Girls gone not so wild

Many, many men and loud rock music do not a soft-core porn make

Keri Carlson

It seemed improbable from the beginning. Would Minnesota girls really go wild?

Sure, Joe Francis is able to coax drunken college girls at Mardi Gras, Daytona and Cancún to lift their shirts for his videos. But this is the Midwest ” which is not to say it’s just our modesty holding us back. It’s also the temperature.

Though all of January was quite mild, Friday was a harsh reminder that winter has not left. By evening the morning’s snowfall had become a glaze of ice on the sidewalks and the wind could tunnel its way through jeans and make limbs numb.

Lift up my shirt?

I think I’ll put on another sweater.

But, perhaps the main reason the Girls Gone Wild tour at First Avenue failed to resemble one of its videos was because there were hardly any girls! The Main Room was in fact a sea of fist-pumping, black hoodie-wearing, 18- to 25-year-old males.

The show had two advertisements: On the First Avenue Web site, the show was listed simply as “Girls Gone Wild Backstage Pass Tour.” And it was not until you followed the link that you learned Hinder, Revelation Theory and Faction were performing. The show was also sponsored by the hard rock radio station 93X. And they seemed more concerned about the bands (all male) than the girls.

A 22-year-old from Hennepin Technical College, who asked to remain anonymous because of embarrassment, said the Girls Gone Wild sponsorship got him to the show. When I asked him what he expected, the friend standing next to him lifted up his shirt. “Yeah, that,” the 22-year-old said pointing to his friend’s exposed chest.

But most of the audience appeared to be at the show for the headliner, Hinder. A group of three young men, two from Century College and the third from North St. Paul High School, said they found out about the show from 93X and didn’t care about Girls Gone Wild. But one did ask, “Speaking of girls, where are they?”

Even those there for the music were confused about the Girls Gone Wild presence. No one could figure out the purpose. At the merchandise table, only the bands had stuff to sell. There was not a single video, DVD, poster or T-shirt for Girls Gone Wild. Inside the club, the only reference to the soft-core porn series was a measly banner hanging from the staircase. Outside, though, sat a Girls Gone Wild bus.

First Avenue’s booker Nate Kranz said girls could sign up to get on the bus, but when I walked by, no one was around. The only ones outside the club were taking a smoke break. And because that bus didn’t appear to be rockin’, I didn’t bother knocking.

Overall, Girls Gone Wild’s involvement in the show was almost nonexistent. So why would they bother with the sponsorship?

On the one hand, it seems pointless and a waste of money. But maybe Girls Gone Wild is taking a subtler approach. Maybe it’s not about reproducing a scene from spring break, but like most company images these days, it’s about creating a type of lifestyle, attitude or mind-set.

Modern hard rock is not that different from early metal (before groups like Bon Jovi got the chicks with love ballads). Despite the occasional “hot chick” in a video, it’s a boys club.

Girls Gone Wild’s presence seemed to prove it cares more about belonging to this club than recruiting more girls.