Beware of Lovedog

Article excerpt

Out musician Cheri Lovedog translates a life of rockin' into the thrashing new musical Prey for Rock & Roll

Cheri Lovedog's Prey for Rock & Roll, an off-off-Broadway musical about four women in a rock band, is such a novel ides, it instantly arouses curiosity. OK, so instead of sappy, sing-along show tunes and jazzy dance routines, this cast will belt out gut-wrenching L7-style lyrics and play live rock and roll. And instead of having this play take place in a theater, Prey is booked for an open-ended run in New York at CBGB, the infamous birthplace of Blondie and the Ramones.

But Prey embodies all the contradictions of its playwright, Lovedog, who says she arrived in Los Angeles in 1978 determined to be a rock star. Her namesake band played for 13 years with groups such as Guns N' Roses and X but never hit it big. "I had decided if I wasn't successful by the age of 35, I would quit, but that's easy to say when you're 20," Lovedog says. When age 35 actually rolled around in 1993, she left Hollywood, moved up to Santa Cruz, Calif., and started her successful tattoo business. She wrote music reviews and a book based on her rock years called 18 Stories, but she missed playing. That's when the idea for Prey, which features 12 original songs by Lovedog (11 hers, one she cowrote), was born. "I just thought it would be funny for me and my friends to be able to play and to comment on it as well. I saw us performing this in little clubs--like performance art."

A chance meeting in her tattoo parlor with Robin Whitehouse, artistic director of indie New York theater company FatChance Productions, changed Lovedog's ambitions. Following on the heels of rock musical Hedwig and the Angry Inch and such frankly feminist theater as The Vagina Monologues, Whitehouse felt it might be the right time for an unapologetic, poignant, all-girl rock-and-roll musical. Lovedog recalls, laughing, "I told Robin, `I don't know what I'm doing.' And she said, `That's good, because that's what's making it interesting.'" After working together for several months in New York, they cast the play and did their first reading back in April.

"Finding people who could act and play live in a rock band has been the hard part," says Lovedog. …