Monday, March 17, 2008

Music Lesson #16

Anyone here heard of Cheryl "Rainbeaux" Smith?
I was checking out DVDs at Makati Cinema Square on my lunchbreak when I found an anniversary edition DVD of a movie called "Lemora: A Child's Tale of the Supernatural" by Richard Blackburn. The film stars Cheryl Smith (dubbed "Rainbeaux" because she'd been a regular at a club in the US called the Rainbow Room), a 70s B-Movie star who (I later learned) starred in cult classics such as "The Pom Pom Girls", "Revenge of the Cheerleaders", and "Video Vixens".
The plot of Lemora, which I copied from Wikipedia, is as follows:
"During the Prohibition era 13-year old Lila Lee (Smith), seeking to visit her injured father, a gangster, before he dies. She runs away from the Reverend, who has raised her and in whose church she has become well-known as a singer. She ends up taking a bus to the strange town of Astaroth, where people have the "Astaroth Look."
En route Lila is menaced in a swamp by a band of mindless vampires who haunt the woods and town. She is rescued by Lemora (Lesley Gilb), the vampires' unofficial queen, who takes a fancy to the girl. It seems she is the one who called the girl to her, though whether to protect her or to corrupt her remains to be seen. Lila is taken to a very old house, where Lemora gives her a bath and tries to soothe her. Exploring, Lila discovers the truth — Lemora is a vampire, one who feeds upon children and who is holding her father captive.
Lila escapes and embarks are a night-time journey through the town of Astaroth, learning in the process that there are two types of vampires here. One are like Lemora herself, relatively human in behavior in appearance. The other are mutated, perhaps de-volved, far more animalistic in behavior and monstrous in form. And the two groups are at war.
Meanwhile, the Reverend is seeking to find Lila, and manages to retrace her steps.
After a climactic battle, leaving most of the vampires in the town dead, Lila is hiding when Lemora finds her. When the Reverend shows up not long after, he finds Lila willing, even eager to kiss him. He resists at first. Then, he gives in. That is when she drives her fangs into his throat."
The movie is pretty ridiculous but since its release it's been one of the most influential cult horror movies ever. If you are a goth and/or a goth lesbian, that is (I am neither). But something struck me about Cheryl Smith, how beautiful and pure she looked in that movie, like Alice in Wonderland in a goth nightmare. Sometimes I just sit around and think of her.
Anyway, Cheryl Smith had struggled for a long time with drug abuse and died of hepatitis and cirrhosis of the liver in 2002 at 42.
The lyrics to Rainbow may appear depressing but the song's actually uptempo and fun. My influence for this song was The Smiths' "Paint A Vulgar Picture" also about a fan fiercely fighting to protect, in his own mind, the integrity of the work of his dead pop idol. The last three stanzas of the Smiths' song are as follows:
"So, in my bedroom in those 'ugly new houses'
I danced my legs down to the knees
But me and my 'true love'
Will never meet again
...At the record company meeting
On their hands - at last ! - a dead star!
But they can never taint you in my eyes
No, they can never touch you now
No, they cannot hurt you, my darling
They cannot touch you now
But me and my 'true love'
Will never meet again"
Certainly, the Mozzer's lyrics are way superior to mine. But here's my song for Cheryl Smith:
How beautiful you have become in death
Now everyone will know to what extent
You pushed out of your skin
To send your soul flying
Oh rockets and bombs they explode all around me
Fire in the sky like aurora borealis
Eternal though fleeting you were to a young boy
Now all grown and older than you'll ever be

I have all your movies tucked well inside
My hard drive, my wasteland of popular culture
I'd watch you and ponder your offscreen persona
Picture you sleeping with Hollywood vultures

Lemora the witch and a truckload of extras
Turned into vampires reach out to get you
Suspicious bus drivers peer at the rearview
I wish I were there all this time to protect you

Oceans of space, place, and time divide
You and me are so differently made
This tribute I sing in a strange foreign language
That speaks to a dead girl long gone from her grave

I'll never taste of those drugs and ill-pleasures
That held you and kissed you and in the end killed you
But Rainbow you know just the same that I loved you
Sincerely and dearly your number one fan

Sincerely your number one
Sincerely your number one
Sincerely your number one fan.

That's it. Sorry if you can't get the references you'll have to see the film. And no I have not recorded it yet so you won't know how the song sounds like until either a) Los Chupacabras starts playing live again or b) my cover band Angel Radio takes a stab at it (which we probably will but then we won't be ALL COVERS NO COVER anymore). I really ought to get that last bit trademarked.

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