Singer Beck has no interest in antihero status MTV would confer on him

MAGAZINES

July 03, 1994|By Matthew Gilbert | Matthew Gilbert,The Boston Globe

"I'm a loser, baby, so why don't you kill me?" This ubiquitous anthem to apathy is by Beck, one of the alternative antiheroes that only Spin would put on its cover.

Of course, the honky hip-hopper and anti-folkster, now 23 but looking 16, has refused to sing his winning "Loser" line since MTV made it into Buzz Bin boffo: "It's not some anguished, transcendental 'cry of a generation,' " insists Mr. Beck. "It's just like sitting in someone's living room eating pizza and Doritos."

To further foil critics itching to make "Loser" into a Slacker Generation Statement, Mr. Beck says the chorus was written only as a putdown of his own Chuck D-styled rapping.

An ex-member of the spiritual brotherhood of leaf blowers and video-store clerks, Mr. Beck collects unemployment but does not watch TV, even though he wrote a song called "MTV Makes Me Want to Smoke Crack." His mother, Bibbe Hansen, is a former Andy Warhol's Factory worker who appeared with Edie Sedgwick in Warhol's unreleased film "Prison." Ms. Hansen calls her son an "original," saying she "wouldn't have a clue as to how Beck became Beck."

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Julia, Julia, Julia: Tell us everything. How could you have left the dashing Liam Neeson back in 1988? Why did you cancel your engagement to Dylan McDermott? Did you really leave Kiefer in the lurch? Is Jason Patric bitter since the split? And why were you dancing close and slow with Ethan Hawke? Are you and Lyle splitsville? Julia, Julia, Julia: C'mon!

Thankfully, Julia's not talking. Surely Rolling Stone magazine is better than its Julia Roberts cover story for July 14-28, in which writer David Rensin torments the 26-year-old actress with garbagey questions about her love life. "Describe Lyle's bedroom slippers" descends into leading questions like "They say the first year is the toughest" and "What do you throw when you're angry?"

Mr. Rensin must have forgotten to ask Julia whether Lyle has stopped beating her yet. . . . It makes you wonder if there's nothing else of interest about Julia Roberts than her romantic entanglements, her trouble on the set of "Hook" and her falling-out with her brother, Eric.

Rolling Stone also features an extremely detailed and extremely useless account of Tonya Harding's evolution from skater to villainess. Rolling Stone: The Harding-Kerrigan story is very over.

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Entertainment Weekly's double "Summer Cool" issue does better Julia than Rolling Stone, restricting the prurience to a brief chat about dancing with people like Ethan Hawke ("I plan on doing as much dancing with as many people as possible. I will dance until I drop") and the painless question, "How's married life?"

What else is cool besides Julia Roberts? You have to love Entertainment Weekly for pointing its thermometer at Mujibur Rahman and Sirajul Islam, the men who operate the souvenir shop next to David Letterman's Broadway theater.

Since Mr. Letterman began riffing with the pair last summer, the Bangladesh natives find themselves posing for some 200 photos a day.

"Sometimes I get scared about my eyes," says Mujibur. "Too many flash cameras." Also cool: Tom Snyder, "The Young and the Restless," Joan Jett and Dennis Franz and Sharon Lawrence of "NYPD Blue."

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By the time we get to Woodstock, we'll have half a million words. The July Interview has an early entry in the coming onslaught of Woodstock '94 articles, with a weigh-in from pop critic Greil Marcus and interviews with musicians who performed in the first Woodstock (Joan Baez, Carlos Santana, Joe Cocker) and musicians who'll play in next month's festival (Speech of Arrested Development, Dolores O'Riordan of the Cranberries, Chris Barron of Spin Doctors).

Ms. Baez wonders "why anybody would try to do it again," but the twentysomething Ms. O'Riordan has the best line: "I've heard of Jimi Hendrix. He was a guitar player, wasn't he?" Hello?

Joni Mitchell, who wrote the emblematic "Woodstock" song made famous by Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, is on hand to explain why she missed the festival.

Interview also excerpts from 25 of its past interviews on the occasion of its 25th anniversary. Subjects include Divine in 1988, Truman Capote in 1979, Cher in 1974, Gloria Swanson in 1972 and Michael Jackson in 1977.

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The summer issue of Bomb magazine is a winner, including interviews with Eric Bogosian, writer Dennis Cooper, director Allison Anders and writer-thinker Bell Hooks. . . . GQ for July visits Conan O'Brien, who's still standing despite some brutal criticism. Being a Lorne Michaels discovery has its advantages. . . . Details for July interviews Stone Temple Pilots pilot Scott Weiland, who throws a bottle across a barroom before he mellows into some loose conversation. "Sex," he says, "is the most powerful driving force in my life." Both Details and Rolling Stone have critical pieces on rampant drug busting at Grateful Dead concerts. An LSD bust can get you more prison time than some rapists and murderers, says Details.

NTC

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