Monday, June 23, 2008

Listening Post

True rock n' roll story: I was lucky enough to be in the audience the night that The Nymphs imploded live onstage.

For those unfamiliar with the band, The Nymphs were one of the seminal alternative outfits to come out of L.A. in the early 90s -- part of that very brief movement that saw metal, grunge and psychedelic glam all intersecting. Like most of the other bands that became associated with this sub-genre -- Jane's Addiction, Mother Love Bone and so on -- The Nymphs were almost always assured of eventual self-destruction, one way or another. The minute you heard them and saw them, you knew there was just no way they were gonna last, especially not when you considered the fact that their singer -- gorgeous ex-model and professional addict Inger Lorre -- was completely insane. If you paid any attention at all to alternative music around 1991, you were well aware of the various stories of Lorre's sociopathic antics: that she'd once given her boyfriend head onstage; that she ran naked down Melrose Avenue after a band photo shoot; and, most memorably, that she'd gotten drunk and pissed on Geffen A&R legend Tom Zutaut's desk after he confronted her about her "issues."

Suffice to say, Inger Lorre made Courtney Love -- who seemed to follow in her footsteps -- look like a choirgirl.

Lorre's unpredictably lunatic behavior finally reached a boiling point with the rest of the band in 1992.

While they were opening for Peter Murphy.

In Miami.

I was already a big fan of The Nymphs -- crazy hot singer and all -- and therefore a friend of mine and I had made sure to get to the show at the Cameo Theater on Miami Beach in time to see them. When the house lights dimmed, the twin guitars began to crunch, and the stage lights came up to reveal the four guys in the band minus Lorre, I gave it no thought, figuring she was just waiting to make a grand entrance. But as the music went on for several more bars and Lorre remained MIA, I started laughing, turned to my friend and shouted to him over the noise, "She's not here! Inger's not even here!" As the two of us continued to stare at the stage with our mouths hanging slightly open, poor Nymphs guitarist Sam Merrick stepped up to the mic and started uncomfortably warbling his way through the first few lines of the song.

And that's when Inger Lorre finally made that grand entrance. She appeared out of nowhere, sprinted across the stage and grabbed the mic -- knocking Sam aside.

She managed to get about three words of the song out before the music came to an ugly halt, seeming to slowly disintegrate as one band member after another just gave up and stopped playing. One by one, each of them walked offstage, a fatigued and disgusted look on his face.

The band broke up almost immediately after that.

Inger Lorre went on to suffer a full-fledged nervous breakdown.

For the record, The Nymphs at the Cameo in 1992 may not have been the longest show I ever saw -- but it damn sure stands as one of the most entertaining.

From the band's debut album, here's one of the many songs I never got to see live that night: Sad and Damned.

And, also from The Nymphs' debut, it's Imitating Angels.


Stephen said...

I had to google this woman, being the hippie that I am I'd never heard of them. Here's her myspace page
Too funny...I wish a few of the bands I'd gone to see had done that. Unfortunately many of them refuse to die.

Ms. Mix & Bitch said...

You always did like the crazy ones, Chez.

Can't never have it easy, eh?

Anonymous said...

So, it was like losing at Rock Band?