Friday, August 05, 2005

Welcome To The Rock

Since some of you might be traveling to San Francisco during this Summer tourist season, Umlaut thought it would be helpful to offer a guide to one of The City's most famous landmarks: Alcatraz (aka The Rock).

I've always found that visual aids are a great way to educate people on a subject they might not be familiar with. With this in mind, I can't think of a better visual aid for Alcatraz than the 1982 video by those German Lock 'N Loll goofballs the Scorpions for the song "No One Like You":

A black limo pulls up to a pier on San Francisco Bay. A boat is waiting for it. Alcatraz is in the distance.


Scorpions singer Klaus Meine is doing hard time on The Rock and thinks about his girl Note: Klaus' cell is on the upper tier of what is known as "Broadway" in the main cell block of Alcatraz.

DOH! His girl is in the limo and she's coming to visit him!

Unexpectedly, THE MAN comes and interrupts Klaus' tranquility and he's dragged out of his cell!

He's marched past his concerned bandmates, who offer their support. What is going on?!

Meanwhile, his girl makes her way across SHARK INFESTED San Francisco Bay! Note: In reality, there are no sharks in S.F. Bay.

Holy shit! Klaus is a Dead Man Walking!

WOW! What drama! His girl arrives as he's being led to the gas chamber! Note: Their reunion takes place in the Alcatraz Mess Hall..

But, alas, their reunion is short-lived..

As Klaus is led away again, two guards examine a mysterious guitar that's on the floor. SYMBOLISM! Discuss amongst yourselves. Note: The short guard is the late Bay Area photographer Randy Bachman, who was killed by a drunk driver in front of a 1987 Ramones concert in S.F..

Suddenly, another prisoner is led into view. He breaks free, grabs the guitar, and smashes it! SYMBOLISM! Discuss amongst yourselves.

Note: The prisoner is Scorpions guitarist Rudolf Schenker dressed as "The Blackout" guy from the band's album cover. The cover art is a self-portrait by German artist Gottfried Helnwein [click for link].

During the excitement, Klaus has been placed in the electric chair and the State of California's Executioner (dressed in the traditional uniform of her trade) is about to do her duty. Note: The "Execution Room" is really a booth in Alcatraz's kitchen.

Suddenly, The Executioner reaches up and removes her mask. HOLY SHIT! It's Klaus' girlfriend! SYMBOLISM! Discuss amongst yourselves.

WAIT A MINUTE. Klaus wakes up from a dream! He opens the shades and sees Alcatraz in the distance.

Fade to black.....

Umlaut hopes this guide to historic Alcatraz was useful. For more information visit the National Park Service's Alcatraz web site [click for link]. When you do visit Alcatraz, be sure and take the audio tour!

Scorpions on Alcatraz - 1982

Scorpions @ Oakland Stadium - July 1982
(Photo by Umlaut)

"We'll kick your ass to Heaven, with Rock 'N Roll tonight.."