Artists Speak From The Heart On Valentine's Day

Joey Ramone, Kool Keith, Johnny Rzeznik, others discuss lovers' holiday.

If Feb. 14 is a day for love, for many it's also a day of anxiety. Even the most swooned-over rock stars remember what it's like to wait for a precious valentine.

"I was always nervous about Valentine's Day when I was a kid, because I was always afraid I wouldn't get one," Goo Goo Dolls frontman Johnny Rzeznik said recently (RealAudio excerpt of interview).

Though Rzeznik admitted his fear came true a couple of times, he said he no longer suffers from Valentine's Day nerves. "I like Valentine's Day. It's fun," he said.

The anticipation may be stressful for some, but former Ramones leader Joey Ramone said that the best valentines are the ones that come as a surprise. "I think it's kind of nice when you get a card from somebody, aside from a girlfriend or a good friend — that's kind of nice," the punk-rock veteran said on Friday. "It's cool when it's something unexpected."

Rapper Kool Keith said he's down with surprises on Valentine's Day, suggesting that the holiday is the perfect opportunity for people to fulfill their fantasies.

Lingerie And Pictures

"Valentine's Day is a lovely, beautiful day for lingerie and a lot of pictures," Kool Keith (born Keith Thornton) said on Friday, adding that his raunchy album Sex Style (1997) would be the perfect musical accompaniment.

"Everybody should get together with their girlfriends and go to Hollywood Boulevard and buy the freakiest outfits for their girlfriends," the former Ultramagnetic MC continued. "A lot of guys are scared to go buy their girl a nice outfit."

The notoriously eccentric old-school MC, who has released albums under the names Black Elvis, Dr. Dooom and Doctor Octagon, is taking his own advice — minus the lingerie part. He said he plans to take his valentine — his 2-year-old daughter, Alyssa — to the mall and "dress her up in a nice dress and put a flower in her hair."

Though Ramone said he likes to celebrate the holiday, he doesn't have any special plans for this year. "I'll probably put on some Motörhead or something," he said.

Mother's Day

Kim Shattuck, singer for the Los Angeles pop-punk band the Muffs, plans to stick faithfully to her own tradition this Valentine's Day. "I always spend it with my mom, even when I have a boyfriend, because I'd rather be with my mom than my boyfriend," Shattuck said on Friday.

Though Shattuck said she's never written a song for a valentine, she's leaving the possibility open. "The last song I wrote was actually like a breakup song, like about being sad about it," she said. "That's the first song I've ever written that I wasn't being mean to somebody. So, yeah, someday I may write a really sweet love song. But not yet. I've got too much fire in my blood."

Ramone said he's kicked around the idea of writing a song for a valentine but has never done it. Rzeznik also said he might write such a tune someday. But, then again, he said, "I might write a song about my kitchen table."

Michael Penn's 1989 album March includes the song "Cupid's Got a Brand New Gun," but the singer/songwriter said he's never written a Valentine's Day song and doesn't intend to. " 'My Funny Valentine' pretty much ended that," he said, referring to the oft-covered tune (RealAudio excerpt of Frank Sinatra version).

Though Penn and his wife, Aimee Mann, will have Valentine's Day off on their current joint tour, Penn said being on the road will prevent them from doing anything special.

The origins of Valentine's Day are much debated, with many reference books claiming the day is derived from Roman festivals. The custom has no connection with the two Saint Valentines or with documented incidents in their lives, according to the Encyclopedia Britannica. It is widely believed that the valentine was the first of all greeting cards, with the paper valentine dating back to the 16th century.

"It's a holiday created by Hallmark, for Chrissake," Penn said.

Members of the rock band Dope have a similar theory on the holiday. "Valentine's Day is the greatest capitalist venture ever created, ever created," keyboardist Simon Dope said. "I feel so much jealousy for whoever created Valentine's Day because it is the biggest money-making scam in the world. Fantastic."