Courtney Love beat Diana Ross, whipped Jack White, pummeled 50 Cent and crushed Suge Knight. Now she has made it to the finals of Blender magazine's "First-Ever Ultimate Fighting Championship."
It's a battle for the coveted title of "The Ultimate Rock & Roll Psycho" and Love -- lead singer of Hole, widow of Kurt Cobain and much-arrested former junkie -- certainly deserves the honor. But to win, she has to face "the Killer" himself: Jerry Lee Lewis, a man who shot his bassist, stabbed a magazine editor and married his 15-year-old cousin. To reach the finals, Lewis defeated rappers C-Murder and DMX and heavy metal lunatic G.G. Allin in the preliminary rounds and now he's ready for Love.
Bing! The bell rings! They go at it, punching, kicking, scratching, clawing!
Well, not really. Although millions would no doubt pay serious money to see Courtney fight Jerry Lee, this is a purely theoretical battle, staged only in the demented minds of the savants at Blender. It's just another of Blender's delightfully daffy high-concept rock stories, right up there with "The Most Awesomely Mediocre Artists of All Time," which ran earlier this year, much to the chagrin of folks who like Sonny Bono, Art Garfunkel and Clarence Clemons.
And the winner is . . . well, if you want to find out who took the ultimate psycho title, you'll just have to buy Blender, which is a good idea anyway because Blender is big fun.
Created in 2001 by Felix Dennis, the mad genius who brought us Maxim, Stuff and the Week, Blender is the pop music magazine that doesn't take pop music too seriously.
Some rock mags see pop stars as poets, troubadours, sensitive artists and the voice of their generation. Blender sees pop stars as nut jobs, drunks, stoners, sex maniacs, careerists and hype-mongers who occasionally produce good music.
Blender's worldview was neatly summed up by a cover line in the April issue: "Rock Stars: They're Freakin' Nuts!"
But don't get the wrong idea. Blender isn't a muckraking or moralizing magazine. The editors revel in rock misbehavior. They seem to believe that the arrests, overdoses, brawls and car crashes of your average pop star are at least as entertaining as his or her music.
And who can argue with that? Not me. I'd much rather read about the sordid "Secret History of the Backstreet Boys" than actually listen to their CDs. And Blender gives me that opportunity this month in a story touted with a classic Blender cover line: "Groupies! Coke Binges! Stinky Socks!"
Blender brings its readers news that they just can't get anyplace else. When Rob Thomas, lead singer of Matchbox 20, announces that his dog Tyler was "sexually abused by his previous owner," Blender lets us know. When Britney Spears visits an "energy healer" in a Malibu strip mall, Blender prints a picture of the healer waving his hands over her pretty, empty head.
And when a sex video featuring Fred Durst, the potbellied lead singer of Limp Bizkit, appears on the Internet, Blender not only quotes a porn expert who gives it an erotic rating -- "zero" -- it also conducts a survey asking readers whose sex video they'd least like to see. The winner: rapper Fat Joe, with 38 percent of the vote, beating out the aforementioned Courtney Love.
But Blender doesn't just report these news items, it also gives them perspective, pointing out where they fit into the long and glorious history of rock knuckleheadedness.
Any mag can report that some rocker got stoned and crashed his car. Blender gave us three pages of "Rock's Worst Drivers," a group that includes Billy Joel, Keith Richards ("the walking -- and, too often, driving -- chemistry set") and, of course, Elvis, who shot his 1971 Ford Pantera with a .22 revolver when it failed to start.
Any mag can report that X rocker is dating Y actress, but Blender gave us eight profusely illustrated pages on "The 25 Hottest Rock & Roll Galpals," a list that includes Christie Brinkley, Carmen Electra, Drew Barrymore and Cameron Diaz, whom Blender identifies as "The Farrah Fawcett for the Teeth-Whitener Generation."
And who can forget "The A-Z of Rock & Roll Sex Scandals," which appeared in the May issue? A timeless classic, it featured seven pages of "the seamiest moments in music history," in alphabetical order from Anderson, Pamela to Plaster Caster, Cynthia to Zeppelin, Led.
It's this long-view historical perspective that lifts Blender above other rock mags, and it may explain why Blender edged past Spin in circulation earlier this year -- up to about 600,000 -- and now is second only to the venerable Rolling Stone, which sells 1.2 million copies an issue.
Blender's sense of history is also apparent in its CD reviews, which are voluminous, pungent and readable. In the April issue, Blender reviewed the Mars Volta's CD "Frances the Mute" and found it hard-rocking but pretentious: "There is an entire minute of bird chirping at the beginning of the suite called 'Miranda, That Ghost Just Isn't Holy Anymore,' followed by nearly three minutes of mystery noise and Cedric-wail . . . "
That sounds pretty pretentious, doesn't it? But it's not pretentious enough to earn a spot in the sidebar piece -- "The 4 Most Pretentious Albums of All Time," which includes Lou Reed's "Metal Machine Music" and Sting's "The Soul Cages," which Blender describes as a "gelatinous concept album about the son of a dying riveter who sails to the Island of Souls so he can save his father by drinking Death under the table."
Whether it's shooting spitballs at rock pretentiousness or wallowing in rock raunch, Blender is the rock-and-roll mag with the rock-and-roll spirit.