Sid Pink was heartbroken. So he did what any reasonable, red-blooded American man his age would do: He penned a rock opera about the ordeal -- or a "rockeretta spectacular," as the show's poster proclaims. "About eighteen months ago, I suffered a devastating episode via Real Life," Sid explains in an e-mail, "courtesy a hotsy-totsy Los Angelinan [but former Denverite] who seemed to find folly undertaking an unnecessary heart-surgery on your old Uncle Sidney.
See also: - Tonight: The Yellow Machine at the Gothic Theatre, 11/23/12 - The weekend's ten best concerts: 11/23-11/25 - Sid Pink is the real Undercover Boss - The Honey Cooler: Gumshoes and furries and masked wrestlers, oh my!
"The devastation therein pushed me into a State of Undoneness," he goes on. "Fast-forward through my battle with toxins last summer whilst ghostwalking through the production of some poor schmuck who'd cast me in his first feature film, The Honey Cooler, that culminated in my landing in hospital, finally coming to *this* mind-blowing enlightenment: 'Hey... if someone don't care 'boutcha when you *aliiiive* -- could it be they don't give too much of a shit when you *die*... Brilliant, no?"
Following that realization, he began assembling a crack team of musicians -- affectionately christened American Fuck-Tape ("Really fun to say," he points out. "Really hard to market") -- via an epic text message chain.
"I can't conjure a reason to remain alive.," the text reads. "Not one fuckin' thing. So we're making a record. Right through the Guts of this sumbitchen thankless-assturd of a Life. If we survive the recording process, we will have failed. This is it. This is now. This isn't even music. It's the typhoon at Tripoli and grab them by the lapels, hollering above the whip and crush, 'Are you With Us or Against Us?!?!' and many cowards will be thrown overboard. And as the splintering widens and the sea devours and each man afoot is a bent and battered hero - they say to us: 'We're with You. We're With You!! What shall we do?!?' And with jittering glee and a small circle of the Brave leaning in to hear the soft cackle: 'We go down with the ship, of course. Brother.'"
Sounds like trademark Sid, and it did its job. Sid explains that each and every person that received this text had the same reply: "I'm in." His American Fuck-Tape brethren include Doctor Kyle "The" Jones (of Love Royale and Sleeping Brotherhood Studios), "Little Big Mike" Marchant (Widowers, et al) and Ace "Big Big Mike" NoMarr and Dox Carrside (both of '80s cover band Mullet Over) -- naturally, for a project this theatrical, everyone's adopted a nom de stage. Sid himself will go by the name Anton L'Amiral, which is double-secret pseudonymous, given that (spoiler alert) Sid Pink is not, in fact, his given name.
If it all sounds a bit over the top, that's by design. While he's always erudite, Sid has a way of skewing toward the melodramatic. It's a gift, really. And when you hear him talk in person, he could make washing dishes sound eventful.
Still, The Yellow Machine, as the one-off production has been dubbed, actually sounds eventful. Slated to take place on Black Friday (otherwise known as Friday, November 23, to all the broke and/or non-materialistic among us) at the Gothic Theatre, Sid's show has him pulling out all the stops and making it an event.
Leave it to Sid to garner top billing for his show, which is centered on an album that nobody has heard yet. "You know me," he says. "I wasn't gonna 'get sad/write a song/then another/then start a band/then try to play Lion's Lair some Tuesday for a crowd of six.' I'm a producer/showman. I wanted a product. I wanted proof that I could get something out of all the betrayal and torment."
Copies of that product, The Yellow Machine, will be available for purchase as limited-edition VHS tapes containing a USB drive with the music and artwork from local artists inspired by the music and created just for the occasion. If that's too fancy for you but you still want to take the music home, there will be CDs available as well.
At the risk of overselling things, Sid describes The Yellow Machine live experience as "Hedwig meets Alice Cooper meets...hustle and connections budget." He and his group of merry minstrels will perform the piece in its entirety, and Sid promises it will be a night to remember.
Without going into too much detail, he reveals that a white baby grand piano will be lowered from the ceiling during a tune called, "She Puts the Harm in Charm," an ode to the Yellow Machine, the name ascribed to the "platinum-blonde android that began this fresh hell." There's also a human microphone with a killer set of legs, interstitial vignettes of a humorous bent and enough video and special effects to dazzle and delight even the most jaded concertgoer.
"That's what sort of missing -- the theatrical aspect of rock and roll. When I go see shows, even shows I really like, I'm always thinking 'it doesn't take much to turn a concert into a show.' [They] can have this kind of spectacle, with effects and costume changes and lights and things that pop out," Sid explains. "We'll have all that and more. Whoever doesn't go, people are going to tell them 'Fuck, you should have gone.'"
-- Dave Herrera and Cory Casciato
The Yellow Machine, 8 p.m. Friday, November 23, Gothic Theatre, 3263 S. Broadway, $10, 303-788-0984. For more info, and to hear more of the album, visit The Yellow Machine online.