Jay Hates Michael

Michael Aston of Gene Loves Jezebel
Jay Hates Michael

By Gilbert Garcia

Before there were the Olsen twins, rock 'n' roll spawned a sibling cautionary tale of its own: the Aston twins.

Preening, emaciated, metrosexual bookends from Wales, the well-coiffed Astons formed a band called Gene Loves Jezebel, and rocketed to rock-footnote status with a series of '80s radio hits such as "Desire," "Heartache," and "Sweetest Thing." Though their impact on popular music was peripheral at best, few bands reek of the Reagan decade as thoroughly as GLJ. With their MTV-ready looks and shallow pretentiousness, it's impossible to imagine them coming from any other era. Their goth-lite sound perfectly cut across the divide between mopey Bauhaus fans and giddy hair-metal hedonists.

Gene Loves Jezebel
Hearts Fail

Sunday, June 27
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330 E. Grayson

But the true relevance of this band is that, in a genre known for bitter sibling rivalry (e.g., Ray and Dave Davies; Don and Phil Everly), no brothers have ever hated each other's guts as much as Jay and Michael Aston. In 1989, at the peak of their cultural blip, Michael left the group in a huff, while Jay carried on without him. Six years later, Michael and Jay reunited, but during the recording of the "comeback" album, VII, things got so testy that Jay erased Michael's golden-throated vocals from the tracks.

They subsequently tried to tour with competing versions of GLJ, before becoming embroiled in a nasty legal battle. Michael emerged with the rights to the name, recorded last year's Exploding Girls with a new collection of sidemen, and continues to spread the sexy gospel of Gene Loves Jezebel. Brotherly love is a beautiful thing.

By Gilbert Garcia


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