Whom the gods would humble, they first make a child actor. It seems like at some point between the onset of puberty and legal drinking age, every child star must stand at a twilit crossroads and choose between a graceful lapse into obscurity and a thwarted adult career, drinking problem, drug addiction, misery and resentment. Not everyone can be Winona Ryder or even Ricky (oops, sorry, Rick) Schroeder. And, unlike Drew Barrymore, not everybody lives long enough to clean up and get on with life after child stardom.
Consider the fortunes of River Phoenix. Or Anissa Jones, who played Buffy on TV’s “A Family Affair,” found dead at age18 of a self-inflicted overdose of barbiturates, PCP, cocaine and methaqualone in 1976. Or Dana Plato from “Diff’rent Strokes,” who drifted into a life of speed-fueled petty crime and late-night cable soft porn before departing this vale of tears with an overdose in May 1999. Gather ye roses while ye may, child star, and sock that money away in a trust fund. When the world finally gets sick of soft-drink darlings and the sun-kissed antics of preternaturally cute space larvae like Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen, there’s sure to be trouble.
Corey Feldman starred in practically every zany, youth-targeted movie made in the 1980s: Goonies, Gremlins, The Lost Boys, Stand By Me. Also a couple of potboilers like Meatballs III and Friday the 13th: Final Chapter, but at least as many memorable ones as forgettable clinkers. When he teamed up with his Canadian Lost Boys co-star Corey Haim, it seemed as though the sun would never set on the Corey empire.
Alas, things went south for Feldman in the late ’80s, with the tragic but statistically predictable lapse into alcohol, cocaine and heroin addiction. He spent a few years at the very bottom of the barrel before kicking his demons and reinventing himself, with moderate success, in the early ’90s as adult actor, director, producer and—yes, indeedy—musician. It may surprise many of you that Feldman, the erstwhile voice of Donatello on TV’s “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,” recently came within a hair’s breadth of getting his band, Corey Feldman’s Truth Movement, booked at a popular Missoula nightspot. What stood in his way? An exorbitant financial guarantee, for starters, and the fact that the promotional CD his people sent along was sufficient cause for the bar owner to conclude that even the novelty value of seeing Corey Feldman play in Missoula would wear off somewhere between the intro and the first verse.
Feldman likes to compare his music to that of Pink Floyd, but what Still Searching for Soul actually sounds like is someone who has never heard Pink Floyd trying to imitate Pink Floyd after having Pink Floyd explained to him by Gary Coleman (That loveable little scamp! Did you know that in May he announced his intention to run for a California senate seat?). The fact that most of the lyrics consist of ponderous purple prose about how bad Hollywood used him only add to the strangely guilty sensation you get listening to Still Searching. I’m all for new beginnings, and he honestly seems like a really likeable, earnest guy, but Corey, I have to tell you: please start acting again soon.