Pantera, Priest' and Van Halen, even the Van Hagar stuff (don't get me started on that subject). I know many others, but these are the ones I am most proud of. I have begun to appreciate the more easy-listening stuff too: Tool, Foo Fighters, Nine Inch Nails. I've got my eye on you Trent The Taurus...

P.S. A few years ago, I heard Jon married someone who kind of looks like me. Go figure.