You’re in luck today, young reporter. No stuffy old soul is going to go over your copy with a Pat Boone songbook and a grimace. Get ready to make these words sing like David Lee Roth when he still had to try to impress groupies.
I’m ready to rock out with my AP Style Guide out.
Remember when Ozzy bit that bat’s head off? I’m going to do that with your words until blood runs down my face and I spit out greatness.
I know you think you’re some hotshot young writer ready to take over the Sunset strip like Mötley Crüe circa 1985, but you’re not even good enough to get into that bookstore by the Viper Room. Not yet. Nobody is going to do unspeakable things to you in back of Rainbow Bar and Grill after a reading. You’re no Vince Neil. Maybe you can be a page tech at one of his signings.
Writing itself isn’t rock ’n’ roll, gender-neutral pronoun. Editing is rock ’n’ roll. You think Led Zeppelin just put out whatever came to mind first? Hell no. Otherwise Houses of the Holy would have been one 45-minute long song about the sexual habits of wood nymphs. Those wood nymphs sure do love Red Snapper’s versatility in mating rituals.
I shouldn’t have included that last sentence. It’s amusing, but it doesn’t add much substance. See? Here I go again—on my own, naturally—just editing away like David Coverdale trying to forget that he actually married Tawny Kitaen. The only road I’ve ever known is word economy.
Slide that paper on over here, freebird. No, we’re not using a computer. Did Alice Cooper need a computer to record “No More Mr. Nice Guy”? Don’t think so.
I edit in analog. Digital is for suckers. Anybody can edit in digital. It doesn’t take E.B. White or Bob Rock to hit F7 and spell check a document. I don’t use red pens, either. Red pens are for new wave sissies. If you want to get a Flock of Seagulls haircut and run around with your red pen writing songs about girls instead of meeting them, be my guest. That sentence was lengthy, but I don’t even care.
Sometimes you need to break the rules in order to rock. But don’t forget that first apostrophe before the “n” in rock ’n’ roll. Even rock ’n’ roll rule-breakers have time for correct punctuation. Also, “rock and roll” is for tourists and Clevelanders.
I edit with a plain black marker as if I’m drawing little tributes to Metallica all over passive constructions. I can cut entire passages like Axl Rose should have done with most of Chinese Democracy. I bring a whole Theatre of Pain to subject-verb disagreements and dangling participles. I am the Dark Lord of grammar.
I am so amped right now. I want to go to a concert and throw punches in the mosh pit while editing the songs for clarity and length.
Actually, should we just go catch a show? Don Dokken is doing a solo gig at the Whiskey and I wonder if he can still wail. No one reads our magazine anymore anyway. People just want puzzles and gardening tips. Sudoku is Nirvana, and we’re Rush in the ’90s. No need to Test for Echo here; that’s all there is.
I doubt readers would even notice the sweet semicolon I just nailed. The semicolon is the most metal punctuation this side of the unnecessary umlaut. So much power and authority contained in just one mark. Some bands need double albums to get their point across. I just need a sideways wink and I can shred like Yngwie Malmsteen bringing the thunder to a classical scale. Punctuation is rock in its purest form.
No more lecturing, though. I’m not the dad in a Twisted Sister video. I’ll take care of this article for you. While you’re out shouting at the devil until he gives you an interview, I’ll be fixing your writing. Good thing for you that I’m the best in the business. I’ve seen a million pilcrows, and I indent them all.