From Hair Balls to Rocks Off: Songs for Houston's White-Collar Criminals
Photo by Joe Bustillos
Houston has a strong job market. Many of those jobs are professional positions in a wide range of industries. Many of the people working in those jobs are creepy, sometimes even murderous criminals.
Just because you've earned a PhD and a seven figure income doesn't mean you can't be wretched. All the accolades earned over a lifetime of sweat and toil can be lost in even a single moment of madness.
Some of our town's biggest headline-gobbling rats were once its big cheeses. Straight from Hair Balls to Rocks Off, here are some musical salutes to these dark-hearted, white-collared, true crime stories.
"Suite-Pee," System of a Down
What industry is better associated with Houston than space and aeronautics? Certainly, those who've endured the rigors to boldly go where no man has gone before are immune to the petty grievances of the heart that plague mere mortals, we all assumed. Until we heard about Lisa Marie Nowak.
Nowak, a space shuttle veteran and NASA employee, was obsessed with a fellow astronaut. She felt another woman was eying the man she had designs on, and so she decided to abort that possible mission with rope, a knife and some pepper spray. She was mercifully foiled and charged with attempted murder of the other woman.
I'm offering the bare basics here because the only important thing anyone recalls about the entire ordeal is that Nowak drove 900 miles -- from Houston to Florida -- to confront the woman. And, to do the drive in record time, she wore a diaper so that she wouldn't have to stop for any nagging bathroom breaks. Gross.
I can't be convinced this System of a Down song isn't the perfect fit for this crime. For one, it has the word "pee" in the title. But also, it sounds fucking crazy.These words must be rumblings from the mind of someone who wants to hurt someone else so bad, they'll soil a diaper for a day, just for the chance.
"Stiletto," Billy Joel
University of Houston research professor Alf Stefan Andersson died in June, when his girlfriend, Ana Trujillo, stabbed him repeatedly with her stiletto heel. She does not contest the bottom line of the matter -- she ended the man's life by repeatedly stabbing him with the shoe, as many as 30 times, by some accounts. She claims self-defense after a night of drinking, jealousy, and aggressive behavior.
Billy Joel's "Stiletto" eerily echoes this tragic and odd crime. Had he not written it more than 30 years ago, one may have guessed he pulled a Law and Order and ripped the song straight from the headlines.
"Antifreeze," Asylum Street Spankers
Two doctors at UT - M.D. Anderson Cancer Center were involved in what was classified as "a casual sexual relationship." Not that casual, considering the Murder, She Wrote type allegations which broke in June.
It's a classic he said-she said. He, Dr. George Blumenschein, said she tried to poison him with antifreeze-sweetened coffee. She, Dr. Ana Maria Gonzalez-Angulo, says she did not.
These events are still brewing, but there's no question that Austin's one-time favorites, Asylum Street Spankers, pegged the soundtrack to the mystery involving these learned medical colleagues/booty-calls.
The song has actual lyrics like, "We want to talk of love? What the hell do we know?" and, "It's not the kiss that makes me feel the bite of antifreeze."
"Burn Rubber On Me (Why You Wanna Hurt Me?)," Gap Band
The story of Clara Harris is a well-traveled road. Snapped and Lifetime have covered this hotel parking lot ground, but no one's gotten it as right as Gap Band's "Burn Rubber On Me (Why You Wanna Hurt Me)."
Of course, they wrote their funk hit in the 1980s, long before the murderous, spurned wife of the two-timing Friendswood doctor David Harris ran him down with her Mercedes at a Clear Lake area hotel. The band's lyric, "I never, ever had a lover put the pedal to the metal and burn rubber on me," had to run through the philanderer's head at least one of the times she struck him (three in all).
Harris was denied parole in April, and has served half of her 20-year murder sentence.
"My Axe," Insane Clown Posse
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Robert Durst was a real estate developer in his father's successful New York business. If movies featuring Ryan Gosling and Kirsten Dunst are to be believed, he watched his mother commit suicide and was more or less ruined from that point on.
A long, disturbing road led him to Galveston, where he used a paring knife and an axe to "self-defend" against his roommate, the formerly-whole Morris Black. By the time he was done self-defending, Black was half the man he used to be. Then a quarter of the man he used to be. Then an eighth. You get where I'm going.
From some insane clowns to another, ICP's "My Axe" seems perfect, but only because there are no homicidal songs about paring knives.
"Bad Reputation," Joan Jett
I'm no hard news reporter. Just a guy who sometimes listens to Rob Zombie while reading the newspaper over black coffee. What I've read suggests Dr. Michael Brown's antics would make Mr. Hyde uncomfortable.
The list of his reported bad behavior includes sexual assault of an unconscious woman, spreading anal herpes like shareware, urinating on the walls of a first-class airplane restroom (a win for coach that day), sucking up cocaine like a Shop-Vac, and chasing his former wife around their mansion with a gun.
I'm stating right here that I have no idea which or any of these awful allegations are true. I don't have a gaggle of lawyers to summon on a finger's snap. If you want to know more about this alleged strangler of airline attendants, go read my man Craig Malisow's articles. Otherwise, Joan Jett's song nails the not-so-good doctor's legacy pretty well.
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