Sunday, June 17, 2007

More On Michael Alig

Having just seen Party Monster for the first time on IFC last night, I was intrigued enough to look up more on Alig and the ClubKids. Now, you have to understand that I remember seeing them on the talk shows and hearing about them from others; this was 1992-96, when I was actively plying my trade as a death metal and hardcore musician, so I was always meeting wannabe promoters, DJs, people starting their own Labels (they always said it with an implied, capital "L"), clubbers, and - basically - whores, thieves, and drug addicts/dealers. Whatever was going on Underground (again, with the caps), I heard about it - if not actually saw it, performed in or around it, or whatever. And I knew more than a dozen people who did the whole Rave thing at least every other weekend.

Also, this all broke when I was working as an online tech and still actively playing, so people were always forwarding me items about things and people they thought I might know or have met or know of. I literally followed the story from the "dark mumblings" to a multi-page online story around 1998-1999 that I'm pretty sure was the reprint of the now-infamous article in a NY-area magazine which detailed the entire thing. I know I read it online because I specifically remember the b&w pics of the Hudson River locale at which the torso washed-up, but I did not come across that particular article in my search.

Further, the movies and culture with which these people pretended or claimed to be obsessed was my bread and butter. I vividly remember one "wild" party - and it was fairly wild, what with the bathtub full of peaches and alcohol, everyone going in and out for a cover charge with funnels and Crazy Straws - where I supplied the movies:

I brought an armful of B-raters, including the now iconic Evil Dead - already a favorite in some circles but literally unknown by the unwashed masses at that time - and got shushed for cracking wise at the good parts - shushed! ME! - by a crowd of useless Nobodies I'd never before met.

Most of those "clubbers," or whatever, were utter wastes of flesh - total pointless wastes of life - as was that entire "scene."

It may sound overly harsh, but I'm just being honest, and these people made a point of celebrating that. You have to remember that here I was, a kid with something none of these people had: real Talent (just keeping with the Elitist theme), and they had no respect for me because I didn't dress up like a total clown and bounce around with Glo-Sticks and kindergarten lunchboxes. Plus, I was a heavy metal kid and they were all House and Techno - which is all totally aimless, repetitive shit, anyway (just like that scene and the people in it). Their entire world and Point was to be completely superficial - fashion over function - whereas mine was just the opposite. So one could safely say it was a mutual disrespect.

At any rate, in reading articles about Alig and that whole scene, I was afraid I might come across some name that I knew or that looked familiar, and I eventually did. I cannot say for certain whether or not it was who I think it was, nor if I actually met any of these ClubKids, but I can safely say that if I ever knew any of these people, it was before things got really bad, because I was never big into the whole heavy, heavy drug scene. That having been said, I can safely say that, with frighteningly few exceptions, none of the raver kids I knew were worth the salt in their bodies. Nor the water, for that matter.

I've read a lot about Alig and his supposed antics and behavior. "Supposed" is a bit nebulous; even "alleged" doesn't quite cover it, since several sources seem to confirm the reports, but I really don't know which sources work from the others, so I can't call them "second sources" (as in confirmation). While Alig's behavior was definitely reckless, insofar as the murder itself goes (and everything else), we need to put that into perspective: something like the rest of the underworld, Andre Melendez was no Angel.

I mean, this was not a stand-up guy here; this was a two-bit, drug-dealing hustler whose own sociopathic behavior led directly to the deaths of several others. He was, in fact, strangling Alig at the time of his murder - something James St. James, and most other sources, casually mention. Alig did not even hit the guy: it was the roommate, Freeze Reyes, who bludgeoned the drug-dealer to death. This was one of those sticking points for me, as the movie pointedly repeated that: Alig's insistence that it was self-defense, as well as the fact that Alig didn't actually kill Melendez.

So after two days of following every lead and article I could find, I came to some fairly definite conclusions. Now, early leads uncovered reports of Alig's pedophilia, but I assumed this was smear and some of Alig's notorious bad behavior eclipsing the truth (club rats are infamous for their prowess at gossip). However, later leads confirm this behavior from different angles, which leads me to believe they weren't merely repeating stuff in other, more popular, articles. In fact, this information came from at least three, very disparate, sources, including two pieces written by actual ClubKids (including the loquacious St. James, which is what originally made me question the stories' veracity). The sources independently confirm that Alig sold young boys as sex slaves and more than once hint at more.

I'm not here to spread gossip - but you have to remember that gossip is the club-goer's stock-in-trade - so one report from a bitchy (ex-?) socialite is gossip; two reports from two peas of the same pod is more of the same; three or more reports - all independent of one another and citing different sources - is confirmation.

And here is why I bring this up: it took until well into the second night of research (it's not like I'm particularly industrious or intrepid) before I came across it, but there was something darker hinted at in almost every piece I read, including those from Alig himself (quotes, interviews, etc.), that kept me looking, and then I found it:

When the torso washed ashore, there were signs of sexual abuse.

According to the revised scenario - which one can never really be sure of, because cops are notorious liars (far worse than any club-goer, sadly) - Alig may have been guilty of far more than just smothering Angel Melendez and putting Drano in his mouth and taping it shut (or injecting it into his veins) and later chopping-up the body:

All stories, including Alig's, maintain that the killers left the body in the bathtub, packed on ice and covered in baking soda with a mattress atop it (they later placed it in a box), for up to a week while they partied on Melendez' drugs and money, but the new scenario has Alig (and maybe others) Doing Things (remember The Caps) to the body. Dirty things. Sexual things.

This is what I'm getting at: was Angel Melendez' death A Tragedy? Well, if we're going to put it into context and call a thing what it is, no - not really. In fact, his death may very well have saved scores of others from death by overdose, as well as (far more insidiously, in my estimation) countless others from ever trying the shit in the first place. But I'm not justifying Alig's (nor anyone else's) behavior - murder is bad, mmkay? At any rate, Melendez' death, while tragic to some extent because a human being died, was not really A Tragedy because Melendez wasn't a good human being; he wasn't worthless, mind you, and he had every chance of changing and becoming a boon to society instead of just a drain on it had he lived, but let's be honest... it, he, you know. Not likely. This blows all sorts of holes in the oft-reported theory so many have forwarded that Angel Melendez "just wasn't considered cool enough by his fellow ClubKids for them to worry about."

Face facts: Melendez' ultimate fate was either death or imprisonment, and he wasn't likely to change his ways until his fate had been served.

That being said, this new information brings me around to St. James' oft-repeated assertion that Alig is a Sociopath.

Remember, Evil really can be "measured." To murder someone is an Evil act; to cover it up is an attempt to escape the consequences and, again, merely an Evil act; to be guilt-free and remorseless over your actions is Evil; to actually commit atrocities to the body over the course of several days, culminating in the ritualistic dismemberment of it, is nothing short of pathological and, simply put, Evil. The problem is, as I've frequently opined herein and elsewhere, you can't blame mentally-ill people of being Evil; it's the equivalent of calling a Dyslexic "stupid." Not to mention that they were On Dope - true addicts - which makes you a Sociopath, period. No questions. Drug addiction does not excuse their actions, but it does explain them.

I'm not minimizing the murder, nor death, of Andre Melendez, but I find it negligent to paint him as some poor, hapless victim who innocently walked into a deathtrap. I know the prosecution was trying to use Alig's previous creative works against him in an effort to prove premeditation which I, as an artist, find particularly disturbing and completely reprehensible (especially since I have personally seen Blood Feast and it blows antelope), but there's a heavier Thing at the heart of all of this into which I think St. James has some insight, if not a handle on:

While I don't think the murder was premeditated, I am starting to think that Alig was just strung-out enough to be completely disconnected from reality and to have approached the entire thing as some sort of Project - an "artistic" one, I mean, not an industrious necessity (the disposal of the corpse, itself). It's as if he thought, "Here, at last, is the chance to do all those sick Things I have often thought about and made the themes of my club events; here is my chance to Keep It Real. No one is going to top this."

That is truly Sociopathic; that is the very, specific definition of Sociopathy: to do as you please without regard for human life.

But, then again, that was the entire point of that whole "movement" and every Glo-Stick-wielding, self-proclaimed "E-head" ClubKid who ever "raved 'til dawn" championed that very ideology. So Michael Alig actually became the ultimate ClubKid, the one who Kept It Real to the very end, the one who always took it one step further...

Still, I think Alig is being driven insane by being in prison (which is the entire goal of prison nowadays, thus ensuring recidivism, which ensures further and increased funding for the prisons and prison programs - that, and the fact that the American penal system is designed to implement a controlled sex- and drug-trade under the auspices of the government - whoops! Did I blog that out loud? Wait, you didn't realize that?) - and that's no good. I think he's a true creative force who deserves to be in a position where his creativity can flourish instead of held in a position where it works against him.

Like it or not, Angel Melendez was going to end up dead or imprisoned, one way or another, and what happened to him, while lamentable and deplorable by any standard, is what is commonly referred to as "street justice."

Michael Alig has served his time and those who are upset that he may have some sort of career when he is released should check themselves at the door; Angel Melendez' very (short) career was profiting from crime, and no one would be against them both having legitimate careers now, had this unfortunate incident never happened.

Of course, Alig was at the forefront of the very movement which both spawned and validated Paris and Nichole, so... maybe a longer sentence is necessary - for purely punitive measures.


Anonymous said...

I read the entire article and it was very well written. I write Michael all the time and talk with his mother every weekend. Michael is doing fairly well and hopefully he will be free by 2010.
Thanks for writing a decent piece on Michael.

Manodogs said...

Thanks, Robin.

I find the whole case intriguing on many levels, not the least of which is why they have singled him out to make an example of.

Maybe it's just my personal politics, but I don't find the death of drug-dealers, pimps, pornographers, and their ilk to be that big of a deal.

Again, I am in no way justifying nor diminishing what happened - and Alig did some pretty reprehensible things beyond the Melendez situation - but I definitely think he's served more than his share of time for this crime and they should make room for real criminals.

Like DAs and cops.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the comment. I got a letter from Michael today and he is doing well. His parole hearing is this week. July 16th. We all wish him luck. We have to realize he is now in his 40's and is hoping to get out soon. You are right about there are many more that need to be in jail.
Thanks again.

Manodogs said...

Thanks for keeping us up to date, Robin! Please let us know how things turn out.

While I appreciate St. James' position and the fact that he knows far better than I, I hope Alig is released.

I worry about how he will adjust to life out here, though. I know he needs surgery and hope he gets that taken care of first, but I worry that he will go right back to his old ways.

Please let us know how things go and send him out best wishes.

Anonymous said...

According to Michael, he says that he is working on a book of all his paintings and other artwork. He is also working with someone with the editing of his book. A lot of the proceeds he is planning on giving to charity. He has several job offers and he also has several places to take up residence. I really do not think he is interested in going back to the "old" ways.
His mother and I and others are going to do our best to keep him away from the bad influence and people are are not going to set a positive example for him. We wish him happiness and hopefully he will get the medical attention that he truly needs.
I will keep you informed.
Thanks for understanding and for your truthful comments.

Anonymous said...

I talked with Mom Alig and it was sad to hear that Michael was denied parole today. We will have to wait and see what happens. I believe she said the next parole hearing will be October, 2009.
Damn the penal system.

Anonymous said...

He was denied again?
Oh no!
I've been researching everything I could and when I saw an article saying he was up for parole earlier than I thought, July 28, I was dead excited.

I've been a fan of that clubscene for years, even though at the time I was too young to actually join in.

I'll keep checking back to see if any new information pops up,
I'm pretty dissapointed, he deserves to be let out and have another chance!
I agree in full, damn the penal system!

shadowrangler said...

I am sorry if I have mis-read this article in any way but I fail to see where in the universe this article is a 'decent' article on Micheal Alig!?!?
How the hell can you justify Angels death just because he was a deviant, an outsider? ( a lot of the club kids were EXACTLY that, that was one of the points behind the club kids ethos).
NOBODY deserved to die here, and anyone who knows the case, has studied it for more than a couple of days and understands the whole scene and has a modicum of real intelligence will know that EVERYONE involved was a victim of circumstance, from Freeze through Angel to Micheal. The problem was NOT informing the police immediatley (which in no way lessens the loss of Angels life), if they had, I believe they would be walking free now! There are many innocent factors I beleive influencing as to why they did not. Ask yourself,given the cirumstances, how do any of us know how we would have reacted!?!?

There are many contradictions in this article which have led me to question the authors actual intentions. The first is the point about Angels death being of little consequence, then he
goes on to imply that Micheal committed some sort of gross act on Angels corpse, based on 'rumours' about Micheals alledged paedophilia!?!?!?!? all I can say is..... PROVE IT!
If you are implying what I think you are implying then it is dangerously libelous and you are doing nothing here to help Micheals case.
I have read and re-read your article trying to figure out your motives for writing such a biased piece, filled with bile and directed to a WHOLE sub-culture, a sub-culture you dismiss as 'pointless shit', so much so that the only rationale I can assume is this............
I suspect that because you were once told to 'shush' by a couple of clubbers you have held a grudge ever since.Why?....Because this theme is played throughout your article, by totally dissing the House/Techno scene as 'shite' and' pointless'.
If this were actually true then tell me how many other deviant sub-cultures had actual laws devised and passed because it was seen as a threat to morality and civilisation ??? None to my knowledge (esp heavy metal which to me is totally passive enslavement to cock-rocking idols). SEVERAL bills have been passed in the UK, such was the impact and threat of the rave scene (Check the criminal justice bill for one!).
As for your comments about house and Techno being 'repetitive shit', your own music of choice ,heavy metal, only has 3 basic chords (stemming from the blues, house stemmed from jazz,so there is a link there!). Both are repetitive, its the repetition which induces euphoria, THATS how it works. Its obvious you don't 'get' house/techno. To my mind,and a lot of clubbers, music is music and people should have the capacity to embrace different styles, rather than support one. After all, its music, NOT FOOTBALL!

You obviously saw yourself as being 'better' than these 'utter wastes of flesh' by stating that you were 'the only one who had 'real' talent',...................................can you please explain how you quantify talent? surely, talent is subjective, like beauty, in the eye of the beholder, and how the hell did you know that you were the only one in the room that could play an instrument? Do we have psychic abilities now too? Yes, all club music is mainly composed on computers, but there is real talent and skill needed to progam and play and know where to drop and where to build, make a machine sound like a human is playing! There is also talent in putting together a costume, transforming oneself into another creature, it takes imagination and talent to create the fantasy spaces which clubbers go to, how much imaginative talent goes into a heavy metal night???? (btw I quite like heavy metal, but just want to point out your innacuracies and hipocracies!)>too
The whole scene may have been pointless and superficial to you, but to thousands, like myself, it wasn't. Just like the Warhol/factory scene grew initially from people being famous for being famous (or infamous), just look what that 'pointless' sub-culture spawned............. a group without which I doubt heavy metal would have ever evolved!!
Despite what you may say about 'superficiality', encouraging individuality and promoting alternative lifestyles is VERY political, moreso than those who march the streets waving banners, because this form of revolution actually works and actually changes peoples lives. The powers on this planet which seek to homogenise and make clones of us all see individuality and all its representatives as a threat. I am no big conspiracy theorist, but I personally believe here was a lot more behind the drugs raids on the Limelight than first meets the eye.
You said that the ravers you knew 'weren't worth the salt nor the water in their bodies', can you enlighten me as to what deep insight you based this idea on? Was it that you saw them as wastes of space because they were having a good time 'RAVING' or because they were 'RAVER'S'? You see the point is, to be subversive, its best to BE subversion itself, which is exactly what ravers are, theyre living it, not sat around discussing it!

I find it quite ironic and hipocritical that you associate 'heavy drug use' with the rave scene exclusively when drug use is central to the main proponants (and listeners) of heavy metal (along with a large splash of crowleyanity, which, I believe the club kids also intuitively subscribed to) so why single them out?

Overall, it seems to me that you are using Micheal and the whole club scene to dismiss an entire sub-culture, to point the finger and say 'told you so, told you it was no good!'

Otherwise what exactly IS the point and purpose of this article? Please let us all know!!!

What was the point behind making ravers etc all seem like a collection of drug addled and pointless wastrels?(which we all know is not true, same as not all heavy metal fans are phallo-centric misogynists) to what end was this illustrating?

Most people know and accept that the murder was self defence, so why the hell has manodogs here wallowed in the 'Draino' sensationalism and made accusations of micheal doing something very dark? this paints an entirely different picture and implies there were darker motives,that maybe there was A MOTIVE?
These accusations though are coming from the same mind who's personal politics find that Angels death was 'no big deal'.
Surely NOBODY really believes Angel DESERVED to die? The author here seems to be implying he did. And why exactly?............. Because Angel was a drug dealer, a deviant, an outsider. The very thing that actually qualified and made him 'attractive' to the club kid mindset.
Finally............................Anyone who beleives this article would sway a parole board officers mind to releasing Micheal should re-read it. As we have read in his article,and I have clearly established here, Manodogs view of deviancy and a lot of what the club kids stood for means that Angels death was 'no big deal'.................(Somewhat ) ironically the penal system does!

Anonymous said...

Well, it seems like a lot of people have been Googling Michael's name. I don't think anyone believes that Angel should have died. There was only a few people in the apartment when the "incident" happened. Michael, Freeze, Angel, and also Daniel. I have personally talked with Michael about this. No, I don't believe all of his words, but most of them have proven true. I don't think the true story will ever be told. Everyone involved were so high on a mixture of different drugs, that nothing was clear.
Another quick mention. Michael did a plea bargain to be released in early 2010. He didn't expect to be released. Disappointed, yes, but he has less than 2 years to go, and we can only sit back and watch what happens. It does amaze me how we all get caught up with the evil ones. Manson, Daumer, etc. But, you have to admit, it is an interesting read.
Thanks Shadow for the insight.

shadowrangler said...

My reason for replying here was because I appreciate what James/micheal et al did in the late 80's early 90's. I also do have an interest in the darker nature of mankind (hence my username). This is not from some kind of sick perverted pleasure but merely because I believe it is the duty of everyone to objectively examine ALL things in life without hysteria or pre-judgement. Most people want to sweep it under the carpet but I believe that whilst ever we do that, it will always come back to haunt us and we will never reach some kind of understanding. Lets face it, lfe is NOT that bed of roses were led to believe it is and the sooner people get realistic about that the better. People seem to see nature as some benign, fluffy force when in reality it is also savage and destructive (disease/death/earthquakes/volcanoes) and we as human animals have all the qualities that nature bestows. The problem is that we try and deny that simple fact and a lot of our activity in western culture is based on this flight from the fact that we are actually breathing,defecating, dying animals, once we do accept it I beleive we can become whatever/whoever we want.

Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed your article. I too was intrigued by the Party Monster flick as well. I was doing the Goth thing here in Philly when you were banging your head. lol We had a few of those guys filter in to our scene and most of them were drugged up trash to say the least. I was at a party and one of them called Tigger drugged some girl and got it on in a back room of the house this party was at.Of course his ass went to jail as he should. I can't say I ever liked any of those glow stick freaks and I would have sooner shoved those sicks up their ass then talk to those losers. Again your article is very insightful well done!

Manodogs said...

Thanks to all who understand the article. For those who do not (and there are many on St. James' boards), I'll try to elucidate... though I have reread this article several times and feel justified in saying I think I made my point pretty clear. Here goes:

Angel Melendez did not "deserve" to die - that's a given. Andre Melendez was a dope-dealer - a pusher - and a hustler, and that was not just his job, but his lifestyle. That's a dangerous job and an even more dangerous lifestyle. As I said in the article, had he lived, he could have turned his life around, gotten out of that way of life, and hopefully done something productive - I don't care if it's as simple as working at Mickey D's.

Now, how many of us can honestly - honestly, now - say he was likely to do that?

He was not likely to do that.

Thus (2+2=? - Bueller?), Melendez was basically fated to either die or go to prison for selling drugs. I know it's not the popular American Myth rappers sell, but it's the actuality of the situation. Again, this does not mean that he deserved to die, this just means that it was likely to happen regardless because of his lifestyle/occupation.

The sycophancy which surrounds the ClubKids is a little... sociologically sad to me because it is so juvenile - yet that is exactly what the entire scene championed! 20-something kids with a purposely adolescent fashion sense, partying til dawn, taking the latest designer drugs and having all sorts of wild sex with an obligatory "FTW" attitude. Sounds great in theory - we all did it to some extent for at least a little while - but in reality, the cynicism and carelessness of that lifestyle leads to...


DEATH OR PRISON. Sometimes both.

Again, you can get away with it for a few years, but unless you step back, realize what's going down around you - and with yourself - you will become just another casualty.

St. James' book, the movie - James St. James' entire point in telling this whole thing - is (ostensibly) a cautionary tale: Don't Be Like Michael!

[Of course, he's been criticized for the matter - jealousy, greed, etc. - and all of these things surely played some part in his decisions, but I honestly believe, at the end of it all, St. James is actually a decent sort of girl. He wanted all of you who blindly defend this scene and lifestyle to check yourselves and realize that this is where it could lead.]

Of course, the glamour and debauchery of the whole thing is part of the allure for me as well in covering this story - it's human nature, I suppose (I guess I can't bring myself to admit I'm a little shallow?) - but I can put it in its place and I can see through it - I'm not sure everyone can.

The ClubKids - had they possessed the knowledge and foresight to approach it thusly (and St. James makes good arguments as to the fact that some of them - especially Michael Alig - did) was Dadaism, plain and simple. I love Dada - love it!

All the B-rater slasher flicks with the ridiculously gory and bizarrely creative kill scenes? Dada. Death metal grindcore in 75-second bursts with titles like, Kill Your Mother, Rape Your Dog (Dying Fetus)? Dada.

Sexually abusing a corpse and dismembering it while smacked-out on dogfood and crack? That's not "Art for Art's sake."

And when it comes down to it, I stand by what I said as to those people and that scene vs. we heavy metal kids (really, most any other scene, but as I was a heavy metal kid, it's what I know):

We had more than our fair share of dopefiends, losers, and (especially) alcoholics, but they just listened to the same music we did. As an actual musician of the genre, I NEVER ONCE stopped and said, "What am I going to wear onstage tonight?" We NEVER choreographed a move. That's the difference here:

The ravers I knew would spend days - WEEKS, even MONTHS! - planning these events, picking out their themes and make-up and outfits and what drugs they were going to do that night. It was their twisted version of "prom." And while I'm all for that on that level to seek to defend it, as anything other than what it is, is fucking ludicrous! And an offense to me, as an artist!

I put on a pair of shorts and whatever T-shirt was closest and played the drums. I spent my days playing the drums so I could get better at playing the drums. I did not spend my time coordinating my outfit or perfecting my dance moves. Function over fashion.

At the end of the day, I had Talent and I practiced and paid attention to the substance of what I was doing. Those clubbers... well, if you can call doing "trippy" shit with Glo-Sticks a "talent," then... you know, whatever.

Again, I'm all for "fashion over function" on its own level, but to defend it as having any real substance is ludicrous! And if you think otherwise, then I invite you to ask St. James if he thinks he's had a greater impact as a ClubKid or an author; ask him if he's put more into his writing or his partying and, of the time spent, which he's more proud of.

16-18 year old girls put proms together - and that, in their obliviously Anti-Art/Dadaistic fashion - is exactly who the ClubKids were emulating! That was The Point! Be childish and silly and funny and flamboyant!

Great, fine, and as performance Art - to some degree - valid. But sometime between, say, 3am and 7am, after the 90th month or so, it was no longer a performance.

Melendez' death puts the period on that sentence, and is The Point of this post:

Was Michael Alig too far gone to realize this was no longer just a performance - this was not some Artistic anything - or was/is he, as St. James asserts, an actual Sociopath?

Manodogs said...

I forgot to mention that I did not fabricate the point that the torso had been sexually molested. In fact, I believe the article made it very clear that I spent about 2-3 days reading literally every article and interview I could find on the matter specifically because everything I read was obviously (to me, at least) only part of the story.

When I hit upon the continued, frequent alludes to the whole "child sex ring" bit - mentioned in the movie, the book, and elsewhere (as I had not read the book when I wrote this, though I had seen the movie several times) - I knew I was onto something.

That the torso showed signs of sexual abuse is the only reason I question the events and Alig's imprisonment. Had this been as simple as the death of drug-dealer, even Alig's and the ClubKids' moderate celebrity would not have made it the pop-cultural story it is today - it might not even have made it a footnote! That's a big part of why I questioned the whole thing in the first place!

Face it: of a bunch of clubbers, one was a drug-dealer, several others were drug-addicts, a death occurred. THIS IS NOT NEWS. Shit, a kid drowned in Tommy Lee's pool and that's hardly even mentioned these days! Vince Neil went to jail for manslaughter (DUI) and you rarely hear about that! Things like this happen (even outside of Motley Crue) when you are involved with that kind of lifestyle and they happen with such a frequency that they rarely warrant national reporting.

Had there been no signs of sexual abuse, there would be no story. Further, Alig would not still be in jail, even if they really wanted him to be, because he only disposed of the body.

This is what gets me about the people who get all up-in-arms over this matter without considering the story from all angles:

The cops could not get Peter Gatien (owner of Limelight) because he was going to be deported back to Canada, so they settled for Michael Alig - the next Big Fish down the line.

Was the torso actually molested (even if it was, it does not necessarily mean Alig was responsible)? I have no idea, but the reports detailing the actual crime more clinically are not very hard to find.

And most of them insist that 'Angel was considered too uncool by his fellow ClubKids for his death to be a cause for concern.' As I hope I made fairly clear, that's not really the whole story there, so I fully admit that the other articles are lacking, but I have no way of verifying that the torso showed signs of sexual abuse anymore than I do of verifying who was in the apartment, what actually happened, or whether the moon is made of green cheese.

Libel be damned; I've absolutely no reason to deride Alig's character and certainly would not do so in such a manner! I don't whitewash most things, and the possibility that the allegations are true is specifically what keeps me from doing more to help Michael Alig; if the allegations of pedophilia and/or necrophilia are true, then maybe Alig is where he belongs.

That is what the post is all about!

Still, at the end of the day, Angel Melendez did not deserve to die, but Michael Alig - if the allegations are not true - also doesn't deserve to still be in prison for his role in the murder (which, if disposing of the corpse was his only crime, would make him an accessory after the fact). As pretty much everyone is telling you, Shadowrangler, there is a lot more to this story than has been told. I was trying to shed a little light on what I gleaned from my research and general acumen.

With all that said, a lot of men who did great things were not necessarily great men and it's important to separate the two. And I don't know how "great" a thing being a ClubKid was, though I admit it has merit in/as pop-culture.

wretched b. said...

I can see I'm a little late making this comment but I must commend you on an objective, well written, and interesting article. Bravo!
The thing about the Alig/St. James fans is that they've turned into a bunch of fag-haggin' zealots, refusing to see them as human but more as 'fabulous'. (Puke!)
I used to go on the Alig and St. James message boards and let me tell ya, if you say anything, and I mean ANYTHING, that challenges their 'fabulous' perspective your post gets deleted, you get a nice little private 'censorship' note or your account simply gets deleted. So much for an open-minded crew. This is a controversial topic! What can they possibly expect?
So, kudos on an excellent article!
Now, where did you get that info on necrophelia? I too have read it hinted at but I'd LOVE to find out more. Oh, and were you ever able to come across any courtroom transcripts? Now THATS what I would just LOVE to get my hands on!

Manodogs said...

Thanks, Wretched B. A while back, there were a lot of hits coming from a message board. I followed it back to the source and found out it was St. James'.

Of course, 99% of the comments were EXTREMELY abusive toward me - not just my "take" on the matter - and at least 90% of those posters obviously had not read the entire entry. I tried to defend myself and was accused of flaming someone - someone who had called me all sorts of names and worse!

Like you said, just ridiculous, jejune, cliquey behavior.

The necrophilia bit comes from a report written by a former FBI agent (turned crime reporter) who covered the story for his website. His article was written many years ago and used to appear toward the top of Google whenever you searched for items relating, but is now buried somewhere in there. (Before this whole SearchWiki nonsense, this article appeared in the top three - proving, to me at least, misguided "fans" have collectively voted it down.) He claimed it was in the police reports. His story was specifically focused on Gatien and the Limelight and really only mentioned Alig casually, but there was an article on Melendez' murder in there somewhere.

It was verified by something a ClubKid or someone close to that scene said in an Australian magazine website (Radar? Maybe) feature. That feature disappeared literally weeks after I wrote this post. In fact, I had originally linked to it in this post, but removed the dead link some time later. The website/magazine is still around, so the article (which was a collection of quotes and Q&A-type stuff from several ClubKids and satellite clubbers of the era) may still be available, just not indexed.

When I originally wrote this piece, there wasn't much to be found on Alig, Melendez, or the ClubKids, in general - you really had to dig! There were a couple of sites with photos, some personal "I Love Michael"-type pages, and several small articles about parole hearings which recapped the story. Most of the information recapped the events portrayed in the film as backstory.

Like I said, I personally can't confirm the murder even happened, so I don't know from Shinola, but the sentence I use in the post is the actual quote from the former FBI agent's article - Blogger did not have a BLOCKQUOTE function at that time (or, if it did, I did not know how to access it).

After this length of time, I cannot say it is verbatim, but "When the torso washed ashore, there were signs of sexual abuse" is the actual quote.

Thanks for reading!

Anonymous said...

Well done for extrapolating some of the views expressed in the original article, I felt it was required as you did come over originally as just being arrogant (but then so did I in response!). And yes I did find the piece via the JSJ homepage which I have flirted with but its mainly a load of (nice) girl fans of James's who are protective, however I am not. I was trying to be as objective about he whole thing as possible, as any true journalists intentions should be. I watched the shockumentary again last week and really cannot see either Freeze or Micheal 'interfering' sexually with Angels corpse, as is stated by Freeze to Aligs BF, Freeze would never have done Angel living, never mind dead.As for Micheal, despite his ghoulish reputation I really dont think he did either. What I do now believe is that yes, micheal is serving longer than just a manslaughter rap because of these rumours and chinese whispers that were flying around at the time, but thats all they were. That, combined with the fact that they kept the body for a while and Micheal disfigured it is also why the time is extended. I believe now that if they had telephoned the cops immediatley, they would be walking free now, instead they panicked and made bad judgements because of the drugs (heroin isnt called heroin for nothing, you really do feel that nothing is a problem!). It is a sad fact that all 3 are victims at the end of the day, Alig was just a scared little boy at the end of the day. As you said, Angels story was limited as to how it would end considering his trade and also his approach to how he handled it (any real big time dealer would have simply wasted Micheal). he wanted to play the big time dealer man but underestimated the response from Freeze and Micheal. Despite the trouble going down at the LImelight, Micheal did still have a promising future, thats why I dont believe the intention was to actually kill Angel, there was too much to lose and what happened was a result of rage and temporary loss of faculty.
What I find sad is that it also was the death knell for the last rebellious youth movement, as since then, what has there been for teen rebels to identify with? This is the first decade since the 50's where there has been no tangible rebellious youth movement (unless you know of one?).Maybe the internet is to blame? maybe theres nothing left to rebel against? Wether you like or loathe what is produced by such movements nobody can deny their influence, vitality and the part they play in shaping the future, yes, I believe they are that important.Yours- SHADOWRANGLER

Anonymous said...

I forgot to mention quite an important point regarding sexual assault on Angel. I did not see any specific information regarding the actual evidence of abuse in your article which is actually very important as it would point to wether the act took place before or after death, like I said, there is no indication of this in your article and think it would be a good idea if you did reprint the report verbatim so people can reach their own conclusions.

Anonymous said...

I still dont buy your argument about talent. It really IS subjective and for any artist to state that their talents are more important than anothers is simply......not an artistic statement. I too am an artist/musician (my group actually played the limelight in 92, but at the new music seminar not disco 2000, but i did see the sets!) and have never valued one form above another as each is as vital and integral as the other, just as an audience is as important as the band at a gig! This is why I questioned your actual motive initially and got so wound up as you were just coming over as being really cocky. You still seem to be falling into this trap of saying the horse is more important than the cart. As previously stated, I am not one of the irate 'cliquey' JSJ board members with a bias, I am looking at this through my artists minds eye and still feel you have a problem with arty types despite your enthusiasm for dada. I beg for you to read through your original article again and come clean and admit that you do come over as being somewhat more worthy an artist than the ravers/klubkids? Your comments about excess apply to EVERYONE, not just the people you see as mere performers and lets face it, heavy metal has MORE than its fair share of caners. Fashion over function? Im sure that if I did speak to james he would say that without his surreal fashion leanings there would be no book, hence no author?His second book Freakshow is all about using your individuality as a talent, fashion over function if you like, stand out from the scenery and make a difference.

With regards to your statement about Aligs leanings and that being the reason for your article: With all respect, that is using the sensational to peg your article up with, which implies to me that you do think he was guilty of such things.Secondly, if Alig or anyone is guilty of being peadophilic/ necrophilic, do you think that is an actual lifestyle choice? Espescially considering the current climate of total fear and mistrust the tabloids have whipped up around the subject? ( because I for one think not, and it is not something I believe someone like Alig or anyone would do just to 'be cool''). I still do not get your reasons for writing this article other than to just totally diss the whole scene and imply that Alig had severe psycho-sexual problems based on his passion for b-movie horror and evidence of sexual assault for which there appears to be no record ( would be most grateful if you could find it!). I hope you can see and admit to your biases throughout the original post as these were the alarm bells which made me question just why this article was being written, as before, if you had the damning police report on Melendez's sexual assault then maybe there would be something there but to just imply it without the evidence is a bit naughty of you and must be very upsetting for his family? Hopefully more will be released with Micheal, it has to if he is to function on release, he should do his own film version as both a cathartic and character cleansing exercise. I look forward to your reply Manodog! Regards- Shadowrangler

Manodogs said...

The first site on which I read it and took the quote was American Mafia - I'm like 98% sure, anyway. I wrote the article over a year ago and it took me two days/nights to find the good stuff (which means thousands of results at 100/page), so I can't be certain. Do a search there for it and you should find the articles - there were a handful, as he was mostly concerned with Gatien's crimes; Melendez' death was more of an afterthought.

Since writing the article, coupled with Alig's parole hearing, the Net has basically exploded with posts and articles related to the whole thing. And, as you note, 'rangler, the fact that there are so many disenfranchised youths without an outlet or leader(s) and IFC's heavy rotation of Party Monster (FUSE also showed it at least a couple times recently) probably has something to do with the resurgence of interest. After all, it was my viewing of the flick that prompted me to research and write this piece! A lot of the returns that top the results right now are not very informative, except as backstory. Mainly videos, pictures from the ClubKids Days, and overly-romanticized nostalgia (including the "I Love You, Michael" stuff).

Now, the corroborating quote was from RADAR - I think. It was a kind of Q&A clush-up featuring quotes from Alig, Keoke (sp?), Jenny-talia, Musto, and others who were either around back then or are famous for some club-related something on their own and had something to say about it. I had that article linked in this post and bookmarked; it disappeared. It's probably still on the site somewhere, just not indexed in the search engines. They may have changed the URL or removed it entirely to rerun it in the print edition - someone may even have threatened a suit or something and forced them to pull it? At any rate, it was an Australian pop-culture magazine site... that's the most I can offer.

Regardless, the post is strong deserves critical reading; I don't feel the need to defend it nor dissect it any further. Blogging is not a form which enforces citation, as it is op/ed (when done properly).

In many states, necrophilia is actually construed as "abuse of a corpse," etc. - in some states it's only a misdemeanor! - which would have been covered by the crime of which Alig was convicted and probably would not have warranted a second charge. The FBI was attempting to use the horror-show aspects of Alig's club events against him and he failed to help them in their investigation of Gatien. Michael Musto was not an Alig fan. Clubbers are wholesale sociopaths by nature: that is the entire point of that whole "scene." You will have to decide what to believe for yourself.

I don't think I knew, or ever met, any of the ClubKids. The single girl whose name I recognized - if it is who I think it was - was a beautiful, intelligent, fun, and quasi-famous DJ who worked all over the nation. I met her in Memphis and hung-out with her several times, but - like me - she was "famous" in her scene, and that was her scene. I don't know if she was ever directly involved with the ClubKids or not. She was a hottie and not a doper (pothead and prolly cokehead, but she was not a waste - at least not then; I last saw her in the late 1990s) and she knew her music - metal, classic rock, 80s pop/rock, as well as the cutting-edge stuff of that time (gangsta rap and techno were 90s fads - really, so was death metal).

Regardless, she was the single exception to the rule I present above: clubbers are sociopaths because that is their singular intent. They "rave til dawn," party at all costs, and FTW; in reality, that means they do whatever they want without regard to the consequences or effect on others around them. "If it feels good, do it!"

Alig championed that ideology - if not pioneered it - by turning it into a fashion-conscious, media-savvy sub-culture (the sub-culture was always there, he just capitalized on it - literally), so some believe he was martyrized. St. James vehemently disagrees.

At any rate, Alig was no angel; he was a pretty bad dude. Whether or not all of the allegations surrounding him and his lifestyle are true are left to you to determine, but his behavior should not be romanticized and lauded, anymore than NAMBLA's or serial killers'... yet some do just that.

As a human being, I sympathize with the guy and feel sorry for him; as an artist, I see him as a salesman. Unfortunately, most of those who disagree with my opinion have never heard the Rush song which explains it. The sickest thing is that I would have far more in common with Alig than most of those who idolize him; after all, I'm a 34-year old man.

Manodogs said...

Sorry, but I do not believe that calling yourself an "artist" makes it so; artists create and their creations have aesthetic value, if nothing else. But true Art has a point and there are criteria which must be met.

Painting "wicked flames" on the bottom of your deck or drawing your name in bubble letters on your tennis shoes does not make you an artist anymore than unclogging your drain makes you a plumber or changing your tire makes you a mechanic.

I do my own taxes but I am not a CPA; I cook my own meals but I am not a chef; etc.

The whole "everybody's a winner" concept - especially when it comes to art - offends me. Just because you "feel" you are "expressing yourself" does not make it Art. Art has specific criteria which must be met, just like all other disciplines and fields.

Anonymous said...

I hope for Peace be with Michael. I haven't totally immersed myself in his story, but it does capture my attention and I think of him from time to time. I identify with one line in Party Monster, "If someone doesn't hold onto my string, I'll fly away" or something like that. I understand how that feels.

Aside from whatever happened and whatever landed him where he is, Michael is a human being, not put here to be mistake free. Some peoples are just worse, thats all. He is a beautiful soul from what I can see in his eyes during the interviews I have watched. There is so much energy in his mind and spirit, that it is a wonder he is doing as well as he is. He must have an enourmous survival mode.

I would love to find out more about his Art work, or anything he has written. Is there a spot you can point me to on the web? Or even an address where I can send him a card or something? He inspires me to be completely who I am and no one else. I would love to tell him that myself some day.

Thanks for letting me vent/rant


Ian4t said...

Is there any way that I could use to contact with michael from spain? PE. a mail?
I think he´s been a great man

Anonymous said...

I could spend hours formulating a response in which I could try to convince you that the "wastes of space" you came in contact with do not define the electronic music scene. I think such generalizations in any text exist because there are some people that fit into the stereotype, but it really saddened me to read your opinion that someone else's craft is not talent just because it is not your own.

Several harsh generalizations in your article pertaining to our scene particularly irked me. I am 27 years old, have completed 8 years of college and make a sizable salary now, play several musical instruments, speak 2 languages fluently, and I am a raver. The negative connotations involved with such terminology prevent me from using such language with people that do not understand electronic music and can only imagine a bunch of crackheads waving glowsticks around in the air to some happyhardcore remix. I enjoy GOOD house, trance, drum and bass, and psytrance and the positive energy involved with such events.

While in both undergrad and grad school I was involved in the electronic music movement and probably enjoyed a good party 1-2x times a month. As an adult, I live in a city with a very small electronic music scene, but still manage to drag my butt out of my house to enjoy some live music (often until 3 or 4am) once a month or so. Yes, I am older, and I have responsibilities, but just about every one of my friends/contacts from college and grad school that used to rave, still function as productive members of society and manage to party too. And in my moderately sized circle of friends for the past 8 years, I only know of two people that have gone to jail for drug related offenses. I don't know, maybe I just had a particularly cool, open minded, talented group of friends that also happened to be ravers.

I am sorry that a bunch of rude ravers/clubkids made you feel that we are all wastes of space =(

IAN4T said...

I think that neither of those parties is a "waste of space" they only are different ways to have fun, (or are different kind of business) some people likes one kind of parties and some people likes another, the people who joins a party is becaus he wants, isn´t it?
So you can choose which of those parties you´ll join.

Manodogs said...

Check this one out. Chillingly similar.

Ian4t said...

True mano hehe, It´s really simillar, but the difference was the popularity i think. And I´ve thought that killing people is not hard punished, and less if you have drugs before doing it xD.
Sorry if I do any faults writing, I´m just a spanish boy... trying to learn. Do you know any way to contact with miki?

Anonymous said...

I'm sure he is a great person!!! loving and all, but. anybody tell me which drug can cause you to chop up a body and dump it to save your own skin?? i'll try to avoid it....must be a good drug.

Anonymous said...

all of your italics and quotes is really really annoying and makes you sound like an asshole

Anonymous said...

More on Michael Alig here in the original "letters from Michael series" published by Australian website

rave said...

no one has the right to play God and take a human life. street justice? are you serious... it doesn't matter where you think Angel was headed... he still had the right to live. He could have changed. Doesnt mean he was a bad person just misguided. you people are crazy.

Anonymous said...

Well it seems that there are many more articles about Alig since this blog was written. Many share the idea that Angel somehow deserved to die, that Freeze was the actual "murderer" and that this was in no way premeditated. What if Michael Alig was lying? Gasp, I know. What if he had over 7 months to corroborate his story to ensure he and Freeze were in sync? There was another person there that day, Daniel, who gave a police report or two. In his first version he contested that Michael and Freeze talked about killing Angel to take his money. That's peculiar since that is exactly what happened. This was before Angel ever arrived that day. Michael had already stolen $2000 from Angel and at that point he knew where he stashed his money and exactly how much he had stashed away. After killing Angel he took the remaining $18,000 giving $3000 to Daniel who later got arrested for it. While Michael was in jail he kept testing positive for opiates which obviously postponed any possibility for parole. He was high for 12 of those 17 years - but he paid his dues right? This does not seem to show remorse at all. On one hand he's crying that he only did this because he was high and saying that he feels horrible for what he did.... well if that were true the last thing he would want is to touch drugs or reminisce about his drug use. He certainly shouldn't be selling "Ketamine Key Chains" or any pictures with drug related references. He is as shallow as they say and more. As far as those rumors go about him targeting under age boys it doesn't surprise anyone, some even applaud him for it. I would be very cautious over a person who supports him and his efforts after knowing what he has done and seeing his blatant disregard for accepting responsibility in this crime. He blames everyone else for everything he has ever done... when asked about peeing and vomiting in people's drinks he said that he was waiting for people to stop him because if they told him "NO" that meant they loved him. That is the lamest 8th grade excuse to ever come out of a sociopath's mouth.... he really believes the public is stupid and will fall for anything. He is looking for a lawyer, a publicist and an assistant who of course need to work for free or at least for one of his posters. This is the kind of "celebrity" we're discussing. He has an Amazon Wish List where his fans buy him anything his black heart desires. He is now asking for people to subscribe to his daily vlog so he can access YouTube's NY Studio....yes that's what the public needs...more coverage of him and his nervous laughter while discussing "the good ole days", none of which discuss him doing any good for anyone but himself, in fact in a recent episode his roommate organized a day to clean the community which he tried to wake Michael up to attend and I don't have to tell you the outcome... although I'm not surprised he didn't jump at the chance to wear his "Call My Agent" t-shirt in case the press were covering this event. What is also disturbing is that Michael is gay and people believe the gay community embraces Michael which in small part may be the case but most adults don't want to even hear his name. Young kids who watch the movie or adults who have partied at the Limelight have this weird obsession with Party Monster but the fact that he is gay is insignificant and does not mean gay people in general support him. That would be like saying all straight people support Charlie Manson... ignorant.

A recent twitter post sums up his attitude and state of mind :
"if its a bad thing to look up 2 a guy who lived a life helping others then did one horrible thing then i guess it IS......"
of course the post to which he is responding to has been deleted but he really wants people to believe he has "helped" people his whole life... not that he made fun of everyone who wasn't in the clique..