How presumptuous is it to expect the Antichrist to be an unforgiving savage and utterly cruel? Apparently both “Antichrist” and “rock ‘n’ roll” now mean the same thing: a little play, a whole lotta lights, and some totally fucking awesome costumes.
And who’s partially to blame for the proverbial exasperated penis lightly jabbing at the jowls of the tight-lipped doughy matron called rock? Why, Bobby Conn, of course. He’s a tiny pirate from Chicago in Bob Welch’s sunglasses who puts on an act kind of halfway between The Rocky Horror Picture Show and Labyrinth, but doesn’t really sound or look like either. Call it a conceptual delusion, this Antichrist claim of his (or is it His?), but Bobby and his minions (even the ones in Austria!) completely believe in it.
Every time he holds a 6000-watt floodlight in campfire ghost-story mode behind his head, his brainwashed followers cower in delight. Bobby gives a sterile laugh and calmly sermonizes how Armageddon is, in fact, linked to millennial change, but annihilation ultimately began when humanity took its first breath. All this from a guy with skintight bell-bottoms slung so low his pubes are showing.
His routine is terror paired with the camp of glitter-disco roller-skating. While the sonic swoosh of extreme overproduction prevails, there’s something unnerving in the off-kilter harmonization. A bit wood nymph, slightly Jew Jah, Conn stirs in quarts of Queen and his rock opera Rise Up! winds up even sillier than Jesus Christ Superstar. The use of violin solos is bizarre enough for hipsters’ parents to comment on “interesting flutes”—somehow entirely oblivious to Bobby’s hybridizing of cocaine culture with religious debauchery.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on February 2, 1999