This video is from a performance thirteen years ago at La Java in Paris. I was on the very same stage where Django and Edith Piaf used to play. The whole time I was up there, I kept wondering if this was the place where Edith performed in front of the Nazis. Yes, that's how I think.
"Mexican Wrestler" is the fifth song off of my Pink Pearl record. Recorded in 2000, it is probably my most requested song. I find that interesting as it was not a single nor was it a "hit" like "Supermodel" or "I Kissed a Girl". It also is probably my most sad ass song ever. What does that say about my fans? What does that say about me? I think it actually is a good representation of how I deal (or don't deal) with life, as well as my sometimes ADHD writing style. In the first two verses, it seems glib and maybe a bit goofy, but then you get to the chorus:
You will never love me
And this I can't forgive
That you will never love me
As long as I will live
I'll never forget playing this song to 300 male inmates at a maximum security prison. I was performing with Wayne Kramer and a few other artists for Jail Guitar Doors. The performance started with Wayne (my hero) rocking out hard, followed by an amazing rapper, then a guy that did a pretty darn good Folsom Prison Johnny Cash. The crowd was captivated - and captive. Wayne asked me to do "Mexican Wrestler" by myself. I was petrified. And here's were my bias came roaring in - a lot of the guys looked like either hard core gang members or some kind of white supremacists. And some probably were. I thought that they would not appreciate or get a folky female singer/songwriter. It's not everyone's bag, I understand. I was introduced, and began to sing:
Sometimes I wish that I was an angel A fallen angel who visits your dreams And in those dreams I'd blow you a message that says You really want me
Sometimes I wish that I was a wrestler A Mexican wrestler in a red vinyl mask And I might grab you, body slam you, and maybe cause Physical harm But when we would land I might take pity on you I can crack all your ribs But I can't break your heart
Well, they laughed at all the right moments. And then when I sang the chorus...you could've heard a pin drop. In the middle of the last chorus someone shouted out "we love you" followed by applause. I was shaken. It probably has to be one the greatest experience in my life - that I was able to give some moment of relief or pleasure to these men. Now granted, these men were starved for entertainment. I could have maybe been just playing spoons and they might have been happy. Yet, I know it was more than that. I think the song really did touch them. A few of the inmates had special privileges and were allowed to meet us after the show. The one thing they all said was how much the appreciated that we were treating them with respect, as concert goers, not prisoners. One macho looking guy, tatted everywhere I could see, told me " Your song made me laugh and cry". He was so sweet and adorable. It did occur to me for a second that I should give him my email so we could be penpals, eventually get married, and see each other only during visiting hours. I decided not to.
There was a time when I just wanted to write songs that included a lot of expensive chords (your minor 9ths, your F7#5s), just cause I could. I have to say though that there is nothing quite like a simple song written in the key of G. I should not forget to say that I wrote Mexican Wrestler with my favorite long time co-writer Robin Eaton.