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Michelle Shocked: One Stray Shell Is All it Takes

That would change a bit in November of that year, when Queen lead singer Freddie Mercury would die of AIDS-related complications, but the culture at the time didn't expect much of Bach in general, much less an apology. To his credit, Bach has been deeply apologetic since. Granted, his first apology included a crack about cancer killing grandmas dead, but donations to AIDS research down the road were far kinder gestures.

Michelle Shocked, however, isn't some aging '80s rocker now better known for making occasional cameos on The Gilmore Girls. She's continued her low-level folksinging career thanks largely to the image she'd cultivated and the fans who assumed she was in their corner. They may now be bourgeois parents thumbing through stacks of Aimee Mann and Edie Brickell CDs in their country guest house to thin out Shocked's Texas Campfire Tapes and Captain Swing, but a lifetime ago they saw that radical with the close cut being dragged away by cops on the cover of Short Sharp Shocked and saw someone they could relate to. Someone who might understand. Someone who they may support well into both of their middle age by going to overpriced shows at tarted-up jazz venues just to relive the good times they'd had together.

That's gone now. Even if Shocked gets it together and offers some sensical or, at least, apologetic explanation for what happened on Sunday night in San Francisco, she's broken open the crevasse between before and after. Fans won't celebrate 25 years of Short Sharp Shocked anymore, they'll look wistfully on who both they and Michelle were before going right back to who they are.

In business, that's inventory and liquidation. In music and in life, that's just "thank you" and "good night."

-- Written by Jason Notte in Portland, Ore.

>To contact the writer of this article, click here: Jason Notte.

>To follow the writer on Twitter, go to

>To submit a news tip, send an email to:


Jason Notte is a reporter for TheStreet. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Huffington Post,, Time Out New York, the Boston Herald, the Boston Phoenix, the Metro newspaper and the Colorado Springs Independent. He previously served as the political and global affairs editor for Metro U.S., layout editor for Boston Now, assistant news editor for the Herald News of West Paterson, N.J., editor of Go Out! Magazine in Hoboken, N.J., and copy editor and lifestyle editor at the Jersey Journal in Jersey City, N.J.
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