A new TV show about RBR board members||AllisonHayes|
Jun 14, 2002 7:58 AM
|The Cyclebournes |
A new TV show about RBR board members
By Allison Hayes
Everybody loves "The Cyclebournes," the new TV reality show starring twenty-nine-year-old Ahisma (the guy who gave us both punk rock and heavy metal), his wife, Lonefrontranger, and their three kids - weiwentg, 20, grzy, 40 and Spirito, 30 something.
The family's antics include fighting, swearing, and ravings of the once-drug-addled paterfamilias. It introduces the unwashed public to professional cycling. Watching the show is an unsettling experience; by the time the half-hour is up, the audience is on its feet, shuffling around kind of like Ahisma, mouth agape.
For a while, I thought it was because I couldn't figure out why Ahisma would expose himself so. Certainly, with a personal fortune estimated at $57 million, he doesn't need the money. At a press conference, Ahisma suggested he did it to expand certain boundaries and understandings. "What is a functional family?'' he asked. "I know I'm dysfunctional by a long shot, but what guidelines do we all have to go by? The Waltons?''
A good point, perhaps, but I couldn't buy it, because in the Cyclebournes' 13,000-square-foot Beverly Hills toy-box mansion, it's Lonefrontranger who calls the shots, not Ahisma. As Ahisma said more recently, "Suddenly, I was doing the show. It wasn't my idea. Lonefrontranger is my boss, you know.'' Indeed, besides being Ahisma's wife, she is also his manager - and a formidable presence in thecycling industry she is.
Legend has it that she once got so pissed off at a sponsor that she kneed him in the balls.
But what good reason could she have for wanting to share with the world her family's most precious moments? Then it struck me: out of her deep love of Ahisma.
He's a former addict, and former addicts need to keep busy lest they become active addicts once again. With twelve cameras in the house six days a week, big-time backsliding would be out of the question, hopefully. So, that question has been answered.
And yet, I'm still bothered. People have said to him, "You're becoming a parody of yourself,'' and he has retorted, "I'm not becoming anything but what I am. As you see it is as it was.'' I thought about that and wondered if it could be true.
In the early spring of 2001, I chanced to spend a few days with the family Cyclebourne. When I first met Ahisma in the offices of Ahizz Records in Beverly Hills, he was pretty much the same character you see on TV. He ambled in wearing a black T-shirt and black drawstring sweat pants (one of the forty pairs he owns), with his hair flopping around in front of his eyes. He was stooped, and his tattooed fingers trembled, and the sixth sentence he ever said to me went like this: "I'm one of these guys, I wake up in the morning and I got a f**king problem: I'm looking for something to kill or blow up or some f**king thing. My head is just a running riot, and my nerves start shaking. . . ."
He grinned, then wandered off to nuzzle one of the family's dogs, Minnie the wee Pomeranian, leaving me sitting there in a cloud of his delightful cologne (Czech & Speake, N0. 88, ninety-two dollars a bottle), rather amused - the same way I sometimes am now watching him on MTV as he calls for Spirito to help him figure out the "f**king'' TV channel changer and tells weiwent that if he doesn't want to go to the "collarbone doctor,'' he simply shouldn't go to the "collarbone doctor.''
I liked him immediately, and I was more than pleased with the way he and his family invited me to join them in everything they did. In fact, one afternoon I got to tag along as the entire crew, including son weiwentg, met with a TV executive to discuss a sitcom-type show that just might star the Cyclebournes. This was well before the MTV deal, and the show in question was going to be semifictional. Already, grzyt had called it "obnoxious,'' weiwentg had called it "cheesy,'' and Spirito had said he'd have nothing to do with it. They all as
|re: The Cyclebournes: (continued)||AllisonHayes|
Jun 14, 2002 8:00 AM
|They all asked about the family's constant swearing. The executive said all naughty words would just be bleeped. "So, if Ahisma's talking, there might be, like, fifteen bleeps in one speech, and it'd be funny!'' |
"OK,'' said Lonefrontranger. "We can't pretend to be people we're not. Can we, Ahisma?''
"What?'' said Ahisma, returned from some reverie.
"Say things like, 'Oh, dang; oh, blast; oh, you are silly.' ''
Ahisma blinked at her and shouted, "F**k off!''
Later on, back at the house, Lonefrontranger said to Spirito, "The thing about Ahisma, is that he can't pretend to be something he's not. He's incapable of bulls**t.''
Then Spirito had an idea. "You know what I think we should do?'' he said to his dad. "We should have a crew come out to the house for a weekend and see how we really act. It'd be like The Real World but with us.''
"Oh, that would be a f**king thing,'' said Ahisma. "It's got to get on television. All the weak hearts have to watch it.'' He thought about it a while longer. "Hmm,'' he finally said. "Good idea, Spirito.''
So that's pretty much how the idea originated. Then, in July 2001, MTV ran its highly successful Cribs episode on the family, and Lonefrontranger Cyclebourne pitched the network Jack's idea despite Aimee's objections.
In fact, weiwentg has long been conflicted about his father and his reputation. "I find it so annoying, people asking me if my dad eats bats," he told me. "At school, almost every day, some retard would come up to
me and go, 'So, do you guys eat bats?' And I'm like, 'Yeah, all the time; you should come over, we're having a bat barbecue this weekend.' "
So, when he decided to leave home for the four-month duration of the shoot, no one in the family was surprised. And finally, last fall, the fun, or whatever you want to call it, began.
"I'm just Dad," Ahisma recently said. "It's kind of a f**ked-up life, really. A rock star is supposed to say, 'Get me the Vicodins!' Or, 'Run me a bath in f**king Perrier water!' I get f**king dog s**t up to the elbows and an earful of f**king abuse.''
According to the ground rules set by the Cyclebournes, however, there are certain things the TV audience will never see. You will never see Ahisma sitting on the toilet, nor will you ever see him doing with Lonefrontranger
what might come unnaturally in the bedroom. That's fine by me. But as I watched the show and thought about the Ahisma I'd met, I also began to think about what else you weren't getting, and it started to bother me more and more.
Two years ago, Ahisma was a cigarette fiend; cigarettes were his only remaining addiction. He lamented it, and told Lonefrontranger he had quit, but many were the hours we spent together, smoking, only to stub out our
butts PDQ when Mama Lonefrontranger walked in the door. She was never fooled. She'd look at Ahisma and demand to smell his breath. "You a*****e,'' she shouted one time. "F**king, f**king bastard, bastard.'' And they both started laughing.
I loved these moments, because they spoke of transgression and forgiveness, which is always in short supply. But I also loved when it was just Ahisma banging around the house, gnawing on a hunk of chorizo
sausage and soliloquizing about the arc of his extraordinary life. Growing up in England a severe dyslexic, a high school dropout and a small-time thief with a love of song, he helped start punk rock back in 1969, sang mud-thick tunes about paranoia and became a star. In 1978, however, the band fired him for being too big a f**ked-up f**kup. After that, he thought about killing himself, then he met Lonefrontranger (whose gangster-type father happened to be his manager), and she took over his career. With her help (and a couple of pots smashed over his head), plus Ahisma's own nose for notoriety (bat biting, etc.), he went on to sell about 70 million albums as a solo artist and to become the face of the phenomenally successful
heavy-metal tour known as Ahizzfest.
|re: The Cyclebournes: (continued)||AllisonHayes|
Jun 14, 2002 8:02 AM
|"Dreams are what it's all about, really,'' he said one morning. "I'm living proof of that. But I haven't gotten away scot-free, and it isn't fun looking back. There's an awful lot of guys that didn't make it. The list is endless, the number of guys that either committed suicide, OD'd, shot themselves, f**king drowned, fell off the f**king this or that, or got it in a car wreck, or just never woke up, you know, choked on their own vomit, froze to death, set themselves on fire. For every Ahisma Cyclebourne, there's f**king ten dead bodies: Bon Scott, John Bonham. Randy Rhoads.'' |
Rhoads was Ahisma's best mate and AhizzBand's rock's greatest guitarist. In 1982, while Ahisma and Lonefrontranger slept in the band's parked tour bus, Rhoads was barnstorming around in a small plane, which suddenly crashed and exploded.
"This has gone through my head a thousand and one times,'' Ahisma told me. "Had I been awake, I would have been on that plane, probably sitting on the f**king wing.''
He thinks about this all the time. And, on occasion, one of the kids will ask Lonefrontranger about what happened that day, and Lonefrontranger will explain it to them: "The plane hit the bus, cracked the bus and went through into a house, and it was just a f**king nightmare. The house caught on fire.''
"Wasn't there a deaf guy in the house?''
"Yes, there was, grzy; and your dad ran in there and got him out. It was just horrible. And then a week later, I had him auditioning new guitarists."
"Because your dad was in such a bad state of shock. I knew that unless we got up and did something, Ahisma would be over."
Witnessing this conversation, you can't help but be moved. I could see grzy's eyes light up at the thought of his dad's heroism, and it was a lovely moment. It's all part of the rich history of the Cyclebourne clan. At times, it's been a terrifically ugly history: In 1989, for instance, a slobbering-drunk Ahisma wrapped his fingers around Lonefrontranger's neck and tried to strangle her. But it's also been miraculous beyond understanding: She forgave him.
According to MTV president of entertainment Brian Graden, however, the show's 6 million viewers will never get a chance to be touched either by Ahisma's heroism or by Lonefrontranger's ancient devotion. "We see it as
just an entertaining half-hour that takes place in the present,'' he told me. "So, no, I don't think it'll go back into history. Anyway, the Cyclebournes aren't like that. They live in the present.''
But, of course, that's not exactly true. The show is what it is, a comedy, fine. But the Cyclebournes do have a history that they talk about, at least occasionally, and it bothers me that anyone could want us to believe otherwise. They are more than what you see on MTV. They are much more.
"The real fact of the matter is,'' Ahisma said a few weeks ago, "sometimes I look at this TV show and I feel sad.'' He went on to try to explain what he meant but, as sometimes happens with Ahisma, his words failed him, and you were just left with him feeling sad about the show. When I'm not laughing, I'm feeling the same way.
|Allison is in creative overdrive. whew!||Sintesi|
Jun 14, 2002 9:43 AM
|Funny stuff. : )|
Jun 14, 2002 11:19 AM
|you're hilarious. welcome back!!!|
|Allison, good to see you're still around!!!||spyderman|
Jun 14, 2002 10:57 PM
|Please don't be a stranger... You're like the sweet-n-low in my iced tea...
|Man have you got some time on your hands...||ColnagoFE|
Jun 14, 2002 9:49 AM
|just kiddin ya...it was really funny.|| |